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Friday, 13th September 2013 – Is It Time For A Change?

A couple of weeks ago we got back from a very enjoyable camping holiday in the Lot Valley in France. The Lot is just south of the Dordogne and the weather was brilliant, with lots of sunshine – real shorts & T-Shirt weather. This is the second year we have had a week’s holiday doing something that didn’t involve the boat. To be fair, we did have two weeks at the end of May/beginning of June, cruising up through Dordrecht and Gouda with Emjaytoo.

Now, the point is, that at the end of our week’s holiday in the Lot Valley, we have started to question why we go to Holland and spend time on the boat. We have concluded that one of the major attractions is going away for the week/weekend and sitting around “en plein air” whilst supping a beer and enjoying the sun set – something we thoroughly enjoyed doing whilst camping in France!

We are now questioning the merits of keeping Emjaytoo over in Holland and the commitment involved in making use of her. In fact, we are questioning the merits of having a boat the size of Emjaytoo!

The way we are looking at it at the moment, is, that Emjaytoo, a 31 foot boat, is really a lot bigger than we need. With size comes commensurate cost – marina fees, insurance, maintenance, anti-fouling, lift outs and more recently, the replacement of worn out/broken equipment. We don’t need a boat that will comfortably accommodate two couples for a week’s holiday. In fact, after enjoying our week’s camping in France, do we really need a boat that will accommodate us for a week’s holiday?

So we are starting to think of something smaller – trailable, lifting keel, that we might keep in England. Sounds a bit like the MacGregor, doesn’t it? Actually, we are thinking smaller than the MacGregor, 20 foot as opposed to 26 foot. The MacGregor was too big to just trail around as one felt like it, which was probably why we never trailed it other than to take it to Holland.

What we are thinking of..... is a Cornish Shrimper 19.

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Kim is off to the Southampton Boat Show tomorrow and will be looking at the Shrimper to see how it shapes up!

Saturday, 14th September 2013 – Size Does Matter!

Unfortunately, the Shrimper did not shape up! It is way too small, crudely fitted out and, even second hand, represents poor value for money. New, they are just outrageous! It quickly became clear that we really need something of at least 23 foot. These niche sort of boats are not cheap and, in most cases, have not been around long enough for there to be sensibly priced second hand ones available. The other problem with a bigger boat is that we would need a 4 X 4 to tow it. So the idea of having a small cruiser, that we could tow somewhere for the weekend, is probably not viable, (didn’t we come to this conclusion with the MacGregor some years ago?). Obviously a lot more research needs to be done!

As for the rest of Kim’s day at the Southampton Boat Show, it wasn’t that great. He got an early start from home and walked through the main entrance just as they were opening at 10.00am. After inspecting the Shrimper and some of the completion, he then wandered off to do the usual “tyre kicking/window shopping”. The weather was pretty grim and the best that could be said was that it didn’t actually chuck it down, although it did drizzle a bit from time to time. A large number of the stands are outside at Southampton, so cold, wet and grey doesn’t make for an enjoyable day. Probably the best bit was the burger & chips he had for lunch! Anyway, by half past two he was in the car heading home. At least the drive there and back was good!

Next weekend we are off to Kortgene for a weekend on Emjaytoo, whereupon we will probably be reminded of precisely why we keep a Bavaria 30 in the Netherlands!

Sunday, 22nd September 2013 – Back On Board At Last!

After six weeks, it is so good to be back on board!

We arrived in Kortgene after a minor hiccup at Folkestone when Kim failed to stop at the French immigration booth. In fact he drove past it quite fast, resulting in the French official shouting out to him to stop. Wendy then tried to excuse “our” actions by saying that the French officials never normally bothered checking passports (which is true). Oh boy, was that a mistake! Don't suggest to a French official that his job is a bureaucratic nonsense! We were quite relieved not be be frogmarched out of the car.

Once we had stowed our gear on board we then decided to try and pump out the holding tank, which by now was nearly full, with the control panel warning light flashing. We timed our arrival at the fuelling pontoon (where the pump out is located), just too late and had to wait whilst a mobo took on about a 1,000 litres of diesel. We know it was about a 1,000 litres, because someone off one of the other boats kept waiting, said his bill was €1,500!

Anyway, after waiting ages for him to get out of the way, we finally got onto the pontoon, only to find that the pump out was not working, so we had wasted about an hour! The people we were talking to on the pontoon offered advice as to where we could pump out and we said we were heading to Zierikzee and would pump out there. A large part of the reason for going to Zierikzee was so that after pumping out, we could then flush the tank through in the tidal Oosterschelde so that it was clean ready for the winter lay up. In the general conversation, they said they had come from Zierikzee and it had been very busy with loads of boats rafted up. We have previously been in a raft of seven at Zierikzee, so know what it is like.

Having lost an hour and given that there was very little wind and we would be punching a foul tide, we decided that to then go Zierikzee and be in the middle of a busy raft with the inevitable delays that creates in the morning, it would be better to change our plan and go to Veere. We haven't been to Veere this year, so it had a definite appeal.

We had a good sail up to the Bad Hotel with lots of short tacking.

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Kim helmed most of the way with Wendy doing all the hard work on the winches. When we swapped over, Kim winched two tacks and announced it was too much hard work and we should put the engine on! When we got to Veere there was plenty of room on the outside visitor jetty so we decided to moor up there. This proved a good choice as, when we went over to the Harbour Master's office we could see that the Kaai was very busy, with loads of boats rafted. We had beer in the Yacht Club whilst using the Wi-Fi, since it wouldn't stretch as far as the visitor jetty. It proved to be a very quiet spot and the lack of electricity was not an issue. The extra couple of minutes walk to the showers in the morning was good exercise too.

The morning dawned very murky, almost foggy!

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It cleared a bit by the time we left, but the day never really improved. We had decided to go over to Kamperland and use their pump-out, but were nearly thwarted when it didn't work either. However the attendant suggested we use the bilge/oily water pump out instead. This worked fine and now all we need is a trip into the Oosterschelde to flush it through.

Our trip back to Kortgene started under sail, but there wasn't much wind and as often happens on a Sunday, time was not on our side, so we finished off under engine. Wendy put the boat back in its berth and but didn't line up on the finger very well. Fortunately Kim had rigged a bow line and was able to step off, grab the bow line and with some help from one or two of our neighbours warp the boat in without too much fuss.

Our trip back to Calais went without a hitch, although we ended up arriving at the Shuttle a bit too earlyand were not able to get on an earlier crossing. However, it didn't matter as we had a great weekend and reminded ourselves that all the effort is worthwhile, even if we do both feel the stress sometimes!

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