Preparing for Relaunch

April 28, 2015

Preparing for Relaunch

Today, if all goes to plan, will be our last full day on the hard, so it seems an appropriate moment to write a quick post to bring you all up to date.

On of several Cornish pilot gigs belonging to Flushing and Mylor Pilot Gig Club of which we are now proud members!

On of several Cornish pilot gigs belonging to Flushing and Mylor Pilot Gig Club of which we are now proud members!

We had a very enjoyable winter in the UK with a wonderful, family Christmas with all our children and grandchildren, hosted by our son, Jonno and his wife, Lucy. Other activities included learning to row Cornish pilot gigs, going for lots of geocaching walks and seeing friends and family – particularly our daughter, Polly and her husband, Tommy who lived nearby. Much of our time was however, devoted to sewing canvas work. We made a new and much improved UV cover for our latest dinghy, new (and hopefully improved) mosquito nets for all the hatches, fender covers and a new stackpack for the mainsail. This last was a daunting operation since we had managed to leave back on board Rampage all the measurements we’d made – duh! We had to improvise and calculate measurements using photographs and information gleaned from the internet. Thankfully, I can now report that the blessed thing does fit! Our sincere thanks to our friend Terri for the loan of her splendid sewing machine.

The cover for our new (to us) dinghy takes shape.  It also took up a great deal of space in the living room of our little rented house in Cornwall!

The cover for our new (to us) dinghy takes shape. It also took up a great deal of space in the living room of our little rented house in Cornwall!

Just over three weeks ago we drove back out to Greece in our new vehicle, Bella the Bus, laden with things for the boat including the above-mentioned new dinghy. We had one night in Cologne, another in Munich and two more in Trieste from where we caught the ferry to Igoumenitsa. We’d not visited Trieste before and thought it was very lovely – lots of beautiful buildings. We’d have liked to spend a bit longer there and also in Munich but time was pressing as we knew there was much to do when we got out here.

Piazza Unita d'Italia, Trieste

Piazza Unita d’Italia, Trieste

Our main task this year was to re-Coppercoat the hull. This involved keying the old Coppercoat with electric sanders before applying the new. It is hard work as you are either working crouched underneath or with your arms above your head – neither is much fun. After two days of this we both had all sorts of aches and pains and felt we’d aged 10 years! Actually applying the coats Coppercoat has to be done as a single process – once you’ve started you have to keep going until you’ve finished. For this reason, and because there were only the two of us, we decided to do half the hull at a time. The resin, hardener and copper powder have to be thoroughly mixed for each application and you then have to work fast as the mixture starts to cure very quickly. The next coat has to be applied when the previous one is still tacky so there is no real let-up until the job is done but to our surprise and delight it all went very smoothly. Indeed there was time for a brief rest between later applications as they took longer to cure than the first. We completed the job in two days, all bar the patches where the props were and it seems to have worked well; the acid test (?!) will be when she goes back into the water, so we will update you all in due course. If it lasts another 15 years as the previous coat did, we shouldn’t have to repeat the task!

Rampage with her new copper bottom!

Rampage with her new copper bottom!

Other than that, the biggest job has been cleaning and polishing the topsides using an electric polisher we bought in the UK and an angle grinder with polishing attachment. Even with these to help it has been a big and tiring job with Duncan completing the last bits of polishing only yesterday. Besides this there have been numerous smaller tasks: bits of sanding and re-varnishing down below, gel coat repairs, replacing the netting on the guardrails, anti-fouling the keel and boot-top etc etc. (N.B. The keel is not Coppercoated as it was not successfully applied to the cast iron originally.)

Now we’re all but ready for relaunch tomorrow. Today we must pay homage to the Port Police, have one last trolley dash through Lidl and there will be the ceremonial cleaning of the cockpit. Oh and there’s the sprayhood and bimini to put up, a final laundry load to be done, this blog post to publish… While we’ve worked we’ve been blessed, for the most part with warm, sunny weather. It couldn’t last. Forecast for tomorrow: rain and thunderstorms. Deep joy!

Rampage (almost) ready for the off!

Rampage (almost) ready for the off!

PS: We had hoped to complete this post with a photo of Rampage being lowered into the water. Sadly however, relaunch has had to be postponed by 24 hours due to the excitement of a exploding water tank! There I was, quietly getting on with washing up the breakfast things when there was an almighty thump. At first I thought the hose had leapt out of the water tank filler nozzle and expected to see the hose whirling round spraying water over everything within range. However it turned out to be rather more serious than that. The flexible membrane tank had overfilled, and the excess water having nowhere to go, the pressure built until the bag ruptured, dumping 120 litres of water into the bilges. Tedious! Having sorted out a pump and hose the empty the bilges and explained to the office that relaunch must be postponed, we started searching for a replacement tank. We’d all but given up and decided we would have to order one online when we found what we needed, albeit a little smaller than we would have liked. So we’re all set for tomorrow and should still make it to Corfu in time to meet our first guests of the season who arrive this coming Saturday.

The shocking sight of an over-pressurised bladder tank!

The shocking sight of an over-pressurised bladder tank!



  1. Dear Duncan and Julia, All the best for another glorious cruising season. We were starting to get worried that you’d made full transition back to the land, so its delightful to know we’ll have your stories to keep us going this summer. We hope you got our Christmas email (is your email address still the same?). We wish you ‘fair winds and following seas’. With much love, Ruth and David

    • How great to hear from you! Will try to send a proper email in the next few days. Our love to you both! X

  2. Looking forward to following your travels again! The dinghy cover looks very professional – please can you post a photo to show how it is finished off at/above the waterline? We’re about to embark on our first canvas projects (outboard and then wheel/binnacle) and hope to graduate to a dinghy cover. Regards and thanks for sharing, Paul

    • Paul, we will write a quick post about some of the canvas work we did over the winter, with photos to illustrate. May not have time for another week or so.

  3. Bons voyages for the season, Rampagers!

  4. Thank you Lovely! Would love you to join us if you ever want a really lazy holiday once you retire! X

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