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.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

New and Improved

We've slipped back into the New Zealand routine with remarkable ease. It's so much simpler returning to a place we know well! We had just three nights in the marina to hit the laundry, give the boat a wash down and inflate the dinghy before heading out to our mooring. Oh, and of course we had to get up at 04.30 on Sunday to watch the thrilling Rugby World Cup Final.

On Monday we caught the bus down to Auckand, had a cup of tea with Colin and Ana on Ithaka then went over to Birkenhead for a meal out with Tony & Claire who have been looking after Horace the Honda in our absence. It was great to catch up with them and to have cuddles with Ursa the Newfoundland, now fully grown - it's a bit like cuddling a bear!

The drive back to Opua included a stopover for lunch in Whangarei with Adam & Cindi of Bravo and a dash round the huge Pack n Save supermarket (more of a warehouse really); a bit of a shock even after the good supermarkets in Suva.

We are now focused on boat maintenance jobs for the next couple of weeks just to get them out of the way. So this morning was the oily jobs - changing the diesel filters and doing an engine and gearbox oil and filter change. Most of these jobs just have to be done but don't deliver any rewarding visual evidence of their completion, beyond a tick on the long list. However we have a few 'improvement' projects on the go and have just completed a couple that are very pleasing.

The first, mostly done in the wet weather in Suva, was to replace the old and tired halyard bags in the cockpit. These bags are designed to stow the ropes that haul up the sails and reef them down and, at nearly 17 years old, were definitely looking pretty tired.

Rather than just copying the originals we decided on some design improvements, to include some flexible plastic pipe sewn in to the edges to hold them open and a small pocket dedicated to the winch handles to prevent the old problem of the handles falling out (usually onto your toes) when you needed to pull out some lines.

The new design - it has a mesh material in the base to let water drain out and double-thickness material for longevity

A surprisingly complex construction to include the dividers and the reinforcing pipes -it kept us quiet for a couple of days!
The second improvement project wasn't actually on our list but has been something that we've had at the back of our minds for qite a while. We had always disliked the four reading lights in the pilothouse for their shiny faux brass (with added corrosion) finish and their ugly design but finding attractive replacements that weren't priced for super-yachts had been a problem.

The old light fittings
By chance, we discovered that Hans, one of the assistants at the excellent Cater Marine chandlers here, has started a little sideline turning lovely hardwood mounts with powerful LED lights in them. They match the other wood trim in the boat perfectly and at just over £30 each were a luxury we felt we could afford:

The new light fitting - the LED is much brighter that the old ones and yet only uses about one third of an amp

The wood matches the speaker mounts almost perfectly.
So tomorrow we'll be back to the 'invisible' maintenance jobs and, of course, Maunie has sensed that we are back in the land of boat services so has thrown a couple of wobblies. The aft fridge has just decided to stop running after faultless service ever since we bought the boat and the fresh water pump seems to need a thump every now and then to coax it into action. These have been added to the long list!

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