Thursday, April 29, 2010

Broken Anchor Winch and Setting the Sails...

As I mentioned in my last post, we have been spending most weekends in Sydney aboard Lucey Blue. As Lucey Blue is located approximately 320 km from our front door...this is no mean feat, and we are putting lots of clicks on the car driving back and forth (not to mention the numerous games of I-spy and pit-stops at McDonalds [the novelty there is REALLY wearing off!]).

Last weekend, the ANZAC Day long weekend, we were hoping to get some of the 'to do' things from our list done. Sadly, it wasn't to be. I was washing up in the sink on the Friday, and discovered a new explosive quality to our water. It would run some, then gurgle some, then explode from the tap in every direction seemed to have a preference for squirting directly in my face (nice). Nick changed over the tanks, but the explosive quality persisted. Eventually he discovered a hole in one of the pipes, and that job was fixed. We also picked up a new 6V Trojan battery to replace the dead one, spent a motza at Whitworths on two plastic bags worth of boat 'stuff', and picked up the bimini (it was forecast to rain on Sunday and we'd had enough of that bimini-less fun).

The next day we decided to head out into the Harbour and maybe have a swim (well, the kids and Nick decided to have a swim...with top temps of around 22 degrees celcius (and the water considerably colder than that)...I decided to read my book ;-). We passed HMAS Stuart, just returning from the Middle East, and then wandered on over to Quarantine Beach and anchored.

Nick dragged out his new spare dinghy, a recent eBay purchase, and took it for a spin:

Apart from the slow leak in one of the panels (which he knew about before purchase) it worked well. Apparently it is a 'disposable' dinghy and is for leaving in dodgy places where you are not sure if your dinghy is still going to be there when you get back...HHHHMMMMmmmmmmm. Makes me wonder about this cruising business!

After the spin and a quick swim we decided to have lunch ashore at the Engine Room cafe (which is next door to the Boilerhouse Restaurant at the QStation). We chose a table where we could keep an eye on Lucey Blue (the wind was coming up, and some other yachts were having trouble anchoring in the small bay):

Ryan loved his meal...but then Ryan loves most food - including lemons (notice that he is eating the lemon in PREFERENCE to the big fat chips on his plate...and yes, he ate the salad after the lemon!):

Nick liked this sign...

Unfortunately we didn't see any Little Penguins this weekend, but we have seen them near Fairlight, and I even saw two in Quakers Hat Bay a couple of weeks ago...very cool...but too quick to photograph.

Anyhoo...after lunch we went back to Lucey Blue and Nick went to lay down more anchor chain (as I wanted to spend the night there, and the wind was picking up a fair bit). This was when we discovered a recently aquired 'feature' of the anchor winch. It would go up, but not down. Now, as far as bad timing and things that could go wrong..having the anchor chain down, and then having the winch only work going a GOOD thing. It meant we couldn't stay the night at Quarantine, but at least we could bring in the chain that was out and motor safely back to our mooring...which is what we did.

The next day Nick set to work investigating this new issue. After some contortionist moves on his part:

...then some gnashing of teeth when the bolts would not undo:

...he finally discovered the trouble:

...zee wires are KAPUT-ski (this photo is taken upside down, through a small hole in the side of the box that the winch sits on, above the chain).

So, now we know what the problem'll take another weekend to fix it! COOL....not. Like I said first up...that to-do list is getting longer, not shorter...and this is one of those 'essential' items methinks ;-).

On Monday...sans anchor, we decided to leave the mooring again, and go out the heads for a little sail..with the jib only. It was a lovely day, but there was a surprisingly large swell of about 3 m...which made for some interesting motion (I get seasick and by the time we got back in the heads I was starting to feel just a tad queasy [I have used Scopalomine Patches successfully in the past....but would only use them for longer term I can usually last a couple of hours without actually feeding the fish]).

While we were out there, Nick demonstrated some of the finer points of setting sails for me:

Nick has a fair bit of sailing experience. He raced 12 ft skiffs on Sydney Harbour when he was younger. He also sailed with his parents for three years in the Pacific during the 80s in a 32 ft Eureka Catamaran. More recently he has sailed in a Roberts Spray (a 45ft steel hulled, cutter-rigged ketch) to Antarctica and South America (this is where I put the Scop patches to good use). I am not sure where he has used these particular sail setting techniques before...but he looked like he was having fun hanging there.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Stuff...

We've been up to stay on Lucey Blue for the last few weekends. The house is getting messier and messier...but Lucey Blue is getting a workout, and it is really lovely waking up on Sydney Harbour on the weekend.

The kids have fun running around, chasing birds and shrieking at passing boats...

...and hanging in trees (as you do!).

One weekend we motored down to Blackwattle Bay and checked out the ANZAC Bridge...

We then motored back up the harbour...

...and that's when we encountered a PIRATE SHIP!

We also stumbled across another lovely cat...Orient Express, a Catana 582...

Speaking of other cats...we liked the name of one Seawind a lot...

That afternoon, with almost 2 hours until the Spit Bridge next opened, we headed out the heads for a little tour. I really wanted to catch another Bonito (it wasn't to be), but we had fun looking over the trampolines and admiring the coast...

