Good ideas are often the simplest (but may take some time to implement)

With our fuel tank holding sufficient fuel for 500nm of motoring it is rare that we are ever short but for an ocean crossing with the potential for a lack of wind any extra fuel we can carry is a bonus. It will give us peace of mind being able to run the engine to charge the batteries if solar and wind generation fail or are insufficient as well as get us into a port. With that in mind Kevin had been mulling over how to fix fuel cans on the side deck since we left the South Coast last May. In Ireland we met a boat “Lady Menai” who had a plank affixed between the stanchions on either side of the boat. Each plank was drilled with holes through which line could be threaded back and forth around the cans ensuring they were securely attached and would survive almost any bad weather.

Mk I – Hardwood plank tied inside stanchions on Temptress

 Having turned down by reasons of cost and space, fuel cans in a sale in Baiona, Kevin has spent many hours since trawling hardware stores for suitable containers and planks. In Rabat he purchased two lengths of Havea (Rubberwood) for a good price and oiled them. Initially these were tied to the stanchions either side of the boat just forward of the cockpit using string but here in Lanzarote he was finally able to buy U-bolts so redrilled the holes and attached the planks outside the stanchions to give more space for cans and passing crew. The cans were found in Arrecife, a little expensive but practical sizes and strong plastic which we hope will be UV resistant for a few years.  Four thirty litre fuel cans and two twenty litre water containers are now secured in place using lengths of white cord, one cord per can so only one has to be undone at any one time. The water containers will give us an emergency supply should we ever contaminate Temptress’ water main tanks and provide a means for capturing rainwater if the watermaker fails. Just need a funnel now to direct the rain into them from the forward end of the mainsail.

Mk II – Held on by U-Bolts

fitted out with cans, looking aft

String stopping cables
disappearing down a dark hole

 Meanwhile down below in the forward heads a fluorescent light failed. It is one of four, two to port and two to starboard either side of each of the mirrored locker doors that hide our toiletries and first aid stuff. Replacing the tube is a simple task I’ve done before, unscrew the cover, replace the tube and hey presto. It was not to be; inserting the tube from the light on the other side of the mirror as a check revealed that the fitting was faulty, not the tube. The chandlery at Marina Rubicon hadn’t a slim enough 12v light fitting, cleaned out by the many other boats heading west across the Atlantic and not as yet chance to restock. Though it was nice to see that the ones they did have were the same brand; the Essex based manufacturer is still in business more than twenty years after supplying Jeanneau with light fittings prior to Temptress’ being built.

Grubby light fitting on starboard side

We pondered on alternatives for a couple of hours until John on Orion I, our neighbour on the pontoon showed us an LED strip light he’d purchased in IKEA. Originally meant for inside a cupboard, its slim profile, 50cm length was just right for vertical niche in the corner of the moulding behind the curved Perspex light cover. Even better LED lights are 12v so no transformer or additional wiring required simply snip off the supplied 12v “plug” and wire directly into the existing connectors. It was simple to attach using the provided sticky strip and screws. Not quite as diffused a light source as the original but it works and the light is pleasingly more warm white than the rather clinically cold glare of the replacement tubes we have. With the cover in place no one can see that it doesn’t match the other fittings and presumably it uses less power too. As a bonus whilst we were at it we removed the other light covers and cleaned away ten years or so of dust from around the remaining three light fittings.

Job done – new light strip on the right

During all this Kevin has been liaising with Waterline who will do the various repairs needed and fit the new rudders, JWS in Southsea who are building the rudder, Think Worldwide who will ship it  and Sancargo the local shipping agents who will import it on our behalf. It took a while to find shippers; too big to fly into Lanzarote at just over three metres and weighing 150kg including its packaging, the options were fly to Tenerife or Gran Canaria and put it on the ferry or ship directly from Europe to the island.

The latter proved interesting – by lorry from Portsmouth to Cadiz then into a container costs some two thousand pounds, almost as much as flying it in and beyond the limit acceptable to the insurance company who are paying the cost. However by road to Barcelona where the rudder can be loaded on the same ship as loose cargo at the start of its voyage to the islands, the cost becomes a more reasonable sum of around seven hundred pounds. It’ll take a couple of weeks to get here by this route (the ship calls at various places enroute including Cadiz) but at least it will get here. Southampton-based Think Worldwide have done this sort of thing for yachties before! So it’s looking like we’ll be approaching Christmas by the time rudder is fitted and we can do a trial sail.