Around Hobart, Summer 2019

Enjoying Summer 2019, our fifteenth in Hobart.

Off season maintenance - the Poo Project

Tuesday 10 to Tuesday 17 July, Tuesday 2 to Monday 8 October, Wednesday 14 to Monday 26 November 2018

Link to Google Photos

In July, we are in Hobart for a week of work aboard on what we are calling the Poo Project. The engineer decided some time ago that we should replace all the hoses involved in the on-board sewerage system. The engineer's mate suggested that if we were taking apart the whole system, we should consider installing an on-board treatment plant. These things may become mandatory in the near future, so it seems like a good idea to do it now, rather than have to take the whole thing apart again in a year or so. So we purchase a Sani-Loo system and have it shipped to Hobart, ready to collect when we arrive on 10 July.

Without a functioning head and with stuff everywhere, living aboard would be difficult if not impossible, so we are staying at the Blichfeldts, minding their house while they are in Queensland.

Starting the day we arrive, the engineer progressively takes apart the existing system. After about four days there are components old and new and tools scattered from one end of the boat to the other, but after six days reconstruction is well under way, and we think the project should be pretty much complete by the time we are due to fly back.

Wrong! All the pieces are in place, but there is an air leak somewhere and so the Lavac pump doesn't work as it has to be able to create a vacuum to draw in flushing water. Problem is located at one of the hose fittings, but no amount of tightening of hose clamps fixes it. There is just too much of a bend in the hose in question. A rethink is required, but we've run out of time, so the project is only 95% complete.

We return in October, with a new plan. A T-fitting will replace a Y-valve, connections will be straight and we expect that will solve the vacuum problem. We are confident that 6 days should be plenty of time to make this adjustment, and we're looking forward to some other activities during our stay. We do manage a dinner and a lunch with the Blichfeldts, a dinner and lunch with Peter's colleague Rick, who is in Hobart to join Peter at a Pearcey Centre function, and a trip to the top of Mount Wellington on a beautiful sunny morning. But the rest of the time is spent working on the plumbing. After replacing the Y-valve with the T-fitting, we still have a leak - the macerator pump lets air through. Adding a ball valve stops that, but then the Sani-Loo leaks. Engineer has to take it out, pull it apart, find it is missing a seal, craft a substitute with plumbers tape. Engineer's mate is on hand to help, and we do get it finished, and have just enough time on our last day to visit Eagle Plastics with a spec for a screen to go round the whole installation. It's taken us a week to get from 95% to 99% complete. When we return there will still be a final tidy up to do, plus refitting the doors to the head and installing the new screen.

In November we return for a thirteen day stay. We arrive on the SoT on a Wednesday in plenty of time to do some provision shopping and collect our new screen and panel from Eagle Plastics. Over the next few days the engineer works on finalising electrical connections for the new system and fitting the screen and panel. This involves a return trip to Eagle plastics to do a major trim, and lots of smaller cutting exercises. The toilet has to be removed so that the new panel behind it can go in, and holes cut for various pipes, buttons and valve handles.

When not working on the boat, we reconnect with our lives down here, with Perk, Jeremy and Penny, Carl and Priscilla in the Marina, and with the Blichfeldt family and friends, with Tom and Anne, with Douglas and Robin. We also make a long trip down to South Arm to Diesel Marine to look at options for fitting a diesel heater for the boat, which is the engineer's latest idea for a project. Graham from Diesel Marine makes a return visit to look at Nahani and we all spend much time trying to work out where to place the heater (fairly straightforward) and where to run the ducting for both warm and return air (very difficult). After further thought, we decide we need to look at the possibility of putting a duct under the floor in the shed. Unusually for our boat, this floor was never designed to be taken up. It takes us about a day to find a way of doing it, which involves taking the hatches at the end of the shed apart, and then progressively cutting the floor into three pieces, and trimming the largest one down. So not only do we have the mess created by the work in the head to deal with, but we now have a collection of bits and pieces from the shed all over the saloon.

