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, 10 June 2020

Launched but restricted

Eleven weeks later than planned, we finally relaunched Maunie yesterday morning. The high-tide time demanded a 5 am alarm to drive down to Totnes but, at just after 8 am, we were afloat. The weather was perfect and the gentle motor down the Dart was just lovely - we can't tell you how happy we were to be aboard again. 

Of course, this being a boat, there was some bilge-ratting and swearing to be done before we could take to the water. Before the lock-down we'd spotted that the seawater pump for the engine cooling had a slight leak from its shaft seal; there was some rust on the engine mounting bracket below it. 
The pump (with cover and impeller removed) sits above the black engine bracket which had to be removed before the pump could be unbolted
Slight leaks tend to worsen to something altogether more worrying on a boat, so Graham removed the pump (a process that involved first removing the engine mount bracket, finding the bolt heads by feel rather than sight) and handed it over to the excellent on-site mechanic Steve. He's become used to trying to get bits of Maunie's mechanical kit apart after we've found it an impossible task (he helped us persuade the anchor windlass gearbox to come off its shaft when we replaced the deck and removed the seized propshaft cutlass bearing with a hammer and chisel) so there was no surprise that the pump resisted attempts to disassemble it. After soaking it in easing oil, he eventually succeeded and rebuilt the pump with new (and outrageously expensive) Yanmar seals (the main seal cost £99 + vat!).

The refurbished pump, ready for refitting
Steve finished the job last week so we went down to the boat to refit it; we ran the engine, with a fresh water hose connected to the seacock, for 20 minutes and were delighted to have it leak-free and good for a few more years.

Back to our launch day, we'd hoped to get a couple of hours sailing but the wind failed to arrive so instead we anchored just outside Dartmouth Castle to hoist and furl the yankee (foresail), connect the mast cables (for navigation lights, wind instruments and radar) and have lunch.

During the lock-down we had kept ourselves busy with a few jobs that could be done at home and one of the biggest was to make new dodgers for the cockpit - there's a short video HERE of the process.

We fitted them and are really pleased with the result of the hard work:

The afternoon was spent refitting the lines and chains to our new mooring before moving Maunie to her new home. It's only a couple of hundred metres from her old mooring but, crucially, we are now in the middle of a 'trot', with boats moored ahead and astern of us, so shouldn't suffer a repeat of the disaster that damaged her paint on the old mooring where we were the boat at the upstream end of the trot.

At the moment the regulations don't allow us to sleep aboard so, after a supper afloat, we left at 9 pm and arrived home just before 11 pm, tired but happy. We are hoping that the rules might be relaxed at the beginning of next month, fingers crossed, so that we can spend some quality time aboard.