11th April 2022 – Dunstaffnage

I’ve arrived at the boat ready for a month’s solid work to get her expedition ready for the big Greenland trip. It was 20:00 by the time I got here after a very pleasant stop over at Ray and Jackie’s farmhouse in Yorkshire. I managed to find just enough space in the campervan amongst all the “stuff” to sit down and break open a beer before going to sleep.

The next time I buy a padlock from one of those DIY Sheds I must remember to toss the keys in the bin and take a hacksaw with me. They are total dross, even the brass has gone rusty! Coincidentally I had bought a new hacksaw and I find this design much more useful on a boat that a stonking big frame saw. The blade can be bent to cut things off flush. It cut through the padlock in a couple of minutes. Strange how no one seems to care when you are hacksawing through a lock, maybe I have an honest face?

In the morning I rolled back the boat’s cover and lent my ladder against the pushpit ready to load on the mainsail. Then I thought:

“Should I climb the ladder and dump the sail in the cockpit and then find a tie for the ladder, or put the sail down, find a tie, then climb the ladder?”

I confess to taking a slightly longer pause than I should have before deciding to tie off the ladder first. It occurred to me that falling off the ladder and breaking an arm would probably stymy the whole trip, so for the sake of the expedition, I went safety first. I also decided not to work myself into the ground and to look after myself, as well as the good ship.

Today I really just wanted to get myself set up with power, water, and clear some space in the campervan but I actually ticked off a couple of jobs too.

The pump looks very old English but was actually made in New Zealand. All my English pumps have clapped out so I am hoping the New Zealanders have got it cracked.

The new Fynspray sink pump cost a complete fortune but looks nice. This is Last Chance Saloon for nice looking pumps. If this one plays up, then I will buy the very ugly white plastic Whale flipper pump in the knowledge that they actually work and stuff the aesthetics. The varnished raised block I made almost fitted to my amazement, but it did need a wee chamfer which meant it also needed a bit more primer. It is all bedded down on Sikaflex and plumbed in and pumping reasonably well. Let’s see if it stands the test of time. I hope having a working pump doesn’t result in us running out of water!

I fitted my new GPS enabled EPIRB which had to be relocated due to a new design of catch which only became apparent after I had already fitted it in the old location.

The new scramble net

I couldn’t resist trying my new scramble net. It is a bit too long but I’ll try it in the water before changing it.

Then I decided to drain off some diesel from the tank and check it for clarity. I’ve had an irritating little diesel leak and was very pleased to see that last years nipping up of the tap fitting on the tank seems to have solved it. This inspired me to look at the fuel, so I connected a hose to the outlet and filled a couple of jam jars. It was nice and clear so hopefully the Marine 16 conditioner has kept the dreaded bug at bay.

Bottom of the tank sample, looking good!

I finished the day with a stroll to the Dunbeg Stores for provisions and then had a warming shower. It will be an early night tonight, then I’ll prep all the below waterline areas tomorrow.

8 Responses

  1. The scramble net looks great Al. Great first day being able to tick some jobs off bodes well for the coming month. Will follow with much interest. Hugs from sunny Norway x

    1. Thanks Selma, I’ll get the hose out today and clean down the antifouling ready for a new couple of coats. A bit of forecast rain won’t matter. Say hello to Norway and all who sail in her! Xx

  2. Lovely varnished topsides! Sumara seems coming out of a beauty saloon!
    With respect to galley pumps, what is it that did not work with the previous ones? I’ve got two brass pumps bought on ebay for little money (even though a little bit less old English than yours), having binned the plastic Whale pump first thing when I bought Mea (out of pure esthetics: the Whale worked very well…) One of the hand pumps was originally for petrol, and works perfectly with (sea) water. The other was originally for oil, and it tends to become stiff when used for (fresh) water. I used to put some olive oil around the gasket which solved the problem, but only for a week or two. I am now using vaseline oil and it works perfectly for many weeks.

    1. Hi Matteo, The cover looks after the varnish, I haven’t started yet with the new coats. As for the pumps, the pump out pump completely broke. The valve head snapped off. If it ever worked well, I would have tried to get it brazed but it was always a struggle. The other one became progressively stiffer. Pouring olive oil in the top helped but not for long.It also needed to be operated at arm’s length which wasn’t very ergonomic. It just became a real struggle to fill a kettle. I bought a new pump once and it wouldn’t open at all. I was on the phone to the manufacturers with one friend pulling one end and me pulling the other, it was completely jammed, and they were asking if it was just a little stiff!

  3. Hello Mathew, The gallery pump looks very good and I must say they are a very suitable item to have on a Vertue. We have the same pump on our Vertue (Tui of Opua V167) which has served us well for 28 years. If you were to leave the yacht for any length of time (a couple of months) you may find that the glass ball in the lower part of the pump becomes stuck and will not allow the pump to work. We have had to remove the tubing from the bottom of the pump so I could use a small screwdriver poked up into the pump tp free up the ball. The ball is the noise that you here when you are pumping and it serves as a basic one way non return valve. We later fitted a one way valve into the tube line from the water tank manifold. I think it was a Whale product. You are able to odtain a spares kit for the pump, we have carried the kit for 28 years and not used up this time. Thelma and Bruce SY Tui of Opua

  4. Hello Alasdair. Sorry that I got your name wrong. One thing with the Fynspray galley pump we have used food quality silicone grease to grease the top moving section of the pump. We apply a very thin smear of grease about once a month. We live permanently on our yacht and have done for 22 years all accept for the odd house/farm sit.

    1. Hi Bruce, No problem regarding the name, you’ve made up for it by spelling Alasdair correctly! Firstly, congratulations on building such a fine Vertue. I recognised the name and refreshed my memory on the Vertue Yachts website. Building a boat must be hugely rewarding but I know my place – I just look after them. I was always in touch with Terry Newman who built Sumara and we would occasionally go for a weekend sail which I think he really appreciated.
      Thank you for the pump tips! Yes, I did notice a rattling noise when I tested the pump and a glass ball explains it. I shall buy some food grade silicon grease for the shaft and follow your advice should the ball get stuck. Good to know it was your choice of pump. I’m sitting in my campervan wondering what I can do on Sumara in the pouring rain! No doubt there will be something – there always is. Best regards, Alasdair

  5. Hi Alasdair, We have just had Tui of Opua out on the hard (all concrete surface) and it rained almost every day. We did the new antifoul and managed to paint the topsides except for the green cove plank. The yard here in Newcastle Australia is rather small with a long waiting list so I just relaunched and will paint the green whilst in the water, the mast was late last year, stripped back to bare timber, all fittings off the be x-rayed and 10 coats of awlwood applied. What is the varnish that you use on the hull. Bruce

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