Modifications and Improvements

Improvement schedule since purchase 22nd August 2012

Northshore (the original constructor) upgrades Winter 2012/13

Replaced Stainless Steel Water tanks (x2) and Stainless Steel Diesel tanks (x2) with polyethylene TEK tanks. Unfortunately, the diesel tanks were installed with leaking drain plugs, something Northshore tried to blame on others. Drain plugs finally sealed by Tek Tanks during major refit in 2023.

Installed a central third rudder. Northshore fitted shaft after the seals, inverting the seals as it was inserted. The seals were replaced correctly when issue discovered. Rudder was also found to be porous and waterlogged. Subsequently corrected and enlarged.

Fitted a new transom portlight to provide light and ventilation to master bed head.

Installed a deck-wash pump.

Installed Katadyn water maker. This turned out to be a ‘grey market’ import and not supported. The sea cock installation was found to be incorrect, causing air locks in the system. This was discovered on the first Atlantic crossing. A new arrangement was installed in Antigua.


Installed Air breeze wind generator, braces and charge display ,interchangeable with new outboard davit.

Installed photo voltaic panels on coach roof and charging display.

New outboard bracket fitted onto new vertical stanchion infill.

New transom shower controls and fittings.

New fender stowage nest fitted and mounted to match, port and starboard.

New horseshoes with new LED lamps and brackets.

30M kedge webbing reel added to inside of port lazarette locker.

Bow sprit designed and manufactured for carrying downwind sails with stowage arrangement in anchor locker.

New pulpit seat with integral SS socket for passerelle spigot if moored bows to.

Existing 30m of chain replaced with a new length of 100m with a spliced rope end and markings every 10m.

Installed storage arrangement inside anchor locker lid for anchor ball & motoring cone.

Upgraded electronics including extra auto control at companionway, AIS with new GPS aerial on coachroof.  New digital radar scanner, hailing horn at cross trees, E125 plotter at nav station, modified the binnacle and mounted E7 plotter at helm, repositioned Navtex aerial at pushpit, installed globe surfer router for mobile data with aerial on cross trees.

New display housing and cockpit table. Iridium dome in the background.

New 13A sockets at base of companionway, inside locker in galley and in front of nav station.

New plastic cockpit table.

Installed LED lamps everywhere (including nav lights) except steaming light and foredeck floodlight.

Re-instated 2 way switching in galley.

Installed new tide clock and barometer.

Installed pockets for binoculars and torch inside companionway.

Fitted new DAB radio/CD player with sub-woofer under floor at base of companionway. (Because of resonant vibration, it was later moved to rubber mounts behind the companionway steps with clear PETG cover to keep rain and spray from wetting it)

Installed bracket for stern passerelle attachment on transom.

Transom bracket and Passerelle

New folding passerelle modified for spaced suspension with wire suspension and lateral support lines and stowage bag.

New lazy jacks with small blocks rather than just loops for adjustment.

Two sets of 10M tripping buoy arrangements made up including chain weights to maintain the buoy over anchor and 10M extensions.

New stanchion mounting BBQ with polypropylene protection sheet cut to fit aft deck.

New wind scoop made to hopefully exclude rain.

Torsion luff added to gennaker and new Karver continuous furler added.

New Hypalon Zodiac Cadet 285 Fast Roller Dinghy sized to fit inverted on deck between stay sail and self tacking track using ratchet straps.

New 6HP Yamaha 4 stroke outboard (internal and external tank arrangement) with lifting straps and cover.

Wire strop arrangement for lifting dinghy.

‘Dried out’ up the river Avon. Dinghy lifted for convenience and security,

Coach lines repaired where damaged and missing.

Snap shackle added to main sheet at traveller so that the boom can be used for MOB recovery.


New Yankee jib and jib sheets.

New mainsail and battens.

Replaced spinnaker halyard and masthead turning block. Provision for second block.

Replaced inner forestay and staysail foil as the original foil was too short and bodged.

