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Month: April 2023

St Nevis, the interesting weather

St Nevis, the interesting weather

St Nevis was rather sunny on our arrival, just with a few very short passing bits of rain.

We moved up to Pinneys Beach where once again we took a mooring ball, though others were anchored around. As far as we could tell we had paid some sort of tax for the usage of the mooring bouys during our stay, so figured we may as well take advantage of that.

We had bought food ready for a BBQ in the evening, which we were planning on having on board, off th back of Hannha as we normally do. However, we looked at the weather, and it didn’t look good for dinner time, so we had the slightly mental idea of having the BBQ in the cockpit.

Now, ignore the smoke, it went rather well, and we are glad to have started it indoors as it poured down throughout the evening.

We moved the BBQ around a few times and eventually found the best space was on the starboard bench, where we could have enough wind catch the smoke and mostly blow it out of the cockpit.

Though throughly smoked, the BBQ was a delicious success.

The next day the rain continued. Infact, it almost rained all day, and was certainly cloudy all day.

But fresh water is valuable! so Kathryn got out and gave the deck a good scrub, one of the first time its been cleaned of salt water since St Lucia.

We spent the whole day on board, writing this a month later it’s hard to remember exactly what we did, but it probably involved food, films and relaxation… (and maybe some blog post writing)

We headed to bed, but at around midnight something didn’t feel right. It turned out that some localized weather was passing overhead, and this had actually turned out that our easterly wind (from the east) had changed into a strong westerly wind (from the west). This had meant that our totally protected anchorage where the beach and island was to the east of us, was now totally unprotected. And what had infact woken us up was the boat starting to go over ~1m waves that had built up out to sea as the wind had picked up to 30+ knots.

It was pitch black, so we have no good video of this, however to build up a picture, we were tied to a mooring bouy with the beach 50m behind us, crashing through 1m waves along with 10 other boats in the middle of the dark night in winds of 30+ knots. Water was spraying off each side of the bow, and the boat was properly moving up and down.

We were slightly worried that the mooring bouy might give way, and we could see people on other boats checking or adding lines, and this was the momment we would have much rather been at anchor rather than on a bouy!

After about an hour and a half the weather passed and the wind returned to light winds from the east. All a very odd occourance.

Our wind instruments actually gave up and just started reading 99, so we have no idea what the winds really got up to.

On the whole, odd, and not the sunny carribean we have gotten used to.

So lets end this rather grey and pictureless blog post here, and save more sunny weather for the next one!

Arrival in St Nevis

Arrival in St Nevis

After leaving Montserrat in the morning we sailed in the direction of St Kitts and Nevis, which took us close to Redonda.

One of the most interesting aspects of Redonda is its large population of wild goats, which are believed to have been introduced to the island in the 19th century. These goats thrived on Redonda’s rugged terrain and became a valuable source of food for the island’s occasional visitors. However, in recent years, the goats have become an invasive species and have been damaging the island’s delicate ecosystem. They had eaten the island down to nothing and were starving due to too much breeding. In 2018, a team of conservationists worked to remove the goats from Redonda using helicopters to airlift them off the island. Today, Redonda is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary, attracting bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world. You can read more in this national geographic article.

It was nice to see an island that wasn’t populated with humans, from afar it looked incredibly deserted but as we got closer we saw all the birds circling above, a flock of brown boobies came to say hello and started flying around the boat and fishing very nearby, we think they like fishing around boats because flying fish jump out of the water and fly away to get out of the way of boats, the birds then easily swoop down and grab themselves dinner as we sail by.

We arrived on Nevis in Charles Town in time to get to the clearance building before they closed so after grabbing a mooring buoy we started to get ready to go to land, which included putting the engine on the dinghy. This daily task was made a little more interesting because we found there was a crab in there!