Nick also had to go aloft at one point to try and determine why our wind instrument was no longer working. Turned out some seagull or other monster bird had sat on it and bent it out of shape :-(.

(a composite pic of the mast...the rigging isn't really broken...I just couldn't merge the two pics very well in Photoshop)

Nick made the most of the climb though, and took some great shots of Lucey Blue from the air...

Last but not least, a few snaps from the last trip home...

(note to self - investigate effects of blue food dye on digestive tract [from a blue Slurpee...he hadn't been licking the boat clean])

...Too cool for school (yet ;-)

...except when it means you can't see the pictures ;-)

Thanks for dropping by!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Leisurely Cruise...

SO...after the de-barnacling episode we had some lunch, and then cast off again and headed towards the Spit bridge. The shuddering and juddering had stopped completely. I was amazed two months of barnacles could make such a big impact.

The Spit Bridge is an opening bridge that we needed to pass in order to get out on to Sydney Harbour.

It even has a traffic light to assist in the orderly passing of yachts! Whodathunkit?

It is worth pointing out at this point we had no bimini or spray dodger on Lucey Blue....ours are off the boat for repairs!

Anyway...once through the bridge we headed out towards the city.

We were enjoying the ride until we noticed this:

Do you see a problem out there? Remember me saying we had no bimini or spray dodger? I think this video will give you a better idea of what unfolded next:

This is our first edited video, and the first time I have ever uploaded into YouTube...hope it works.

We were both pretty much soaked...we don't have full sets of wet weather gear on board yet (DOH!)...but it was a lot of fun! Some of us came out of the experience completely unscathed...nice for some ;-)

We are back up on Lucey Blue this weekend. Nick is in the engine lockers pondering the cracked thingummy-jig back there. I'll get the deets and fill you in on that at some other time (betcha can't wait ;-).


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Sunday and Barnacled Propellors...

The Easter bunny managed to find his way to us on Lucey Blue, which I thought was rather industrious of him. The kids woke to find some bunnies on the saloon table, and little eggs hidden about the boat. It was fun lying in bed listening to them shrieking about having found eggs here and there.

Against my better judgement we allowed them to start on their bunnies.

Can you say S . U . G . A . R . ?

This is a pic of our youngest later that afternoon...I was going to try and Photoshop in an Easter egg instead of the mandarin...but didn' get my drift at any rate...

After we'd got ourselves all together, we decided we'd take Lucey Blue out for a spin. Being without a was just going to be a leisurely motor. We turned on the engines, unsheathed the instruments (except for the chart plotter which wasn't there), returned our tray tables to the upright position and prepared for take-off. Once Nick had taken us off the mooring I gently eased the engines forward and steered us out. I didn't notice anything at first but as I eased the revs up there was an awful lot of shuddering and shaking goin' on. As we watched everything in the cockpit visibly bouncing around we agreed that we should return to the mooring poste haste!

Nick decided that a survey of the propellors was in order, and promptly went in search of his wetsuit (it not being that warm in Sydney Harbour in April). When he eventually went in...this is what he found...

...two months worth of barnacles had made their home on our propellors...

...and a cute little fishy (but we are fairly confident that the fish did not have anything to do with the shuddering and shaking!).

So Nick went about scraping them all off. While he was down there he noticed that part of the rubber fitting around the sail drive leg had come off.

He was very pleased about having discovered this because it explained the presence of some water that he had found in the engine locker...and is easily fixed (next time we haul out).

With the propellors all de-barnacled...we were finally able to set of on our leisurely motor cruise. More about that later!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Going Up The Mast...

A recent post on the Pegasus blog here, inspired me to go up Lucey Blue's mast and have a look around. The view from up Pegasus' mast was beautiful (their video should have been in the Britain From The Air documentary I watched here last night...great show!).

We have a bit of an unfair advantage over Pegasus though, as we have mast steps and a crows nest (for people who need to stop and rest on the way me ;-). On Pegasus, Hamish had to prusik up the mast, and I can tell you now I'd be having none of that...maybe when I was 20...but not now!

First off Emily took a turn, and for someone who is only 5, she did an awesome job!

...note Mr 3 manning the winch below - you'll be pleased to know that the rope was tied off elsewhere and he had no control over Emily's ascent or otherwise ;-).

Holding on for dear life (even though we did tell her she was firmly tied off)! Check out her groovy full-body harness too. Emily has much tougher feet than me...I couldn't do it barefoot!

...takin' the easy way down

Then it was my turn...

Getting around the spreaders and the radar and TV antennas was not that much fun! By the time I had got to the crows nest I was pooped and decided not to go any further.

(Nick trying to make it look like I got a long way up....but in reality I made it about half way. Since the mast is about 17.2 m tall, that's only about 8.5 m up). But the view was still good.

...the trampolines look nice from up here

...note the missing main (away for repairs) and bimini + dodger (also being repaired and altered).

And finally up went Nick...for some real work. The Halyard for the Code 0 sail (which we don't have) was jammed in the pulley up there (I am sure there is better terminology to describe that, but I don't currently know what it is...):

...sorry its so dark, you'll have to believe me he is up there! that was our morning climbing Lucey Blue's mast. It was fun!