“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened”

Catamaran
Horizon

122. Upgrades and maintenance

It’s time for an update on our upgrades and maintenance. Because as a sailor you are always in the ‘Bermuda triangle’, ‘suck’ into 1 of these 3: upgrades, maintenance or repairs. There is no escape of this ‘Bermuda Triangle’, it’s part of your lifestyle when you are a sailor.  

Last time I wrote about our upgrades and maintenance was in February 2023, we are now half a year later, time for 10 new upgrades and maintenance actions on our ship. And let’s work our way from the bow (in the picture below on the right sight) to the stern (in the picture left):

1. The bow sprit

The bow sprit makes it is possible to carry more sail area in front of the foremast. We connect our Code0 sail (surface of 90m2) to the bowsprit to have a lot of sail benefiting from the wind. The bowsprit is connected with elastic to the rigging of the boat and due to the effect of UV, the elastic had snapped. We bought new elastic and attached the bow sprit to the boat again.

2. New anchor

In April when we were in the harbor of Barcelona we ordered a new anchor. The current one that that comes with the boat is a DELTA 20kg, it was still in good shape and working, but it is quite light for a 13 ton catamaran. We have experienced a couple of times that the anchor starts to scratch when the wind is getting stronger. And especially during the night, this is not pleasant. We have an anchor alarm which alarms us when the anchor starts to move, but we want to be able to go of your boat for grocery shopping or sightseeing and not have to rush back (which has happened a few times!)

Another reason why it became more urgent to have a new anchor in April, are the prices of harbors in the Mediterranean. Already at Ibiza (February) and Mallorca (March) we noticed the average prices for a catamaran of € 40 to € 60 euro’s became 2 to 4 times more expensive. And this was low season! In July and August harbors are many times full or very expensive (think € 300 per night). So if you have a reliable anchor, you can choose an anchor spot more easily even if the wind is strong or the soil is not solid (best is sand, but sometimes is mud or Posidonia).

A better anchor is a Rocna of 33 kg, but the best anchor is the stainless steel Ultra Marina 35 kg. We choose that one, it was delivered by a company and installed in the harbor of Barcelona. To this day we are very happy with it, we anchored a lot, which gave us a lot of freedom, peace of mind and already in 1 season recouped when it comes to saved harbor fees!

3. Tell Tail

The name says it all: on the foresail there are tell tails, these dashes of plastic tell you if the wind is blowing in your sails the right way. So you know if you have trimmed your sails correctly or should trim them a bit more. One of the tell tails choose to fly away with the wind 😉. We have spare ones, so Gilles added a new one to the foresail.

4. Lighting

There are lights inside the boat and there is a deck light outside on the boat, but it is nice to highlight the shape of the boat by adding a string of LED-light around it. This is actually our 3rd set of LED-lighting that we attached all around the boat. The first two strings of both 26 meter (!), we had wrapped in wide adhesive tape, using several brands, because it kept falling down the roof. Also because of salt water, both LED-lighting systems started to break down, rust or malfunction.

Three times is a charm, so this time we bought water-resistant LED-lighting, wrapped in plastic by the factory. Again 26 meters to cover all of the outline of the boat. We hope this time it works better. Our favorite color to use is purple, it already looks good!

5. Pulley for the jib

We are still working our way for the bow to the stern, and now we are almost halfway: the jib. One of the materials which come under a lot of pressure while sailing are the pullies for the sails. For instance the pulley for the jib catches a lot of wind, and apparently one time it was too much. Inside the pulley a part of the truckle broke off and the pulley stopped working smoothly. We replaced the pulley.

6. Navigation

We use B&G as a navigation tool. It was installed on the boat in 2019 when we bought it new from the Lagoon factory. We are not always pleased with the software: slow, a lot of bugs, but it is very accurate when it comes to depth indication or rocks in the water. So we still use it although sometimes we are jealous of boaters who work with Ray marine (since 2021 standard installed in a Lagoon42). We buy maps of waterways from C-map+, and they have certain areas they offer maps for. We have used the map for the Nordics, West Atlantic coast till Gibraltar. And once we entered the Mediterranean Sea, we could use it until the east coast of Spain, but then it stopped. So we installed a new map which gives us a detailed map of the Med until Istanbul, so we are happy to use it for a long time 😉.

