Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Long range communications at sea

When we bought Maunie she came with this SSB (single side band) radio as well as the normal VHF 2-way radio carried by most boats. The advantage of the SSB is that it uses medium and high frequencies which allow the radio waves to bounce off the ionosphere to deliver very long range - we've received transmissions of propaganda news from China - where the VHF only has a range of about 50 miles at most.

Because of this world-girdling range, the SSB requires a special Long Range Radio Certificate so Graham has just completed the course and has passed the exam. Over the summer we'll be practising with the radio and it'll be used for daily radio 'nets' during the ARC transatlantic. The radio allows multiple boats to listen at the same time and, of course, provides another safety channel whilst we're at sea; we'll carry a satellite phone, as well, which will enable us to share emails, photos and, of course, to keep the blog up to date..

Working through the pre-launch jobs

We plan to re-launch Maunie just after Easter so the focus is on a few important maintenance jobs that can only be done whilst she's out of the water.

We've decided to replace all the seacocks. These are the below-the-waterline fittings for the water intakes for the toilets, engine, generator and watermaker and the outlets from the sinks. Over time the bronze fittings can suffer something called de-zinctification in the salt water environment (particularly if there are stray electrical currents around) which can make them brittle - not a good thing! So this is a selection of the new fittings; it's not a cheap operation to replace them but provides very valuable peace of mind.


The other job was to polish the clever Brunton feathering propeller - we've tried a new coating called PellerClean which is supposed to prevent barnacles adhering to it. We probably won't have the boat out of the water for another 2 years so we just hope it works.

The list of jobs is slowly diminishing, thankfully, and we're really looking forward to Maunie being back in her natural environment.