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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 🙂🙂

Haul out time in Guadeloupe

Haul out time in Guadeloupe

Our short time in Dominica came to an end. We had scheduled to meet Teulu Tribe before reaching mainland Guadeloupe, and needed to get going ASAP!

The small islands to the south of Guadeloupe, known as Les Saintes would be where we meet Teulu. They are a breathtakingly beautiful and unspoiled archipelago. Comprising two main islands, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas, and several smaller islets, these tiny islands are renowned for their stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and colorful Creole-style homes.

We managed to anchor right next to Teulu in the bay, although the anchoring situation was rather confusing. You are anchoring in around 17m of depth, and the winds and tides swirl around the islands so boats can often end up pointing in all different directions. We were right on the edge of the island and were often 90 degrees to Teulu. Getting the anchor back up from a depth of nearly 20m was very hard work!

Having chatted with them over the past few months via Instagram but only just managing to cross paths, and only for one evening, we crammed lots of boat and adventure chat in.

The next morning we set off before dawn to Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, despite knowing we were on some sort of “waiting list” for getting hauled out, no one had told us what to expect, so we wanted to get there in plenty of time.

Arriving at the marina we first tried to contact them via VHF, but struggled to communicate with whoever was on the other end and ended up mooring at the fuel dock. At the fuel dock, we used the phone to call the marina office to ask what we needed to do and where we needed to go. There was lots of confusion about who we were and if we could get hauled out for some time.

Eventually, they told us to go and speak to the manager of the boatyard, so we hopped in the dinghy and headed over. He let us know that we needed to get some paperwork from the marina (including checking in) before he could haul us out, but that he might be able to haul us out in the afternoon! 👌

We chased the paperwork around for a little while, returning with the needed forms before lunch, and he let us moor up near the boat yard alongside some other boats to wait for our haul out.

Hannah Penn looking rather small next to a very big cat

After lunch they were ready and we managed to get hauled out around 3 pm.

It was slightly nerve-wracking doing this in a foreign country with French as the first language, as neither of us really speaks French, and you always worry about communication going wrong.

We really should have done all of the lines ourselves for getting into the bay to get hauled out as one of the guys on land really made a meal of our plan.

Once in the haul-out area, the straps went in the wrong places a few times despite trying to guide the crane operator to the right place, but eventually, we were lifted!

Next was the worryingly rocky journey to the other edge of the yard where we would be for the coming week or so.

And touchdown! After getting them to alter one of the keel wood supports (which to start with we were hanging off the side of) all was good.

We hired a petrol pressure washer from a tool shop in the boat yard and got to work blasting off all growth. As we knew we were hauling out we had let this build up a little more than in previous months.

Tada, clean boat!

And you can really see where we have been wearing through the anti-foul on the bow. In total this section probably had 6-8 coats of anti-foul in June 2022.

We checked into an Airbnb, and the rest of our land activities will be in a future post!