Ultralight fenders, watermaker problems and dinghy security
Next Generation Fenders
When we were at the multihull boatshow this April in La Grande Motte, we were introduced to a company called Fendertex that is making boat fenders using an entirely new material and process. The new fenders are very light, have a cover built-in and are much stronger and more abrasion resistant than standard fenders. I ordered 4 of them to try them out and they are fantastic!
The big advantage of these new fenders is the weight. They weigh 1.5kg (about 3lbs) each. Compared to 5.1kg (11lbs) for the old fenders. On a boat our size this really adds up, so switching to Fendertex fenders provides a weight savings of almost 50kg! But even better is how easy they are to use. They are so light, it’s no trouble at all to pull them out of the lockers and put them out, a job that we all hated with the old fenders because of how big and heavy they are. Now that we’ve been using them for the past month, Robin has told me we have to replace all of our old fenders with Fendertex!
Since we moved Wildling over to Marseille, we have been trying to get some projects done before our trip to Corsica, Sardinia and Tunisia in August. Our spinnaker isn’t ready yet, so we will be sailing with just our Code-D downwind gennaker this trip. We did get the padeyes installed on the bows, so now we can fly either a symmetric spinnaker or an asymmetric spinnaker tacked to the windward bow when we have one. It’s a bit disappointing because I really wanted to try the spinnaker on this trip.
Carbon Boarding Bridge
When we got to Marseille we had a fitting manufactured and installed on the forward crossbeam so we can attach our boarding gangway (called a passerelle in France which sounds much nicer). We need this because we have to dock bows first at our new marina. I also replaced the folding passerelle that came with the boat with a lighter, non-folding carbon passerelle, because the old one was heavy and difficult to use. A carbon fiber passerelle is ridiculously expensive (of course, because it’s carbon fiber!) but it’s half the weight of our old one and MUCH easier to rig and stow.
Fighting Rampant Dinghy Theft
I’ve been a bit concerned about the rise in reports of dinghy theft coming from the cruising community, particularly in the Caribbean. There’s a very useful reporting service for all areas of the Caribbean that keeps track of burglary, assault and theft incidents reported by cruisers. It seems there’s a dinghy or outboard stolen every few days, and most of these are chained and locked in some fashion.
I did some research into the security of different locking devices and it’s pretty scary to see how easily most of the common locks and chains in use can be cut or broken. And while it’s impossible to stop a determined thief with the right equipment, you can make it damn hard for them to steal your dinghy. I went to a motorcycle store in Marseille and purchased a bolt cutter proof, boron steel chain, and a massive lock that fits around the base of the outboard motor.
I still need to get the ABUS lock for securing the outboard to the dinghy, but most thieves are only interested in the outboard motor, so I decided to secure that first.
Sailing from Marseille to Bandol!
Last weekend, we had some friends visiting us from Austin, Texas. Kevin, Ruthie and their children Bennett and Audrey who have been friends with our kids since they were babies. It was great to see them, and we spent the day on Sunday sailing Wildling from Marseille to Bandol. A very nice trip, and although Kevin had never sailed before he has a lot of powerboat experience, and most importantly, he knows how to tie a bowline knot! Bennett was really interested in helping us sail the boat as well, so they were both a big help and gave Robin a break to “socialize”, while we sailed the 35 nautical miles over to Bandol.
I was a bit worried how much sailing we would be able to do in the light weather conditions, because we had less than 10 knots of wind most of the way coming from dead astern of our destination. We gybed back and forth with the Code-D to build some apparent wind and sailed between 7 and 8 knots the whole way. It wasn’t until the wind dropped below 7 knots that we had to drop the sails and motor, but by then we were only a mile from the anchorage, so no big deal.
What the heck is that strange critter?
It seems that each time we sail in the Mediterranean I see a Sunfish. They rest at the surface and then flap off slowly when we disturb them as we sail by. I’ve never been quick enough to photograph them, but they are really strange looking creatures! Bennett and I were lucky enough to spot one on our trip to Bandol.
Before we left Marseille, I removed the sterilizing cartridge from our watermaker and flushed it, then when I went to run it, nothing happened. I checked we had power everywhere, then opened the panel to see what was happening. The fuse on the circuit board was blown, and the spare fuse blew immediately when I inserted it. I called Stéphane at Outremer and within 15 minutes he had figured out the issue and ordered a new board to be sent to the Dessalator dealer in Bandol so it would be there when we arrived.
We took Wildling into the port of Bandol on Monday, and tied up at the welcome dock so the Quick Service folks (the Dessalator dealer in Bandol), could replace the circuit board, control switch and LED card. It took them less than 1 hour, then they tested everything was working just fine. Stéphane had also told them to install a rubber gasket around the access panel lid, which they did, so we would be sure to not let any moisture into the panel in the future.
A big thanks to Outremer and Dessalator for the super fast service on this!