Progress, finally!

Some jobs have been haunting me for weeks, months even.

It’s a toss up between sailing or maintenance, and there comes a time when you either  have to drop down tools and just go out, or keep plugging away at the job list and envisage that Caribbean rum at the other end (whilst seeing yachts depart all around you for a weekends sail).

In the course of two weekends I’ve managed to make some considerable progress.

First off I discovered that some of my battery cables are quite literally holding on by a thread! I’ve replaced all bar one cable. Arthurs Chandlery have all the tools to do the job. I quietly sat in the corner of their shop, cutting, crimping and blow torching away. Now nearly all my battery cables are tinned, crimped, ‘heat shrinked’, and with the correct sized lug hols.


My next job was to install a new LED steam/deck light up the mast. I guess I don’t really recommend doing this, but in order to rip the old light out and install the new one,  I had to hoist up a halyard half way up the mast, climb up the mast steps and once up, tie a bowline onto my harness with one hand whilst holding firmly to the mast with the other. Apart from the initial climb, I felt more than safe tied into my climbing harness, which I much prefer to a bosuns chair. I confess I day dreamed whilst drilling out old rivets, that perhaps Robin Knox-Johnston might have been watching from Suhaili opposite, perhaps giving a nod to my relaxed approach to health and safety, but he wasn’t. The new light was quite easy to replace, and my rivet gun did a fine job. I found the Duralac runny and messy, but used it nonetheless between the monel rivets and the mast, to prevent corrosion from joining together two dissimilar metals. Excuse the selfie.


I finally managed to seal up the water tank, which has taken many attempts and a lot of swearing. I used 781 Transparent Silicone Sealant to seal up the inspection hatch and water sender.

I also installed a Marlec HRDi charge regulator. This piece of kit takes my wind generator and also two solar panels with up to a combined 160w (when I get round to buying solar panels). The unit was easy to install and hook up, and can charge two battery banks if needed, but for now I’ve just hooked it up to my leisure batteries. I also removed an old solar regulator that was redundant and had rusted away.

My stern light now goes through a deck gland (not very interesting I know)

I also put a shelf up in a wardrobe for my travelling companions (again not very interesting I know). Space is at a premium on a 30ft boat, so I really am squeezing space out of every nook and cranny I can find.

I’ve also marked out my anchor chain again and noted I have 45m of chain, which should be suffice.

Excalibur has also got a fine new ensign, not a print I may add. The topping lift wrapped itself around the flag pole the other week and ripped it off like some beastly Kraken.

My job list continues as always. My immediate short term jobs are:

Install bilge pump

Stitch sail batons in to stop them coming out

Install tri light

Antifould Hydrovane rudder

Install solar panels

I have so many more jobs than the above, but essentially I’m almost down to nice to have’s. The bulk of the must-do’s for our crossing to Spain next year have bee completed 🙂



Author: Tim Butler

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