Back in the water, but…!

After four weeks at the Mackay shipyard, we thought we’d be back in the water and we are, only we can’t go anywhere yet. Here is why.

Waiting for parts

The guys at Mackay Marine Services spent a few solid days working on the engines. Then things came to a halt when they realised the two water locks they got (some exhaust system that ensures water does not run back into the engine when it stops) needed a riser on each side for the whole installation to be passed and of course they did not have them!

What the waterlock/exhaust looks like

They normally fit another model but with COVID disruptions it was not available and they ordered something else. Only they forgot to get the extra bits! The two risers were ordered last Friday but are coming from two different places, one from WA and the other from Singapore – a delay of a week to 10 days to get here! We were not impressed as in our view this should have been organised a month ago with the rest of the engine kits. The sense of being back against the wall with no power to do anything but wait is overwhelming. Every day we stay here is more money down the drain, more mindless boredom, more cruising season wasted. Words can’t begin to describe our frustration and disappointment.

Dash before the splash

It was decided that everything which needed to be done on the boat while on the hard stand should be finished and Anui should be dropped back in the water and towed to a marina berth – yes towed since we can’t use our new engines yet!

Activity around Anui!

One thing to sort out before getting back in the water was our propellers. Here too we had hassles with supplies from Headland Engineering. First they sent us the wrong anodes, then the wrong bolts and now the wrong pins for our two blade props. It is infuriating. Luckily Wade does not throw anything away and we had pins from our last blades which were used to get us out of trouble.

Other activities: the auto electrician connected the big alternator, but has to come back for more electrical connections when – you guess it – parts arrive. Mackay Marine Services finished everything but the exhaust on the engines, John cut the perspex for the new cockpit gauges, Wade fitted that on and plugged the controls in and Wayne at Finesse Marine put the protective Prop Speed coat on our two propellers.

With the hull repairs completed, we needed to prime the hulls and re-apply the antifoul – Altex No 5. We decided to roll the black goop on ourselves to save a few dollars. It was the activity for the weekend – each to their hull, three times. It is a big boat! The good thing is that we won’t need to antifoul or be hauled out for another 18 months… or is that a bit too optimistic? The bad thing is that we are physically wrecked and don’t know where to put the hot pack: the back, the neck or the elbow! Chris is keeping the physio busy.

Meanwhile our ship cat has turned into an alley cat. She is the only crew member who was having fun in the yard!

Bengie exploring

Splash back time

At long last we are back in the water! We went in on Wednesday 14th July, on Bastille Day, while the wind was low, the tide high and the barnacles out of sight. Vive la liberté… well not quite!

We are on the move!

The tow around to the marina pen was an interesting experience. A very skilled man, Mark Gollow towed us in a dory out of the haulout pen, around to an outer marina arm and backed us in to a double berth while the shipyard boys caught our ropes… impressive! His words were: “very nice vessel, she does not like to stop though, does she?” meaning it took a bit of effort for the dory to stop Anui gliding!

Back in a marina berth… and look, not even stern heavy!

The first thing we did once settled was clean up the boat! The decks were covered with black gunk, a mix of antifoul and coal dust we suspect. Hours of scrubbing on hands and knees!

It is at least more comfortable for us now to be able to use our bathroom and galley, not risk life and limb going up and down ladders day or night and not have to put up with shipyard dirt or noise while we wait for parts to arrive.

Just wish we could leave! But we have at least another week to go by the time the exhaust extensions turn up, some electrical part arrives, all is connected, the sea trial completed and the engine installation passed by Yanmar. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Let’s hope nothing else blows up in our face! By now anybody who thinks living on a boat is one never ending holiday has not been paying attention.

16 thoughts on “Back in the water, but…!

  1. Omg! Big,big hugs to both the workers..and to Bengie because she always deserves them! Fingers are still crossed that we wont see you at Mackay marina. We are in ‘lockdown’ in Port Clinton: four days of war games over a big area start today and as we want to explore west of here there is no point moving north first. Xx

  2. Fingers crossed that all hurdles have now been jumped. I will be launching from Yeppoon on Tuesday when the games are finished.
    Certainly hope that I don’t see you in Mackay.

  3. Wow, I am so sorry that you guys have had to deal with the hassles! I hope you’ll be underway very soon. Yay for being afloat again!

    • Hi John, being afloat makes things more bearable. But we are so over the waiting, the delays, the problems with supplies. We are itching to go… So close yet so far!

  4. A story of understandable frustration, but beautifully told, as always.

    Does Bengie still have free access to the marina or have shore privileges now been withdrawn?

    • Hi Bill. We are at our wits end. Hoping this will be the last week of waiting. Bengie has lost access to the shipyard now but could wander along the marina arms, yet is uninterested and is staying on board!

  5. Wow, the saga continues, Chris, with some signs of progress and more delays. The final sentence of the posting sums it up well and could well be the understatement of the year. It must feel at least a little good to be back on the water even if you can’t go anywhere yet. Your patience and wallet are being tested in ways that I am sure you never imagined–covid has complicated the supply chains for so many things on which you depend. I remember last year when you were describing the problems of not being able to travel to certain places because of covid restrictions–those days now seem so uncomplicated. Still, you seem to be maintaining an amazingly positive attitude and you certainly are keeping busy–though that anti-fouling application does not sound like it was much fun.

    • Hi Mike, yes we are being tested to the limit and our patience is running very thin. There are times when I wonder whether we have made the right choice; we are committed now! Life is easier back in the water but it feels so close yet so far…

  6. Hang in there Christine, you are in a far better place than most of us.

    Could you tell me the name of your insurance broker, I remember you posting that they gave you good service.


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