Preparations 2014

Posted May 22, 2014 at 10:38

Our winter in Grado went without a hitch: we found Dazzle as we left her, save for some dust and leaves and a good amount of water in the bilge - it had been an exceptionally wet winter in this part of Italy, and our various deck/mast leaks may have gotten worse too.

Dazzle in the fall
During our first road-trip-visit to the boat on the dry, I reassembled the watermaker's Clark Pump with new check-valve seals, installed the new membrane and got the stuck freshwater flush filter housing open again.  The head got 'upgraded' too with the new 'twist-and-lock'  Jabsco hand-pump as the old one developed a leak.  I also reinstalled the 50psi freshwater  pressure limit valve in the freshwater system to be able to use the original watermaker freshwater flush filter housing again.  Then the hinge of the nice cover (and cabinet ) I made for the watermaker cracked and needed a epoxy/cloth reinforcement that took a day. So on and so forth...   

One morning just as we parked the car under the boat and were to take off to Grado for D's long-awaited haircut appointment, three plainclothes guys showed up and introduced themselves as from the Trieste branch of the Guardia di Finanza.  I suppose the SRB car under the CDN boat was a bit suspicious -  but they were polite after having checked our passports, they even agreed to come back after the weekend as Dora had the urgent appointment...  On Monday, after an hour of checking all papers they filled out a nice 6-page questionnaire about us, signed and stamped it so we can show it if someone else wanted to check us again...  They said it was a really good thing we checked into Italy properly (getting the Costituto in Arrivo from the Coast Guard) because it proved them when the boat entered Italian waters (funny enough, they weren't so much interested about how much the boat may have spent in other possibly also EU waters before that, although technically it was only a month in CRO after MNE).  Anyhow, they told us about the 18 months, but also told us we can come back for next winter if we leave in between (without mentioning a minimum absence requirement).

In general we had a much easier time than in Greece: the air-temperatures were pleasantly cool even with bright spring sunshine, we had a car, and at nights we stayed with Dora's sister's family avoiding the boat-ladder and 100m trip to the loo.  Getting good quality food is easy around here, and we were later told of a large on-line nautic equipment vendor that also has an 'outlet' store in the boonies among agricultural land.

Getting the boat in the water was the easiest so far: just put it back! Since we spent only two months and a bit last summer in the water, the bottom paint was still mostly all there, the saildrive clean, and the zincs virtually complete.  We only had to time our launch perfectly to the turn of the tide to avoid difficulties with berthing in cross-current.  We got a nice free berth at very low cost on the floating dock - we spent another two weeks in this berth while doing more...   We washed the boat twice with lots of Joy (dishwashing detergent), Dora shined the stained stainless steel parts stainlessly shining, hand-polished the long side deck windows, we washed the lines, did six loads of laundry, etc, etc...

The main chain/anchor's in the water, this is 'everything else'

It has to fit above and ahead of the main anchor rode.

Due to having bought 60m of new 10mm anchor chain in Greece the anchor-locker splitting arrangement wasn't good enough anymore...  So after some looking at it and some tests, and epoxying, a new locker splitting arrangement came to be:

The main anchor chain now has space on the bottom, above is the second anchor (Fortress) and its rode.

Dora suggested we add another solar panel, like the six I already have,  to avoid having to move the fore-deck one from one side of the boat to the other... Gianni's friend Claudio, who's in the solar business, pointed us to the online nautical store with the warehouse in the boonies.  The new (same sized as my six 85W panels)  panel is 100W and it costs less than half what I paid 6 years ago for an 85W panel.  After spending a day finding aluminum tubing and adding the same hardware mounts as on the other six, Dazzle now has 0.6KWs of solar power.  A 200Ah test discharge of the batteries was fully recharged by 5pm next day by solar power alone.  Here's the view from a mast-track lubricating trip 'to the top':

Finally D-day came, that went nicely too, we had time to check-out from the Guardia Costiera, who, judging by the time it took to figure out the form and how to fill out and who all needs to sign, are not doing this too often.  Either way, I now got a good reason why I will do it again, when we come back.

We've decided to scoot down to Hvar, the lavender island, and try and catch it when it's blooming... After that, we'll be kicking-around waiting for T&S' A-day...
- Z -