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Sunday, 16th November 2014 – Not Quite The End Of The Season.

Despite a somewhat “iffy” forecast, we had hoped to get the boat cleared this weekend, but events conspired against us.

We decided to catch a slightly later Shuttle than usual in order to have a more relaxed start, but our weekend didn’t really get off to the right start when we arrived at the terminal and were directed onto an earlier crossing, i.e. no bacon roll for Kim! After a couple of false starts (aka Kim missing the turning to the services), we managed to get him some breakfast from a little Spa shop in Drongen. By the time we arrived in Kortgene, it had started to rain and everything was soaking wet. We decided that we would not start taking sails down on a wet deck as we didn’t want to be loading soaking wet gear in the car, especially as no rain was forecast for Sunday.

Instead, we had a very relaxing afternoon “on board”! In the evening we went over to Het Veerhuis for a meal. This was the first time we have been there since it changed hands last year. We were expecting an expensive meal, but were pleasantly surprised, although we had to pay in instalments as they don’t accept UK bank cards. Kim then had to take an unscheduled trip to the cash point machine in the village on Sunday morning to pay off the ballance!

We woke up Sunday morning to persistent drizzle and a wet boat. This was the point at which we decided we would have a second trip to get the sails down and the spray hood off. Kim then discovered, as we started to load gear from inside the boat, that the tailgate on the car wouldn’t open. It had been playing up for the last week, so wasn’t a complete surprise. Whilst the gear from inside the boat could be loaded into the car from the rear doors, the sprayhood can only be got in via the tailgate. So even without the rain, we would have needed a second trip.

As the morning progressed, it then became apparent that we could not have got everything in the car (even allowing for the fact that we had the roof box on) and having done nothing on Saturday, we would have run out of time!

The purchase last year of 3 inch memory foam for our bunk has increased the space taken up inside the car. Last season we spread the decommissioning over two weekends and that looks like being the norm from now on.

Our return Shuttle had been booked an hour and a half earlier – to give time when we got home to unload the car, so that restricted things on Sunday. As it happened, Kim got our departure timing muddled up and we got to Calais about an hour and a half early for our booked Shuttle. Despite being told that there was no room on an earlier Shuttle, we still managed to get on the earlier crossing, so that was a bit of luck and we were back home by about 6pm.

Now all that remains is to find homes for everything. Wendy has worked really hard recently to get things in the house tidy and suddenly everywhere, especially upstairs, looks as if the proverbial bomb has hit it. Oh well, it will save us getting bored over the winter!

Sunday, 30th November 2014 – Finally Cleared Away!

This Saturday we really did have a leisurely start with a crossing booked for 10.36am. This crossing was also the first of our newly acquired 20 crossing bulk buy. The bulk buy only lasts 12 months, so if you don't use them, you lose them! On the last bulk buy, which expired on the 13th November, we think we forfeited four crossings. That still left us with 16 crossings for £660 which worked out at £41.25 per return crossing. Considerably cheaper than our last trip at £70 (the last trip was two days after the bulk buy expired, we had planned to clear Emjaytoo on the 8th/9th November, but then Kim's Sheffield Reunion was organised for that weekend).

The weather on Saturday was pretty good given it's the end of November – bright, sunny and dry, but rather cold. The target for the afternoon was to get the dinghy & outboard engine into the car and to get the sails down and in the car. The boot had by now been fixed and we achieved our target. At this time of the year it gets dark by 4.30pm and given we didn't get to the marina until 1.30pm, by the time we had had some lunch there was not too much of the afternoon left.

The marina service centre carried out the winterising last week. This was arranged on the basis that we would have cleared Emjaytoo prior to that, so we had to accept that things on board would be a bit spartan. At the beginning of the week Kim got an e-mail from the service centre to say that when they removed the fuel filter it was clogged with sludge….

Dirty Filter photo 20141124_155352_zpsc373e2d3.jpg

…suggesting that there was a lot of sludge in the fuel tank. Their advice was to have the fuel tank drained, cleaned out and refilled with fresh fuel. Having filled the tank at the end of the season, throwing away 90 litres of fuel hurts! The problem is that whilst we have a 90 litre tank, we probably only fill up twice a season with about 30 to 40 litres. This means we are not using our fuel fast enough, it is sitting around in the tank for too long and marine diesel is prone to “diesel bug”. You might be surprised to know that diesel fuel can grow bacteria, which produces a black waste sludge that settles at the bottom of the tank. This can easily be, disturbed and end up clogging the fuel filters, even clogging the injectors (think engine failure!).

On Saturday evening we went over to Het Veerhuis where we’d been two weeks ago. Again we had an absolutely excellent meal. Given that the restaurant is right on our doorstep, it really is a good place to eat.

We survived Saturday night despite not having all our creature comforts – no scatter cushions in the saloon, having to use sleeping bags on the bed and worst of all, no loo! We had to make do with “bucket ‘n chuck it” as the toilet had been winterised! Some better planning next year will be required!

Sunday’s weather was supposed to be a repeat of Saturday, but it was very foggy all morning and the air was very damp. Nevertheless, we got the sprayhood down and in the car and finally locked Emjaytoo up for the winter at about 12 noon.

Ready For The Winter photo IMG_0349_zps12277517.jpg

The car was absolutely stuffed!

Car Full 1 photo IMG_0350_zpsfc8cd3a0.jpg Car Full 2 photo IMG_0352_zps627d97cf.jpg Car Full 3 photo IMG_0353_zps0f681df4.jpg

We got to Calais about an hour and a half early for our booked crossing but were able to get on an earlier one, so were home just after five. All in all, it was a very successful weekend with an excellent meal on Saturday night. There just remains the job of putting the last things away at home. Most of what came home two weeks ago has been found a home for the winter and this last lot will be found somewhere!

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