New Mooring at Saltash

Thursday 6th July 2024

After way too long Aphrodite is back on the water!  A busy few days at the yard, Ian the GRP man has done a fantastic job on the P bracket, but kept us waiting right up to the wire.  Leaving Donald very little time to sort out propellers and get the engine running before launch.

Mark offered to assist with taking the boat down to the mooring, having left the cars in at Tamar River Sailing Club and Saltash Sailing Club, we being members of the clubs that look at each other across the Tamar, we jumped in the dinghy and went up the river at low water to take a good look at the channel. Only after setting off did we realise that we had planned a pub meal, but had no means of transport.  Thankfully, a pub was further up river and we were able to arrive by boat on a very high tide. The ride up was like going up a jungle river with the trees touching the water. I must do that trip again.

0815 hrs
Duncan arrived and we set about reconnecting the exhaust pipework. That done filled a bucket full of water and turned the engine.She chugged and coughed, but did not fire up. No fuel getting to where is should be. After what seemed like ages she sparked into life and I could breath again.

0850 hrs
Shaw and Tom arrived with the tractor and boat lifter we were on our way to the slip.  I walked slowly behind, having spent so long ashore it was hard to believe that we were going back in the water.

0910 hrs
Down on the slip I climbed on board and checked that all the through hulls were not leaking started the engine and let things settle - then a heart stopping moment as the engine died, a quick restart and a few extra revs had her going again.  Clearly she had forgotten how to behave at tick over, or was very cold.

Mark tied the dinghy to the transom and the yard team pulled the bow round the end of the pontoon and off we went following the posts marking the route closely and after an hour arrived at the mouth of the Lynher to join the Tamar.

On entering the Tamar the wind was a southerly F4 gusting F5 and a 'bit lively', I was sure the last forecast I had seen said to expect to see a F3.  We headed up to Mike's boat to drop his kit off when he had a lightbulb moment and suggested that we go alongside the Tamar River Sailing Club pontoon as he would not need to come back to his boat.

Kit dropped we untied and had the easiest pontoon departure ever, the wind blew us off, and headed over to the Cornish side to look at the mooring.

I had inspected the mooring the week before, but it was unsafe to do any work on it in the dinghy.  Lines were both tangled and covered in mussels.  Thankfully the lines on the north buoy were usable, but that would mean that when picking up the buoys the bow would need to be pointing north.

With wind over tide and the wind being the strongest force we had to use the south buoy to attach first and given the conditions that was not going to happen.

Plan B was to come alongside at Saltash, but with two boats already on the pontoon that was not possible, so we had a Top Gun 'buzz the tower' moment, racing past the pontoon giving everybody at the club a laugh.

Plan C was to return to TRSC and tie up to their pontoon while we waited for the tide to turn and the wind to drop - we headed back to the Devon side of the river.

On tieing up I spotted a somebody who had his boat near mine at Treluggan and greetings were exchange, Aphrodite was tied up alongside, Mark and I adjourned to the local pub, where I drunk strong tea and had lunch and we worked out a Baldric like cunning plan.

After lunch while waiting for the tide there was a knock on the hull and I spotted Tim grinning from ear to ear, welcomed him onboard and caught up with the gossip.

1415 hrs
We left the pontoon with a cunning plan to get the boat on the mooring.  The wind had dropped to 15 kts and the sea flattened.  I gave the helm to Mark and he motored the bow up to the south buoy as I hung over the bow with rope in hand ready to thread it through a shackle and get the boat attached.  On the second attempt we were on.

The mooring had not been used for about three years and the lines were covered in mussels! Given the weight of mussels the lines had sunk and had tangled themselves up with each other forming a horrible mess.  After a lot of heaving, cutting, knotting, grunting and a few choice swear words Aphrodite was attached to four lines and we had a mass of line, floats and mussels on the deck, but she looked happy to be back on the water.

The view from the cockpit

1545 hrs
After a well earnt cup of tea we sort of tided up, filled the dinghy and headed back for shore.

My next task is to sort out all the minor defects that we spotted with the engine after it had not been used for 18 months, a diesel leak at the primary filter, the water pump is leaking from the back, the water speed wheel is not turning and one section of the exhaust hose replacing with a longer length as the P bracket housing is much bigger.  That should keep me out of mischief for a while.

It was good to see the boat back on the water.

All times are UTC.

Underway Distance Avg
Day: 2h 15m 8.10 3.55 5.00 0h 00m
Year: 2h 15m 8.10 3.55 5.00 0h 00m

Crew: Sandy Garrity (skipper), Mark Rodgers

Sunrise: 0413 hrs Sunset: 2031 hrs

Weather: The shipping forecast issued by the Met Office, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, at  00:15 (UTC+1) on Thu 6 Jul 2023 for the period  01:00 (UTC+1) on Thu 6 Jul 2023 to  01:00 (UTC+1) on Fri 7 Jul 2023 .


Southwest 3 to 5, backing south 4 to 6 later. Slight or moderate. Mainly fair. Good.

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 06/07/2023


Treluggan Boatyard

Saturday 1st July 2023

The original plan was to be in Treluggan for seven months in which time I would do a major refit.  The most pressing job was to sort out a 'rumble' coming from the drivetrain that I had heard during the summer.

With the boat out of the water you could wiggle the prop shaft at the P bracket, looks like that is the issue. As we dismantled the drive train it became apparent that something had happened at some time in the past and that things were worse that I had feared. Not only could the P bracket be moved when the stuffing box was removed the stern tube end was not straight, but had chunks out of it.  Something had happened at some time in the past, but I was unsure if they were related.

Then came the long hunt for somebody to do the work as this was way beyond my level of GRP work.  One contractor said he was interested, but had not done that type of repair before.  He then disappeared for several months.  I suspect he was not confident and rather than saying, 'Sandy, sorry but I'm not happy doing that job.', just left me waiting.  I frustration I had a chat with the people at the yard to see if they had any contacts in the trade and thankfully they had just found somebody that fitted the bill. 

In June 2023 Ian arrived with his tools dug out the P bracket from the GRP then proceeded to rebuild the structure that held it in place, this time a bit more substantially than the original design.  Once that was completed moved on to replacing the metal stern tube with a spun glass fibre one.  The original metal stuffing box, with a Radice dripless seal to eliminate having to pump out the engine bilge daily.

All Glassed Up

The Finished Job

There had also been a number of other equipment failures that meant things needed replacing.  The fresh water pump being the highest priority, a simple trip to the chandler with the part number of the existing pump.

The most comical item was the hinges for the sea toilet, they do have a habit of routinely breaking.

Water in the Engine Bilge

One of the most satisfying jobs to get done while the boat was ashore was sorting out a mysterious leak that kept filling the engine bilge.

After a heavy downpour I would return to the boat to find water under the engine and backed up to the transom which was puzzling as I was unable to spot where it was coming in from.

On removing the fuel tank I found a pool of water under it and was able to work out that the water was entering the boat via the hole in the deck where the fuel pipe cap was located! 

Unscrewed the fitting, drilled the holes through the deck and replace the screws with three bolts and applied butyl tape round the fitting and tightened up the bolts.  Finally, the leak has stopped.

I really enjoyed my time at Treluggan, the yard are happy for you to work on your boat, get them to do the work or get a contractor in to do the work.  Other yards are very 'protective' and only they can do work on your boat.