We think it must have been attached to the mooring buoy rope so when we took the dinghy forward to untangle the mess of rope on the mooring we’d chosen the little thing had fallen in. We returned him to the sea and set off for the town dock

Clearing into new counties can be quite funny, there are usually 3 or 4 rooms which you have to go to, this is normally the order

  1. Port health
  2. Immigration
  3. Custom
  4. Port Authority

Port health just make sure you’re not bringing in disease or animals etc. Then at Immigration, you give them all your boat details and they hand you back no less than 5 double-sided sheets of paper which the captain has to sign and date the front and back of, immigration keep some of this paperwork whilst you take other sheets to customs who stamp it and then tell you to take it back to immigration, then immigration say you can take yourself to port authority and pay the huge fees for all their paper usage 😉

With the exception of the French islands who have it down to a tee with their self-service computer stations and low physical paperwork needs, all the other islands really need to drag themselves into the present era and make the clearing in and out process a bit more user friendly.

A lot of islands have a system called SailClear which is supposed to make everything easier on arrival, you fill in the online forms and present your SailClear code on arrival, this does make it slightly quickly to input your details into their system but you still need to answer all the usual questions, like where have you come from and where are you going to and how long are you staying even though they are already written down!

Anyway back to St Kitts and Nevis!

After all that paperwork we went to find a snack and we came across a bakery that smelled delicious, they sold the biggest fresh iced cinnamon buns you’ve ever seen and although I’m not one to choose cinnamon usually, we bought one to share, it really was amazing, soft, moist, sweet and tasty! So good in fact we got another one the next day!

We went back to the boat after a stroll along the seafront and came up with a little plan for the next day, we had heard that Nevis had some hot springs, open 24/7 and free so definitely had to try that, we got to land as early as we could to go before the day got too hot.. no one wants a hot spring when your already sweating buckets!

It took about 15mins to walk there and we found a small covered pool with one local guy in already, normally many more hot pools would be open, in a little chain of pools with a stream connecting them but that day they were being pumped out and power washed so we got in the open one.

It was incredibly hot and took us a few minutes to actually get all the way in, as we were halfway down the steps, someone who clearly came here regularly, strode down the steps into the pool without hesitation, and at that point we didn’t want to look like numpties so got in quicker!

We got chatting to this guy, his name was Tee. He told us how to correctly say Nevis and we chatted about the two islands some history and also about traveling in general.

Back to the dock, and back to the boat!

Our next stop was a beach just slightly further north along the island where we would pick up a mooring bouy and enjoy some interesting weather, but let’s save that for next time!



Antigua and Barbuda are joined so you can clear in on one and clear out on the other if you wish, which is what we were going to do but after finding out it would have been a 45min dinghy ride from the closest anchorage in Barbuda we decided that passing by Antigua on our 60mile crossing to Montserrat would be a better option!

So we headed the 30 miles downwind back to Antigua to check out and spend one more night in Antigua’s most popular anchorage, Jolly Harbour.

And the following day we set off for Montserrat.

We could see the island before we’d even left the bay so knew it wasn’t going to be rushed sail, it was fairly leisurely albeit a bit rolly, but on our way we actually overtook a sailing catamaran that was headed in the same direction. It’s not often that we are the ones catching up on and overtaking boats, particularly catamarans which should be faster than us downwind!

It’s a Saturday and clearing in on weekends can be very expensive, Montserrat has a few out-of-hours charges which we didn’t want to pay, so instead we stayed on/around the boat at anchor in Little bay anchorage (which is totally allowed as long as you don’t go to shore and keep your yellow Q flag up)
We swam and tried to relax in the most rolly anchorage of all time.

We were glad when Monday came around so we could go to shore, check in and explore.

We hiked in the morning to a lookout over the bay we were anchored in and sat for a while under the shade of a tree admiring the view and the few birds that graced our presence.

The day was getting to be unbearably hot so we decided not to take the trail any further and go back down to the town

On the sea front we saw a fun-looking dive shop/bar and found ourselves a nice cold drink whilst eating our packed lunch of ham, cheese, and everything wraps.

In Montserrat half the island is restricted due to volcanic activity which has destroyed a large city called Plymouth (yup spelt exactly the same as Plymouth back home!)

