It is now only three days until Troskala is launched and only 23 days until we set sail to Bermuda . I think that I have finally come to the conclusion that we may be slightly delayed in the launch of Troskala. This is not what I wanted,or needed but it appearsthat there is so much still to complete with such little time available.
As the photos suggest there is still an immense amount of work to be completed prior to Monday mornings launch with the electrics, varnish, seacocks and windows to be completed not to mention the fuel tank, upholstery, fridge and gas-locker. I tried to calm myself down as I walked around her the other day but a sense of panic came over me. I have done well to so far keep calm when dealing with the yard but as the time of launch draws near I cannot help but be very concerned about their progress and quality of some of their work.
It has now been five months since we asked the yard to move the refit forward by a year and have Troskala completed by the 02nd May. I do not know if it is normal that things are often left until the last minute with a panic occurring towards the lead-up if the launch but this is the case now.
I do feel angry that there is such a rush to have Troskala ready for launch and in hind-sight I would have asked for the completion date to be 01st April instead of the first of May but there is nothing I can do now except hope that all is completed to a high standard by Monday.
At the moment we are completing our last charter on Sofia. I would give anything to jump ship and spend the next few days in the yard overseeing the work and making sure it is up to standard. I feel like my hands are tied.
Anyway, only two days left until I never have to charter again and from that day my attention and focus are spent on Troskala and or course Carlotta.
We were caught in such a problematic and expensive situation. On one hand it made logical sense to sell Troskala three years ago and claim back some of the money we had invested into her, but on the other hand we could not cut the emotional ties we both shared and on the final day of closing a deal to a Canadian who wanted to buy her we pulled out.
Troskala provided us with the dream of escape, she gave us the possibility of sailing to far away horizons. For that dream we have paid heavily in marina fees over the past three years not to mention the cost to re-fit her ready for another ten years of sailing.
Although I managed to perform basic maintenance over the three years of her being on the hard I was unable to give her the full attention she deserved and she quickly deteriorated in the Caribbean sun. In hind-sight I should have paid to have her professionally covered to try and protect her from the harsh sun and 30*C+ temperatures.
We found that after three years all of the upholstery and curtains had perished. I only had to touch one of the curtains for them to fall apart in front of me. Our beautifully varnished interior also took a hit and faded in most areas internally and our external varnish no longer existed. The cost to rectify the upholstery has reached $3,700 and the varnish $4,000. We could have protected ourselves from these costs better if we had hade her covered.
We are now coming to terms with the expense of a yacht. I don’t think you ever truly realize how expensive it is to run a yacht even a small one at that. But we had no choice and we both knew we did not want to sell her. It was time for a new adventure; a chance to pass my Ocean Practical exam, a chance of a new career on a new island and the only vessel I wanted to begin this journey on was Troskala.
Improvements were needed. We had managed to put away some money and I was happy to spend some of it upgrading Troskala for the next ten years. I say ‘I’ as I believe Carlotta would spend the money on better things than a boat. Anyway, it was clear she needed some attention and this was the time to get some things completed that we had failed to complete before leaving London.
It is always a good idea to compromise in any relationship and when it comes to a boat Carlotta had to have an input in the improvements we were about to undertake. All work on Troskala has been carried out by Work Bench Virgin Gorda. At the moment we have to say the quality of their work is outstanding.
Carlotta decided that we needed a fridge, so this was the first upgrade. We have now installed a top-loading, keel cooled Penguin fridge. This is not a bad idea and something we really needed whilst in the Caribbean and it will make food on passages easier.
My big change was to finally remove the old fuel tank, check it, clean it and re-fit, but this time with a fuel gauge. I decided to have all windows removed, cleaned, resealed and re-fitted as most of them had started leaking and all the sealant had perished in the heat.
I decided to replace all the electrics onboard. We were still running Troskala with her original wiring and after over thirty years it was time to have a full refit. I have had installed LED lighting throughout Troskala and have installed extra lights in the heads, engine bay and lazerette. We have installed additional 12V sockets near the navigation table and fans to cool the forward cabin and saloon down. I decided to replace all our instruments and have to moved to a full set of Raymarine navigational aids, which consist of a chart plotter and two multifunctional display. (photos to come). All transducers were replaced at the same time.
We have upgraded our Rutland wind generator from the 913 to the 914i, as the bearings had failed on our precious one and it cost nearly more the replace them here than buy a new one.
I had our engine mounts replaced. This was not a necessity but more of a safety procedure. One of the mounts was beginning to look slightly worst for ware and it is not something I want to have to think about in bad weather on our passage.
I have replaced our old fuel filter with a racor filter and water separator. I hated the old CAD296 filter and I am pleased with the new one and its ease of use.
We have fitted an electric bilge pump to supplement our manual one. This is something I always wanted but never managed to get round too, so this was a good time to get one installed.
I have had all my seacocks replaced. I had installed DZR’s three years ago and all of these had started to show signs of corrosion. I decided to install Marelon plastic seacocks through out Troskala. I have become used to these seacocks as they have been installed on the past two yachts I have worked on and I am now more than happy in taking one apart blindfolded.