Replaced roller furling lines (longer on yankee jib to reach electric winch) and fitted jamming block on staysail furler.

Replaced spinnaker pole height adjustment cleats with jammers.

Added whisker pole attachment eye above upper pole track car.

Replaced staysail sheet.

Replaced seized coach roof turning blocks.

Made GRP masthead burgee stave served with grey shrink wrap .

Masthead Burgee

Installed a new digital masthead TV aerial and new amplifier.

Fitted plug and socket arrangement to all mast wiring.

Repaired AC system to Master cabin. Temperature sensor had not been plugged into controller as cable too short, instead it had been hidden behind pipework. Pulled spare cable through and plugged it in – perfect – what were Northshore thinking ?

New 19000btu AC system to serve the saloon. Installation included new sea cock and outlet. Controller matched to existing system so new remote operates both.

Hull, keel and grounding plate grit blasted and treated with two coats of epoxy and 4 layers of coppercoat.

Exhaust outlet re- welded, exhaust pipe replaced.

New prop shaft, stuffing box packing replaced and propeller serviced and balanced.

Flexible coupling added to prop shaft with electrical continuity link.

Third rudder split (new Northshore rudder was waterlogged) and 50mm added to leading edge and  100mm added to trailing edge. Not only has this 3 rudder configuration enhanced low speed  control but I have never felt overpowered downwind.

Larger central third rudder.

Third rudder seals replaced as the seals fitted by Northshore were inverted and broken because of incorrect fitting.

Gunwale teak capping removed, upstand infills removed (bad Northshore job with softwood rotting and expanding) new marine ply infills glassed in, width clamped back to correct width and re-sealed.

Rotten softwood infill in the deck upstand.
Repair work nearing completion.

Gel coat repairs to various deck and hull blemishes including reworking trailing edge of sugar scoop where the previous repair had been the wrong colour.

Optimised lip to lazarette lockers where too low at hinges resulting in leaking into lockers.

Re-varnished woodwork in the area of the companionway.

Installed grating in the bottom of the fridge so no soggy juice cartons in future.

Serviced rope cutter, replacing shims.

Fitted anode to third rudder skeg extension and replaced all other anodes.

Replaced keel lift pennant and modified turning blocks with new bearings.

Corrosion from electrolytic reaction between the aluminium sheeve and the Stainless mounting. The studs were corroded in place.
The roller bearings breaking up.
Replacement waterproof stainless steel bearings fitted into new machined stainless central boss. The existing outer profile machined and retained. White lines added to identify that it is turning.

Removed offending wireless windlass remote system which was causing tripping. I actually replaced the windlass thinking it was faulty and causing the tripping

Refurbished plug in windlass control, fitting new wire and plug and socket.

Re-seated starboard primary winch to (hopefully) address a leak.

Repaired saloon 12V. sockets.

Fitted new GPS aerial on coachroof to match AIS aerial.

Serviced morse control unit and replaced cables with new ‘silky smooth’ versions.

Replaced automatic bilge pump.

Serviced heads pumps and replaced some pipework

Fitted new holding tank sensors and gauges.

Replaced some portlight seals.

Replaced large springs on Med mooring stern lines.

Fitted mirror in fore cabin.

Installed steel strong box in mid cabin.

Split bimini frame into 3 bayonet locking sections for convenient stowing.

Replaced bimini yokes with correctly angled fittings.

Repaired stack pack.

Waterproofed existing bimini.

New reflective bimini with partial, roll up sides.

New bimini strap fastenings.

Leather rubbing patches (for bimini straps) onto spray hood.

Stowage bag for spare danforth bower anchor.

Reflective blinds (to fit outside) for saloon windows.

Iridium Satellite phone system with ‘red box’ WiFi unit and mounting strut to match opposite side.

Email compression system for satellite transmission, wireless and blogging software.

Fitted a new windlass.

Replaced Raymarine VHF radio, mast top aerial and wiring.

Had original Raymarine VHF repaired and now stored as a spare.