Towards the end of the stay we finally move from making a mess to tidying up. A bonus from having to empty the aft lockers in the shed is that much of what was in them doesn't go back, but goes to the on-shore shed instead, and awkward objects like seaboots take their place, making the space at the back of the shed much tidier and more manageable. Finally we are able to refit the doors to the shed and head for the first time since July, and the boat is respectable once more. The toilet roll holder and the sump pump handle find new homes and the project is 100% complete at last.

The picture shows the final installation. Click on this "after" pic to see the "before" and "during". [Top]

Moving berths, B5 to F12

Friday 14 December 2018

link to Google Photos

When we arrive in Hobart on Tuesday 11 December, we are dismayed to find that the large wooden motor cruiser which has been berthed behind us for all the time we've been in the RYCT Marina, has been replaced by an even larger modern fibreglass motor cruiser, which sticks out about 2m further than the old boat, with a big anchor on the bow. When we reverse out of our berth, the Captain has to steer us backwards between the boat in this cross-wise berth behind us, and a pontoon used by dinghy sailors. He needs to go well back into this space, to give us room to turn the boat through 90 degrees as we go forward and head towards the channel between the rock wall and B arm, without going too close to the boats on that arm. It is always tricky, but with a bigger boat in place, it goes from very difficult to almost impossible unless it is a flat calm. We decide that we need to do something, or we will spend the entire summer waiting for the right conditions to get out of the berth. We have a look at a new marina in North West Bay (much too exposed) and the Derwent Sailing Squadron (sorry, full up) before asking whether there is any other option in the RYCT. To our surprise and relief, there is. Berth F12 has just been vacated, and we can swap. F12 is the last double pen at the end of an arm. It is much further from the clubhouse, but we will no longer have to negotiate the narrow, shallow channel past the rocks, and our prop walk takes us in the right direction for a 90 degree turn as we reverse out of the berth. And the other boat in the berth is a small but solid fibreglass boat, so much less of a worry than the heritage wooden boat that we've been sharing a pen with for the last few years.

Friday morning has the oppressive calm-before-the-storm feeling in the morning, but as it is absolutely still, we grab the opportunity to move. First it's round to F12 to put some temporary lines there ready to pick up when we come in, and to look for someone to help us. A couple of blokes on a racing yacht are having a long discussion about tactics for the Sydney-Hobart race, but when we interrupt them they agree that they will be there for a while and will help us as we come in. Back to B5, and we make an easy exit as conditions are perfect and there are no little boats on the pontoon. But when we get round to the new berth, there is no sign of our helpers (later we see them in the clubhouse) and we are in difficulties as the wind is blowing us off. Fortunately someone comes to our aid, and we do get ourselves tied up safely, but not before running the pulpit into the light and water bollard, and breaking the light cover. Mate says rude words about people who promise to help and then just walk off. Very un-Tasmanian behaviour!

The remainder of Friday is spent moving our lines from the old berth to the new, and settling in. We find the new berth is much quieter, and we think the long walk is doing us good, so we're happy to have moved. Saturday we collect the cockpit grating which has been at the Blichfeldts while being mended and oiled, provision the boat and do a bit of other shopping. We have hopes of going out on Sunday, but there is a major thunderstorm forecast, so we have a quiet day erecting the pole that the pickup lines hang on, filling up with water, visiting the Tip Shop for more reading matter. It is a sensible decision, late in the afternoon the heavens open and we have 25mm of rain in an hour or so, with some thunder and lightning. Our first exit from the new berth is postponed until Monday. [Top]

First Channel trip

Monday 17 to Friday 21 December 2018

link to Google Photos

After almost a week of preparation and a change of berth, we finally get out of the marina and down the Channel. On Monday we wake to a lovely sunny morning and decide to go, despite a forecast of showers. Getting out of the new berth is almost stress-free and by 8am we are passing the Garrow light and waving to the Blichfeldts on their balcony. The showers do eventuate, but they are passing. They are followed by the predicted increase in the wind around midday, but by then we are comfortably moored in Sykes, having our first coffee of the day. The rest of the day is windy, cloudy and cool, so we relax, and enjoy a roast dinner in the evening.

