Not a Bad Evening

Today's bee quite a nice, relaxing day. It makes a change from all the weekends we've recently spent working hard on the boat while she's been out of the water. We got up early this morning and headed straight up to town at Saint Ives and moored at the quayside. We had breakfast onboard and sat around feeding the swans and enjoying what sunshine we had. We then headed back to base to take care of a few jobs that we decided to do last minute.

When we removed Bandit's GRP 'wing' that sat on top of the radar arch when we purchased her, we were left with four large bolt holes and one huge central hole where the wires for the nav equipment entered the radar arch from the wing. Over the last year, we've had a bit of duck tape stuck over the holes to prevent water entering the arch. I took some 4mm white perspex plastic from college and measured it all out and cut it in preparation to fit to the radar arch last week. It would act as a plate to cover the holes and would also replace the horrid tape which looked hideous. While measuring it all out today, I decided to buy a 360º white navigation light (or anchor light) from the chandlery to fit up there as well as I knew we had an unused wire controlled by a switch at the helm. We fitted it today and sealed it with plenty of clear silicone sealant and the light works perfectly. The light was £30 and has a stainless steel base and cap which looks nicer than the plastic ones. It's made by a good marine company called Osculati so we're sure it will continue to look and work nicely. The light itself can be used alongside the navigation lights (port, starboard and rear) but can also double as a 360º anchoring light that you leave on overnight if anchored at sea to let others know you're there. I might also grab the £15 LED replacement bulb for the new light while at work tomorrow as it will be far kinder to the batteries...
New light and navigation lights on
Our new 360º Osculati navigation light

We've also had a look at a few bits and pieces for the boat which we want to get in preparation for our big adventure out to The Wash at some point this summer. The first was looking back at the anchor windlass solenoids. The current ones need replacing desperately. Secondly, we've been looking into a new chart plotter as the current one fitted to Bandit is a 2002 Garmin 172C which you cannot get the cards/charts for anymore. We're looking at the Lowrance Elite 5M HD plotter (which will go nicely with our new Lowrance Link-5 DSC VHF radio) which retails at about £450. Expensive, but something that we need if we plan on using Bandit at sea in the future. We will also look into the Navionics+ chart Micro SD cards which retail for around £180. Research shows that they are the best navigation charts and are very easy to use. Plus, it will work nicely with the Navioncs App that I have on my iPad and iPhone.
Lowrance Elite 5M HD chart plotter

After fitting the plate, light and looking into nav equipment, we then returned to The Dolphin Hotel, just after the town quay moorings, where we'll stay the night and head back early tomorrow morning so I can get to work. We had a quick cruise up the river to the next lock and turned round and came back. The sunset tonight was fantastic and we really enjoyed our little hour cruise up the river and back again.
Fantastic sunset leaving the marina
Cruising up the river

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