Thursday, 2 July 2009

Boffins on Board

OK, I admit it. I bought every toy in the shop and as if from some sort of electronic house of Bable they don't always talking to each other. Here Bob (at the base of the mast) and Mike (looking aloft) replace the cable to the VHF radio. That's the one where you shout for help as you sink not the one where you catch up on what's happening in Ambridge.

The problem turned out to be a defective aerial - water had got into the 'waterproof' moulding and run down the inside of the cable as if it were a pipe destroying its electrical charateristics en route. We were barely able to pick up Solent Coastguard in Portsmouth let alone anything further. Now with a new aerial and cable we can eavesdrop on French coastguards - which at least makes us feel as if we are in France even if secuely tied up in Blighty.

Bob from Greenham-Regis (an electronics company not a port on the south coast) also upgraded the autopilot software and for the first time the Raymarine kit now behaves more like an autopilot and less like a demented helmsman. Why do companies release half-finished software and then let customers discover the bugs?

The replacement Furuno cockpit plotter is now readable thanks to a new 'double-glazed' upgraded screen technology and the chartroom plotter is now talking to it's friend in the cockpit and exchanging 'sentences'. Techies reading this will know what that means - the rest of you may smile and look indulgent.

So we are all set - all systems are go - and as soon as we feel able to leave Mum and dad we'll be off.

Waiting for the Tide

The weather is stunning. Starquest was lifted out at Bucklers Hard on the Beaulieu River to have her bottom scrubbed. It was at Bucklers Hard that the majority of the refit was undertaken a couple of years ago and it was good to meet up with some of the people who worked on her, especially Bernie who is, without doubt, one of the most skilled and talented joiners around.

We bumped into Tom Cunliffe on the quay. Tom gave me my first sailing lesson in 1981. Great experience.

Our departure has been delayed as my folks are not too well so we are taking advantage of the extra time to sort out a few things. The electronics have been an issue - nothing seems to have worked as it should 'out of the box'. Greenham-Regis have spent hours trying to coax kit into working and at last I think all's functioning correctly.....but for how long?

The Crew

The Crew
On board at Lymington