Week 3 on the hard at The Boatworks, Coomera

Wednesday (16 February) after the riggers had left, Lester and Helen came by for a coffee so that gave us a welcome break and it was nice to see them. Richard then rubbed down the antifoul – as it is ablative paint there was a constant stream of blue-tinged water running everywhere – so whilst he was busy I was armed with the fire hose to move all the excess water towards the drains as we didn’t want to leave a mess on the new concrete floor. Later on, when I had finished the blog and Richard had prepped the hull, we washed the mainsail so that it had the night to dry off.

Thursday morning we were both up really early and applied Sailcote to the main (which makes it slide easier inside the furling mechanism). The rigger came by (at 7 am) and helped us reinstate the sail – but the furling mechanism was very tight and stiff – not good at all! So we pulled the sail out and did it again and checked that all the vertical battens were going in straight into the mast and, yes they were. Puzzled by this, especially having just had the whole mast serviced whilst the rigging was being replaced (and having serviced the sail ourselves), we spoke to the rigger who said that when the boat was back floating and the final rigging tensions had been set properly (we have the specifications to hand) then he was confident it would be fine. We weren’t sure whether this was true but having done some further research on the worm drive furling mechanism, we have found that this could well be the case. So we’ll have to wait until we’ve splashed to get this sorted out. Sigh….

Richard then started applying primer to the most worn spots on the antifoul whilst I got on with sanding down and applying the first coat of varnish to some interior cupboards / drawers / external fuel jug boards that needed some attention.

After a break to let the primer dry Richard then continued to work hard and managed to apply the first coat of antifoul to the whole boat. Phew!

In the evening Ernest came over for dinner with us (in the liveaboard BBQ area), so was nice to catch up with him again. The cruisers had organised a movie night in this area so we started watching – the new James Bond – but none of us were that enamoured so we left and returned to Morphie so that we could chat. Was a really nice evening.

Friday morning I sanded down and applied the second coat of varnish to the cupboards and drawers while Richard applied the second coat of antifoul.

Once the varnish was dry I put the locks back on etc and reinstated these on Morphie. I then started on our cabin floor – there were three planks of wood where the varnish had been damaged by a bug spray – so I taped up, sanded them down and then gave them a coat of varnish. By the time I had finished Richard had almost completed the antifoul.

So we got ourselves cleaned up, collected our courtesy UTE at 4pm, and headed over to Hope Island to see Sandra and Nigel. At this point the thunderstorms were rolling in so we were grateful that Morphie was parked next to a huge catamaran on the hard LOL.

Sandra and Nigel had kindly offered to let us stay over at their apartment whilst we were doing the interior varnishing so we didn’t have to sleep down below with the varnish fumes. We got ourselves settled in, had a few glasses of wine on the balcony before then retiring indoors for our dinner escaping from the torrential rain. Was a really nice evening and we had great fun – in fact it turned into a bit of a late night, not turning in until the early hours of Saturday morning! Outrageous behaviour LOL.

Saturday morning we headed back to Morphie after a leisurely start. I sanded down the floor again along with some other interior surfaces and then applied the varnish. Whilst I was doing this Richard was working on the refrigeration and earth plates under the hull in preparation for splashing on Monday.

Job done we then packed up and headed back early to Hope Island – we had planned to spend some time in the pool. Sadly the rain continued sporadically throughout the day so that wasn’t such an attractive option but, never mind, we had another lovely dinner and evening. Although this time the physical hard work of the last few weeks kicked in so we ended up having quite an early night!

Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and headed out to have a look around the beautiful grounds of this apartment complex which overlooks Hope Harbour Marina. We then headed to the pool for a few hours which was lovely and warm and I enjoyed bobbing in the shallows…. Had been a long time! Sadly we then had to bid Sandra and Nigel farewell and thanked them for their great hospitality and returned to Morphie.

We then headed to the Coomera Westfield mall for a bit of shopping and a visit to the doctors to get some repeat prescriptions. Job done we returned to The Boatworks and had a catch up with our fellow cruisers in the BBQ area before having an early night.