You’re not even allowed to sail around the south end of the island because of it too so travel was a bit restricted, instead after lunch we took a walk through the town, the local school was having a sports day on a playing field and we laughed whilst watching the egg and spoon race!

We wondered some more and got back to the sea a little way up the coast. The waves were smashing up against the rocks and sending spray high up in the air. I enjoyed the stillness of the land whilst watching the sea as this place has got to be the most uncomfortable anchorage we have ever spent more than one night in, even the barman at the dive shop asked how rolly the anchorage was!

Walking through the restaurants and bars we found one with an outdoor pool table so naturally we had to play, we spent as long as possible on land before going back to the rolly anchorage.

We played best of 3 games to start with and after winning two Adam said we’d better up it to 5! We were fairly evenly matched, even if the table, cues, and balls were a bit rubbishy, the red was our black 8 ball because we were missing two balls but had 2 8 balls instead so anyone looking on probably wondered what on earth we were doing!

So that we didn’t need to cook on the super rolly anchorage we bought a whole bunch of wings and cheesy fries from the bar to take away, quickly walked back to the dinghy and headed back to the boat for sunset.

Unfortunately for us our outboard engine decided to have some issues this evening and didn’t want to start to deliver us back to Hannah quickly, so we ende dup slowly rowing half of the way until the engine eventually decided to start.

The anchorage doesn’t look rolly from the shore, but you can see the breaking waves on the beach.

Montserrat was lovely, but we will be glad to put this anchroage behind us.



Our guests left a couple of days ago and we spent some time tidying the boat a fixing the floor which had dropped making it feel like you were going to fall into the main bathroom when walking into the front cabin!

Barbuda is a sister island to Antigua and only 25 miles away so we heaved the anchor up again and had a fast sail over there on a close haul.

It was such a nice sail, Kathryn even had a little nap in the reefed main.

We arrived to beautiful sandy beaches and a calm anchorage on the southwestern tip of the island.

The next day we spent on land walking from the southwestern tip to the most southeastern tip totaling a 15km walk, mainly barefoot along the sandy and rocky southern coast.

It seems Antigua and Barbuda harvest a lot of conch at the beaches were what you could describe as a conch shell graveyard all of which had a distinct trait of an elongated hole presumably for prying out the snail inside.

We also saw another interesting sea creature which we have not come across before, a West Indian fuzzy Chiton. It’s armor and shape making it look like a prehistoric relic of a bygone era.
And on looking up this creature we found it’s present form hasn’t changed since the Mesozoic period, meaning their morphology hasn’t changed in at least 65 million years and potentially up to 245 million years!

We eventually made it to the other side of the island where the Atlantic swell was smashing the rugged coastline.

We ate lunch in the baking sun as there was no shade and then carried on to look out over the ocean.
The rock formations here were fascinating with some places eroded so much that the rock was sharp and spiny, most of it was very porous and as the waves crashed over, the water quickly dissipated down holes creating little whirlpools as it went.

The walk back felt long and even hotter as we took the inland more direct route, but by the time we reached the dinghy again I was desperate to get in the sea!

After a little drink at the beach bar we walked the dinghy into the sea but didn’t get in, instead we swam back whilst the dinghy floated along next to us.

The sunset was a beauty.

Next, we sailed up to the southern end of a beach that was previously called 17-mile beach. This incredibly long beach used to fully enclose a very large saltwater lagoon but after a 2017 hurricane called Irma the beach has been broken in the middle allowing access to the lagoon for shallow draft vessels (not us!)

The beach was still lovely, lightly strewn with driftwood it made for some cracking photos!

Due to the hurricane, the infrastructure on the island is poor so although we wanted to do to the Darby sinkhole and coastal caves on the northeastern side we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle or expense of trying to get there, instead, I’m writing this as we sail along on a speedy beam reach back to Antigua to check out, grab some fresh veg and fruit before shortly carrying on to Monserrat.