New rudder bearings, seals and greasers to a revised specification to eliminate the possibility of ‘pumping past’ in a heavy seaway. Rudder tracking angles adjusted.

Bruntons H5-485mm Three Blade Autoprop Propeller

New  Bruntons  Autoprop propeller fitted.  Variprop cleaned up and stowed as a spare.

Repaired and improved stack pack with wider flap to cover the zip to resist tropical sunshine.

Installation of new ‘Watt & Sea’ hydrogenerator (new unit returned to manufacturers in France as leaking oil while stored in outhouse!) including transom bracket with interchangeable fixture for mounting the outboard for maneuvering in the event of engine failure.

Replaced rubber flap seals on keel slot.

Additional skeg extension anode fitted as single anode found to have deteriorated disproportionately.

Installed baffles to minimise (hopefully eliminate) slopping into the bilge from the keel pennant access.

Two new fishing rod holders each side of the cockpit mounted on aft stanchions to clear boom.

New wind scoops made for the small saloon linear hatches and the two forward lateral hatches which fold flat for stowage.

Replaced engine starter motor, original refurbished as a spare.

Stowed a spare new 80A alternator.

Stowed a spare fresh water pump and accumulator.

Stainless steel profiled sections added to gunwale capping to stop fender lines ‘grooving’ the teak.

New gas alarm with interlock (and manual control) to new gas shut off valve (with by-pass in case of failure) and new bilge ventilation fan.

Replaced fresh water filter.

Third reef tack rams horns added to gooseneck and jammer installed on coachroof.

Replaced jaws on main halyard jammer.

Changed shackles on the original spinnaker lines so they match the new Parasailor lines and are more user friendly.

Hull cleaned and polished.

Coppercoat re-touched where necessary.

Fire extinguishers serviced and supplemented.

Force 10 Euro Compact cooker replaced with larger Euro Standard model with taller oven giving extra shelf.

Worktop and new cooker modified to allow full gimballing and closing cover. (Not foreseen when replaced)

All AGM batteries replaced and third domestic battery added – domestic capacity now 660AH. Battery link cables uprated.

Stainless steel channels added to the top of the battery banks to secure them in the event of a knockdown.

Central eye added to forward face of mast for the spontaneous connection of the new whisker pole.

Old  yankee jib serviced and fitted with a new torsion luff for mounting onto the bow sprit for ‘reefable’ twin poled out foresails for trade wind night sailing.

All instrumentation replaced with the new Raymarine E series (to match others) with the new acclaimed compass and auto control system. Wind display subsequently changed to the digital version.

Stainless steel rubbing patches added to prevent damage to the gel coat from the furling lines and the spinnaker halyard when used on the windlass rope drum.

Intermediate sized, more useable coffee table made and neatly stowed.

Cup and bottle holders (de-mountable) added to cockpit and pushpit seating.

Adjustments to door catches which had been found to burst open in a heavy seaway.

Retaining rods added to lockers which had been prone to shed their contents on unfavourable tacks.

Isolating valve added to transom shower to prevent inadvertent dumping (it happened!) of a tankful of water when stowed items depressed the ‘on’ button..

New TV (digital this time) DVD player and new, more versatile, mounting arrangement.

Vacuum formed stowage pockets added to the inside of various lockers to optimise otherwise wasted space.

New outboard propeller with finer pitch to (hopefully) enable achieving the plane more probable even with my weight !

Made a ‘boom crutch’ to brace and lock the boom using main sheet on traveller and new, light duty, opposing bracing tackle.

Added new high volume emergency electric bilge pump (1700 gallons per hour) with a manual switch incorporated into the main isolating switch panel under the companionway steps, a new legend panel has been installed to include the new switch.

Substantial security bars fabricated for the two large hatches locking using the ‘keyed alike’ padlocks, same as the cockpit lockers. They slide to expand into the openings and contract for stowage.

Security bars insert and lock into the two main hatches

Handy stowage pocket added to the pedestal.

Standing rigging replaced in Vilamoura.

