HAUL-OUT NEWSLETTER 7- Launch Fast Approaches

May, 2004 (updated May 10, 2004)

During Fiona’s haul-out from October to approximately May of 2004 I will briefly list the work needed to get her shipshape for the next cruise.

The day of launching draws close- I have asked Weeks Yard to put Fiona in the water the week of 23 May, 2004. This is also the week I plan to take the old Bentley on the annual rally, this year to be held in New Hampshire. Hopefully when I get back the boat will be sitting in its usual slip awaiting the final phase of preparation such as re-installing the bowsprit, bending sails, flushing the water tanks, loading a zillion items such as spares, books, charts and food. In the meanwhile work has gone well on the refurbishment. The starboard chain plates were removed, cleaned, re-bedded and bolted back in one day by Walter and myself. The next week the starboard rubrail was re-installed.Sean and myself attacked the forward head. This proved to be a bigger job than first anticipated. (what else is new?) Although it was fairly simple to remove the Formica sheet and re-screw the counter top it turned out the bulkhead of the sail bin had detached from the hull. Ultimately I glued and screwed a new piece of marine plywood to the old bulkhead and Chris installed new tabbing to the hull. I suspect I will have to do the same thing to the port side counter one day- that is a problem for next year! A couple of past crew members turned up to help with painting; Shoel worked on the radar post and Al helped with the anchor chain. A potential crew member, Jim, who has signed up for the Santos to Barbados leg next year, helped with couple of jobs. Walter got most of the fittings screwed to the mast and I have started on the wiring. It remains to install the standing and running rigging. The shaft generator bracket was completed and installed.I also installed the electrical controllers for the generator, final installation of the generator itself remains to be done so that I can determine the correct belt size. The teak and ash trim on the cabin sole is completed- only varnish is needed, this will be one of the last jobs to be done. I borrowed a really good vacuum pump off a fellow cruiser at Weeks and pumped down the new freezer, it held 30″ vacuum without a problem. I still have to add type134 refrigerant. While working in the forward head I installed the new bilge pump and controller and revamped the shower pump. One Sunday afternoon Shoel and I removed most of the innards of the pedestal and I was able to recover the screw I dropped down there a couple of months ago. This removes the possibility of jamming the steering chain, this did actually happen as we neared Tasmania last year (due to a broken pin that time).

For Easter I took a break and flew to California to spend a few days with Bill and his family at his beach place on Monterey Bay. Bill has made two transatlantic crossings aboard Fiona. I showed the video of last year’s circumnavigation on two occasions; the first at Huntington YC, where it was very well received. The second was at the local Historical Society but I am afraid very few members showed up. A fellow member of the Cruising Cub of America, who has sailed for several seasons in the Baltic, invited to his place in New York City for an evening. We went over the best places to visit and he lent me quite a few charts. I should mention that all the berths are filled for 2004/2005 cruise except for the possibility of a berth from Barbados to New York in 2005.

Until the next time, best wishes,


Eric and Bill pose below the Golden Gate Bridge.

The mast is painted and many fittings are installed.

Jim cleaned up and painted the engine room counter and deck.

The teak and ash is re-installed on the cabin sole.

Electrical controllers for the prop-shaft generator.

The boom gallows has been refurbished with new leathers.

Eric creates sparks as he grinds away a link on the new bobstay.