Before leaving, we had one of our most fun-to-date fish interactions while at anchor. We had some crisps that had gone bad and were slowly leaving them to float out into the sea to get eaten. Little did we know there were some shark suckers right underneath the boat that apparently really liked the crisps.

They would swim around coming to the surface, gobbling up a crisp before swimming around some more. They were there for so long that we managed to get this great little underwater video.

Antigua, for 5

Antigua, for 5

We arrived in jolly harbour on the … after a slow motor sail from Guadeloupe with about 2-3 knots of wind.

Check in here is very strict and it’s the first place that’s actually asked if we have a courtesy flag, luckily we had one already and after a while of doing paperwork and $80XCD we were free to explore the island.

The anchorage at jolly harbour was picturesque with turquoise waters but the water was actually pretty murky so we didn’t go in the sea at this point. But we did go out and have a nice lunch, explore a beach and generally walk around.

3 of our friends were due to fly in to Antigua for a weeks holiday onboard Hannah Penn with us so we set sail for the eastern side of the island to be closer to the airport for pickup.

With fairly strong winds we flew round the northern end of the island tacking every 10mins or so to stay inside the reefs. Another boat was doing just the same and we were able to catch up with them in a little unspoken tacking race before entering a shallow and narrow channel which took us into …. Bay.

After a good boat tidy and clean we went to pick up Tom, Harriet and Ollie in the dinghy, somehow we managed to fit all 5 of us plus luggage, including the extra hold bag of things they’d brought for us from home in our 2 person dingy and got everyone back to the boat without getting wet!

Some spag bol, garlic bread and a catch up later we all hit the hay ready to start a fun week of sailing.

The first day was exciting and memorable, starting off by sailing off anchor in very little wind in very protected waters, then the wind went from 5knots to 20+ in a matter of seconds as we left the bay, we quickly put a reef in the main and Genoa and dropped the mizzen.. this was the expected wind for the whole week, but after turning down the east coast we levelled out on a broad reach

Out of nowhere Adam spotted a huge splash to our starboard side and to everyone’s surprise it was humpback whales! A mother and baby we think, breaching and tail slapping over and over. I don’t think we could have had a better first morning.

By lunchtime we arrived at ‘StingRay City Antigua’ which is a semi captive population of Southern Stingrays (fed for tourist attraction)

We didn’t want a tour but did want to see some rays so went for a snorkel when the tour boats left.

The same day we sailed a little further south to a protected bay on green island as we knew some big swell would be rolling in from the northeast.

We took the free mooring buoy there and I decided it was in acceptable condition if we put a back up line down to the stake itself in the seabed as the buoys chain was in a poor state and lashed together with rope!

After a windy but stable night we braved the swelly ocean to get to Falmouth Harbour on the south of the island, it was an uncomfortable sail where at one point Adam who was on the helm got thrown across the cockpit by a wave hitting us side on, he stayed mostly upright and still holding onto the wheel so no harm done.

On arrival we all had a break and then decided it was a good time and place to do a little belated birthday celebration for Tom and Adam by going out for dinner at a place called Cloggy’s

The next day we moved from the northern part of the bay to near the entrance to go snorkelling, the water was nice and clear and we got to see a spotted eagle ray and some colourful fish, even got an underwater selfie.

Sunday came around and we’d heard … lookout in English harbour puts on a bbq with music a couple nights a week, so we upped anchor again and set off on the very short journey to get to English harbour ready for a big hill climb to get to the lookout in the evening.

After anchoring in the most popular outermost anchorage and not being happy with the bay we moved further in to find an alternative and what a great one we found, we shore tied to the mangroves and had a wonderful peaceful spot.

The view over the bay from the lookout was stunning even if we were a bit late for the sunset, the bbq was tasty and the music was fun, a lonely evening spent with lovely people.

We spent some time exploring the area and Nelsons dockyard and went for breakfast at a local cafe as well as getting part of the Genoa re stitched by the sailmakers of a good speedy job done by ….

Next we snorkelled at Cade reef where we saw more rays and some fish called ‘shark suckers’.

