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Friday, 1st April 2016 - A Glorious Day For A Lift Out!

We'd booked Emjaytoo's lift out for 10:00 BST, so rushed off for the Shuttle on Thursday evening as soon as Kim got in from work. We were lucky and got on the 18:50, so got to the boat just after 22:00. A good run, less than four hours door to door. We'd had a picnic on the shuttle, so had a drink to unwind after the journey and then went to bed.

This morning was, as forecast, very sunny with no wind. Perfect for the task in hand! She came out of the water exactly as planned and the marina staff jet washed her and then parked her up.

It's been two years since her last lift out and we were surprised at how little fouling there was.

Last time, we had an issue with fouling above the boot line. The anti-fouling paint goes up to the boot line, but at the back she sits too low in the water and so gets fouled above the area protected by the anti-fouling. We obviously carry far too much gear in the cockpit locker! This fouling did not come off with the jet wash and by the time we got round to cleaning the hull the green gunk had hardened and would not budge. This time, again, the fouling did not come off with the jet wash, but after she had been parked up Kim noticed that he could easily scrape the green gunk away with his finger nail. Obviously, whilst still wet from continuous immersion the gunk is soft. So we grabbed some abrasive nylon cleaning pads we had on board and by wetting, scrubbing and rinsing we got all the gunk off in less than an hour.

We then went in to the village to get some rolls and then sat and had lunch in the cockpit. A breeze had filled in a little and although it was still glorious sunshine it was a bit cool.

After we'd tidied up and Kim had removed a few ropes to bring home for washing, we got in the car and drove back to Calais.

Our shuttle return had only cost us £60, not much more than we would have paid the marina to move Emjaytoo round to the crane had we not been there to do it ourselves. You don't get anything for free! Of course going out Thursday, coming back Friday was always going to be quieter than last week end, but it was sooo much more civilised!

We were a bit later leaving the marina than we'd planned so missed our booked crossing and the se-curity checks did slow things down a bit, but nevertheless we still did it door to door in about four and a half hours. In fact, we had a bit of a scare as the Shuttle pulled in to Folkestone Ė all the power went dead and the train ground to a halt! Kim thought at least it hadnít happened in the tunnel under the sea! A couple of minutes later the power came back on again, the Shuttle pulled in to the platform and we drove off.

All in all it was a very successful trip, the weather was perfect, Emjaytoo got put on the hard, we cleaned some of the most stubborn gunk off the hull and the return crossing was almost stress free. Next weekend, weather permitting we will be back to spend the weekend cleaning & polishing the hull.

Monday, 4th April 2016 Ė Shuttle vís The Ferry.

After Easterís ferry crossing we had decided that apart from our two week camping holiday in September where we have already booked a ferry, we would avoid using the ferry again. We would pay the extra to use the Shuttle.

Well that didnít last long! On Sunday we tried to book a crossing for our early May week on Emjaytoo. The Shuttle would be £172 return, P & O would be £100 and DFDS to Dunkerque was £84. So we will take a chance on DFDS Ė well, itís less than half the price of the Shuttle.

We then tried to book the Shuttle for this weekend. We could get a crossing going out, but the website had no crossings available to get back either on Saturday or Sunday, probably because it is the back end of the Easter holidays. It was looking like Kim would have to call the marina and get them to keep Emjaytoo out on the hard for an extra week so we could go over the following weekend. This morning Wendy went on Eurotunnelís website and lo and behold the crossings were available! So this Friday we will be on the shuttle. Unfortunately, the weather looks a bit showery.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016 Ė New Stern Mooring Lines.

As mentioned in the Blog entry from Monday of last week one of the stern mooring lines (the port one) had started to fray through. In fact one whole strand out of the three had just about frayed through. Last winter it was the port side one that went as well, although that was a cheap mooring line. This one may have gone because it was too big for the fairlead. The rope was 18mm (in an attempt to prevent it wearing through). There must be something about the port quarter. It is the one that gets the prevailing south westerly wind. When we were in the Binnenhaven we only had 12mm lines and they fared much better.

Anyway, taking advantage of Emjaytoo being out of the water Kim has ordered from Jimmy Green Marine some new 14mm lines and some chafe guard to put on them. So that will keep him busy for a couple of evenings.

Saturday, 9th April 2016 Ė Cleaning Emjaytoo.

The new mooring lines arrived from Jimmy Green along with some new carabiners and the chafe guard. Kim spent a couple of evenings splicing the carabiners on and attaching the chafe guard and by Thursday night they were finished and very nice they looked too. Cue photograph!

No photo! Kim did take a photo and then left the camera on the boat, so no photo to put on the blog till we next go to the boat.

Our weekend started on the 07:50 Shuttle on Friday morning, with Kim yet again deprived of his bacon roll when we were waved straight through. He will have to start having breakfast before we leave home, then he will be sure of being able to get a bacon roll at the Shuttle! However, it was a very relaxed trip and after stopping to get Kim a sandwich, missing a turning because we were talking too much and calling in to the Spa supermarket in the village, we eventually got to the boat at about midday. Hauling all the stuff up the ladder wasnít as bad as Wendy thought it was going to be and in no time we were eating lunch, thankful for the fan heater as the thermometer in the saloon was only showing 8 degrees!

Kim then set to work on the real purpose of the visit, namely cleaning and polishing the hull. The weather warmed up in the afternoon and with brilliant sunshine it was almost balmy!

Kim actually made rapid progress and was well over half way round by the time he stopped for beer in the cockpit. There was quite a party atmosphere as both our neighbours in the car park were French speaking Belgians and they were all out with their wine and aperitifs.

Eating our meal on board felt like being on the water - except when it came to the washing up! A few inches of hot water in the bottom of a bucket to do all the dishes as it then had to be tipped down the loo and flushed into the holding tank, but we managed. As ever when we are on the boat, be it on the water or 10 feet up in the car park, we were shattered after our meal and were not late to bed.

Saturday morning started quite grey and cold (thank goodness for the fan heater yet again!). Kim got set to straight away albeit this time with a fleece on,

but the sun soon came through and it was fairly warm, especially for those doing the hard graft. Wendy was, as Lucy would say, about as much use as a chocolate teapot, but she did manage to clean the inside of the cockpit, provide the food and, of course, the good company. In reality, though, she spent much of Saturday wandering round taking shots for her photography course and talking to the neighbours.

During our trip down to Calais we hit the torrential rain which had been forecast to arrive in Kortgene that evening, so not the most pleasant of driving conditions for Kim. We had also been warned by Eurotunnel that this was one of their busiest days of the year and there would be delays at the Shuttle. In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth. We were put onto an earlier crossing, sailed through both French and UK passport/immigration controls, picked up some beer and wine and were home here within four and a half hours of leaving the marina.

It was such a nice feeling to know that we still had Sunday at home before going back to work. Letís just hope that the temperatures have improved somewhat by the time we go over there for a week at the beginning of May!

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