Photo gallery 2023

This photo-page covers our 2023 navigational activities:
Please scroll down to the bottom of the page for the narrative and description that accompany the photos...

Narrative accompanying our 2023 pictures above - Starting at the top left-hand corner...

As in 2022, the year started with Ngahue IV still being stored on land in the boat hall of Yachtservice Van Swaay in Bruinisse. And like 2022 the plan was that after returning to the water, Ngahue IV would return to Nieuwpoort via the Faeroes. The trip hadn't quite worked out in 2022, but with that experience under our belt we hoped for success in 2023. A dark and gloomy Danish television fictional series on crime in the Faeroes was an extra inducement to go and admire the scenery... But before then, there's still a lot of maintenance to be done to the boat!

In 2022, our Force 10 oven suddenly erupted in flames, so, given its age and use, we decided to replace it. A new one has been installed: much the same as the old one, but cleaner and this one isn't missing the plastic cover of the locking mechanism. To avoid nasty scratches, we used a champagne cork instead of the official plastic cover...New hoses, regulator and gasbottle holder have been installed too and the gaslocker itself slightly improved with the rubber mat no longer blocking the water exit!

Inside the boat Yachtservice Van Swaay has been busy with the maintenance of the bowthruster (including the motor - you can still see the black signs of the motor burning out under the previous owner) and two seacocks and their assorted through-hulls. We removed the one and only "crazed" (= excessively affected by scratches)window we have on the boat. It will join our friends of HR53 Anna (formerly Mr Christoph Rassy's own Bamsen) who are having all their windows and hatches refurbished. Meanwhile work continued in Bruinisse to replace the old AGM batteries by GEL ones and to install the various bits and pieces for "hydraulicising" our cutter stay... By April the boat was more ore less ready to move outside and from there be launched.

Once launched a few (new) problems appeared: the fittings on the port running backstay broke and the buttons for the (new) hydraulic furler has been fitted in a very strange and inconvenient place. Both issues were remedied at the beginning of May: a new panel with all sail-handling buttons logically grouped; and our backstay fittings replaced and the lines redirected to the cockpit for easier handling. Upon leaving Bruinisse, we discovered that instead of predominantly westerlies to take us comfortably to the Faroer Islands, we were facing 3 weeks of northerlies. Scrap the Faroes as a destination and head off west to the Scillies! On our way back, unfortunately some very strong north-easterlies developed, which we ran into, making the last days from Eastbourne to Nieuwpoort via Dunkirk, particularly uncomfortable.

June saw us unexpectedly going to London's Saint Katharine's marina, where Laura (after a long a thunderstorm-ridden night sail) rested once we had moored the boat. Laura attended her conference and I went to rediscover London, which continues to change at an incredible rate of knots. The main landmarks are sill there and remind me of my student days in the 1970s there... Some days later, back in Nieuwpoort, Pappie Louis (see the Skippers' page for background on him) and his wife Nounou visited the boat at her new berth. A very heart-warming moment.

2023 was a bit of a funny season; despite our best intentions we didn't get much sailing son! In September we had a beautiful week in Chatham though, visiting Chatham, Rochester and Canterbury. With temperatures in excess of 30C it could have been the tropics. Once back in Nieuwpoort we attended a pontoon party where our sister HR53 is berthed. By chance our marina welcomed another HR 53; so here is a picture of 3 HR53 skippers together. Only during our World ARC were we ever in company of 3 HR53s...

One picture shows Nieuwpoort's back harbour at low water, with a large swathe of sand and dirt showing. By early August the depth in our berth was about 1.4/1.5m at LW, so predictably we are buried deep in stinking mud. Not good for our propeller and rudder!!! Yet about 1.5 boat lengths away from our berth the depth is still OK for our draft; but then suddenly it rises by a good 1 to 1.4m. Clearly winter dredging was not a success in our part of the marina.

Based on our personal agendas, we decided to take the boat out of the water in October. Aqualift would put the boat "inside" and their Yard is about 450m away from the ramp where the crane picks up your vessel. Pictured is Aqualift's David "walking the boat" (not Gershwin's dig...). We also ordered a new shower tap from HR Parts which we thought would be a simple plug 'n play replacement. It is not: very definitely a plug 'n nightmare job. At least we have all winter to get it done. And so ends the 2024 sailing season!

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