Photo gallery 2019


Selected pictures from our activities during the first half of 2019, prior to our second departure from Bruinisse in the Netherlands - Please scroll down for the narrative and description of what we got up to...

Narrative accompanying the pictures above - for the first half of 2019 - Starting at the top left-hand corner...

At least once a week, we try to spend a day working on the boat. As you can see, after removing the plastic sheets that 'Team Van Swaay' put over the boats they keep in the 'bootloods' (= boatshed) in Bruinisse, the general mess on deck becomes quite clear to see. Although I do spend regular hours trying to clean up the deck and cockpit so that you get a better overview of what is where. In addition, we go to the boat "armed" with a to do list for the day, so that time in the "loods" is spent as efficiently as possible. Lots of bigger and smaller things have been improved over the 2018/19 winter (see the We're off circumnavigating page number 6) for extra details. Like screwing down the strips in our entry gates again and putting more m¨odern and cleaner deck filler caps on the boat.

As we moved into the second half of February 2019, Yachtservice Van Swaay reassembled our propellor and fitted a new PSS Shaft Seal from PYI Inc in the US; as described elsewhere, the old seal leaked when you put on full power. I changed the membranes on our Jabsco & Henderson bilgepumps, and I contacted a specialised yachting company in Belgium to see whether we could improve on the connector pins for our hydraulic steering rams. We're on to a good and solid solution with them. After a lost of faffing around, we finally managed to sort out our cockpit charttables, which now have new base plates and 6 layers of varnish.

The old Victron battery charger took some work to be removed from under the central berth in the aft cabin. To facilitate installation of the new (and identical) charger, I prepared the unit at home (see photo) so that inserting the existing wires into the right slots in the charger shouldn't be a complete nightmare. It thus became an manageable job and the new charger sits where the old was, with as only difference that it has been through-bolted to the bulkhead... Bulbs in the steering pedestal, though, are proving a bit of a problem: to find, identify and to renew... So what we've done is replace the one (green) bulb for the bowthruster on/of switch with its LED "brother"; and we will fit a separate small directional LED bulb (seen here lying on top of the pedestal) that will light up the sail furling buttons. That way, at night, when the compass light comes on, we can also easily see which buttons to push to furl or unfurl the main or genoa. This was a bit of a problem on our previous Atlantic crossings.

Yachtservice Van Swaay is also replacing a number of not so-fresh-looking through-hulls and seacocks and adding a completely new through-hull/seacock combination for the Westerbeke generator so that it will get its own seawater inlet (and no longer have seawater cooling issues)! Meanwhile I have removed the bronze fitting around the rudder stock so that it can be adapted by a specialised company in Deurne (Belgium) for taking heavier and more solid connector pins with the steering rams. Twice a year you regret the size of your boat: once when polishing the hull (there is lots of it) and once when anti-fouling the bottom (still to come - and there's lots of that too). But the resulting shine gives you a great sense of accomplishment. In March we also drove through heavy rain and pretty stormy winds to go to Eemnes near Utrecht in the Netherlands for a weather at sea course. When you start to find that you don't learn too much from a course which was pitched at the higher level of knowledge, you can be confident that you're beginning to get things under control!

Whilst we were improving our meteorological knowledge, Yachtservice Van Swaay was busily improving our gas installation, using some of the parts we had brought back from Sweden in September 2018. This'll now be OK for at least two years - we just need to keep the seawater and moisture out of the system (copious use of WD40 to spray a protective film on the various parts). We then spent one of our Bruinisse working days, polishing the boat's stern and all the stainless steel things attached to it. Quite a job. Also, all nav lights have been removed, cleaned, and given new wiring through new deck fittings. The sacrificial plastic sleeves that Hallberg-Rassy fits at the Yard had either disappeared or hidden themselves inside the pushpit or pulpit tubing. After a lot of unhappy moments, merrily punctuated by the appropriate bad language reputedly used by sailors, everything has been cleanly fitted. All blood from a gash in my left finger (a screwdriver went through said finger) was removed as well. HR hides its wiring runs well, and it is only at the final point when wires have to go through a bulkhead to reach a connection box inside that you can actually see your wires - here's me sitting in (or more accurately, wedged into) the anchor well to lead the wires to their destination. Of course the wiring inside the boat isn't any easier to do (courtesy of the gorilla-octopus workers of the Hallberg-Rassy Yard). But the end-result on both sides is very satisfying, with a new and thicker sacrificial used to stop the electric wire rubbing against the pulpit and/or pushpit and a reasonable amount of extra wiring looped together next to the internal junction box. We also added two new white plastic bushes to the bathing ladder - surprisingly, the screws holding down the clamps just seem to be screwed into the hull. Anyway, it works and the ladder is now firmly fitted with two new bushes so that it doesn't rattle in the holders anymore! Another job on the "todo" list to tick off...

