The first months of the year will be frantic, with the last
preparations for the voyage, in coordination with the Blue Water Rally
organisation, and the last works to be done on the boat.
3-4 february: in Southampton to attend the first of
two Blue Water Rally crew seminars.
characteristic archway in Southampton
Tony Diment illustrates one of the Rally's stopovers
This is the first opportunity to meet the other crews in
person: at the moment, there are 34 yachts booked, coming from 9 different Countries.
During the seminar, among the various subjects, we also
get a first overview of all the Rally route and of the main stopovers.
We return home with the car fully loaded of yacht
equipment and spares, after a long tour all around France, following (by
car!) the classical yacht route around Brittany and then down along the
Canal du Midi to the Mediterranean; we also took the opportunity to visit Alubat,
near Les Sables d'Olonne.
the Alubat yard in Les sables d'Olonne
A nostalgic return to St. Michael's Mount
24 febbruary-2 march: for Gian, a week-long
training program on Medical Care aboard ships, held in a location on the
Hamble, not far from Southampton.
(left) The Solent is deemed to be one of the world's main yachting
centres for a reason! (right) presentation of the BWR route
3-4 march: Baby arrives in Southampton to participate to the second
session of the BWR seminar.
A short visit to
Rally dinner at the Cowes Yacht Club
This time the Rally dinner is held on the island of Wight,
and is a good opportunity to further get acquainted with the other crews.
We do a bit of sightseeing while returning home: Salisbury
During the return trip, a short stop in Strasbourg
.... and Strasbourg.
of the 2 voyages are available
The engine is back! All looks OK, but the
expenditure has been high, even considering the cost of additional spare
parts and maintenance jobs.
Ahead with the works: several paint touch-up jobs are
needed, and in the meantime we experiment with several products to clean the
topsides, streaked by several months' rain.
The new Max-Prop
Detail of the rudder-lifting system
We reinstall the rudder lifting system, remove all running
rigging for a check and a much-needed wash, and put in place the new DELTA
main bower anchor; we also modify all cabin floorboards, adding hinges and
locks to avoid them flying around in case of a capsize (touch wood!) and to
allow using the bilges as storage space.
Shaula goes back in the water! The last days have been
hectic, with a lot of last-minute jobs including another layer of
antifouling and a last attempt at polishing the topsides.
The short trip between the yard and the Marina is an
opportunity to check that everything is OK with the engine and prop-shaft
after last winter's overhaul and to make a first assessment of the new
Maxprop propeller's behaviour: prop-walk seems to have completely
disappeared, we will need to learn again how to manoeuvre!
We proceed with preparation and arrangement works: we
would be almost ready, but a domestic problem has come up, that will most
probably force us to put the preparation on-hold for a couple of
It's really untimely, but it would have been even worse if it happened after
We put Shaula back out of the water! There is no
point in leaving it staying in the water, just collecting weed; we hope to
be able to resume preparation in time for an early-August departure!
Since few days we are back at the preparation work.
We are terribly late, having to reach Gibraltar by mid-october!
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