Dynema gybe preventers added to the boom, cleated near the gooseneck for easy deployment using the ‘handy billy’ onto the lateral bow mooring cleat through the fairlead.

Two ‘fold out’ mast steps added near the top of the mast to allow easy access to the very top from the bosuns chair.

New turning block added to mast head and spare spinnaker halyard installed.

Large diving knife/scissors added to the pedestal.

Additional 12V ‘lighter’ sockets added, two in galley, one in Master Cabin at bed head and one in Forecabin. Useful for fans and phone charging.

12V socket replaced at forward end of chart table – pilot berth.

Forward heads Lee Sanitation dosing unit replaced.

2015 / 2016

Grab bars added to the aft deck with eyes and retaining arrangements for strapping spare diesel containers in place. Central boss incorporated for twin spools of 2” webbing, each 160 metres in length.

Aft deck bars with large webbing spools
Diesel cans securely stowed, strapped to the bars
Cans covered in a comfortable cushion and skirt to exclude UV.

Dedicated yellow brick satellite tracker added to stbd. pushpit.

Master cabin head lining insulated.

Replaced fresh water filter.

Master Cabin heads Lee Sanitation dosing unit replaced.

12V fans added to inventory, three centrifugal and two (cheap) axial.

Through hull for watermaker replaced with log impeller type unit with removable bespoke intake.

Withdrawable log impeller through hull modified and repurposed as a watermaker intake.

Former water maker sea cock fitted in galley and sea water hand pump added to the sink.

Karver K2 furler repaired (by Karver) and fitted on Gennaker.

Drop nose pin preventing rotation of the Watt & Sea bracket increased from 8 to 10mm diameter.

Dyneema ‘oversleeving’ added to jib sheet ends to limit chafe and sheets ‘overended’ so previously chafed ends become the cockpit lazy end. Dyneema section held in place with whipping and knotted into clew bowlines.

Second scissor type diving knife and sheath added to boom vang and spare sheath added to Iridium mast at the stern and two sheaths added behind companionway steps for safe stowing.

Rubber infill to anchor outlet on locker replaced.

Rubber baffle added to cutlery drawer so large sharp knives don’t continue to damage drawer end when pitching.

Cockpit RAYMIC VHF unit replaced. New spare sourced and stowed in waterproof box.

Water maker membrane replaced, used then ‘pickled’ upon arrival in Port Solent.

2016 / 2017

EV1 heading computer replaced and system re-calibrated.

Companionway steps removed, prepared and treated with 7 coats of the hardest two pack varnish. Re-installed with larger screws.

Watermaker filter re-positioned back to the original, more accessible location.

Reflective covering of clear Perspex washboards replaced – lock screw protected by rubber ‘foot’ to mitigate further damage.

Curtain segregating forward guest cabins replaced with opaque version for better privacy.

New hand hold added en-route to galley as identified on passage.

Outboard bracket replaced with machined solid nylon version.

Support struts to the Wind Gen replaced with more solid tube type. Longer for/aft strut modified into two halves to clip together.

Solid gimbal locks added to cooker for use in port.

New seat and backrest cushions fitted to pushpit seats.

New (blue) covers made and fitted on the transom over the shower fittings.

New spray hood fitted and zip changed on the cockpit cover to match.

Cockpit cover modified to tension with webbing and waterproofed. SS bridge fittings added between cockpit and traveller. ‘Button’ retainer added to dorade cover.

Two new twin 13A 240V socket outlets added to the Master Cabin.

Bruntons Autoprop removed and returned to Bruntons for service.

Prop anode exchanged for solid rather than ‘shell’ type.

Bow thruster anode replaced.

Ambassador ‘Stripper’ rope cutter removed and replaced with ‘Prop Protector’ blade type rope cutter – no moving parts to clash.

Prop, rope cutter, bow-thruster and log impeller treated with ‘Propspeed’.

Raw water pump impeller replaced with new model to take ‘screw on’ extractor and spare stowed.

