These last few weeks have been crazy with last minute jobs, since we last posted we have fitted,
New tensile awning – this is our sun cover, once down in the tropics it can get very hot, in fact too hot, the UV from the sun eventually destroys everything, so to protect the deck and keep the inside of the boat cool, we have a tensile awning ( A kind of stretch fabric called Weathermax 80, which works in a similar way to theO2 dome in London) made by Dolphin Sails
Stay Sail – This is a new sail, made for us by Dolphin Sails which hanks (clips) onto our new inner-forestay ( a wire that can be clamped onto an anchor point on the deck and runs nearly all the way to the top of the mast, which can be stowed away when not needed) and can be used in stronger winds and allows us far more flexibility when sailing with the Genoa
Autopilot Ram anHydraulicic Pump – This piece of kit is the hardest working member of the crew, this is the grunt end of our sophisticated Autopilot system. This works by taking signals from our Chartplotter (Marine Sat Nav) and effectively pushing the rudder port or starboard(left or right) dependant on the course set.
Companion Way Doors – These were way overdue, we had been wanting these for so long. The Design of the Beneteau 473 was to allow a large cockpit entertaining space by removing the centre helm position and installing two helms port & starboard of the centre, allowing free easy access right through the cockpit from the sugar-scoop, the downside to this was that anyone walking past on a pontoon whilst the boat was berth aft-to could see straight right down into the saloon. this meat that if you wanted privacy you would have to drop the washboards in an out, which after a while becomes a pain in the backside.
Deck Protector – A byproduct of the companionway doors was we had two large pieces of PTFE boat left, we were originally going to install some stainless steel under on the deck where the anchor chain rubs on the deck on its way from the bow roller to the windlass, but that would make it clacker as it bounced across it, so we shaped two pieces of the leftover board to fix as a sacrificial rubbing strip, one to fit and one as spare.
Trimming the bowsprit – When we fitted our Bowsprit (a pole that sticks out the front of the boat allowing a sail to be flown in front of the boat) it came as a rather large long pole where we only used half of it, it didn’t matter when we were just sailing coastal waters be we felt on longer journeys the weight would be a pain, so we shortened it and refitted it closer to the front of the boat.
Rebedding the cleats – A common problem on Beneteau 473., is the teak around the cleats crack and split, because the aluminium spacers fitted at original manufacture swell over time and push the teak apart, so one of those irritating jobs that had to be done, was a combination of aesthetics and longterm water ingress, this meant that all six main cleats had to be removed and the aluminium spaces replaced with nylon.
Antenna Array – When we fitted the new turbines the blades were longer than the original ones and several of the antennae fouled their free space, so an easy solution was to make a large multi fixing steel fork-like fixing that could take all the large antenna.
Passerelle – Sometimes when you stern-to moor you are governed by the length of anchor rope fitted to the med-type mooring (a rope from a submerged fixing which you fix to your front and then run a line from your back to the dockside) so the aft can sometimes be some distance from the dock, so instead of having to take a run and leap, you have a board that you can lower in-between, this piece of kit also backs up as a fender board (a flat piece of material that allows you lean your boat up against two poles or uneven dock wall and put fenders between that and your shiny boat.) and somewhere to neatly stow your spare diesel and petrol tanks.
Additional solar panels – Although we have four big 150w solar panels, other cruisers say that you can never have enough solar energy, we also have a blue Bimini which can get quite warm under the midday sun, we thought if we get some semi-flexible solar panels we can stitch them into the new Bimini.