Saturday, 8 October 2011

Three Months in Darwin

We've now been in Darwin for three months.  Time flies!  We've been here so long we've had to get Northern Territory driver licences.

One decision we've made recently is to join the SE Asia cruising events next year.  These depart Darwin in July and we plan to go through Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, arriving in December 2012.  After that we'll resume Plan A (South Africa).

Under canvas
We are both working so the cruising kitty is doing well.  Or should I say the to-do list is being attended to!  Since our last blog we have:
  • Fitted an all-chain anchor rode
  • Fitted a boom tent and foredeck awning from The Canopy Man
  • Removed the old cabin headliner, found replacement material (Laminex Aquapanel) and sanded, epoxied and varnished the teak battens which mount the headliner
  • Fitted new Spinlock deck organisers, Spinlock clutches and Andersen winches
  • Fitted permanent inner forestay with ProFurl furler
Fitting the new deck gear followed removal of the headliner.  With the headliner down all the bolts were easily accessible so the time was right.  It took quite a while to clean and fill all the old bolt holes with epoxy since the end-grain balsa core in the coachroof soaked it up as fast as we could add it! We only discovered the coachroof was a sandwich construction when the headliner was removed.  Should be light and strong.  While we were at it we decided to replace the cockpit winches and turning blocks.  Just as well since several of the bolts securing the turning blocks were rusted through.
Deckhead exposed
New Andersen halyard winch
New Andersen sheet winch
By the way, we sold the old winches on eBay and recovered 1/3 the cost of the new winches.  The old winches were in very good order but the self-tailer wouldn't grip the (smaller) modern ropes we use and servicing required complete removal of the winch from the deck.
Still plenty to do!

The best investment we've made since arriving is the purchase of a $50 second-hand air-conditioner.  Life was much more comfortable after we got that running.  With the "build up" to the wet season well underway the aircon will keep us cool and help keep the boat free of mould.

Another investment which is working out well is the Coppershield anti foul (known as Coppercoat outside Australia) we applied in Sydney early this year.  We're getting very little fouling in the marina, and since Coppershield is non-ablating we can go for a swim and simply wipe off any minor growth.

It's been fun meeting other Western Australian yachts here.  Mike and Jan from Fully Involved passed through recently, having sailed their lovely yacht from the US this season.  Dan and Elise from Babar are also here.  Both are from Hillarys Yacht Club.

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