Speed Seal (water pump impeller replacement system) knurled nuts machined to incorporate coin slot to assist if necessary.

The existing gearbox (KBW 20-1) was leaking oil and apparently obsolete. It had become noisy and the neutral position was becoming difficult to select. In that its successor was also obsolete it was decided to replace the unit with the new current model (KM35P) which is meant to be quieter. The physical difference in sizes is remarkable.

Original large gearbox
Original large gearbox

Unfortunately this is not a direct replacement as the new unit is shorter, the ‘splined’ drive shaft is a smaller diameter and the drive plate is a smaller diameter. This has meant that an adapter and spacer unit has had to be machined. In addition to this the output height is higher requiring the lowering of the engine, beyond the tolerance of the new engine mount nut adjustment necessitating the use of shims.

New 'petite' gearbox
New ‘petite’ gearbox

Engine thrust plate replaced.

Engine mountings replaced.

New earth continuity straps bolted over the flexible prop shaft unit.

Waterline raised 40mm and treated with epoxy and Coppercoat.

Skeg extension and prop shaft gland treated with epoxy and Coppercoat.

Coppercoat ’touched up’ on rudder, keel and sea cock outlets.

Gel coat repaired on stem and cockpit where poorly laid up and where pins (previous cockpit cover retention) removed.

Chain depth markings repainted – green, yellow & red.

Shore power cable replaced with new 30metre, 4mm, tinned flexible cable (to reduce ‘volt drop’) and spare 20metre extension stowed.

Gas struts added to two cockpit lockers.

Cleat added to end of staysail self-tacking frame to retain spare spinnaker halyard.

Forward Heads pump (leaking) replaced, pipework and diverter valve replaced. Jubilee clamps on pipework at the extreme of reach tightened as probably never properly tightened from original construction and partly responsible for water ingress.

Forward Heads shower hose tightened also partly responsible for water ingress.

12V outlets added to mid cabin and port berth in forward cabin for phone charging and fans.

Generator serviced with new impeller, filters and oil. Degraded capacitors changed to increase output voltage which should stop AC tripping out on ‘Low Voltage’.

New Mastervolt 12/100-3 battery charger fitted to replace faulty 80A unit. New 100A charger better sized for larger domestic battery bank and additional charging facilities enable individual charging of both engine and generator batteries.

Engine main isolating switch replaced as original lost its ‘spring’ feel which is the first sign of imminent failure.

Additional jammer fitted on port side of coachroof and tack line rigged to enable the third reef to be fully deployed without leaving the cockpit – discovered fairlead holes are an original feature of the gooseneck.

All the ‘Alcantara’ furnishings in the saloon removed and professionally cleaned.

Additional hooks added forward for the hanging of clothing etc.

Cupboard door hinges replaced where necessary and 170 degree opening hinges used where appropriate.

Modified manual pump stowed next to stuffing box to overcome air lock on AC condensate drain and to dry bilge to lowest level.

2017 / 2018

Kenwood TS-480 SSB radio installed with Balun mounted below the insulated backstay.

Dynaplate (giant) added to the hull for SSB grounding.

UltraSonic anti fouling system added with two transducers.

Liferaft replaced with a physically shallower container to free up access to the transom mooring cleats.

Padded canvas covers made to fit over spare diesel containers mounted within the aft deck grab bars. These will both protect the spare containers from sunlight and provide extra seating.

Lifejackets, EPIRB, PLBs and flares all serviced and updated.

Replaced ‘un-matching’ additional clutches on coach roof with two extra matching Spinlock CAM-0814 clutches on each side affording one spare on each side.

Fitted 12 ‘Rain Shields’ on coach roof portlights to make them rain proof. Ordered from ‘’ and delivered very promptly.

Rain shield with Lewmar mosquito mesh fitted


Replaced ruptured port side water tank which involved the removal of the two AC Units and the port side diesel tank which enabled the following improvements:-

Installed improved tank support arrangement for both water and diesel tanks.

Improved limber hole on replaced glassed in bulkhead.