We have ordered a new light-weight spinnaker pole, which arrives this Wednesday. Those of you who have read a previous blogs can probably remember the amout of curing associated with our current pole.
That is about it. It goes without saying that within the next couple of weeks Trosksla should be polished and her bottom painted. I believe she will look and feel like a new boat. There is only two weeks to have her completed before we start her sea trials so the stress is mounting and my faith lies with Work Bench BVI.
I will try to keep you all posted on the progress and I look forward to sending you photos of some of our new kit.
P.S. My gratefulness goes to Antonio Alvarez who has kindly offered us a new SSB radio in exchange for a day sail on Troskala. Words cannot express our gratitude to you and your family.
It gives such pleasure to be writing to you all and to be embarking on a new adventure that we would like to share with you.
It would take such a long time to write about all that has happened to us in the past three years so I will save you all the boredom and try to sum up three years of our lives very simply.
So, where do we start? Well firstly, we did not sell our beloved Troskala. It is true that we got close but we pulled out last minute due to so many emotional ties. Well she ended up sitting for three years deteriorating in Virgin Gorda and costing us a small fortune as yachts tend to do. The decision however felt right and now I know that is was the correct one and we get to set sail again on our pride and joy.
So, back to our three years charting large yachts in The British Virgin Islands.
We worked our first year on a 48 foot Robertson & Cane catamaran (Kokomon), which was based out of Tortola., Carlotta as a chef and I as a Captain. After one year any too many charters we promoted to Sofia, a brand new Leopard 58. We were joined by Jose, Carlotta’s brother who worked as our additional crew- member.
We did many charters offering ten guests the opportunity of renting out a very luxurious yacht for up to a week. We have so many stories and are contemplating writing a book based on our experiences within the luxury charter industry so watch this space. The one thing is that the job financially benefited us. The wage was standard but what you could make on tips was sometimes mind-blowing. It was the easiest way to put some money behind us and that we did.
We found time in between to finally get married after thirteen years together in August 2015 in Oviedo (Spain). I have attached the video below for anyone who is interested. Thank you to all our friends and family and fellow cruisers who made this day so special.
So, what is the plan now and why have I started blogging. Well, for us there is only so much chartering we can do and around December we decided that enough was enough. We had been living on Sofia full time for over a year and the thought of completing yet another full season in the charter industry was too much. It is never a good idea to continue doing a job where you are unhappy or have doubts in what you are doing, so we looked to the horizon for new challenges.
During a night of many vinos with Carlotta we discussed the future and what we wanted from it. It was easy in a way to keep on earning good money in the charter industry but it was clear we were both becoming more unhappy with our job and at that point the decision was made to leave the charter business.
Originally we had planned to leave in 2017 but 2016 is our year and Troskala is now undergoing a major refit to get her back to the state she was three years ago before the 02nd May. When making our decision, we expected that I would find a job in the Super Yacht industry and go from there after taking eight months to cruise.
Whilst planning our future the subject of children always seemed to come up but if we wanted this we would have to settle and this time not in a boat.
As luck would have it I was recently offered a job to set up and manage The Moorings charter base in Palma Mallorca. We could not have been happier with the offering however the need for me to now be in Palma has put pressure on getting Troskala over the pond. Palma will be our new home.
So, the clock is ticking and we need Troskala ready to be launched by the 1st of May 2016.
Troskala has spent the past three years on the hard in Virgin Gorda and I have to say that these three years have been very unkind. She is not in the best state and in order to get her back to previous condition a lot of work and a lot of money are needed.
So, why am I writing this blog? Well, unfortunately we will not be completing the circumnavigation we had planned four years ago when leaving London. Instead I want to complete the Atlantic circuit. This has now become a passage of timing and endurance. We need to make Palma by the 08th July and to undertake this will mean that the timings need to work well without being dangerous. We very much look forward to completing the 5,500 miles on Troskala and returning her back to Europeam waters.
I would like to share with you all the upgrades and changes we will be making to Troskala over the next few weeks. I want to share photos and right about our successes and failures. I also want to share with you the planning I undertook prior to departure so that I am hopefully able to assist those of you who are panning a similar journey in the future.
I plan to make the journey solely by using celestial navigation. I hope to video every aspect of the journey and write about the various destinations we visit although our time in Bermuda, Azores and Gibraltar will be short. I hope to detail everyday of our trip and share with you the logs that we make and the lessons learnt
The following crew has decided to help me undertake certain passages with me:
William Bates – British
Ollie Campbell – British
Jovita Sarpnickaite – British
Jordan Bennett – American
All of the above have sailed with me before, some more than others. I thank all of you for your support and for supporting the crazy notion of sailing a 32 foot yacht across an ocean.
As always the blog is designed to receive questions so please feel free to ask me anything and question what I am, doing; I love the feedback.
Enjoy and thank you for joining in on our adventures.