Laid-up but not laid back!

It’s Autumn and it’s lovely to see a murmuration of starlings …. except when they choose to roost en masse on a forest of masts with consequent droppings all over the decks! A yacht like mine is not intended to have a poop deck!

A forest of masts

On 17th October Thalmia was lifted out onto Topsham Quay by Trout’s Boatyard. Carefully handled by them and jet washed she was then stripped of sails, halyards, cushions and almost all loose items. She’s now ready for routine servicing and fettling. Last week for example I poured white vinegar into the pump that works the heads (mariners term for the loo!) – the idea is that it will break down the build up of limescale and prevent a blockage! Not something I want to sort out in a tranquil anchorage in a Scottish loch! Also been curing rust (nothing serious!), cleaning, waxing and varnishing. Topsham Quay has again become a regular weekly destination – my winter man shed!

Preparations for next year include fitting an AIS transponder (Automatic Identification System) which will broadcast my position to other vessels and anyone else who wants to know where I am (via an app). Also a diesel heater to warm my toes and dry my clothes (I may have to accept some bad weather along the way!) Thanks to Trout’s Boatyard who tackle the jobs beyond my DIY competence!

At home my planning for the trip proceeds with numerous charts and pilot books which currently cover the dining table (sorry Ruth!). Reading others experiences are making me aware of all the preparations I need to make. It takes some imagination to keep positive with the recent cold wet weather but my levels of enthusiasm grow as I anticipate cruising some of the superb coastline we are blessed with. I’ll post again in the new year to keep you informed of my progress – thank you for following Thalmia and me!

Voyages of Thalmia – Sailing around Britain in 2020

This is Thalmia on her mooring at Starcross Yacht Club, River Exe, in April 2019. A Westerly Fulmar built in 1980 now based in the Exe estuary. 2019 was a good year with trips East to several creeks in the Solent including Keyhaven, Newtown, Wooton and Beaulieu and our usual summer cruise from Exeter to the Isles of Scilly, visiting many of the islands and enjoying a very relaxed sojourn in Green Bay on Bryher.

Newtown Creek
Green Bay, Bryher

Soon it will be time for Thalmia to be lifted out onto Topsham Quay for storage over winter and preparations for our voyage next year. I have made many modifications over the last 3 winters since I bought her, and sailed her back from Hayling Island in November 2016. I think she is well set up for my most ambitious trip so far around the coast of Britain – but she will get more attention between now and launch date in April 2020. She will then be 40 years old and me – a mere 69! Also for me, over winter, there will be lots of reading of pilot books and passage planning at home.

A word about my wife – she is being very generous in letting me have these 3-4 months away sailing around our wonderful coastline. There was one condition – that I raise lots of money for the charity she gives so much of her time to. Rainbow Living supports adults with disabilities, mainly learning disability, by providing accommodation to enable tenants to live with their peers as independently as possible in supported living. There will soon be four Rainbow Houses in Devon, three in Exeter and one in Torquay. You can read more about the charity via the links at the head and the foot of the blog.

I shall be sailing mostly solo on this trip although I am hoping to have some company on at least a couple of short stages. The idea is both exciting and daunting in equal measure. Managing the boat and managing myself will be quite a challenge. Keeping in touch with home and with others via this blog will be an important part of making it work! Knowing that the charity will be getting some additional funds will be an added bonus.

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Thank you for following Thalmia and myself on this voyage.

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