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, 29 February 2020

Not exactly planned....

With gales and sleet showers all around us, we motored up the Dart in the early hours of Friday morning for another lift-out at Baltic Wharf.  The reason? Two weeks after our relaunch in September, there was a southerly gale and our trot mooring (10 boats in a line of fore and aft mooring buoys) surged upstream; as the most upstream boat, Maunie scraped up against our bow buoy and its chain scratched her shiny new paint. We could have cried but the harbour authority admitted liability so the repair won’t cost us, apart from the considerable hassle.

Scratches above the shiny blue stripe 

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Enjoying the Calm before the very big storm!

We've been watching the forecasts carefully for the past week as Storm Ciara heads our way. We're now in the thick of it with huge gusts and driving rain.

However, we spotted a couple of days of relatively settled weather on Thursday and Friday so decided we'd make the best of it and actually go sailing for once, with the added benefit of being able to leave Maunie trussed up with extra lines to face Ciara's worst.

We had a lovely, if cold, sail round to Salcombe to find the place pretty much deserted, both on the water and ashore. Unlike the River Dart, Salcombe harbour is pretty open to southerly gales so everyone seems to take their boats ashore for the winter. In the 'normal' sailing season, visiting yachts have to pick up a mooring and use their dinghy or the Yacht Taxi to get ashore but we were given permission to go alongside the Normandy Pontoon for the night, with walk-ashore access.

In the summer this view is full of boats of all sizes

Morning after a chilly night. We were able to plug into shore power, however, so had a 500W electric heater running to keep things cosy down below
The Normandy Pontoon is so names as this was a key embarkation point for US soldiers for the D-Day Landings and the concrete loading ramp that the Americans built is still there.

In the early summer of 1944 there were over 2,000 troops and 66 ships here so the silence when they left for Normandy on the 4th of June must have been acute. There is a good account of the time when this sleepy Devon village was at war on the Salcombe Museum website - click here for more information.

We headed back to Dartmouth on Friday afternoon as the tide turned in our favour. Start Point always promises the risk of some bumpy wind-against-tide conditions but it was the smaller tidal race at Prawle Point that gave us the greater entertainment.

There's a short video of the trip on YouTube here which we hope you'll enjoy.

Monday, 3 February 2020

More jobs ticked off the list....

Since our last blog update, we've had several trips down to Maunie, staying on board for two or three nights each time but there's been precious little sailing. It is winter after all! Last week, however, Di went up to stay with her dad up in Lancashire so Graham spent the week aboard, dodging the heavy rain, to crack on with more maintenance jobs.

Re-varnishing the woodwork in the cabins is a fairly major project for us this year so we've been bringing locker doors home to do as much of it as possible in the warmth and dry. The rest of it has to be done in situ, of course, so Graham had a not-so-much-fun week of sanding and varnishing. It's a slow process but we're definitely making progress:

Lockers in the forward heads half-way through the first coat of varnish

The nav table, stripped and sanded
 While the varnish was drying - and we're trying a water-based varnish which means the cabin wasn't filled with toxic fumes - there were lots of other things to do, including cleaning
and re-greasing the winches:

Winch-maintenance is a once-a year job and takes about 50 minutes per winch. We have 7 winches!
Other jobs included: draining the engine coolant, flushing it and refilling with new antifreeze; completing an oil change on the generator; replacing the broken engine compartment extractor fan; splicing a new mooring line to replace one chafed by winter gales; re-organising the storage of spares and tools; topping up the electrolyte in the batteries; replacing the heads door-catch. Plus lots of cleaning and tidying, as usual. 

Living aboard in such rainy weather, the de-humidifier was a vital bit of kit and the amount of water it captured each night was fairly astounding.

I had one day of sunshine mid-week so was more than ready to get off the boat to stretch my legs. A walk up the steep hill above Kingswear (on the opposite side of the river to Dartmouth) delivered some great views:

Whilst maintenance work isn't the most fun bit of owning a boat, it's good to keep on top of it and to be ready for the new season. We're planning a trip in May so are beginning to start the enjoyable process of looking at charts and pilot books. Roll on summer!