Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong
This adage has again been confirmed correct. As you may already know, we purchased Venilia in Brisbane QLD, and had to bring her to Perth WA where she will stay while we prepare her and ourselves to head off and see the world. Since Venilia’s life has essentially been that of a marina queen up to now, it was pretty much her maiden voyage, and a serious one it was with a distance to cover of 3,200 NM including the Bass Strait and Great Australian Bight west bound, 2 notorious stretches of water.
And so it begins
<TODO: Insert photo of locker holes here> Our big shake down/delivery cruise was planned to commence on Monday 18th January, and I flew into Brisbane a few days early to prepare before arrival of the crew and assess what needed to be provisioned since I had not seen the vessel since the survey around 6 weeks earlier and was not present to receive the keys directly from the previous owner. Excited as any new boat owner would be on that walk down the jetty to the boat twirling my new set of keys, I noticed that the custom made boarding ladder that had been there during every other visit was missing. I first thought this odd, but concluded that it must have been thoughtfully stashed away by the previous owner in a locker for me.
Oh, how wrong I was.
You see, Venilia was a bare boat purchase meaning that I was just buying the boat but not the furnishings inside. In my mind, this meant I would need to procure things like galley utensils, bunk linen, maybe a new deck BBQ, and possibly a new flare kit. In the previous owners mind however, bare boat means you take everything that is not bolted down off the boat including the boat’s custom made boarding ladder that will not fit on any other boat, then you come with some tools, unbolt everything you fancy, and take that too. Finally, you do one last sweep to make completely sure you left absolutely nothing behind.
He unscrewed and took latches off the lockers people… $5 from local hardware store latches leaving me with screw holes to deal with! Bastard >:(
Oh well, thank goodness I came a few days earlier than the crew to get things ready! Onward and upward.
Three days before departure, learning how to boat
So, I’m on board, have assessed what I need to procure (easy… absolutely everything), and feel like a shower. Just need to switch on the batteries for the water pump and voila. Not so fast buster. You see Venilia is a custom boat, lovingly built by hand rather than popped out of a mould. The hull, rigging and layout of the bulkheads is all as per the designer’s plans, but absolutely everything else was designed and built by the builder and previous owner the way he thought would work best, including the electrical system. This would not have been as issue, except that, before I flew in, the previous owner took his money and went AWOL. No address. Phone disconnected. Uncontactable. Bastard >:(
I never got the handover that would have allowed me to understand all these wonderful custom designed systems. You would think a normally intelligent person should be able to switch on some batteries right? Wrong, it took a full day and a half as well as a multimeter to figure it out.
Oh well, lots of frustration, but I finally got a cuppa and a shower. Onward and upward.
One day before departure, trip to the fuel dock
After a few exhausting days running around all over Brisbane and spending a large part of the buffer put aside for the delivery trip on everything from bin bags to binoculars, the crew arrived, settled on board and time came to get the diesel tanks filled up for our trip. All went well, no surprises. Filled the tanks, went out for a little spin outside the marina heads to calibrate the new autopilot we just had installed and brought her back to her berth, easy peasy. Went out for dinner with the crew at the local pizzeria and came back to the boat to find a rather unpleasant diesel smell lingering in a boat that was, previously, quite notable for it’s complete lack of “boaty” smells. Crap! Pun intended.
It turns out there is a small leak near the top of the starboard diesel tank and the beautifully clean bilges were now awash with diesel. Diesel is stinky, slippery stuff. You really don’t want it awash in your bilges.
Diesel (napalm), son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of diesel (napalm) in the morning.
-Kilgore (Robert Duvall) – Apocalypse Now.
Oh well, a morning in the bilge mopping up. Onward and… whatever.
One day in, after a whole lot of motoring, “Hey, how come the new batteries are almost flat?”
But that’s a story for part 2 of this article.
Dear Paul. Congratulations on your purchase, and thank you for your hard earned money. I hope you enjoy her as much as I did. By the way, to turn on the batteries, ... bla bla bla. Oh, and the SB diesel tank has a small leak at the top. Until you have time to put a small patch on it, only fill that tank to 3/4. Fair winds.
There, was that so hard? Bastard >:(
Mechanic, electrician, carpenter, plumber, upholsterer, rigger, author, painter, sailmaker, navigator, meteorologist and captain of the S.V. Venilia.