The weather gradually improves on Tuesday and by afternoon it is warm enough and calm enough for the mate to don a wetsuit and make a heroic investigation under the boat, as the engineer is worried about a clicking noise we can hear when the engine is going. She finds nothing worse that a few mussels colonising the prop, which she removes with an oyster knife. As the forecast is for the wind to go to the north-east, later in the afternoon we slip the mooring and motor round the corner, past the fish farms, dodge the Bruny Island ferry and head into Apollo to pick up a mooring there.

We enjoy a beautiful warm sunny day in Apollo on Wednesday, beginning with breakfast on deck. After lunch we launch the dinghy, get the outboard motor out of its winter storage in the lazarette, and go across Apollo Bay on an oyster gathering trip. By the time we are both bleeding from minor cuts we have about a dozen and a half which we think is plenty, and we return to the mother ship, enjoying them later as an entree before a good steak.

Unfortunately the fine weather doesn't last. It rains gently all night, and there is another wind change forecast so we get up early (for us) and return to Sykes Bay. For the first time for ages we have trouble picking up the mooring and we are both cold and cross by the time we do. But the motor has warmed up the hot water, and after a hot shower and a hot chocolate apiece, all is well again. We spend Thursday hunkered down in Sykes, and make an early start on Friday to return to Hobart. We are expecting to have our first sail on the way back, but the forecast southerly doesn't eventuate and we motor all the way. We have a couple of false starts getting into the new berth, but even with that it is less stressful than getting into our old one. [Top]

Chasing the Sydney-Hobart maxis

Friday 28 to Monday 31 December 2018

link to Google Photos

After a week of socialising (80th birthday Friday, Juleaften at Blichfeldts on Monday, drinks with the Galaxsea crew on Tuesday, lunch in the Club for the start of the Sydney-Hobart and evening drinks with Blichfeldt Danish visitors on Wednesday, drinks with our new F-jetty neighbours aboard Indian Summer Thursday), we get up at sunrise on Friday, throw on our clothes and head out to see the Sydney-Hobart leaders come up the river. We are off the Garrow at 6:30am, and off Blackman's Bay when Wild Oats XI heaves into view round the end of South Arm. We watch her tacking (downwind), and about the time she passes us Comanche and BlackJack appear, and sail up neck and neck. Comanche is less than a minute ahead as they clear White Rock Point, but then BlackJack throws another tack and heads into the mouth of Ralph's Bay, while Comanche stays on port tack toward Crayfish Point. We think that Blackjack has made a smart move. We motor back up the river as the two yachts diverge, and are close enough when they finally come back together again to see that we are right: Blackjack is now ahead, and manages to hang on to her lead until the finish line. As we turn back downriver we get a lovely view of the maxi Infotrack coming up in fourth place. After that it's an excitement free motor back to Pierson's Point and down the Channel, where we finally unfurl a sail, but to little effect. By morning coffee time we are safely moored in Quarantine Bay, and ready for a rest.

We stay in Quarantine for the next two days, doing some minor boat maintenance in lovely sunny weather. The captain does some work on the anchor washdown pump and replaces the hose, then replaces a worn halyard on the lazy jacks. The mate touches up all the brightwork, sanding and varnishing. She also makes another underwater investigation trip, removing a few more mussels from around the prop and rudder, and giving the speed log wheel a spin, as it's not currently functioning. In between we laze about, read books and relax. On Monday 31 December we leave early to return in time for New Year's Eve festivities. The forecast southerly is very gentle, but at least we put up the jib in the river and motor-sail home, rather than motoring the whole way. Re-entry into the berth is fraught but even if you turn to soon, as we did, the situation is retrievable without any damage to anyone. [Top]

Norfolk Bay and beyond with Julie

Wednesday 9 to Wednesday 16 January 2019

We have Nahani set and ready to go on Wednesday before heading to the airport to collect Julie. We come straight back to the boat, wait a short while for some gusty weather to pass over, and then head out, motorsailing down river, round the Iron Pot and past Betsy, but then have a really good run up Frederick Henry Bay, through Flinders passage and round to Monk Bay, where we anchor for the night.

