Today a very lovely couple who follow our blog and YouTube channel stopped by for a chat (hi Steve & Kimberly!). In the course of our conversation, they told me how much they enjoyed the written blogs as an alternative option for those who can’t watch the videos, or simply don’t want to.
I immediately felt a bit guilty. The truth is, I don’t really pay this blog much attention. I used to go to a lot of trouble to keep her up to date with lots of pretty pictures and amusing anecdotes. But now making films seems to take priority, and I simply haven’t been assigning the time this blog deserves.
The truth is, I actually really love writing. I love reading this blog (is that a little narcissistic?) and I do enjoy the writing process. I’ve known for a while that I’ve been neglecting our website, and when we got back to the boat for next sailing adventure, I vowed to make the time and effort to continue to write. I’ve already failed miserably, but it’s better late than never and all that, so here we go!
We arrived back onto Ruby after several long-haul flights from Australia (me) and Bali (Nick). We were tired, jetlagged and missing our families and homes. It was so great to get back to the boat, but, let’s face it, boatyards are not where boats belong (they belong in the water- duh!) and while I understand that some people love boatyards, I personally consider them to be a necessary evil. Luckily, Charleston City Boatyard had great staff and very good facilities, but there’s no getting around the fact that our boat was absolutely filthy, our bedding was damp and stank of mildew (not a pleasant first night onboard!), we couldn’t shower or use the loo onboard, and every time we went outside we’d track a load of sand and gravel back into the boat. Incidentally, I hate sand in the boat- the feeling of grains of sand sticking to my feet as I walk around is a pet peeve of mine and Nick, who would be perfectly happy living in an actual sandpit, isn’t bothered at all. So I spent the first few days while we were in the yard basically following him around with a dustpan, sweeping up errant grains of sand. At that point, I really missed living in a house!
However, we were there for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that was to get Ruby Rose ready for another season of sailing. To that end, we spent a day antifouling and Nick changed the prop anode and greased the propellor. Nick also had to repair a crack in the rudder that had manifested itself last season. During the time the boat had been on the hard, the crack had dried out and widened and looked rather more alarming than it had initially. So Nick, in a rare moment of dentistry and boat work overlap, had to drill out the crack then fill it up with a waterproof bonding epoxy. Once he was satisfied, we antifouled it. We know this probably won’t be a long-term fix, but the alternative would be a very costly and lengthy rudder rebuild which, frankly, we just couldn’t face right then. We had enough work to do, and Nick is confident that the fix will hold for the time being. For those who are concerned about the safety side of things, well, consider that do we have two rudders plus a hydrovane that can be used as an emergency rudder. And if the crack reopens and the rudder looks like it’s going to fail, we’ll pull the boat out and fix it. Rest assured that every time we go for a swim, we’ll be inspecting the rudder!
We didn’t have to wait long for Launch Day (thank God). Before we knew it, that travel lift was coming our way and within moments of it arriving, the straps were on, the stands holding our boat in place were dismantled and taken away, and then Ruby was getting lifted into the air, with nothing but two thick belts underneath her! The staff at the boatyard were incredibly competent and professional, but nothing quite raises the blood pressure like seeing your boat (our home!) floating in the air. We were very glad when she was put back in the water.
We didn’t stick around- as soon as she was floating and Nick had checked the seacocks and the engine and water flow from the exhaust, we dropped our lines and off we went. Even though we didn’t have sails on and had to motor, we were so happy to be back on the water. I can’t describe the feeling. It was like coming home after a long time away; it just felt so right.
We only had a 4 hour motor to the marina, and getting tied up was a relief too. Our first ‘outing’ of the season was complete, and now we could settle into marina life and get our long list of jobs done. More on that in the next post!