Boat maintenance and the cost of sailing

 

You may have read about Rear Commodore Sailing’s other sailing during June around Cape Wrath to Orkney.  Those of you who missed seeing me back at Spinnaker in July may like to know we made it across the Pentland Firth into the Moray Firth via the lovely little harbour of Helmsdale

shadow fox 1

 

 

And on through the Caledonian Canal from Inverness with 24 tacks down Lock Ness

shadow fox 2

Back to the yard where we had over-wintered in Barcaldine, where because it had started to rain.

we hauled out again and drove home for July and summer in the south.

I did not manage to avoid a Spinnaker Committee meeting during July where the issue of Spinnaker Sailing’s Club boats and their replacement and maintenance was discussed.

So what does this have to do with my other sailing?  Well permit me to put it into perspective compared to our current yachting cruise:

In round numbers transit through the Caledonian Canal cost £200, which is more than Spinnaker Sailing Club’s annual membership fee but then the canal is a terrific piece of historic engineering with little remaining commercial traffic.

Haul out in the yard at Barcaldine for a month cost £400, which is more than Spinnaker Sailing Club’s annual pound space charge.

But that was not the end of our costs as it turned out that the cause of the vibration when we motored out of the canal in June was not the loose anode and worn cutlass bearing but a failed clutch in the gearbox in the 2nd engine that we fitted into Shadowfax 20 years ago.  This may look accessible in the photo but it could only be reached by lying on my tummy and working through 2 small hatches in the quarter berth.

shadow fox 3

So after a week’s delay, a slow UPS delivery, a couple of car hire trips between Oban and Glasgow, a change of propeller pitch in the MaxProp, a £1000 for a new gearbox and another £200 yard bill.  We have just got sailing again.

shadow fox 4

Our first stop was a free anchorage in Cuan Sound where an old friend from work days sailed over for tea in the lovely lugsail clinker dinghy he built.

shadow fox 5

we hauled out again and drove home for July and summer in the south.

shadow fox 6

I did not manage to avoid a Spinnaker Committee meeting during July where the issue of Spinnaker Sailing’s Club boats and their replacement and maintenance was discussed.

So what does this have to do with my other sailing?  Well permit me to put it into perspective compared to our current yachting cruise:

In round numbers transit through the Caledonian Canal cost £200, which is more than Spinnaker Sailing Club’s annual membership fee but then the canal is a terrific piece of historic engineering with little remaining commercial traffic.

Haul out in the yard at Barcaldine for a month cost £400, which is more than Spinnaker Sailing Club’s annual pound space charge.

So by comparison with yachting, sailing at Spinnaker is very cheap.  Our yachting problems would have been considerably more expensive and time consuming if Sally and I had not worked on the problem and solution ourselves.  Also Richard’s dinghy was a lovely reminder of what self-building can achieve

You may conclude from this that the Club dinghies are relatively so cheap to hire and replace that the Club should just pay to outsource the maintenance work, alternatively you may conclude that in order to keep sailing sometimes you have to spend the time and effort and do it yourself.

shadow fox 7

For now the blue skies and light winds of May and June have deserted Scotland to be replaced by gales and rain, as can happen up here in July and August so we are sailing back south and are currently on a mooring off the island of Gigha. It’s only £15 for the night and I was too mean to pay £30 for the pontoon so Sally could walk ashore.  Well I have to make savings somewhere.

Ian and Sally Campbell

“Shadowfax”

Gigha

Tags:

About the author

Back to News