Lifting Blue Mistress

There are a number of reasons why I might not have shown this image – personal embarrassment being high on the list, But then I thought, “Hey, this is what happens if you don’t lift the boat often enough. Not many people have seen this on their vessels, so maybe it will make them feel even better about the refitting work they do.”

I haven’t posted this year. One of the results of a difficult year has been a lack of time afloat. So when, on one of the few times I was able to go to sea, I had engine trouble, I finally decided it was time to lift her and spend some productive refit time over the winter.

And yesterday we did lift the boat, and this is what we saw in the early evening gloom (click on image to enlarge) . . .


. . . not just barnacles but a whole colony of mussels – on the rudder and around the propeller. So this was why the helm was sluggish and the engine was difficult to start.

There were some ripe comments from the lifting crew!

However, Blue Mistress had always cleaned up well and today . . .




She won’t be back in the water until early May. There are a number of jobs I want to do on her, including major work on the engine. And we also have other adventures planned before then.

I will post on the boat again.

A Quiet Morning

Saturday Feb 04, 2012 UT/GMT
▲ 02:40 4.6m
▼ 08:50 2.3m
▲ 15:20 4.6m
▼ 21:20 2.1m

0600 UTC Sat 04 Feb – 0600 UTC Sun 05 Feb
Wind Variable, becoming south or southwest, 3 or 4, increasing 5 to 7, veering north later.
Sea state Moderate or rough, but slight for a time in east.
Weather Rain and drizzle for a time.
Visibility Moderate or good, becoming poor for a time.


On the road to Plymouth, a large neon sign “Heavy Weather Warning. Drive Carefully.”

OK, drive carefully – but ‘Heavy Weather Warning’? Not really. It was going to snow overnight in the east of the UK, but not here.

If we overstate every inkling of every risk, who will ever pay attention to the warning? And if we do pay attention every time to every organisation –  organisations whose very existence require that they constantly warn us how much danger we are in, aren’t on a fast track to mediocrity?


The rain started as I climbed aboard. It set in for the rest of the morning – light rain.

A morning of short jobs.

Both batteries were well down but the engine started first time – not always the case. I refilled the greaser for the stern gland. Grease travels!

The pair of oars I bought aboard needed stowage space. I am looking for a sweep for sculling but these are definitely too short for that.

Also, the chain locker is too small.  Feeding the rode back down the narrow hawspipe, I find the chain blocking the pipe and I am left with a length on deck. (Too much chain? Not enough locker). I have to go below and clear it. That works in a flat calm but it’s no fun having chain flaying around the deck in a sea while I struggle below. It also takes time to re-stow the anchor and rode; plus I want to keep the anchor off the deck. So I am trying out plastic bins of varying sizes (including a flexible laundry basket). We’ll see what works best.

I fixed two brass hooks. Everything gets stowed away at sea, but at anchor you need somewhere to hang things.

And then there was time to write.


A quiet morning – or so I thought . . .

. . . then 60 plus rowers appeared from nowhere.

Calm morning

This is the first time I’ve been able to get to the boat since Christmas. There have been at least three ferocious storms and I was anxious to see how Blue Mistress had fared – particularly the port stern line which chafed badly against the Windpilot during the Autumn.


Strong winds are forecast again, but this morning all was calm.


Blue Mistress is just over the stern of the red-sailed Cornish Shrimper.


The extra tubing on the stern line worked. All is slack on the incoming neap tide.


The boat cleans up well. The hand pump sucked dry – great. The no.2 battery was almost flat – not so great. But the engine started on the no 1 battery and I ran it for over an hour. We shall see how far it runs down next time.

On sailing a Folksong: an engine anode

I’m not an engine man, preferring to sail and enjoy the vagaries of wind and sea to the precision of  metal parts and fuel consumption.

On the other hand, I know the relief of the engine starting first time and the expectation of being back on the mooring in time for tea.

I look on it as a useful friend which will get me out of trouble if I really need it.

I keep it clean,  can change the oil and oil filter, and know more or less what this part or that part does – but have no overall grasp of it. In fact, I consider it a bit of a challenge.

So, realising that it was time for a proper service, I got the engineer from the Yanmar dealer in and watched him work. (It’s a Yanmar GM10)

A pleasure to see a job done well.

As you would expect – he worked methodically, step-by-step through the process.

And I recognised most of what he was doing, even if some of the bits were not quite where I thought they were.

But when he unbolted the alternator and moved it out the way, I knew I had done the right thing.

What was behind there? Well, the anode of course.

OK . . . . . so I didn’t know there was an anode in the engine. Makes perfect sense. Of course there is. Different metals sitting together in a wet environment.

This is what it looked like.

All you need to know is that a new one is over twice the size of this and a rather elegant dome shape.

I guess it hadn’t been changed for a long time – certainly in the time I have owned the boat.

Anyway, I’ve learned the lesson – and won’t forget it.