I managed to squeak in a visit to Toodle-oo! last weekend – in between business trips to England and India… Brought two heavy bags full of stuff for the boat – various replacement lines, some clutches and blocks and various bits and bobs to improve radio reception for the SSB.
I installed a couple of new double rope clutches on the side decks that will be used to control both the preventers for the boom and the guys for the pole when sailing deep with the wind. This should make the setting of both much more easy – therefore less daunting – and therefore they’ll get used more often! Certainly interested in seeing how it all works!
Also installed a replacement combiner to maintain charge in the starter battery – the old one had developed a really annoying click every time it turned on or off the power to the starting battery. It was particularly annoying when trying to sleep!
Toodle-oo! comes out of the water in the next few days to get her bottom paint applied and new anodes installed. This year, with our plans to sail into the Baltic, I’ve opted to use a combination of zincs and aluminums – apparently zinc crusts over in brackish water – so I’m hoping that the combination will keep us safe both in the Atlantic and in the Baltic.
One item I’ve not been able to solve is topping up our American propane bottle. Nobody wants to touch the thing in England, so we’re forced to buy an English propane tank as a back-up – for when the remaining tank runs dry. In an attempt to delay such a conversion, we’ve also purchased an electrical hot plate – which we’re hoping to use extensively – and thereby preserve the precious American propane for as long as possible. (I just know in my bones that the bloody tank will run dry mid Atlantic, forcing a plumbing job at sea!)
So, what are we doing in the Atlantic you may ask… Our sailing plans have evolved yet again – we’re now cutting short the Baltic trip a little – partly due to the political situation we’ve decided to avoid Russia, but also because we plan to bring the boat back to the US in the fall – so that (sadly) we can both go back to work full time for a few years to get the kitty properly healthy.
Sailing back to the US in September/October is not without it’s challenges – we’ll be heading into the prevailing winds and currents. Most likely route will be from southern England to the Azores, on to Bermuda and then back to Newport. We did consider the northern route – via Iceland and Greenland – but have thought better of it – though it would be a shorter trip.
All in all, this year’s cruise will amount to about 8,500NM sailed!
We’re still on for an April 27th arrival at the boat – which will hopefully be ready and waiting for us such that we can quickly get our act together and set off for Scotland post haste.
Looking forward to it!
(Will start posting regularly once we’re on our way…)
By the way, Whitehaven, where we landed and parked the boat in England is the only place in England that has been invaded by the Yanks – as this plaque “celebrates” – happened thanks to John Paul Jones back in 1778!
The plaque reads:
The only unfriendly American invasion of Britain occurred at Whitehaven in the early hours of 23rd April 1778. John Paul Jones, who was apprenticed in the town, led men of the Continental Navy ashore and spiked the harbour’s defensive guns before making his getaway. At a ceremony witnessed by representatives of the US Navy on 27th June 1999, Jones was pardoned by the commissioners of the Harbour of Whitehaven, on behalf of the people of the town.
During the ceremony, the Navy presented the town with a huge American Flag. When we arrived in Whitehaven last year, a very nice fellow came down to the dock to greet us as the first American boat “in years” to arrive in England at Whitehaven – he then gave us the immense flag! We therefore have a tenuous link to history!
I think we’re going to have to fly the flag from the masthead when we depart Whitehaven in May! Should be a sight!
Also by the way… the second photo below shows the stream we navigated to get into Whitehaven harbor – not bad for a boat with 6 foot draft!