This spring I have been very busy working with the boat so that everything would be ready at the end of May. Next I will present you some of the most important new equipment and modifications for this season.
Preparations for this trip begun already last summer when the decision about sailing to Norway was made. I made a list of all the necessary gear and repairs. I thought that I started working through the list early, but still there are too many things that need to be done. And like always with boats new problems come up as old ones are resolved.
One of the biggest jobs was the renovation of Volvo S120-drive; this project was started already in November and was finished in April when weather allowed working at the boat again. At the end of the last summer I discovered that the S-drive oil looked like milk. Apparently, sea water was getting inside the S-drive somehow. The S-drive was completely removed, damaged shaft was fixed and all the sealing-rings were changed. Furthermore, the Volvo S-drive rubber seal was changed, because it was about ten years old. This job was done by H&H Venepalvelu. I can recommend their services.
For sailing in Scandinavia, a reliable heater is almost a must. Dolphin Dance did not have one, so Webasto ST2000 Air Top was installed for this season. Webasto was chosen because it could be easily installed in the cockpit locker thanks to its dimensions. Also it was competitive in terms of price, power consumption and heat output. It takes diesel from boat’s main fuel tank which is practical. During winter lay-up fuel tank was also emptied and cleaned of all the microbes. The heater was installed also by H&H Venepalvelu.
Seago Offshore Liferaft was ordered from Jimmy Green Marine (UK). It was difficult to find a web store, that would be willing to send a liferaft overseas. However, the effort was worth making because the same liferaft is 500 € more expensive when purchased in Finland. The raft will be stored in cockpit locker so valise model was ordered. The Seago Liferaft was ranked best in Practical Boat Owners´ test (May 2007).
Nasa Marine AIS Radar was also added to the boat’s navigational gear for this season. Despite its name, the AIS Radar will not replace real radar, but it is a cost-effective tool for collision avoidance with AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitting vessels. All vessels of gross tonnage of 300 tons or more and all passenger ships are required to have transmitting AIS on board. This will increase safety at sea, because one can easily monitor movement of ships and also set alarm if a ship comes within some predetermined distance. However, one must be aware of this system’s limitations, since AIS radar will not show smaller vessels or other objects, like sea marks.
Self-tailing Lewmar winch was ordered to replace standard reef winch, which is mounted to the mast, to make it easier to reef and lift a dinghy to and from deck. Replacing the winch is still on my to-do list. Additionally, a third reef was added to main sail.
Leisure batteries were also changed so Dolphin Dance has now two 80Ah batteries for leisure use and one 80Ah battery for start motor. There could be more battery capacity, but fitting larger batteries would have required larger renovation. Consequently, this is what we have to settle for.
Navionics charts were downloaded for Minna’s iPad. Also a new camera, Panasonic Lumix G2 was ordered. We will cover those later.