The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

To Sea At Last

There are few things about cruising that always annoy, but waiting out inconvenient weather is one of them. No matter how lovely the surroundings, sooner or later you start climbing the cabin walls. At least I do. Burnham-on Crouch is a nice place that we got to like a lot, but you can have enough of a good thing.

Weeks of strong NE winds had left many holed up as the Thames estuary is completely open to winds from that direction, and, being littered with drying sand bars, shoals and overfalls, is no picnic in strong onshore winds. And we had to get across it.

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George L


Record time, too (sadly can’t say that about my own project, but its getting there …)

Don’t beat yourself up too much about mistakes – there are so many things on a yacht, even with the most diligent care some mistakes will be made.

Very much in agreement with your heavy anchor but lighter G70 chain choice – as Steve Dashew aptly observed, no one ever regretted having too big a hook.

Though I like the reliability of the dipstick, isn’t it yet another hole in the tank?

The pictures bring back fond memories, both of the Thames estuary and the South coast – just back from a Portsmouth – Scilly Islands – Portsmouth trip.


George L

second your point with the access hatch. Invaluable when, heaven forbid, Diesel bug hits.

The trip was stellar, especially coming back – running with first with trysail and staysail eventually going up to kite and barging up the Needles channel with 10 K on a 70ies Swan.

Penry Jackson

Congratulations both! If conditions suit, would love to welcome you at Fishguard Bay on your way up St Georges Channel

Alastair Currie

Regarding fake teak decking, thankfully it is fake and therefore easily replaced. My approach to old Treadmaster that was lifting in areas was to repair the lifted bits. Some just glued back down, other bits required to be cut out, a template made and glue in a new section. It too gets hot to walk on but only when temperatures are excessive. I am not sure any deck covering is good in hot weather to walk on, especially anything that may consist of porous, permeable spaces, no matter how small, as the air in the space just heats up.
I am at Craobh, I’ll lookout for you if up this way.

Matt Marsh

That old anchor setup is one of the most imbalanced I’ve ever seen — 10 kg of anchor to 120 kg of rode, and a Delta to boot? Glad to see you’ve gone with a much more rational setup for the new one. G70 chain with a Spade is definitely the right choice here.

As for the decking, I’ve been pretty pleased with KiwiGrip on our little boat so far; it goes on with a special paint roller and is indistinguishable from random-pattern moulded nonskid gelcoat. I wouldn’t want to deal with deteriorating fake-teak, that stuff sucks up labour hours like you wouldn’t believe….

Old boats always have a few dozen things on the to-do list. Getting through them all is essentially impossible; at some point you just have to go enjoy the time you have with what you have. It’s nice to see you back on the water!

Terence Thatcher

I too use an ATN sock for my assembly. Love it. Learned a trick two years ago. The sail was grabbing the sock and making a knot, rather than sliding up. Etienne at ATN told me to: wash/soak the sail and sock in fresh water. Let dry. Turn sock inside out and spray liberally, top to bottom with Sailcote. Do the same with the sail. (I ran out of Sailcote, so only sprayed the bottom few feet.) My sick again works well.

John Harries

Hi Terence,

That’s a great tip. I’m a huge fan of Sailcote but had not though of using it in that way. Thanks.

Jesse Falsone

The impact of weight aloft can’t be understated but it’s hard to make appreciable changes without going to a carbon spar or very expensive sails. If you are really looking to save weight, upgrading to LiFePO4 can definitely make an impact. I saved 150lb by going from Grp 31 Odysseys to similarly sized 100ah Kilovaults while effectively doubling my amp hour capacity. I have also debated whether I should remove my 45lb Mantus from the bow for ocean passages since I tend to time them with fresh winds but then I run into the problem of where to put the damn thing. And then there’s liquid loads and how much is enough. I guess I could make the argument that draining the water tank that I expect to be on the leeward side might make sense but then I need to remind myself that I’m cruising.

John Harries

Hi Jesse,

I agree that weight is important, but given that the batteries on “Sherpa” are fairly close to the centre of pitch the return on lithium would not be that great and I doubt that, for the type of cruising Colin and Lou are planning, it would be worth the expense and added complications.

Also, interestingly, since “Sherpa” is fairly short rigged, a carbon spar would not make that much difference either.

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