Monday, 7 May 2018

Readying for Sea - Spring 2018

Hi everyone,
Last week we spent from Saturday to Tuesday at Dunstaffnage Marina.  We worked through a substantial work list and Zen Again was launched at high tide on Tuesday morning.

On the Friday night we took the Caledonian Sleeper train from Euston to Glasgow.  This time we had seats instead of a cabin.  Considerably cheaper and the seats were similar size to business class seats in airliners.  But they don't recline as far!  Glasgow to Dunbeg was on the coach as usual.

We spent Saturday afternoon cleaning the deck and topsides.  The deck cleaning was a relatively simple case of scrubbing down and hosing off.  Cleaning the topsides was a little more challenging in the absence of platforms to stand on.  Twas a case of using a broom with the head wrapped in a towel.  The topsides really needs a good polish but that's for another day.

Topsides cleaned, antifoul rekeyed
Also on Saturday we refitted the anchor and polished lots of stainless steel on deck.

On Sunday we rekeyed the Coppercoat antifoul, lubricated the sea cocks, and checked the rudder bearings and cutlass bearing.  The cutlass bearing has a little movement so we expect to replace it next time the boat is out of the water, when we might also upgrade the propeller.

Back on board in the afternoon we continued polishing and started rigging the deck gear.  The deck gear includes a surprising number of blocks - 6 at the mast base, 2 reaching sheet blocks, 2 boom brake blocks and 2 checkstay blocks.  On the boom and the dodger arch we fitted the 6 mainsheet blocks - each of which is lashed in place with 3mm dyneema cord (much quieter than shackles).  We replaced the cord with new this year since it was starting to fray.

Just hanging around
On Monday morning we rigged sheets and reefing lines on deck.  Below we checked over the engine which had been dewinterised by the marina mechanic a week prior.  We also fitted two new fire extinguishers and a CO detector in the saloon.  Throughout the weekend we were checking and reorganising below, including testing all the lifejackets and safety gear.

On Monday afternoon Zen Again was lifted in the Travelift and moved down to the crane bay.  There the mast was stepped.  Suddenly she felt like a yacht again!  The all-new standing rigging and furler supplied by Owen Sails fitted perfectly.  With the mast in place we could then attach the boom and run the halyards, reefing lines, clew outhaul etc through.  We also fed the electrical cables through the deck fitting and sealed them.

Stepping the Mast
The boom received a lot of attention from Owen Sails over the winter.  The gooseneck has a new pin and bushes which has greatly strengthened it and reduced its "sloppiness".  We also replaced the single-tang vang fitting on the boom with a much larger fitting with two tangs.  This allows us to separate the boom vang and boom brake attachments which previously chafed each-other, and spreads their load more broadly.

On Tuesday morning Zen Again was launched.  We fueled-up, filling the main tank and half the jerries.  It's the first time we've bought "red" diesel which has a much reduced tax rate.  Once in the pen we filled the water tanks.  With that done it was time to catch the coach to Glasgow!

In the pen
We stayed aboard Zen Again during our stay.  It was pretty chilly at night but we were very, very lucky with the weather generally.  It was sunny all day Sunday and Monday and we even suffered a little sunburn!  We ate at the Widemouth Frog every day for brunch and dinner.

During the week after our visit Owen Sails visited Zen Again to tune the rig.  The final work they're doing for us is to assemble new webbing jackstays and safety tethers.  For the latter we've given them our old ones and a reel of webbing.  They will reuse the clips to make new tethers.

Looking forward to our two week cruise of western Scotland later this month!

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