We decided to try and go sailing on Sunday – weather in Felixstowe looked OK but we got to the club and it wasn’t so promising. As we were there we decided to go and check on Capella, particularly in view of the water in the cabin last time. Our friend Jeremy had also mentioned that onside of the spray hood was flapping a bit.
We got out there and there was a big black cloud heading our way and as a consequence the wind was picking up too – we decided to sit and wait for it to pass and do a few little jobs while we waited. So important things got done, like
- Putting reminder stickers on the boom and at the top of the cabin steps.
- Adding the snap shackles to the bunting, used for bird scaring.
- Finding a small bungee to stop the main halyard flapping incessantly.
- Sorting out the 2 existing tool boxes to a more usable small one and a now liftable large one.
(Still further work to do here as the bigger one won’t fit in the locker, may need to get another small one and reduce the duplication further.)
- Failed on the water filter replacement as it seems to have gone walkies.
After having our packed lunch watching the world drift by, including the sailing barge Melisa, we decided to pack up and go home – especially as there was another ominous set of black clouds heading our way. A family of swans came swimming past as we were loading the dinghy – a little too close for comfort for the skipper at beak level in Minimus, however all passed off with no incident.
Motoring back to the club we felt the first spots of rain, by the time we had pulled the dinghy to the racks it started raining. It was a hasty unload of the dinghy into a trolley and then from the trolley to the car and locker so we only got damp rather than soaked. Luckily we beat the weather to Felixstowe to unload in the dry – but when it did arrive it lasted the rest of the afternoon, refilling the water butt almost completely.
Still the little jobs on Capella are getting done – one day we’ll get to sail her.
The first sail of the season was eventful, but in the end enjoyable. Then wind was predicted to be 8mph with no gusts perfect for a shakedown sail but it was stronger than that and most yachts we saw had a first reef in.
The evening started with a high – a seal in the river at the mouth of the creek! Didn’t stay around long enough to have his picture taken but was close enough to hear him breathing.
Raising the sails
Getting the main up was going OK until the reefing lines tensioned up, the forward lines had been pulled and jammed off to keep things tidy when putting the sail away and not released. That sorted we got that up – as it turned out not quite enough tension in the luff, but we lived with it.
We started to pull out the Genoa and discovered that someone (the skipper) had wrapped one of the sheets the wrong way round the sail so as one side tried to wrap itself round further. The easiest way to cure this was to untie the stopper knot, pull the sheet though the clutch and the track pulley, unwrap it and treaded it all back again. Of course this task fell to the crew – i.e. Wifey so by the time we got the sails up we had a cockpit full of rope, an already knackered Wifey the shore ahead and another similar sized yacht coming up astern, not really the ingredients for a smooth easy first tack of the season.
The next few tack where short and a bit frantic with moorings, the other yacht and the shore continuously limiting a the ability to get a chance to sort things out and take a breath.
After the last of these we ended up heading for the side of one of the large cargo ships that sail up to Ipswich. We were constricted to pointing high enough to port first by the other yacht then by the large green ‘Bridgewood’ buoy. So we turned to starboard and run back towards the bridge for a bit, caught our breath, let all the other boats go away and sorted ourselves out.
We didn’t want the sail to end on a low point so after a while we turned and started down the river again. This time, with the pressure off, the tacks went well and we got back into the rhythm we had got into at the end of last season.
Once we got to around ‘Downham’ we were happy with the tacks and could see a group of Topper dinghies ahead so we turned back for home and had an easy set of broad reaches back to the bridge.
The only downer was the amount of water in the cabin, based on the ice cream tub used, a couple of litres. No idea where it came from, and wasn’t there when we arrived, but the healing of the boat probably caused it to appear from somewhere. Looking around the lockers, the seacocks, saildrive there was nothing obviously wet. Just something we will have to keep an eye on.
We went down to Capella intending to go out for the first sail of the season. Nice sunny evening nice breeze, just one little job to do before we set out. The top most sail batten needed to be put in but we had to get the length of Velcro and tape out first. So Wifey set to do that while I moved the span rope, connecting the two mooring buoys, to the other side as I wanted to be blow off the mooring.
The wind was pushing Capella on to the span rope and trying to motor off against the wind is difficult even in light airs. The span rope had spent all winter in the river, gathering seaweed and mussels, most of which I had scraped off or had now dried out and fell off. There was also tension in the rope and despite adjusting the mooring lines, which are supposed to take the load, the wind kept up just enough tension so that I couldn’t untie the double sheet bend connecting the two halves of the span rope, the knot ‘helped’ but a goodly amount of seaweed growing through it.
In the end we gave up and decided to do a few jobs and have tea on the moorings instead – the wind felt like it was increasing and would not be the gentle first sail we have envisaged.
Head in the Head
Time to take the loo apart to see if I could fix the broken pump, it looked like a nut had just come unscrewed from the shaft, and this is what it turned out to be. However it took the removal to 7 screws and 3 pipes to get to the offending parts and of course the spilling of whatever remained in the pipes, thankfully mostly seawater as I was giving the head a good flush though when it failed.
So an hour later with the nut glued in place to help it resist undoing again, and the whole contraption put back together we now have a working loo again.
Time for tea and watch the world go by, the first sail will have to be another day.
Water pumps seem to be the problem area for Capella this year.
Friday I picked up and fitted the new pump, all went fine, the small kinks (30 degree bends) in the connections where no longer there so the run of the flexible pipes not quite as nice, but OK. Tried to start the engine and the batteries were flat – well not enough in them to turn the engine. Getting two large batteries out of Capella and into the tender was ‘fun’. The bigger battery weighs 25Kg (a 100ah Yuasa Cargo) and a smaller one, a 80ah battery, thankfully lighter
So it’s now Saturday morning with 1 fully charged and one mostly charged battery sitting in the dinghy. There is no good way to do this on your own but and least in the creek the water is calm. So a dead lift up to chest level with one arm while trying to stop the dinghy moving too far with the other to get to the point of balancing on a piece of hull around 2” wide trying not to short out the contacts on the pushpit all get safely aboard and once connected the engine starts and at last, water flows out.
Now all is well again in the world I give a couple of members form the waiting pontoon the finger pontoon, helpful to have a couple of crew to help moor up and impotently for them the pontoon which is connected to the shore. I call for my crew (Wifey) and while she journeys to the club I flush the water tank and fill it up. Once we are all ship shape again we head off for a short trial of the engine (at least 45mins) down to the new? Mulberry buoy and back to our moorings near the Orwell Bridge. We had lunch while we chugged and drank juice with the usual consequences. We had to use the loo.
Another water pump failure
I was pumping the heads and had got it clear and giving it a good flush, and the handle and shaft come out the top of the pump. So now something is wrong with the loo. It’s a TMC Manual toilet and I have no instructions. A search of the internet is providing little information apart from I can buy a new one and a refurbishment kit, hummmm.
On the bright side Capella is ready to sail and we have a bucket if needs must. Just need to get sailing now.