Our goal was to circumnavigate the island in the week so next we pushed on to Jolly Harbour and then to Deep Bay where we snorkelled an interesting wreck of a British three masted sailing boat which was carrying barrels of tar to Chile when they started to overheat, the boat caught fire and sank in …. All crew survived and the wreck is in outstanding condition, you can see the bow sprit, whole hull super structure and masts with intact lookout point.

<We might insert a wreck dive video here soon, but we are currently at our daily YouTube upload limit…>

With our guests due to leave in two days we headed back to the first bay to climb up bird island for one last spectacular sunset and some scheduled ‘dicking about on a boat’ time where we SUP boarded behind the boat. Tom took this opportunity to look like he was walking the boat like a dog on a lead whereas Ollie had more of a water boarding than a paddle boarding session.

We had completed an entire Antigua lap, and that was quite satisfying, even if we forgot to turn the Garmin on to track the route sometimes….

The following day we said farewell over a last lunch and waved them off in a taxi to the airport.

Quite the week of sailing and exploring!

Guadeloupe – the final chapter

Guadeloupe – the final chapter

We had just had a lovely light wind sail over to Marie-Galante, which is a round island just south of mainland Guadeloupe, on the lookout for some crystal turquoise waters we went to Anse de Mays, an anchorage on north west of the island.

It looked very picturesque so after anchoring I took the waterproof camera and jumped in. Immediately I was greeted with some of the most inquisitive fish I’ve come across. Later I found out they are juvenile Highfin Amberjacks and all they wanted to do was say hello and follow me around🐟 they were so friendly I could almost touch them.

There was also a huge shoal of Bigeye Scad, and swimming through them I was engulfed in little fishies! It was really quite cool.

A few other things were starfish, a gold spotted eel, and a perfect sand dollar.

The next day we went for a sail, probably in the least wind we’ve ever sailed in! Was about 3knots of wind, we were able to pull up anchor without the engine, hoist sails and get going though, probably thanks to our ultra clean new antifouling gliding through the water!

We pootled along at 1.5knots and really enjoyed the tranquility, we could see every starfish on the bottom and Hannah Penn’s shadow on the seabed was really cool too.

Even had a go standing on the bowsprit whilst sailing.

During the sail we kept hearing loud splashes but could never see what was making them, I had to go and investigate, Adam kept sailing I leapt in with snorkel and flippers, it didn’t take long to see huge sea turtles swimming around, I took hold of a line out the back of the boat and got towed along whilst looking at these magical creatures 🐢

We eventually arrived at the next anchorage, which was only about 3miles away and I think it took us about 2.5hrs and got ready to go to land, there wasn’t much to do there but there was a fun looking bar which had some very tasty fruit cocktails 🍹
We took a table in the sunshine and the bar dog came and laid down next to us in the sand, a few moments after getting our drinks a brave little Bananaquit bird came to try and steal the sugar off the rim of my glass!

We realized Björn and Linda off SV Sirena were in the bar sitting behind us, we didn’t really know them so thought we’d say hi, and had a lovely time chatting before heading back to Hannah for dinner.

The next day our plan was to go to an anchorage called Petite Terre.

It was on a reserve so we needed to book and pay in advance, we sailed over in very nice conditions, not much swell or waves and a little wind, which we thought was going to be perfect for the approach. This anchorage is notorious for dangerous approach conditions due to breaking waves across the entrance to a lagoon like area protected from reefs on the east side

So we arrived and got our sails down and engine on ready to go in about a mile out, we could see though that the little swell that was outside was growing in size due to the shallower waters around the little island and the effect of the wind coming from the other direction whipping up the waves into steep peaks.

We were counting the swells coming in and watching from afar to see if we could get in, in-between the waves which were really quite large, we inched closer to find most of these waves were breaking all the way across the entrance and quickly looked behind us to see what was coming

At that moment we both thought the wave bearing down on us was far too big to purposefully surf down so we quickly spun the boat around and throttled down to ride up the wave, it was quite an adrenaline-filled moment as we both held on as Hannah Penn’s nose rose up, we reached the peak and smashed down the other side dipping the whole bow under the water before popping back up again

And at that point, we agreed it was a terrible idea to continue going in so we put our sails back up and headed out.. this time not back to Guadeloupe but to Antigua!!

