A Gap Year

June 2017 – 31st May 2018

Back from the Caribbean, it was fun to live on dry land again and catch up with family and friends but, as I write this, we are back on the water and heading off for a new adventure.  A lot can happen in a year so this is an attempt to encapsulate what we have done to aid future reminiscing and remind us what we spent our money on!!

On arrival home we met our newest grandchild, Robyn Claire, who was born on March 15th (2017).  Team ACER were living in our house while theirs was being extended so we had some lovely family time with them before they moved back into their own home.

We caught up with EV&R and then in January of this year we welcomed little Felix into the family.

We’ve seen parents, cousins and friends.   We even managed to get to Cavalry Memorial this year.   

Our big land based project was our kitchen refurbishment.   We’re totally delighted with the result and can now relax as our increasing collection of grandchildren (and their parents!) come to stay.   We had a new boiler fitted too which has also been a great success with increased water pressure, a smaller boiler and a larger space in the airing cupboard!

Ocean Rainbow also went through a fairly extensive refurbishment.   The biggest success was the replacement sidelining in the saloon.   We had help doing it with the result that it’s brilliant!   Ray Williams and his brother Graham have overseen all our handiwork – can’t recommend them highly enough.  

We have new Raymarine instruments and we have finally sorted out and labelled all the wiring so we won’t have any problems taking the mast down or putting it back up in France (we hope).   Our intermittent GPS signal problem has also been resolved so, as the saying goes, we’re cooking on gas! 

We discovered that the marine-ply plinth on which we’d mounted our windlass had rotted through so that was replaced and should now stand the test of time.  We sent the anchor and chain off to Wolverhampton for regalvanising, we’re not sure if this will prove to be a wise investment, we’ll report back after this year’s cruising.  We’ve also painted the bilge lockers 

We dug out and reseated the saloon deck windows; the windows over the galley and bookshelf were replaced and we also fitted a new forepeak hatch.    We’re now watertight once again.

We sent our wind generator back to Portugal as the body had started delaminating.    Silent Wind was returned very swiftly and remounted only to have a further fault.   We sent it back to Portugal again and once again it was returned very swiftly in full working order.    Although it was disappointing to have two things go wrong with the wind generator we are very pleased with the helpfulness of Edgar Silveiredo and his team and the speed with which they turned everything around.  While Silent Wind was away we re-designed the supporting post so that we can drop the wind generator to go through the tunnels on the canals of France.

The sewing machine has been very busy.   Humphrey has a new cover.    The dinghy chaps have been repaired and all the stitching lines reinforced.   The dinghy bag has been reinforced.  All the hatch covers have been repaired and restitched.   All the bungees on the boat have been replaced.  The cockpit cushions have been recovered.    Our bimini and sprayhood have been professionally repaired by Richard at R&J Sails so they should last at least a decade!   

Our Sails have all been valeted and we have a new main sail – well, we had to as our one from the Caribbean had died from “flutter fatigue”!!   Our standing rigging was due an overhaul so Andy Fremantle came over from Cardiff and sorted that out for us and we replaced the running rigging that was due.  We had considered replacing our Rotostay furling as it’s now very old but honestly, it’s so rugged and still works we decided ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was the best policy. It did however have a new set of bearings thanks to Andy’s great work.

Varnishing has worked well this year.   The washboards, chart table, heads, heads corridor and galley have all been brought back to a nice finish.   Salt water damage appears in some strange places – the edge of the chart table, on the wall opposite the heads door – as well as some obvious ones like the galley fiddles, companionway steps and washboards.   

Externally we have cleaned and polished until Ocean Rainbow is positively gleaming.    It almost seemed a shame to put her back in the water!    

So now we are heading for southern Spain via the canals of France to begin our exploration of The Mediterranean.    We have no plans once we’re in the Med other than to find some nice places to anchor and somewhere safe to leave OR over the winter months.    Apart from that, all our searches will be focussed on food and wine …. or maybe we should put that the other way around?!!