Domestic Improvements

November 17, 2010

We’re currently sitting in the ‘conservatory’ or cockpit tent to give it its proper name, J knitting furiously and me writing the blog. The weather has taken a turn for the worse, with heavy clouds appearing from the south and a spattering of rain, after several days of lovely sunny weather.

The last post left you as we were looking at the second night of high winds and stormy weather; it arrived as predicted and dumped another small sea of rain on the place, joining the lot that arrived the day before and creating an inland sea in places as the rain water failed to run off in time, leaving us to paddle to the loos.

Rampage in her new berth and minus her sails

We’ve met up with another couple, Alan and Bern, who also have a Bavaria 38, although theirs is the 2 cabin version. After a couple of evenings out drinking together and meals on each other’s boats, we decided to move berths so as to be closer together, as Bern and Alan were going to be going home over Christmas whilst we are going home in the new year – we could therefore look after one another’s boats. So we moved over onto M pontoon, away from the centre of the marina and we’re now facing north/south, with the stern to the south. This means we get the sun all through the day, a great bonus at this time of year, as it make the conservatory nice and warm.

Initially, we expected to be able to share Alan and Bern’s company for a few weeks but they had to change their plans as Alan’s Dad was not well and they needed to return to UK to help the family resolve care issues. They left on Saturday morning, dragging us from our sleep (well, beds) somewhat earlier than usual to say farewell.

Now, we need to bring you up to date on a few things. Firstly, the cooker on board Rampage has died of old age and general decrepitude. The final straw came when I nudged one of the rings and the screw holding it all together disintegrated; no matter what I did, it wouldn’t stay lit after that (the rings have a flame failure device, which stops the flow of gas when they cool down, thus preventing a buildup of gas in the boat, which would lead rapidly to an explosion). J and I conducted a lot of research into a replacement cooker, expecting to put off buying one until we were in UK in the new year, as boaty things tend to be a lot more expensive out here.

A hole where the cooker ought to be...

I asked for advice about the type of cooker as a replacement on the liveaboard forum on the internet and the answer that came back was to buy an Eno cooker (it’s French but I can just about live with that). As it happens, Alan had just replaced his cooker with an Eno, so we could have a good look at one already in situ in the same sized hole on their boat. So we priced them in UK and then trotted off to the local chandlers, expecting to pay 25 – 50% more over here. To our enormous surprise, the cooker was actually cheaper out here by about £200. Needless to say, we ordered one on the spot! Delivery was promised within a couple of days, so we sat back to await the call from the chandlers announcing its arrival.

In the meantime, as well as moving on to M pontoon, we’d taken the sails down from Rampage. This is partly to prepare for the winter and partly so as to be able to measure the sails up for replacement. The current suit is the originals supplied with the boat and they’re getting a bit long in the tooth. Rampage is now looking a little bare without any sail bent on to her rigging. We’ve asked a number of sail lofts to quote for the supply of a new set and we’re now sorting through the replies before deciding on which one to go for. One thing we have discovered is that there isn’t any such thing as a simple ‘suit of sails’. There are more options than you could get with a new car and the spread of costs is astounding: quotes have varied from an all singing set that Ellen McArthur would have been proud of to a more pedestrian set which will suit us!

Anyhow, back to Saturday and our disturbed lie in. We popped out to the shops to get bread and stuff for breakfast and called in at the chandlers to see if the cooker would appear that day; we were assured it would, so after breakfast, I removed the old cooker and dumped it on the pontoon. J has been trying to persuade me to fix the immersion heater in our water system for some time now (like, ever since we got Rampage….) so on Saturday, I finally gave in to the repeated suggestions and started to work on the thing.

The first thing we had to do was to clear all the ‘stuff’ out of the port cabin, so I could get at the water heater after which I had to remove some pipes and tilt the cylinder up a bit so I could get at the heater element. I then had a great time actually extracting the thing; as it came out, all the water in the cylinder (about 20 litres) came with it! With no real hope, I then trailed off to the chandlers, hoping that they might have a replacement: to my delight that had one, which I then brought home and fitted, restored all the pipe work to its original state, refilled the water system and turned the immersion on. Now, the thing is only 500 watts (the one in your domestic system is in the order of 2,000 – 3,000 watts) so it takes time to warm up about 40 litres of water and a nervous time was had waiting to see if I got it right or if I would need to do anything else to the thing. Needn’t have worried as ½ an hour later, we had water that was hot enough to scald yourself coming from the taps. Result.

The cooker, however, was another matter, as it didn’t turn up before the chandlers shut on Saturday, so we wound up going out to eat that evening as we only had a camping gaz type burner to cook on. On Sunday, we made a bean stew with a pack of dried beans we’d bought in Gibraltar last September!

J admires the new cooker

Monday finally saw the arrival of the cooker; it had arrived on Saturday but just as the shop was closing. It took me about ½ an hour to fit it: it is such a close match in size that it needed no work on the mounts at all, just a new gas connection hose. J is thrilled to bits with it, as it has electronic ignition and is all lovely and new…..

Anyhow, the weather on Monday was so nice we decided to cycle into Corfu town and have lunch there and do a bit of window shopping. Off we set at about 1.30, got to town in about 30 minutes and had a very tasty gyros for lunch. Things were beginning to shut for the afternoon break by this time, so we strolled back to the bikes, only to find that J’s had a puncture. I therefore cycled back to Gouvia (5 miles), picked up the repair kit, cycled back to town and fixed the puncture and then cycled back again to Gouvia. I’m feeling a little stiff today after all that unaccustomed exercise! J used the time while I was gone, to further explore Corfu town. Everywhere was shut but she was delighted to find a “Christmas shop” and also that the M&S here sell crackers. Christmas is far more low key here and we certainly won’t be attempting to roast a turkey in our new cooker but she is keen to have a few seasonal decorations and bits of food.

Right, that brings us pretty well up to date – watch out for the next “exciting” episode!



  1. Hello me hearties, just had a quick lunch of Captain Birdseye fish fingers and peas (none of your fancy nosh for me) and thought I’d catch up on your news. Glad to read that your domestic improvements took place with relatively few setbacks and complications. Extraordinarily envious to see you still wearing next to nothing and enjoying the sun. Here it is brass monkeys weather, snow forecast and I am wearing a pair of John’s long Johns! Didn’t you want to know that! Love and hugs Lizzie wizzie

  2. Hi U2,

    Did you pick the wettest place on earth for a reason? Actually it’s chucking it down in BCN today.

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