Guadeloupe, Haul in

Guadeloupe, Haul in

Today’s the day! Haul in day. (Or rather March 7th was the day)

We were a little nervous because only a few days earlier another boat had been dropped out of the slings onto the concrete floor as they were hauling in, but we placed the slings exactly where I wanted them and not long later Hannah Penn was being lifted and driven to the launch spot.

We had fenders at the ready but it all went smoothly, we weren’t quite ready to leave yet so after we were in the water we rafted up next to SV Danae who were due to be hauled out in a couple of days.

The main thing we wanted to do was tidy the boat which still had tools everywhere! And make sure the rudder stuffing was no longer leaking.. it wasn’t! Yay

After a night there we were set and headed off to the mooring buoys across the estuary from the marina, but on the way out I went to put the autopilot on and it didn’t work..

A quick skip back to right before getting hauled out.. we were sailing toward the marina and the autopilot made the wheel jolt quickly, sitting in the cockpit I didn’t think much of it immediately as it seemed like we were maintaining a straight course and the wheel was turning only very slightly from side to side as normal, but after a few minutes when I clicked a button to alter course, nothing happened.

The autopilot was still making a noise but wasn’t engaged with the wheel. After turning it all off an on again and it still not engaging there wasn’t much to do as we were being hauled out that day anyway. I decided to lock the wheel off and continue sailing, at that point Hannah Penn was lovely and balanced so we didn’t veer off course, we were about an hour out from dropping sails anyway.

Skip forwards and we were hauled out, and checked the autopilot which started working perfectly again, we thought ok, we’ll keep playing with it on land and if it stops working we will look into it further and if it keeps working we’ll leave it. Well, it kept working so didn’t give it another thought.

Back to the present and the autopilot failing. It was time to do some serious troubleshooting.
Hannah Penn has an Autohelm Type 1 chain drive motor which is a heavy-duty motor that connects to a large cog ⚙️ on one of the rods which runs back to the rudder. It has two pairs of cables running to it, two of which are for power, and the other two went to the brains of the autopilot and told the motor to engage/ disengage the clutch inside.

The port cockpit locker had to be emptied and the inside locker walls half dismantled along with the prop shaft lubricant applicator removed before being able to access the motor.

Finally, we were in and some greasy awkward positions later the chain was removed from the drive cog, motor, and wiring removed and the whole thing was out in the cockpit.

We soon found the problem, an easily fixable corroded connection which tells the motor to engage and disengage the clutch. Thankfully it was not too serious but we were very glad we fixed it on a nice stable mooring and not under sail halfway across an ocean!

So with it all back together, we could enjoy the rest of our time in Guadeloupe.

We had such lovely conditions sailing to our next anchorage on the island of Marie-Galante that Adam got in the dinghy and took some pics whilst I tacked back and forth in front of him.

Haul out, The other stuff

Haul out, The other stuff

We have already covered our actual haul out, rudder stuffing replacement, and the repainting of our anti-foul, but we got up to a few other things on land too.

The boat jobs we won’t bother diving into any detail for include:

  • Permenantly fitting our saloon fan
  • Fixing 1 piece of wood in the dinghy floor & painting the wood
  • Applying new mast boot tape
  • Resealing the shower sump pump
  • Removing twists from the anchor chain
  • Replacing the Mizzen boom topping lift
  • Painting the inside of the cockpit roof
  • Fixing a hinge on the aft cabin doors
  • Replacing the hinges for the cockpit seat lockers
  • Removing a worn piece of rope from a reefing line
  • Cleaning behind the stove
  • Adjusted stove locks to make them lock the oven off better

And now for a couple of boat jobs that have some nice pictures 😃

Chain Paint

Back in June 2022 our anchor chain had some lovely paint marking every 10m of chain.

