Bank Holiday Boat Time

As you can see the whole system was in need of a refit, the orange pipe dated 1991 and the copper pipe pitted quite bad.

It’s May already! Where has the time gone? With all the rush of getting the boat on the water it’s been a bit of a down time getting on with life and not a lot of sailing. The plan was for little man to head to Granny’s house for a night and Lou and I to have a night on the boat. We had thought a night in Cardiff Bay but settled on popping the boat on the club pontoon and getting a few more jobs started or finished off that I didn’t manage to get done over the winter.

It didn’t quite work out like that, we all got hit with some sort of cold, virus a few days before (actually on my birthday, lucky me)! Lou thought it best to stop at home with Vin rather then living Granny a restless nights sleep and as I was all bunged up and snoring sleeping on the boat would mean she wouldn’t have both of her boys keeping her awake. I set off early Sunday morning to get to the boat, with a car full of stuff.

I was surprised when I got to the club how quiet it was, I thought there would be a lot more people down as it was bank holiday the sun was out and I’m sure most people thought a picnic on the beach/back garden was a better choice then bobbing about on a scorchio windless day. A few boats had gone to Cardiff and a couple more to Bristol on a “club cruise” so there were people out there.

First job on the list was to splice the bow lines on the mooring, a nice and easy job to do. The excess line I had already splices a loop in the end to cow hitch it onto the stern chain when the tide dropped. Once the bow lines were spliced I moved the boat onto the pontoon and started to plan out the other jobs. The next one was to fit the wind instrument, I have bought (and been bought for my birthday) a Hurst Marine Mast Ladder so I wanted to try it out. Ron the previous owner and his son offered to tail the bosuns chair on the topping lift as a backup line which was reassuring. I’ll do a review in a few days on the mast ladder but although a little fiddly I’m happy with it. I shouldn’t have really gone up with man flu at the peak of the sun but it was when I had the help. Wind instrument went on ok however it didn’t register any wind or direction so I think I’ve not pushed the plug in far enough at the top of the mast… so I’ll have to go back up but not on that day!

The rest of the day was spent sitting in the shade and having an afternoon nap, I was pretty exhausted. I did pull out the old head (toilet) and checked to see if the “regular” Jabsco would fit. I lined everything up and bought the plywood base home to mount it so all I have to do is slot it in place and attach the hoses next time. I tried to get dinner at the local pub to the sailing club (the Waterloo) but they weren’t serving so a trip next chain pub did the trick. An early night was call for and the next morning I woke up with a plan to refit the gas system.

I needed a 12mm wood bit to fit the new bulkhead fitting in the gas locker so an early morning trip to B&Q was in order. There was a Morrisons next door so that meant I could grab some food for the day. When I got back to the boat I had a missed call on my phone from a Newport number… It turned out I had left my wallet at the till of Morrisons! I have never lost my wallet or keys before so I was grateful it was handed in. I think they must have pulled up my details from the “Morrisons More” card to get my number… lucky I didn’t go to Tesco!

I won’t go into details on the gas install, there’s a great write up on Mark’s Ballad website. I wanted to get starting before the sun really got going so I epoxied some blocks on the pipe route for the P-clips to whilst it was warm but not too hot. I ran the pipe to a new tap which is easier to get to inside and to my surprise once all the connections were made and the gas turned on I had no leaks shown using the leak detector spray! I was sort of hoping for a small leak so I would know what to look for!

Whilst I was sorting the gas I had setup my Camera to get a timelapse of the tide flooding but the battery died before the top and to catch the ebb.

I got the boat back in order, filling the lockers with all the paraphernalia that comes with the boat and put everything in the car to be bought home. I had planned on putting the boat on the mooring the following lunchtime to be able to splice the sternline loops before heading home but I was pretty knackered, this cold had hit be much more then any in the past… the joys of a toddler at nursery! After a lazy afternoon, a BBQ with the now bustling club (the boats and members had all come home) I stayed up a bit later to move the boat back onto it’s mooring and decided to sleep in the back room so I could head home after the morning rush hour.

I was pleased I got the few jobs I manage to sort. The gas was a big one, we can now make a cuppa, cook some dinner and enjoy our trips away without having to pay to eat out all the time. The new head will make a difference as well, I never trusted the old one. I’ll look at fitting a small holding tank in the future as well which will help things in harbour. Getting the mooring lines spliced (I still need to do the stern ones) means I haven’t got masses of rope to worry about, just pick up the buoy , drop the lines over the cleat and not worry.

I’ll be down this weekend to finish a few things and go for the first proper sail of the season!


  1. Hi Tom, I came across a question that you had regarding the availability of the Sea Angel SA16+ MOB/PLB which is the portable combined device of AIS, DSC, 406 MHZ, 121 MHZ. I believe that the device will initially be offered for sale at the FT. Lauderdale International Boat Show 31 Oct.- 4 Nov. 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The product is currently going through final certifications and approvals. I can answer some questions about it if you have any and I have several of the prototypes.

    1. Hi Richard, thanks for the comment, yes I was very interested in the Sea Angel SA16+ I have however bought an Ocean Signal PLB1 for now. I know there’s a few people on the YBW forums who have asked so I’ll pop a message up with a link to your comment and website and hopefully you may find people interested in it. If you remember pop back and keep me updated once it’s out.

      Kind Regards

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