There have been lots of major projects over the last few months but there was also a list of little changes which we’ve made along the way to make Liberation more practical and just like home. Lots of things we just noticed as we went along …..
Passerelle / Gangway – and other associated bits
In the Mediterranean – for those who don’t know – you nearly always moor with what is called a “Med Mooring” or “Stern To”. Simply said, the process involves tying up the bow of the boat somehow – either by dropping the anchor some way off the quayside, or by using a laid line in a marina – and then reversing the boat to the dock and tying it up on two points at the stern. Here is a picture of Liberation med moored with a laid line in Umag. In most marinas, the pontoons are floating – and our swim platform arrangement then allows us normally to step on and off the boat very easily, without needing to use a gangway. However, in town quays and some marinas, where the dockside is fixed, sometimes this can mean a big height difference between the boat and the dock and the use of some sort of gangway is essential.
As we don’t have the space or stern design to accommodate the cassette type hydraulic passerelle we would really like to have, we had to look for an acceptable alternative and we purchased a tri-fold design from Interra Engineering – which although quite difficult to handle, will fold neatly into three and can be stowed into the custom made compartment in the lazarette. Apart from rigging up the trapeze to support the gangway on the topping lift (a rope which goes to the top of the mast) and a couple of lines to each side to stop it swinging, the gangway did not need much in the way of installation – however, we did break it in testing as ours is longer than the standard design (we have three sections) and the hinge attachments were not strong enough, so we need to get our favourite Inox master, Igor, to re-inforce them. We had to drill additional holes in the deck and in the top of the transom to accommodate the slot-in pivot of the passerelle when the swim platform is both up and down – and we made further use of these holes by getting Inox Igor to make fittings for them with rings on the top which we could slot in to tie our ball fenders to when moored stern to.
We don’t expect to have to use the passerelle very often, but it’s a necessary piece of equipment.
I’m a person who does not like doors closed – at home or in the boat! However, you can’t just leave doors open on a boat underway – so Ed has fixed hooks and eyes to all the doors to fix them open in place.
Spring on the fridge
Given that the fridge is a top opening one in the worktop, it seemed crazy that there was no way of keeping the lid open to facilitate loading of the fridge – and in my case, diving into the bottom to try and find stuff! A simple spring catch was fitted which keeps the lid open – and easy to close simply by collapsing the spring.
Blind on the toilet (head) port-hole
Another crazy Bavaria thing … every port hole in the boat has a pull down blind – EXCEPT for the one you nearly always want to close .. the one in the loo! The additional blind was added – so now we are not on display to our neighbours when in the marina.
In the cockpit there was nowhere to keep cups, glasses or cans safely while underway other than just putting them on the table. While this is great for downwind sailing, it’s not too great when you’re heeling or bouncing around a bit. We fitted a wooden cup holder to the forward end of the table (of course varnished in the same style as all the other wood on the boat) and two netting holders at the helm stations which are just fixed on with velcro.
Torches and other bits
There is nothing worse than being in the middle of the water in the dark and needing to find a torch. For safety reasons, we wanted to make sure there were small torches available at various places in the boat. These were fitted with simple clip in brackets attached to the walls – by the door in both the cabins, and by the companionway stairs where we also fitted a larger Maglite torch as well.
Although strictly speaking this should have been included in electronics, we also fitting our EPRIB (Emergency Position Indicating Radion Beacon) – we hope this never gets to be used, but it is an emergency beacon which will be activated if it ever comes in contact with water – meaning that if we come a cropper on the water and the boat sinks, the EPIRB will automatically go off and send signals to the authorities back in the UK to tell them we are in trouble and exactly where we are. The unit is a registered piece of equipment including registration of our emergency contacts/next of kin back home who will be contacted in the case of an emergency.
Bathroom fittings, hooks and general tidies
The standard loo roll holder is inside the vanity cupboard under the sink … whilst it’s possible to reach this while sitting on the loo, it isn’t ideal. We purchased a simple chrome loo roll holder from the DIY shop and fitted that beside the loo and now use the standard one as a reachable spare. In the shower cubicle, we fitted baskets with suction pads to the GRP walls. On the shelves around the boat, we put plastic baskets to keep things neat and tidy and in place – and to easily locate stuff. We fitted towel hooks on the wall – and a towel rail in the head compartment.
We also got our Inox man to make some fitments to retain the corian sink covers as we didn’t want to always have the sinks closed and there was nowhere to stow them – he also made a custom-made retainer for the bathroom scales.
The winch handles were stowed in two plastic “buckets” screwed to the sides of the companionway to keep them safely stowed when not in use, and easily accessible when needed.
Loading and stowing
The final task was to find a home for all the equipment and provisions we have on-board and to finally empty the rest of the stuff in the trailer before we took it home to France – the tools and maintenance equipment were stowed in the lazarette with the help of storage boxes and restraining straps. The rope locker was packed with the practical stuff – the life raft, emergency flares and bolt cutter (which we have on board to be able to cut through fishing wire if it gets caught around our prop …. previous experience!), masks, snorkels, flippers and swimming shoes for those days playing around in the water, mooring lines, long floating shore lines, power cables and adapters and the spare stainless steel fuel canisters with petrol (for the dinghy) and diesel (for the yacht). Everything has it’s neat little place!
Down below, the bigger challenge is how to stow the stock of provisions we have brought from home and the bulk shop we do at the start of every season. We prefer to provision for long periods of time – and then top up fresh food more frequently as needed. We make our own bread on board. Every single space on the boat was stuffed with stock – behind the cushions, every locker packed so you can’t get a fag paper in, under the floors, every single compartment available. I made a stock list as I go along, as otherwise I would never be able to find it again or remember where it is stowed! Finally, we’re ready.
All that remains now is to gather up all the excess tools and stuff that is not staying on board, to load it back into the trailer and get ready to take the camper and trailer home to France. We are leaving on 16th (tomorrow!) to drive the 850km home to the Alps – it should take us about 9-10 hours hopefully. We’ll be at home for just a day – then on Thursday 18th we will be getting a train from Aime all the way to Trieste which will be an interesting change as train travel is not something we ever do! Taxi is booked to bring us back to Umag and we’ll finally be able to leave on our travels.
Can’t believe we are really almost there now!