Showing posts from November, 2016

Keeping Bandit Warm Over Winter


When we purchased the boat, we were discover to find that the previous owner had installed two, 1m long, thermostatically controlled tubular heaters in the engine bay, either side of the engines. Since getting Bandit, we've re-wired the 240V system and they can now be turned on via an easily accessible switch instead of having to plug and unplug them in the engine bay.

The problem is without engine set up is that the starboard engine has a heat exchanger and therefore can be protected with anti-freeze. The port engine is raw water cooled (directly from the river) and cannot have anti-freeze added to its water system. This is why it's so incredibly important to ensure engine bay heaters are fitted and turned on when the weather gets cold. Spending £100 on a set of engine bay heaters can save you thousands. It's an expensive thing to put right if the engine water freezes and pipes burst etc.

Anyway, we're exp…

Running an Inverter?

The only downside to being away from the marina is the loss of 240V via shore power hook up. I am forever using my Macbook and the problem is that I cannot charge it while we're out on the river. We had considered fitting a 12v to 240v inverter before but for some reason I thought you needed a huge bank of domestic batteries to make it work. Turns out we were wrong and that we are in fact able to run a smaller inverter from the two 12v 110amp/hr batteries. We've purchased a new 150W 'Modified Sine Wave' inverter to fit to Bandit so I can charge my Macbook while we're out on the river at the weekends or while on holiday. My Macbook charger is only 65W so it's more than capable. The other things is that should we want to run any other 240v accessory, we now have a place to power it.

The unit cost near enough £30 and included the unit itself, a 12V plug socket cable (to plug into a 12V cigarette socket), a crocodile clip cable (to connect straight to the battery),…


This is the 100th post on the blog today. Nothing too exciting or different to report but it is quite a milestone. Looking back, we've completed so much to and with our Sealine 290 Ambassador.
A photos of Bandit and our previous boat, Bliss the day after she returned to the River Great Ouse on the 13th January 2016:
Bring on the 2017 boating season!!

Bandit's Big Refit - Part 4: Arrival of New Bits

Recently, we've had a couple of deliveries. We're getting closer and closer to having everything ready for the refurbishment of Bandit's cabin. Not only is this project a refurb for the galley but also the rest of the cabin.

So, what's new?

We've purchased and had delivered seven new chrome plated cupboard latches for the new cupboard doors. They're exactly the same as the brass ones just in chrome which looks nicer in general but will go better with the white wood.

We've also purchased and had delivered all the new doors in this white wood. This includes three large doors (two in the cabin and the one ensuite), two cupboard doors for the galley, one cupboard door in the saloon, four drawer fronts for the saloon, one wardrobe door in the guest cabin, a cupboard door above that and another cupboard door for the guest cabin too. The details for the wood we've chosen are: H3078 ST22 Hacienda White Wood.
The next thing we've had delivered are three new …

Sunset in the Marina

The 2016 winter crane out at our marina was completed today and I was able to move Bandit back to her floating pontoon again. The water levels are expected to rise due to large amounts of rain over the course of the week and therefore we would prefer to have Bandit on her own mooring that goes up and down with the water levels. No having to worry about ropes and getting to and from the boat etc.

A sailed her round this evening with the sun setting. It was truly fantastic.

A Rather Strange Sight

Today was the first of two days dedicated to craning the boats out in the marina for winter. In total, we will be craning out 55 boats - considerably less than the usual 80+ boats we have to lift for winter. I came straight from college to have a look and lend a hand if needed.

It's quite a strange sight to see the boats dangling 50 feet above the water from a sling... It's quite a nail-biting thing to witness but they've done it countless many times without incident so be assured it's all very safe and thoroughly planned through. All the staff involved wear different coloured high-vis jackets depending on their role on that day. It was quite a windy day today which can't have made anything easier. As far as I know, over half of the boats are on land today and the ones which are still afloat will be lifted tomorrow. It took about 5 minutes to prepare and chock each boat before moving onto the next one. Not only were some of the staff busy craning out boats but the …

Safety First

Today I completed a couple of tasks that needed doing.

Firstly we purchased a second Carbon Monoxide alarm for the guest cabin. Where the only opening window in this cabin is in the cockpit, exhaust fumes sometimes gather in the aft cabin if the window is open. I've always worried about this so I thought it was a good idea to stick an alarm in there to watch out for this 'silent killer'. Better safe than sorry.

End of the Boating Season

We came down to the boat last night to find that things had been moved around. The annual crane-out for the boats in the marina happens this coming Tuesday and the boatyard have started preparing the boats. The fifty boats that are coming out this year have been grouped together and the ones that aren't have been moved away onto other moorings. We asked them to leave Bandit where she was and we'd move her today.

We woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky but slippy frost on the pontoon. I had a couple of slips but managed to not fall in which is always a good thing. Seeing all the boats in different places indicates, for us, the end of the boating season. Thankfully, Bandit will not be coming out for the couple of months this year which is nice. She'll be coming out for a couple of weeks / one month to have work done later next month with any luck but that doesn't matter. I'm quite looking forward to it if anything.

After leaving time to wake up and warm up, w…

The Bow Thruster Project - Part 4: Further Plans

Time is ticking away and we're near to having Bandit out on land for some work done. We've decided finally that we will have Bandit out on the slip way on a trailer for a month in our marina instead of having her out the water on chocks for a couple of months. Due to damaged caused on our last trip away to Ely, we have had a little rethink regarding the thruster. Of corse it will all still go in this year but we've decided that we will get the marina to drill the hole, fit the tunnel and we will do the rest (fit the motor, wiring etc). We simply won't have enough time to do all of the work that needs doing if we did the thruster ourselves. It's a shame as we were really looking forward to the project of fitting the thruster ourselves but we simply don't have the time. Never mind, best leave it to the professionals anyway, I suppose.

To add to our already-long list, we now have to blast off and rub back all the old antifouling as it'll peeling off. We recon …

Midships Cabin New LED Lights

Not too long ago we purchased a pack of ten 12v LED deck lights for Bandit. We only used two of them on the bathing platform on the exterior of the boat and the rest have been in their box, kept in one of the storage lockers under the saloon cushions. I came to the boat after college today and decided to fit a pair in the midships cabin. I wanted some in there anyway but never knew quite what or where. I gathered I'd just throw myself into it and get on with it. Cutting / drilling holes in the boat is never a nice thing but I do feel confident when doing it after ensuring it will all actually fit and work as I imagine in my head. I am very happy with 12v wiring and connecting it all up. I would say it's probably the biggest skill I've learnt since purchasing Bandit.

I ended up putting two between the two berths and connected them to a separate rocker switch. Overall, it looks great in my opinion and was all fitted well. All the wiring is pinned to the bulkheads using p-cli…

Tidying Up

Today it's been a miserable and wet day where the weather has been concerned. It's rained literally all day so we decided to do some tidying up down below instead of heading out on the river in the rain. We've had a huge tidy up down below and ordered some new bits for the galley (more info to come). I also went and bought a new stainless steel cover plate to put on the floor table base to hide the aluminium base and the screw heads. It looks a lot nicer and I secured it using double-sided tape to ensure it doesn't come off.
A Saturday written off due to horrid weather. No matter, it gives us a chance to plough through some jobs.

Bandit's Big Refit - Part 3: Choosing Colours and Materials

Our previouis boat, Bliss, was a 1979 Fairline Mirage 29 that went through a huge refurbishment in early 2009. The previous owner (before us) strippled the whole boat out and refitted it. The total cost must have been in the thousands, hence the £30k price tag for a 1979 boat with twin petrol engines - quite remarkable! We purchased the boat about a year after the refurbishment was done. The attention to detail and the way it was all thought through was just spectacular. When we first saw Bliss, we instantly fell in love with her and put in an offer. That's just how blown away we were with the boat. The aim is to do something similar to Bandit.

After parting with our beloved, one of a kind Mirage and purchasing Bandit, we saw an opotunity to do something similar ourselves. The idea was to modernise an older style boat. We had our heart set on the 290 for many reasons including space and style. We did, however, feel as if we could do something to the interior to bring her into the …

Bandit's Big Refit - Part 2: New Waeco CRX50 Fridge

Bandit's had the same electric fridge/freezer since she was built in 1991. Amazingly, after 25 years, both the fridge and freezer worked really well but the problem is that it drained the batteries so extremely quickly where it's such an old, beefy fridge. We decided that enough was enough and we've been out and purchased a new Waeco CRX50, 49ltr electric fridge from our home marina, Jones Boatyard. We had looked at many different fridges but the Waeco just seemed to always come back to being number 1. The CRX models by Waeco are brand new for late 2016. They're incredibly energy efficient, 100% silent and will stay cold for a lot longer. We had a similar fridge made by Waeco on our previous boat and it was fantastic. Sadly, due to space, we've had to opt for the smallest fridge which is a shame but it'll have to do. Can't have everything, I guess.

500 quid later and it was time to get this new fridge in. In order to do so, we've had to relocate the fri…