Winter anchorage

Bunnybrook at 8am on a chilly June morning. Magic !

With a steady 10kt easterly providing the motive power, we have a magic sail off the anchor all the way to the Confluence. Around 12pm the wind dies away to 4kt’s and reluctantly we fire up the Yanmar to finish the voyage back home.


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The next job onboard ……. it never ends !





The closest I can get to my yacht is a …. tractor !

Ok. Ok. 15W40 is 15W40 right. But I ended up with this one because [no, no, not because of the tractor] my YSB12 manual recommended Shell Rimula. There we go then!

recommended oil


So, the oil change endeavor experienced a temporary setback last weekend.

Everything was there –  the manual-oil-extraction-pump, the used-oil-container, the multiple piles of rags and tissue paper to wipe up the inevitable mess.

Strider thought we were leaving on an early cruise as we motored out to warm up the oil. 20 minutes later, back on the mooring, it was all systems go.  That is until the pump did nothing but make hissy-slurpy air-sucking noises. Nothing I did could coax the beast into actually sucking oil from the sump.

Fast-forward to Thursday the week after and I have found the solution. I’m confident [as confident as can be] that this will work. It wasn’t cheap but then I’m not planning on selling or sinking the boat within the next 20 years, so over that period I’m hoping it will turn out to be money well spent.

The real cool thing about this pump [when it works next weekend] is the internal reservoir. Now I only have to have a single rag for preventing drips as I extract the suction pipe from the sump.!!

Watch this space for a report on successful oil extraction and renewal !!!!



Finally, some many days after the start of this exercise the oil is finally changed. And it was less messy than anticipated, thanks to the pump itself.

The oil siphon pump

The oil siphon pump


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Cutting Corners

There’s a continual temptation in life to cut corners, to do as little as possible, to take the path, that in the short term, seems easier.

Take my new backing plates for the cleats intended for the genoa sheets……



I hunted high and low for some stainless offcuts I knew I had lying around. Try as I might I couldn’t find them and a’ll the while, right there in plain sight on the workbench, were some perfectly sized pieces of aluminium crying out ” Use me m’Lord. Use me !”

Tempting. After all, stainless is a bugger to work and drill and I didn’t have the correct drill bits, let alone the pieces of steel themselves. Very tempting. But…… While using Al or even mild steel would make the job easy in the short term, long term nightmares of rust and corrosion lay in wait down that road.

Luckily I found what I was after and the plates are now cut to size. I resisted the temptation to dull my mild steel bits and the holes are waiting for the weekend after a visit to the hardware store.

As in many other areas of life it’s tempting to take a shortcut. Sometimes it’s better to just take things slow and do what you know is right !


The job is done. Well almost. All that remains is to mount the cleats on the yacht.

It’s done right! But it’s not cheap doing things right. The drill bits alone …….. !



The preparation off the water has paid off. It was an easy 30 minute job to install the cleats. then of course, it was necessary to cast off and give them a quick test sail.



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Weather Trivia

If you’re at all interested in sailing then I guess you have more of an interest in the weather than most. Here’s a bit of trivia that may be of interest.

Wind direction around a low, in the southern hemisphere is in the same direction as the rotation of the earth if viewed from the south pole. i.e. clockwise. [Opposite in the northern hemisphere]….

Rotation around Low

synoptic 2013.03.02

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Ready to Retire

I’ve been doing some online hunting to complete my library of manuals for all the systems and gear onboard ocean Blue.

Doing a quick Google, as you will, for ST2000 I stumbled across a review of this handy piece of self-steering kit. The thing that prompted this rant is not so much the review [because I didn’t even read it] but the following image that was part of the write-up…….

ST2000 Review

i.e. my trusty autohelm is regarded as “over the hill” and “ready to be retired”. What a load of BS!

So this is what really grates me. The implication is that I should immediately upgrade to a more modern version because I’m not one of the cool kids with my old technology. It’s got nothing to do with “fit for purpose” but is merely an insiduous, unspoken uncurrent in modern consumer society aimed at driving more sales and revenue and profits.

That got me thinking about the whole “Green” issue. You have to buy a new widget because it’s more environmentally friendly than it’s 90’s predecessor. So chuck the perfectly serviceable one you have now and buy the new one because it’s greener. While you’re at it don’t worry about the hole in the ground for the constituent raw materials and the noxious gasses belched into the atmosphere during manufacture. Just be happy you have the new greener model and proudly show the world how eco-friendly you are.