7. Italian Maritime Flag

When we sailed into Italy in August, we changed our guest flag from France to Italy. At the back of the boat we always have a large Dutch flag being the homeport of our ship, but it’s polite to use the flag of the country that you are a guest of by sailing it’s waters. We had 10 guest flags on board, since we left the Netherlands the 1. Mai 2021. We sailed Germany, Denmark, Sweden,Norway, Scotland, England, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal. And for Italy we didn’t buy a flag yet. When we went to a sailing shop in the last city in France, Menton before entering Italy, we saw 2 types of Italian flags. The one we knew from visiting the country and you see during football matches in the European or World cup 😉. And the one that is in the mast of our boat right now. Which is the Maritime flag of Italy, representing the coats of arms of the four former maritime republics, Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice.

Clockwise from the top left you see the coats of arms of: Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi.

The Maritime Republics (in Italian: repubbliche marinare) were important city-states that flourished in Italy during the Middle Ages.

The city-states were republics in the sense that they were formally independent. All these cities had a government in which merchants played a major role.

The maritime republics had an essential role in the Crusades. They provided ships for troop transport and support, but mainly benefited politically and trade. The Fourth Crusade, intended to liberate Jerusalem, resulted in Venice’s capture of Zara and Constantinople.

Each of the maritime republics held overseas territories at some point, including many islands in the Mediterranean, including especially Sardinia and Corsica, land on the Adriatic Sea and in the Near East and North Africa.

The main four are Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice. The coats of arms of these cities appear in the flag. These states competed with each other both militarily and commercially. From the 10th to the 13th century, these cities built fleets to protect the trade routes in the Mediterranean and the cities themselves. In their mutual struggle they were part of shifting alliances and wars.

These four classical maritime republics are always named in order according to the period of their dominance: Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice

I find flags and coats of arms fascinating to know more about! Although, this flag that I found in a sailing shop has of course less of my enthusiasm 😉.

8. Cleaning teak wood

At the back of the boat, we have a teak wood floor on our ship. It was installed in 2019 by the Lagoon factory when we bought it. They offer also flexi teak, which is plastic. It is easier to clean, stays beautiful longer, but we like to real wooden look and feel and we don’t mind stains on the wood a lot, it’s part of working with natural material. We have teak cleaner on board to clean the deck once in a while, but we were advised to clean it with salt sea water in stead of the liquid from the factory (which is biodegradable, by the way). Because salt water does the trick as well and is more natural to the wood.

9. Distilled water for the lead batteries

This is a picture of Gilles adding distilled water to the 4 lead batteries that we have in the boat. The charging process creates heat in the batteries, which causes water in the battery (battery acid) to evaporate. To extend the life of the batteries, you must replenish this water every quarter. Distilled water is best because it is the purest water to prevent contamination of the lead plates. Pollution reduces energy absorption.

10. Servicing the engines

And finally, the engines, which are in the ‘sugar scoops’ of the boat, completely at the back (stern) of the ship.

We have sailed for 9000 miles now and sometimes have to use the engines. They are new engines (2019), 57Hp each made by Yanmar.

They are approaching 2000 hours of running now, so a service check was needed again. We changed the oil filters, diesel filters and the weed pots cleaned.

We are very happy with the quality of the engines, they are silent, economical (using 2 liters of diesel per hour running) and have functioned well for 4 years without a problem.

Grateful to have done the upgrades and maintenance this last half year again, although it is a lot of work and organizing (finding the specific materials, being in a harbor to do the work, etc), it is rewarding to do. And if you don’t do maintenance regularly, it will become repairs and most of the time, repairs announce themselves precisely at a moment you didn’t want things to break down or stop working! In a harbor in Scotland, I read this witty slogan that was printed on the wall:

“If you don’t schedule time for maintenance, your equipment will schedule it for you”.

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