Meanwhile, at home, we haven't kept still either. The varnish on the cockpit table has been touched up, the bow boarding ladder cleaned and given new protective tubing (the old tubing had peeled off), and two full days were spent at the computer correcting all paper charts up to April 2019. The next session will be on board... And in Bruinisse as our neighbours are heading for the water, we're beginning to see more and more of our boat! By early April,very few boats remained in our company, though on one Saturday Robbert-Jan Poerstamper (of HR43 Nelson) was busily glossing the polish on his hull whilst we were fitting nets around the aft deck (so that we and our bits and pieces stay on board when the boat wallows across the Atlantic, as she will later this year.

Bit by bit we are truly improving our boat and getting her ready for our renewed circumnavigation, even if our jobs-list is like a mirage in the desert: always just out of reach. At least the gulls flying around the Zeelandbrug in the evening don't seem to care much about our troubles as we drive back to Brussels. And to motivate us a little more, WCC sent us our ARC Plus Rally Handbook early April 2019! A couple of days later the World ARC Rally Book arrived too; in between we further cleaned and worked on the boat and prepared her for her several coats of anti-fouling paint. There was a period of really good weather around Easter: this proved to be ideal to get two coats of anti-fouling paint on the boat, and to take our outboard engine home and do some maintenance work on it on the terrace... There's also a picture here of Poutini's new anti-UV clothes!!

At the end of April we had more or less done all our anti-fouling: 3 layers of high performance light blue paint. Now Laurens Van Swaay could move the boat outside, so that he and we could complete the last items on our "to do" list. June will be "testing month", and July loading up and getting the boat (domestically) ready to set off again. We will have been away from ocean sailing for nearly 10 months, 9 of them working on the boat, which is now in a much better state to set off than in 2017! But before then, there's still a lot to do...

The boat hall in Bruinisse is used as a carpark during the summer months, so, much to our regret, we knew that Laurens Van Swaay had to move the boat outside. We activated our Yellow/Brick tracker and were astonished to see the various positions of the boat before she was quietly put into her working berth next to the Van Swaay Yachtservice offices. A case of suffering from "la cucaracha"??? With the boat parked outside - looking a little like a landmark for Yachtservice Van Swaay - the last series of jobs are being tackled. Much to my surprise, the outlet hose of our electric toilet was more or less completely blocked. Well, with a new sanitary hose at least the toilet will make fewer funny noises... Our steering block came back from Dirk Roegiest, complete with new and heavier pins. It may look identical to how it left the boat 2 months earlier, but it has been strengthened and much better and thicker connector pins inserted. And Team Van Swaay is steadily doing maintenance on the 3 junction boxes of our Whitlock steering system. So we should be able to have full and 100% faith in our steering system and autopilots to get around the world without any hick-ups... With the settee cushions removed for refurbishment, we had easy access to the storage areas under and behind the seats in the saloon and aft cabin. This was therefore an ideal moment to sort out the things that are normally stored here and update the storage plans and plastify them for easy reference once we're sailing again!

As some slightly sunnier and warmer weather returned to Bruinisse in May, Team Van Swaay attacked the saloon, removed the floor boards and added hard wooden bungs around the water tank so that it won't "boink" out on the open ocean. A few days later, the saloon floor was back again, and I could start cleaning the woodwork and those bits that are usually hard to reach. Team Van Swaay also replaced the aft holding tank's safety valves and removed the bow roller fitting which they sent off to a specialist firm for reinforcement and improvement. This was the fitting that had been damaged in Guadeloupe and repaired as best as possible with the mast still up. Now it was not only repaired properly but additionally strengthened for safe anchoring in all circumstances. One of the new clutches leaked during some heavy rain, so it was ripped off the deck and put back with treble portions of butyl tape! And back inside, Team Van Swaay struggled to remove the old washing machine (they suspect it had been installed via the cockpit locker) and install a new one. The simplest way was to enlarge the hole in the wall; install the new machine; and redo all the woodwork as before and fit a larger Corian door instead. All in a day's work for them. Launch time will be coming soon...



Note: All our further activities in 2019 are - from approximately July 2019 on - back on our Circumnavigation pages - please refer to this link We're off circumnavigating Page ...


Return to Photogalleries Start page


Return to Homepage