Replaced diesel tank drain plug with correct fitting and inserted with sealant.

Removed black jelly (diesel bug) from diesel tank.

Replaced Eberspacher dip tube and made correct all copper pipe connections throughout.

Diesel tank connections

Improved AC unit supports and installed a second condensate drain.

Second condensate drain

Replaced blocked and scaled heads pipework in forward heads.

Scale reducing the internal diameter from 38mm to less than 20mm

Cut access holes to facilitate the above.

Hatch cover access to pipework in forward heads

Replaced engine starter motor.

Replaced automatic bilge pump.

Installed galvanic isolator on shore power.

Installed triple deck organisers mounted over the existing quads then installed machined aluminium spacer block to prevent lines being trapped.

Uprated the Battery charger trip switch from the previous 6A to 10A to accommodate the replacement battery charger delivering 100A as opposed to the previous 80A.

Replaced the domestic batteries with 3 off 200AH (apparently) AGM batteries. This was carried out in Ostia and the batteries were hugely expensive (no choice) and of dubious provenance. They failed within 3 years and were replaced in the 2022 major refit – see below.

Replaced the on board router operating from a mobile roaming data Sim card. Now handling 4g+ network.

Installed breather tube on galley sink drain to overcome airlock preventing water running away.

Irrigation pipework pushed over the spigot and extended to inboard of the sink under the worktop.


After the unfortunate failure of the Radar on the single handed passage, Nice to Venice, a new unit was sourced in the UK and shipped out to Nice. It was fitted very badly by French contractors who were awful, cutting and jointing the radar cable up the mast and pulling out the cable to the tannoy which is used as an automatic fog horn. Other French contractors carried out atrocious work (all in my absence and without supervision) necessitating substantial remedial work when finally returned to the UK. See below.

2022 Major refit – Hejira now 18 Years old.

August the 22nd 2022 marks ten years since the purchase of my then, 8-year-old Southerly 135 in Holland. It bore a different name at that stage and has since been progressively updated and refurbished building on what, undoubtedly, was fundamentally, a good solid foundation. Unfortunately, my experiences have exposed many awful shortcuts and shoddy workmanship carried out by the builders, during this dark and tumultuous period for Northshore.

My current refit programme will, hopefully, rectify the last of the residual issues while upgrading the facilities and systems which should then be good for the next 10 years.

The Keel/ grounding plate arrangement is generally accepted to be good for 20 years of use, so it is timely to carry out a thorough refurbishment. The exercise exposed another Northshore shortfall in that the keel bolts had not been tightened properly and some were no more than finger tight! Enquiries suggest that the Northshore staff prior to the subsequent sale and new ownership, were paid on a piece work basis so, they would be paid an amount for, say, fitting the keel assembly or for, say,  installing a tank, and this resulted in rushed and bodged work to qualify in the quickest possible timescale for the remuneration. Couple that with the disgruntlement of the workforce at the revised working practices introduced by the new owners and it was clearly not a good atmosphere in which to be building a yacht and I have been exposing the shortfalls of this situation for the last 10 years – what a shame when the ‘yard’ had previously enjoyed a great reputation for quality. So, here is a list of the work undertaken:-

The spray hood was refurbished with new windows on my return from Nice –  the original windows had become opaque from the relentless Mediterranean sun.

She was lifted in late July 2022 so the contractors can dedicate their time, un-interrupted with less distraction and pressures from other clients – that’s the theory….

The mast was removed and a total refit has been commissioned including the replacement of all standing rigging, servicing of both  job and staysail furlers and the mast winch. All of the mast connections have been re-seated with compound to prevent further corrosion from dissimilar metal electrolytic reaction. All of the worn mast, boom and rigging components have been replaced. The single line reefing system largely replaced and a new gas unit fitted to the boom vang.

The Jib Halyard deflector had been perfectly cut in half by the wire halyard. The jib wire halyard will be replaced by the dyneema halyard formerly used for the mainsail and this deflector will be replaced.

