We have been onboard for 6 weeks and we are loving every minute. We don’t know when the novelty will wear off but for for now the warm weather, the Mediterranean diet, swimming every day and working at making Top Cat a better place to live is keeping us occupied.

I am lucky enough to be able to work from anywhere.

 “Paul’s first job was to replace two toilet discharge pumps. We soon realised that our holding tanks wouldn’t discharge when we were out at sea.”

 As long as I have internet access three days a week I can continue my work as a homeopath. Paul however had to give up his work to be able to come and enjoy a quiet life on the water. So I expect you are wondering what he will do and how he will occupy himself.

After six weeks, I thought I could bring you up to date on the jobs so far that has kept Paul out of mischief.

Here is the list to date … we drop you right in at the deep end I’m afraid :

  1. Paul’s first job was to replace two toilet discharge pumps. We soon realised that our holding tanks wouldn’t discharge when we were out at sea. In the Mediterranean it is a requirement that your toilet waste is held in a tank and is pumped out to sea when 6 miles off shore. If you are in a marina, you can have your holding tanks pumped out and into a sewage system. Or so we were led to believe. On our first voyage we duly went to pump the loos out. Unfortunately neither pump pumped and we couldn’t discharge our waste. We thought we would be able to have the tanks emptied when we arrived at the marina. Surprisingly, we haven’t yet found a marina that actually has a pump out station so we were unable to change the plumbing system which was our first choice. We had to buy two now pumps and replace the existing ones in order to empty the tank when we were next out at sea. Once the tanks were emptied we could then change the plumbing at a later stage to avoid this happening again.
  2. Cleaning the transducer in the bilges has to be done on a regular basis and so was one of Paul’s first maintenance jobs. The transducer has a paddle wheel on the speed log which has to be cleaned. Unfortunately Paul did not replace it correctly the first time and this led to issues later on.
  3. The gas alarm on the cooker decided to keep going off one night. We disconnected the gas and went through the whole system the next day. When I say we, I mean Paul of course. He didn’t find the issue but it didn’t go off again …. So maybe he did?
  4. Bunk lights didn’t work and needed fixing
  5. The radar needed rewiring as it didn’t work when we first arrived on the boat. We needed this the first overnight sail so it was the first job to be done when we got onboard.
  6. The door handle fell off the starboard heads door. (Right loo door) 
  7. The depth sounder and the speed had to be checked and recalibrated. The depth was over a meter out which was quite worrying as we are anchoring a lot and we need accurate measurements of the depths beneath us.
  8. The illumination of the starboard engine taco was not working and we needed this for night voyages to check the engine revs.
  9. The chart plotter had to be set up and we also had to learn what we could do with it. This was one of the jobs we did as we sailed. I read the handbook and Paul messed about with the buttons!
  10. Rereeve the reefing lines ….. when we first went to put up the main sail it kept getting caught in the reefing lines. The rig is 17 meters so a lot of messing around with jammed sail in lines …. Luckily we didn’t have much wind so we managed to untangle it. After Paul had moved the reefing lines it didn’t happen again.
  11. Rereeve the lazy jacks to improve sails going up and down into the lazy jack storage bag. This is where the sails are stored.
  12. Found out what was zapping the batteries and sort. Bearing in mind we have a shed load of solar panels (7 x 100w = 700w) and a shed load of sunshine, we were running the batteries down far to hard. In Falmouth we had had 300w of solar and very little sun and yet we never ran out of power. Here we have a bigger fridge and a freezer, we also have 12 volt fans but with more than double the capacity we should be able to cope with the extra requirement. In actual fact we had one duff battery which was pulling the power from the others. We replaced that and things were good for a while. It is now happening again so further investigation is ongoing. I expect we will have to replace the regulators next. I will be happy if we could postpone replacing all of the batteries until next year!
  13. Replaced spinnaker tack line. The sails need to go up easily so they always need checking and making good.
  14. Replaced dinghy davit hoist lines. So the dinghy can easily be lifted out of the water for sailing. It has to be easy so I can hoist the dinghy on my own!
  15. We had a diesel leak on the generator that needed attention.
  16. All the the hatches needed tightening so they could stay open at 45 degrees as well as 90 degrees. (I am not totally convinced of the success of this … but it kept him entertained to a few hours)!
  17. All of the fenders are old and worn. They have all been pumped up and cleaned and hopefully will see another year before need replacing. We bought new circular fenders for the aft decks and also bumper fenders for the back steps. (They are still waiting to be fixed into place).
  18. The main sheet was rereeved as ropes were crossed causing friction.
  19. Emergency work when we found the port bilges were full. (Caused by not putting the transducer back properly).
  20. Mending the port bilge pump which didn’t work when they should have been emptying the bilges due to the leak.
  21. We also had a burst hose on the salt water deck wash which also filled the port bilges full of water. This obviously needed resolving and mending. The salt water deck wash is a great device for cleaning off muddy anchors and chain.
  22. Fitted wind scoops.
  23. Set up a hat net to store all of our hats out of the way yet easily accessible.
  24. Installing a water filtration system for the kitchen tap. We will also have one at the point of entry for the water into the tank, but that is still on the list.
  25. Replaced and sliced the new longer stern lines so it is easier to moor further away from the quay. (We soon learnt that the concrete quays in the Med are not as forgiving as the wooden pontoons in the UK …. You need to be a good distance away from them).

So you can see Paul has been kept entertained for the last few weeks and is creating a nice list of a hundred more jobs for the next few weeks and months. He has ordered a few parts which will arrive with our next visitors from the UK next week and will mean the next phase of modifications can begin.

You will also notice that I am learning the lingo. My kitchen has not yet become a galley and I am struggling with my sitting room which I had previously accepted as a saloon now is meant to be a bridge deck! All very confusing, I am sorry if I bored the pants off any non sailors out there but it will have impressed my mum that I now know what rereeving is!

Good work Paul, thank you for keeping me safe and sound in my new home!

We are Free to Sail 57

We are Free to Sail 57

We are back on anchor and free to sail.  (In the image above is the bay we are now sitting in). Well that is the theory anyway!  In reality we need to do another shop and we need to pick up a parcel that hasn’t arrived yet So in the meantime we can test all of our...

The Sunday Lunch Club 56

The Sunday Lunch Club 56

Overwintering on a boat in Samos Marina, on the beautiful Greek island of Samos could be quite a lonely affair if it wasn’t for the live-aboard community, let’s refer to them as the ‘exuberant partakers of the odd libation’.... so one naturally forms, The Sunday Lunch...


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