As the boat was on the hard we spent a bit of money on some cold galvanizing spray and also red spray paint and gave the anchor chain a bit of love and care.

We never had much luck with the paint hanging around for that long, so we also tied small pieces of string every 10m. One at 10m, two at 20m, and so on.


The dinghy has been having quite a start to 2023, getting punctured in the Grenadines, starting to leak water in, and also at some point being flipped over with the engine on.

We were hauled out for a number of days so this allowed us to properly patch all the holes we could find to stop the various leaks.

After a few days of applying Sikaflex, waiting for it to dry, and again filling the dinghy with water to see where the water leaked out, we had a totally sealed dinghy once again. Yay, now we won’t have to pump it up and bail it out every time we use it!

Relaxing on land

While hauled out we spent our evenings in 2 different Airbnbs. We had some pool time, lots of space in the kitchen to cook, a microwave, etc 🤯. One of the features of both of our Airbnbs was the fact they lacked glass in the windows into the kitchens, so you frequently got birds coming to say hello nibbling on your bread or bananas. After we found that this was pretty normal for them to be in the house we started leaving bread outside on the balcony for them.

We had a few meals out, including some birthday celebrations too, including a creole massage at a spa. 💆‍♂️

One of the features of our 30min morning and evening walk to the boatyard while staying at the first Airbnb were 2 dogs that seemed to live in a pile of rubbish at the side of the road.

It was very sad to see, but we think someone was feeding them and we gave them water, they were super friendly and came to say hello.

The boat dropping

Don’t worry, Hannah didn’t get dropped!

While we were hauled out in the boat yard though, there was an almighty bang followed by a bunch of shouting.

One of the boats that was about the be hauled back into the water had slipped out of the slings holding it and landed on the floor.

Not a great day for the owners here.

The keel was dented and paint had come off around the weld for the keel attaching to the main body.

They were still hauled out after we had finished painting and were back in the water, we assume waiting for a survey and for insurance companies to decide what to do.

Next up, back in the water for us!

Haul out, Fresh Antifoul Paint

Haul out, Fresh Antifoul Paint

We hadn’t necessarily planned on hauling out after our Atlantic crossing before doing whatever came next. But Hannah had a small fight with a mooring buoy in early 2023 which had taken many layers of anti-foul paint off in 1 location of the keel, and we wanted to get it re-applied and overall we could tell it was wearing in places.

So out she came in Guadeloupe Marina, at the time one of the cheapest places to get hauled out and to stay on land. Thanks, Danae for doing the research on that one. But also note that they put the prices up severely days after we were hauled out (luckily we kept the cheaper price after a lot of negotiation).

We already power-washed Hannah’s hull below the waterline immediately after getting hauled out and collected many of the paints that we needed for the painting from previous chandlery shops. We primarily need a couple of colors with a focus on grey hard anti-fouling for beneath the waterline, as well as some white for the waterline stripe itself.

First, we rented an electric random orbital sander with dust collection from the same tool place that we had rented the power washer and got to sanding, which we spent a full day on.

Sanding is important to ensure that the new anti-foul adheres properly. It helps to remove any loose old antifouling paint, contaminants, and debris that may have accumulated on the hull. Sanding also creates a rough surface on the hull, which allows the new antifouling paint to adhere better.

We didn’t sand off all of the old antifoul but made sure to rough it all up, and where there were imperfections in the antifoul we sanded slightly more to come to a smoother surface.

As we were using a slightly different base antifoul we applied a primer first, Hempels underwater Primer (light grey). This first involved masking off the top coat to avoid any accidents before covering the whole hull in primer.

Primers are important before painting new antifoul on a boat because they act as a bonding agent, prevent blistering and corrosion, smooth out imperfections, and provide added protection against the elements. They improve the overall performance and longevity of the antifoul coating.

We managed to paint the first coat in 2-3 hours, but don’t worry there are many more coats to come!