The halyards have been re-jigged,  replacing the main halyard with an extended (for MOB recovery) wire halyard to assist with sail drop (the  wire progressively adds to the weight forcing the main down and collects it more quickly in the stack pack). The wiring to the radar has been replaced, eliminating the awful joint fitted by the French contractors, the tannoy wiring  has also been replaced. A new new 4g aerial has been fitted to the lower cross trees.

An additional multifunction instrument display has been fitted over the companionway. The Northern Europe digital chart updated – lots of wind farms built recently!

The dubious battery replacements fitted in Ostia (Rome) in 2019 at great expense have failed and not holding charge – even overnight. They have been replaced by 3 x 210AH Rolls AGM Batteries –  the dip switch settings have been checked.

I had formerly remade the two keel pennant sheeves using stainless waterproof bearings and stainless central hubs to overcome the electrolytic corrosion and they operated perfectly ever since. Unfortunately, I had retained the outer profiled aluminium elements and they have corroded. They have been remade in stainless steel.

The hull coppercoat  has been completely sanded back in preparation for the application of 3 coats of Hempel Silic One. This having the (apparent) advantage of long life and easy re-application. Time will tell. All hull issues addressed.

Very poor lamination around the bow thruster tube. The bow thruster arrangement was apparently fitted in Itchenor whereas the hull was laid up very well at a specialist facility in Havant. The whole area, both sides have been stripped back, re-laid and faired in properly.
Poor lamination around the bow thruster tube removed and hull ‘peeled’ in preparation for glassing back in
Coppercoat sanded back to expose former layers. The hull is perfectly dry with the exception of the blue coloured ‘laid in’ ‘boot top’ band which extended below the (raised) waterline. Heavy pigmenting to achieve the dark colour has compromised the gel coat integrity and this band shows the only areas of dampness on the hull. The band has been ‘peeled’ all round and re-glassed.
The blue gel coat removed.
The blue gel coat removed at the stern where it had broadened.

The two diesel tanks having been removed to access the grounding plate fixing bolts, I have taken the opportunity to return them to Tek-Tanks for modification. My concern is that with the inexorable introduction of ‘Bio Diesel’ in the fuel supply network, there will be an inevitable increase in the prevalence of diesel bug given that yacht fuel tanks tend to be more ‘dormant’ than other users. I have therefore taken the decision that continual filtration (polishing) of the bottom of the tanks where the bug jelly and water will collect is becoming a priority. Tek-Tanks have fitted new large bore dip tubes to the bottom of the tanks with return glands in preparation for the installation of a fuel polishing unit. The tanks have been cleaned and the inspection hatch gaskets have been replaced. The drain plugs have been sealed in and the tanks flushed of any residual contamination.

The hydraulic ram, pump and valve assembly that operates the keel was removed and taken to B.C.H Services near Canterbury for a comprehensive refurbishment and service. They replaced the rod (which was pitted), all seals, hoses, wiring and repainted the ram .

The 29 bolts fixing the cast iron keel and grounding plate were exposed necessitating the removal of the two diesel tanks, two water tanks, two air conditioning units, the generator, the hydraulic pump assembly, the domestic batteries the aft holding tank and various ‘glassed in’ bulkheads and features. The hull was then lifted off the keel assembly.

The hull being lifted off the grounding plate/keel assembly.

It was returned to the Iron Brothers foundry in Cornwall for refurbishment including fitting a new stainless steel ‘header’ assembly, grit blasting and epoxy treatment.

Cast iron grounding plate/keel assembly awaiting collection by the foundry for refurbishment.
Keel loaded onto the lorry to transport to the Iron Brothers foundry in Cornwall.

The sails were laundered, new U/V strips added to the jib and staysail, they were inspected and repaired as necessary. The ‘stack pack’ was repaired and the reefing access zips replaced. A new bonnet was made with a more convenient zip arrangement at the mast with protective flaps. New, more convenient elasticated tension straps installed. A replacement screen for the transparent washboards was made in the matching blue acrylic.

