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.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Leaving Maunie behind!

Since we last wrote we seem to have been pretty busy, getting ready to leave the boat and fly home. 

Once the floods subsided over the weekend we got the Raymarine technicians aboard and were very happy with their approach. They went through all the issues we were having with the new autopilot that we had fitted in NZ last May and concluded that the installation hadn't been done properly (by a Raymarine-approved installer, hmmm) so effectively re-wired the whole thing, a process that involved taking ceiling panels down and feeding a cable through some improbable spaces. They also replaced the p70 colour-screen control panel which had started to mist up in wet weather and the whole job was done under warranty, thankfully.

So we happily set off down the river that afternoon and pressed the autopilot ‘Auto’ button, anticipating a ruler-straight wake as we watched the world go by. What actually happened was that Maunie immediately executed a tight U–turn and nearly rammed an anchored motorboat (umm that would have been an interesting insurance claim!) before we hurriedly switched it off and grappled with the wheel! We re-anchored and got the instruction book out and went through a few steps of basic commissioning; we think the guys had thought that with the new p70 the original settings would have remained in place but this is a newer model so it had to learn left from right and so on. That just shows that you can never entirely trust the experts (we know, we should have learned that a long time ago)!

Anyway, after that all was done, all seems well and now the chart plotter has a proper communication route with the pilot so we can (if we so wish) set a route of waypoints on the plotter and the pilot will follow it (it wouldn’t do that as it was wired before) . We have even linked the two screens so that when we dim the brightness of one at night, the other dims with it (we're easily pleased by things like that). Hopefully this will be the end of our random problems autopilot. Fingers very much crossed.

We moved back down to the anchorage inside Sovereign Island for a few days, less than a mile from the pontoon where we had arranged to leave Maunie - it's shown by the red pin on the left hand side of this photo:

The anchorage gave us the chance to do lots of boat preparation jobs - taking the sails off, giving the generator an oil change and flushing its cooling system with fresh water, and a hundred other little but time consuming jobs. On Sunday morning, at high tide, we motored round to the canal and introduced Maunie to her home for the next 6 months.

The mooring at a Spring low tide - we thought we might just touch the mud with the keel but were delighted to find we had enough water to remain fully afloat

Thanks to some amazing perseverance (and world-class packing skills) by Garth at Holt Farm, our custom-made boat cover (last used in the winter of 2011) was unearthed from a storage container and sent across to us. It will protect the boat from the bright sunshine and allow us to keep some hatches open to allow good air circulation below decks. Fitting it involved a bit of work with the sewing machine to patch a couple of minor holes and then some careful lashing to make it all secure.

High tide, and the forward section of the cover is fitted
 So, after a very hectic last day, everything was packed away and the final covers fitted and we could leave Maunie under the watchful eye of Lyn (whose pontoon we are renting) and our friend Brian who lives locally and arranged this fantastic spot for us.

We do have a third section of the red cover back in the UK but, since we already had the blue cockpit cover on board, it didn't seem worth the cost of sending it (or the hassle of modifying it to fit around the solar panel arch that we've added to Maunie since we left home)
And, suddenly, that was it! The flight cases were packed and we were ready for the journey home, a trip involving a train to Brisbane for an overnight in a little hotel we've used before followed by a 13 hour flight to Dubai where we are staying for three nights with an old friend of Graham's. The final leg gets us into Heathrow on Easter Monday.

Bracing ourselves for the journey ahead, and thinking that we'll miss this sunshine!

We'll do a bit of a 'wrap-up' blog update on this blog when we get back home but then you'll get a break until we return to Australia in November.


  1. Love to read your posts in the morning. Will miss it till Nov. Have a good time in the nothern Hemisphere. Regina

  2. Bon Voyage! Trust you're enjoying your stay in Dubers as we speak! I think you should do a Blighty blog.... keep in touch T and I xxx