Thursday we have a lazy sail across from Monk Bay after lunch, and pick up Anthony's mooring in Murdunna (with a bit of difficulty). We take the dinghy ashore and walk up to the Murdunna Roadhouse, where we indulge ourselves with icecreams, and buy oysters which we have as starters after we return to the boat. Friday the wind is strong and keeps changing direction, so we stay in Murdunna which is all-weather.

It's still blowing on Saturday morning, so we defer departure until lunchtime. We have promised Anthony that we will leave the mooring with the rope looped around so that the eye-splice at the end is on the buoy, but we find this is impossible to do from the bow of Nahani. We contemplate trying to do it from the dinghy, but eventually decide that the simple answer is for the mate to be in the water when Julie casts off, ready to wrangle the rope into place, while the Captain keeps the boat under control. The plan works, providing entertainment to captain and crew as they watch the rope-wrangling. According to the crew, she looks like a seal as the mate lies on her back in the water using arms and legs to manage the rope and buoy. She swims back to the boat, re-boards via the ladder, and we are off for a rough trip down Norfolk Bay under motor, as it's still blowing quite hard from the south. Once we reach the shelter of Cascades beach we are able to make a comfortable dinghy trip ashore to join Sue's beach party for the remainder of the afternoon. In the evening we return to Nahani where the Blichfeldts join us for a dinner of party left-overs.

On Sunday we enjoy a sunny morning at Koonya, then head to Eaglehawk Neck as the wind comes up. Unfortunately the easterly is funneling down the bay, making it an uncomfortable anchorage, so we abandon the idea of going ashore for a walk and head into Taranna, pick up a mooring, then take a walk there.

We have a splendid sailing day on Monday, with a southeasterly taking us up Norfolk Bay, turning more easterly as we head to Frederick Henry Bay, then northeasterly as we head for Storm Bay. Half way down Frederick Henry Bay the wind drops, then goes southerly, so we motor-sail to Cape Contrariety, then sail past Betsy Island and the Iron Pot, across to the Channel, then tack down to Barnes Bay and moor in Quarantine. It's still warm enough when we arrive at about 5pm for the mate to have a swim. We enjoy a sunny evening and morning in Quarantine, and the mate decides to have another swim before we leave, this time with mask and weight belt so that she can have yet another go at getting the speed log working. After that she takes a brush to the weed and other growth along the waterline of the boat. When she re-boards, she finds that the brown scum on her hands, arms and bathers is alive - some kind of sea lice? She makes an immediate return to the water to try and slosh them off, and finishes the job with a hot shower and total immersion of the bathers. After that it's time for lunch, and then we drop the mooring and head back to Hobart, sailing most of the way and with the speed log functioning at last. The captain is nervous about getting back into the pen, so when the wind increases as we approach the RYCT Marina, we chicken out and go and anchor near the Casino until the wind eases. When we return, the Brownscombes are there to help, but the Captain makes a near perfect entry to the pen so they aren't needed, except to cheer as we make our first really successful arrival in our new berth.

We have timed our return well, as there is a big thunderstorm that evening, rain overnight and Wednesday starts cool and gloomy as a result of smoke from fires started by lightning strikes. The Brownscombes join us for a splendid lunch at a winery, by which time we are back to warm sunshine. In the evening we try out the built-in DVD player in our newly purchased 12v TV, and on Thursday we farewell Julie, taking her to the airport for a midday flight. [Top]