Sitting at home in Melbourne, the cruising season over and most of our time spent in lock down.
In March and in lock down we began loosely re-planning our our trip across to the UK knowing we wouldn't make the start of the cruising season but expecting to be heading across mid-season when all the 'Covid-19 stuff' was over. Looking back, how wrong we were! As Australians in Victoria we are only in our second week out of our second wave lock down as I am writing.now. Best of all though, we have our first winter in eight years well behind us now!
The Proposed Trip
Months ago we had planned our trip for 2020. We usually have to get the planning started within a few weeks of arriving back in Australia, even making some bookings for the 2020 British Summer before we leave to go home. This year we were heading off a little later than usual in mid-May, heading for Venice to go cruising in the Mediterranean for a few weeks before arriving in Britain and readying Serafina to head north via the Huddersfield Canal and the Calder and Hebble. In the process, passing through the Standedge Tunnel, the longest tunnel on the system at just over 5 km (3.2 mls), then turning on to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towards Liverpool or, if time permits, a trip down to Sheffield. A deviation along the Rufford Branch to the Lancaster Canal via the Ribble Link, then on to Liverpool before heading south again.
I suspect this will now be our trip for the 2021 boating season.
The Boat Safety Scheme Examination
In the meantime, in July and Serafina still needed a BSS, the end of June is our usual licence renewal date. I thought I had it all organised before the UK lock down with my regular examiner, before receiving a email telling me he had decided to retire and couldn't do the BSS. Then the marina had to close for lock down the day before the back-up examiner could get across to the marina. I'm sure there were quite a few boat owners in the same predicament, with CRT giving some basic guidance. I had to find my third boat examiner after lock down but ultimately the BSS was done with a few minor fixes and Serafina was licenced by the extended licence date which, for Serafina, was July 31.
Serafina lies in CRT water in the marina and cruise or not she needs to be licenced. We had considered hard standing her for the winter for a change and looking back that would have saved us several thousand pounds. That's the breaks!
Maintaining Serafina Over Lock Down
I had done some preparation for the BSS prior to leaving Britain after the 2019 cruising season so that was squared away. We are very fortunate to have a Scottish relative who checks Serafina regularly and does a bit of work here and there if required. After doing a few checks - batteries, bilge, fire place and mattresses, among other items he sent me over some photos.
My first issue to fix when I return, the stern seat frames. I found out over lock down that you can't use undercoat as a top coat this is what happens after a while. Not too hard to fix but I'll finish them off with proper top coat next time!
Rust again! But this is a regular problem. This is from the condensation off the roof where the chimney passes through the roof. A regular problem and the surface rust is easily removed. We wrap it in plastic at the end of every season but a bit of water always sneaks through.
The re-wrapped heater, looks like a good job, let's see how it goes!
And, the Battery Management System telling me the batteries are getting a trickle charge from the solar panels and sitting at 14v while charging. Hard to know what their resting voltage is but since they are well passed their prime and due to be changed, this will do me.
Next Cruising Season
Well I guess our 2021 season is planned but whether we get across to Britain is yet to be seen. Here's hoping!