Monday morning we were up very early and returned the UTE to the office. We then had to get everything off the concrete and back onto the boat. And, of course, after a wet and rainy weekend it was a blisteringly hot day. Typical! We were in the middle of doing this when the electricians turned up to reconnect all the wiring through the mast so we were able to check things like the plotter / radar / VHF was working. We were due to splash at 12 noon and by around 10.30 am we were ready to go and admired our girl, she was looking absolutely beautiful, and certainly worth all the effort we had put into her. It made us so proud when so many people commented on her too!

At 11 the travel lift came for us and lifted Morphie into the strops and removed all the stands so Richard rushed around to get a couple of coats of antifoul onto the areas which had previously been inaccessible. At this juncture, Buddy turned up for a chat too!

Job done we did the funeral procession back to the dock and climbed back onboard.

We were then lowered and splashed into the water. Before releasing us from the slings, we checked for leaks (none) and got the engine running with no problems. We were then free to go so we reversed out of the slip and went down the river to our berth. We pulled in, got ourselves tied up, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. We got all the additional fuel cans off the topsides and placed them on the dock – these will be reinstated once the topsides have been cleaned, cut, waxed and polished. But we are putting this job off until the riggers have finished as they will continue to climb all over Morphie for the fine tuning of the rig. We got the fridge up and running so I collected our belongings from the liveaboard communal fridge and restocked. Had been quite a day and we decided to relax for the rest of the afternoon and once it got dark we were able to check out that all our mast lights etc worked. Actually we felt so weary we ended up in bed by around 7.30 pm. Was lovely to be floating again….

Tuesday morning it was very windy so we weren’t expecting the riggers to come by. I picked up a courtesy car and headed to the shops for some provisions now that I had a working fridge again. Whilst I was gone Richard cleaned, cut, compounded, waxed and polished the hull on the two areas on the starboard side where the posts had been in the way. He was able to do this from the dock. On my return, after a short break, we got dink down from the davits and I held the dinghy away from the hull on the port side whilst Richard completed those two areas too. Afterwards we pulled the dinghy alongside the dock where we scrubbed, cleaned and protected him before returning it to the davits on the stern. Richard then put the dinghy back together – in terms of canvas / locks etc – whilst I worked on our cabin floor. Everything else was good but I wasn’t happy with this so I did it again….. Afterwards I locked the cabin door and exited via the heads so that we couldn’t inadvertently step on the floor – it also kept the smell isolated. While I was doing that Richard started on the topsides as there were a few very dirty areas that he wanted to get on top of now and, finally, we called it a day. We had a quiet night on board watching a pretty useless movie before retiring to bed to sleep in our stern cabin.

Overnight it rained really hard and the forecast for Queensland is abysmal. Autumn officially starts here on the 1 March so I guess summer is over sigh…….

So, in the light of the forecast, we probably don’t expect to see the riggers before next week now so it’s a good job we are booked into this berth until 7 March. So today, Wednesday, I’m back in the cruisers lounge blogging (and multi-tasking doing the laundry) whilst Richard is doing a complete engine service including oil change / filters etc.

So that’s it for now folks. We have been watching the devastating footage of the succession of storms at home and hope that you all are safe and well and suffered no damage to yourselves or your properties. Thinking of you all and sending lots of love and hugs – please take care of each other. This week’s Australian critter is a male lyrebird who, as well as being extravagantly coloured and feathered, clears patches of forest floor to prepare themselves a stage on which they sing and dance their complex songs in order to attract a mate. Another beautiful cutie that made me smile….


Week 2 on the hard at The Boatworks, Coomera

Tuesday morning (8 February) we were up early and did our first coat of Awlgrip paint on the bootstripe. We found it relatively easy to apply and were pretty pleased with our efforts. Phew, that was a relief.

Then we headed over to visit our mast which was being dismantled in the shop. It certainly looked very different and, of course, much bigger because some of it is usually hidden inside the boat through into the hull. We discussed service items and agreed for some items to be installed – such as a new windvane and VHF aerial. We also asked them to reroute the radar cables into the conduits….that will get rid of the annoying slapping inside the mast when rocking and rolling at anchor.

Back on board, Richard started taping up under the capping rail in preparation for varnishing. While he was doing this I worked on the stainless steel fittings that had been exposed by the mast coming off in readiness for it being reinstalled.

Later on we headed to the chandlery for supplies and organised a scissor lift for the weekend so that we could start working on the hull. The evening was spent, yet again, in the BBQ area with other cruisers living here in the yard.

Wednesday we applied the second coat on the bootstripe.