Anyhow, I’ve digressed enough. I did find the manual I was looking for and I’ve added it into my on-board electronic library, ready to reference when the gadget looses it’s mind and steers Ocean Blue in random circles.

I’m happy to have an old, recycled boat and gear. As long as they are in good working order, there’s no need to dig a greater hole in the earth. And no matter what anyone “who knows” thinks…… No! They are not yet ready to retire.

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South Westerlies

The first real chill of winter has followed this front up to the Vaal. The NW’lies preceding the front gave way to the expected, icy SW’ly at about 10h30 this morning and the mooring field turned a little bumpy as the waves built across the open fetch from Bill’s Bay.

In this weather, Ocean Blue’s stern lies perilously close to the rocky shore. So close it feels as if I could jump ashore without even getting my jeans wet. I’m up and down the companionway steps all morning, keeping a close watch and making sure the tiny gap remains the same kind of tiny. It doesn’t change and all I achieve is to get some exercise with my step climbing.

“Sick-As-Sin” “Sieker s’n” hoists all her canvas and sets sail in a good 15-20 kt breeze. As she beats out toward Game Breeders I wish I were on board as crew rather than stuck here, cutting strips of wood, drilling through electrical cables hidden behind the headlining  and regularly checking the shoreline. She looks a grand sight as she leans to the breeze and returns to sail through the Narrows and onward toward Fish Eagle. It’s funny how a boat looks so different on the water. On the hard at Manten’s I must confess to thinking “What on earth has he done?” But now, back in her natural element and under sail, I now also see the beauty in her that her new skipper saw when others could not.

The nearby jagged shoreline jolts me back into the present. It’s a funny and irrational feeling! It makes no sense at all but yet I feel too close to the rocks. If the anchor drags, I mean if the mooring line breaks, Ocean Blue will be on the rocks before I can save her.

I don’t really want to leave her here so close to destruction and I give a last look out across the water as I pack up and head for home. She’s still there, rolling a little as the westerly swell works it’s way into the bay, nodding her mast-head instruments at me as if to say “Chill dude. I’ll still be here when you get back!”

I feel a little silly actually and I park the the thought I had to ask the club manager to move the mooring further out into the bay. I mean, logically, it make no sense. If the mooring is going to break while I’m away, then it’s going to end up just the same. The 5 minutes longer that it takes for Ocean Blue to hit the rocks is not going to make any difference when I’m an hour away. And so I hit the road, back to the cubicle nation where I slave away to fund my sailing habit.

I’ll still keep an eye on the forecast and I’ll definitely keep my insurance current but I have no doubt that next weekend will find me and Blue reunited. Perhaps no DIY next weekend. All work and no play… and all that !

I think next weekend we’ll exercise those sails!

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Today is “Home-Improvement” Day

All the bits and pieces are cut and glued and today is the day they will be installed. Pity about the forecast though. It looks to be bumpy on the mooring. I hope it all goes in straight!

OB Galley Shelf


It always takes longer than you thought and it always needs modifications on the fly.

But, the new galley shelf is in and ready for varnish!

The new galley shelf

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Lammert Beach

The weekend of 18 May saw 2 yachts brave the fluky, light winds and sail out into the depths of the Vaal.

Destination, Rose Bay.

Objective, Chill!

Rose Bay proved a challenge for the anchor and so we sailed on to Lammert Beach for the night.

Strider leads the way through the Confluence and on toward the Island

Strider leads the way through the Confluence and on toward the Island

The overnight anchorage at Lammert Beach

The overnight anchorage at Lammert Beach


And then there was fog! Lots of it.

The return voyage on Sunday morning was made under motor in 10-15m visibility.

Still learning new things on the Vaal after all these years.

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Somewhere near Fools Pt

Ocean Blue and 10da2Going nowhere in particular, no deadline, no rush …. !

With that amount of wind I guess I could have been sailing, but then….you don’t always have to sail to enjoy the boat and the water. Sometimes it’s enough to just be out there.


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Favourite memories

This remains one of my favourite weekends at anchor. Total calm, deserted anchorage, beautiful sunset, sweet little yacht. Forget all those holiday brochures advertising the good life. The good life is here and now !!

Happy Memories

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