14th November 2022, the keel returns following refurbishment in Cornwall. Weighing 3630 Kg, it was craned from the transport. Note the replacement stainless steel lifting/clamping bracket.
The keel in its climate controlled housing. It had to be enclosed to be sure of the integrity of the coating application
The keel and grounding plate having been ‘faired’ and 6 coats of epoxy and three of Hempel Silic one applied.

Keel pennant replaced and a new, substantial, stainless steel and nylon clamp installed.

The new, last minute, pennant clamp and spots on the new sheave to show that it is rotating.

The generator internal sound insulation replaced. Sound insulation around the generator also replaced.

Diesel filter system, known as ‘fuel polishing’…

The mastic around the saloon windows ‘dug out’ as, although not yet leaking, the seal was showing signs of degradation and it was timely to reseal. The sealant used was Sabatack 760 XL, which is a UV resistant bond and seal especially for windows.

A remote control for the keel has installed on a flexible, coiled cable so the keel can be easily aligned, when raised, for the insertion of the pin to allow the hydraulics to be relaxed onto the pin.

Various gelcoat blemishes addressed with colour matched (The hull is an off white) Scott Bader 3969.

All 4 jib track stop ends replaced.

The grounding strap from the mast to the hull plate replaced.

Holding tank gauge illumination changed for LED and the aft tank wiring corrected after tank re-installation.

4 thoughts on “Modifications and Improvements

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  1. One important piece of new information from the METS Trade in Amsterdam,
    The Maretron Mast Head Ultrasonic weather station will become available again in February. This is a no moving parts (birds can’t destroy it) wind wind direction temperature humidity etc device. Delos has had one for years, and I asked Brian recently how it performed. He said flawlessly. It is about €700.

  2. Bugger! That is one hell of a list ie hard act to follow…….from the top that is.

    I am going to go through your update list and tick off every item on Aurora Leigh (soon to be abbreviated to SV A’Leigh).

    One thing I don’t easily see on that list is “service anchor winch”. I had to do mine when it just didn’t work ahead of a pre sail check list (bow thruster didn’t work either).
    My advice would be to replace the winch. If and when water gets inside it makes a real mess. The other thing you’ll find is the stupid position they put the electrical box for the Winch. I damaged my QL muscle distorting my self into the impossible position I had to achieve to get the box out. Don’t do it yourself, get someone smaller and more nimble. Once out I have mounted it on a hinge plate which brings the box into the middle of the opening and facing out for easy servicing.
    Fixing the bow thruster turned out to be easy. The solenoids have a push pin which can freeze in the guides and will require freeing and greasing. Once the problem was identified my stress level went way down.
    I have designed a quick connect 38mm hose connection so servicing those big hoses which include the bilge waste line. If you would like I will send you the model so you can 3D print and evaluate it.
    On the batteries I am half way through a full refurbishment. I decided to do a split system with AGM’s for the house bank (same capacity as yours) and a separate system in a metal housing for everything in the solar section (faraday cage I hope) with 8Kw of MG Lithium charging the Housebank via 100 Amp DC/DC converter. I have the DC panel now in a cupboard door with the full bus system and isolator switches on a single panel. Much better than the original under stair arrangement which was dangerous.
    You’ve given me a focus now so I will work up a log like yours with photos.
    This is a good direction. Thanks.
    And thanks for the keel removal photos, I can now see the process, and it isn’t that scary.
    If you are going to run any 19mm rubber hoses check out the properties of SwageLock hoses. Far superior for both durability, temperature, pressure (300PSI), and oil resistance.

  3. I saw your CA talk and was intrigued to see more about your underwater breather but can’t see it in your tech section. Is it hidden elsewhere?
    many thanks

    1. Sorry Simon, it is actually in the ‘Articles’ section under ‘Breathing Underwater’ and I have now written it as a blog called ‘Not quite SCUBA’. Search in the search facility.
      I apologise if you have been on a ‘wild goose chase’.

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