Overcoating times are important because they ensure that the previous coat of antifoul paint has cured properly before applying a new coat. Applying a new coat too soon can cause the antifoul paint to lift, crack, or not adhere properly, resulting in poor performance and premature failure of the coating. Following the manufacturer’s recommended overcoating times ensures optimal adhesion and performance of the antifoul paint, and helps to extend the life of the coating.

Painting in the Caribbean heat certainly means you can paint more coats a day than in cooler Europe, but you also end up sweating a bunch more!

We wanted to vary all of our under-the-waterline paint colors so that we would know how much has been worn through or scrubbed off when we clean the hull so next up is a blue antifoul coat.

Next, we mixed some of the last coat of blue with a future coat of grey to create a darker blue.

And on top of that, we painted with just the grey tin giving us a grey coat all over.

Last but not least we finished with a coat of the same antifoul that we had on before so the hull would remain the same darker grey.

Next, we had to mask the bottom edge of the white stripe for painting with hard antifoul.

We had measured the thickness of the line in various places (you can see the bits of tape with measurements written on stuck on the top coat) however even with the new coats of anti foul we could still just see the ridge of the previous line which we had tried to avoid sanding away, so taping was easy.

The painting began, and as you can see, lots of coats are needed for white on darker colors.

After 4 coats, we had a perfectly repainted boat with crisp edges.

Peeling off the masking tape at the end brings the same satisfaction as peeling off a brand new screen protector.

You may notice that the boat is obviously still held in place by stands. It’s expensive and time-consuming to keep moving these while painting the main coats, so we would only be applying a couple of quick coats of antifoul on the day we get hauled back into the water while the boat is in the crane slings.

We made sure to cushion the strops for the crane when being lifted in to avoid it rubbing or scratching any paint off, particularly our lovely white stripe.

You can see the ugly unpainted patch, now that the stand has been moved that needs a few coats of paint.

After a little sanding, cleaning, and a couple of coats of paint, it’s almost impossible to tell.

Getting back in the water we can leave for a future post!

Haul out, Rudder stock stuffing replacement

Haul out, Rudder stock stuffing replacement

Rudder stock stuffing, also known as the rudder gland or stuffing box, is a component found on most boats that helps prevent water from entering the hull through the rudder shaft. The rudder stock stuffing is essentially a waxed packing material that is wrapped around the rudder post and compressed using a gland nut to create a watertight seal. Without this component, water would leak into the hull, causing damage and making the boat unsafe to operate. Proper maintenance of the rudder stock stuffing is crucial to ensure it remains effective in preventing water ingress and protecting the integrity of the vessel.

For a while now aboard Hannah, we have had a slow drip from the rudder stock. Now that we are hauled out of the water we can go about replacing the rudder stock stuffing without worrying about water coming into the boat.

On a Camper and Nicholson 38, the rudder stock is accessible in a little cupboard in the aft cabin.

Inside you’ll see the stock with the stuffing box at the bottom.

The top part is the stuffing box body itself, which holds the packing material and can be turned to compress down onto the thread within.

Once the packing material is inserted into the upper half, the lower nut is done up to prevent the upper stuffing box from working loose.

It took quite a bit of time with WD-40, some big wrenches, the occasional hammer tap and lots of wiggling, some light sandpaper, and patience to get the stuffing box all the way off the thread and up the rudder stock to make the packing material accessible.

Once accessible we tried a variety of tools to try and get the packing material out, but we settled on a fishing hook, which could easily grab the material and enable you to pull it out.

Once out you can easily see how old the material was and why it might be letting water through. It was very dry and quite thin and we imagine water could pass right through it now.

In total there were two complete sections of packing material that went into the stuffing box, with an offset overlap between them.

To replace the packing material you need to buy the right size.

We had no specifications to work on and failed to find the information online so made some guesses and after wrongly guessing at 6mm we found that 5mm was the right size for this Camper and Nicholson 38 stuffing box. (6mm was way too big, not a chance of getting that in there)

We are happy to announce that since replacing the stuffing box packing material, not a single drip has been seen 🙂🙂