Tuesday, June 24, 2008

the personal journey

Over the last 12 months we have sailed/motored Manatee at every opportunity. The day after Manatee arrived in Sydney we ventured out to explore the harbour. AK took the wheel after a few hours. Manatee's wheel house has been designed for comfortable travel - all running rigging/winches are accessible and the canvas sides and back can be raised in warmer weather.

Our friends Steph & Elle with Jackie (in life jacket) were the first on board. The day went well until AK managed to get the dinghy painter wrapped around the outboard propeller when dropping Steph and Elle back to shore from the mooring. Elle was brave enough to not emphasise that she couldn't swim repeatedly!

Late 2007 AK got sick and was unable to continue working full time and Margot was offered a redundancy (both were public servants) so our dream of cruising was brought forward. We sold our house and most of our possessions and in May 2008 moved onto Manatee with our fur family in preparation for turning left outside the heads. We've made a few alterations since living on board, namely removing the carpet in the saloon/galley and taking some previously indespensible items (clothing, books etc) off for storage up North.

Marg preparing dinner in the galley. The galley has a kero stove, fridge, freezer and twin sinks.

Monday, June 23, 2008

the adventure so far...............

During Easter 2007, we saw Manatee at Beauty Point Tasmania. We knew she was to be our new home.

Manatee is a 40' Roberts Spray with a draft of 1.4. She is a steel ketch with a 80hp perkins engine. She was floated in 1989.

Doug the previous owner (we are the third) had lovingly re-furbished her for cruising.

This is Margot, receiving the keys from Doug in Beauty Point before sailing her to Sydney with crew.

It was Margot's first off-shore sailing adventure and she has a fabulous time....

Just after Bass Strait, calm seas but an ominous looking sky.

Manatee doesn't heel very much as she is very wide across the beam, making cruising comfortable.

In June 2007 Manatee arrived in Sydney to ferocious weather (and a tanker on Nobby's Beach Newcastle)

We have had a hectic 12 months learning Manatee's systems...........

  • Electrics. We now have an isolated engine start battery (100ah) as we sucessfully flattened our batteries by extensive use of the inverter and anchor winch. That gives us 4 batteries, the other 3 being combined house/anchor winch. We have also invested in a marine charger which automatically replenishes the batteries when we run the genset. We will look at adding a large solar panel(s) or wind generator at a later date.

  • Engine. We have had an ongoing engine heating problem. The entire engine cooling system was removed-heat exchanger, water pump, exhaust manifold, hoses, thermostat (ah it was the thermostat that had stuck). Thousands (and 2 mechanics) later the problem still existed....damn. Yet another mechanic (thanks Marino at Noakes, we can't recommend them enough) found the simple solution. The header tank (fresh water) had been altered by a previous owner to accomodate the battery bank. He had added another header tank which meant air was being trapped between tanks. When the system was pulled apart air had got trapped. Marino has fixed the problem by adding a valve to bleed the system. AK can now service and do basic repairs to the engine.

  • What's below? We've had Manatee on the slip/hardstand a few times. We've scraped her back and anti-fouled her and generally got an idea of what's below! Below the sole? We've cleaned the bilge, replaced hosing to hot water system. Our hot water tank heats when on shore power, with the engine or genset running. Very nice!

  • Sails/rigging. We've replaced some of the running rigging with spectra (especially the halyards as we're big gals. AK has managed to get halfway up the main mast.....)and tightened the standing rigging. We've had all the sails out, but Manatee needs wind of about 10 knots to really make it worth the effort. She really is a motor sailor.