Then Richard sanded down and started varnishing under the capping rail plus he also gave the stainless steel in this area some care and attention.

During a short break, he then removed the teak steps off the companionway and I scrubbed them down with a special two-part teak cleaner. Was very surprised how dirty they actually were….

Whilst the teak steps were drying I picked up a courtesy car and headed out for a haircut and some more supplies. I’m tending to shop every few days at the minute as I do not want to take up too much room in the shared fridge in the liveaboard facilities – as we have no refrigeration whilst on the hard. And, yes, you guessed it, we had another social evening in the BBQ area as we all recovered from the working day. One thing I particularly love about this new area is the access to washers and dryers so we never have to have dirty clothes on board after a days graft – we wash them directly after showering each evening.

Thursday we did the third and final coat on the bootstripe and Richard finished the varnishing and stainless steel cleaning before starting work cleaning the stern. I then started servicing all the ports and the peek-a-boo blinds down below. After another busy day we had a BBQ dinner in company before retiring for an early night.

Friday morning the scissor lift was delivered to us. So first task was to remove the masking tape from the bootstripe now that it had completely dried. Using the scissor lift we then started on cleaning and compounding the hull. It was hard work but we managed to get most of it done by the time we called it a day.

During the day Nikki from the Boatworks had grabbed us from our work to deliver a complimentary meat tray to the BBQ area for the liveaboards for that evening. So we cooked and tucked into that along with Barbara and Russell’s granddaughters who were really funny plus others of course. Oh yes, and my hair really isn’t that short, I had just got out of the shower LOL.

Saturday we had another really early start and finished cutting and cleaning the hull. Then we went round again and waxed and polished it too….. This is hard physical work so we took some time out to have a late lunch at The Galley – obviously in the ‘cafe’ side rather than the ‘restaurant’ whilst pretty scruffy in our working clothes.

On return I continued on the ground level waxing and polishing the new bootstripe whilst Richard continued on the hull alone. I had had enough but he pushed on and managed to finish the job. We were both delighted with the results of our hard work. Morphie looks absolutely beautiful! Antifouling is next…..

Whilst I was in the cockpit and Richard was still working on the stern we were treated to the arrival of some Yank Tanks for a Garage 25 car meet. Was great fun to see them all from our elevated position, although someone should tell the owner of the beautiful VW beetle that he didn’t quality for this event LOL.

That evening we headed over to the BBQ area for a few drinks before bed – the area was really busy and all the BBQs were full of food so just as well we had eaten earlier… On the way we stopped off to check on SV Hurtle Turtle’s repairs and it certainly looks good. Never realised that this type of catamaran was plywood based under the gelcoat.

Sunday, finally, was a day of rest. Yay! We had been working really hard all week and needed a break from the physical labour of it all. So we had a leisurely start and then headed out to meet Sandra and Nigel at The Galley for a delicious lunch before returning to the liveaboard area for more drinks along with others so a fun time was had by all.

At one point the sky turned orange and then a torrential rain storm came through – the noise as it hit the tops of the metal sheds in the yard was truly incredible. Will never get used to the extremes of the Australian climate LOL.

Monday, I finished servicing the ports and peek-a-boos whilst Richard serviced the winches on the mast in the shed. It is really looking very nice with all its new stainless wire and fittings.

Richard then reinstated the saloon steps before cleaning the mast area on deck in preparation for the stepping of the mast the following day. So I headed out for more provisions whilst Richard painted the additional thru holes on the stern. They originally matched the cream gel coat colour but have worn back to their original white over the years so he decided to make them match – and they look amazing! Great idea….

Again, dodging very heavy rain showers, we headed to the BBQ area for our dinner before retiring to bed. And here it comes again….

Tuesday morning the mast returned to sit alongside Morphie on the hard. We closed hatches; took down the canvas; made sure the deck was clear and uncluttered and waited for the crane to arrive.

It turned up right on schedule at 9am and the team started to get ready to lift and install the mast. It was tricky and fiddly in places to get the mast into position as they had to line it up through the hole in the deck down into the keel (through the heads) – but they finally got it in place and then reinserted the pin through the mast into the deck.

Where the mast goes in the heads…
…having passed through the coachroof first

As the crane was finally detached from the mast they smashed our mast-mounted steaming light but they will replace idc. Next Monday (21 February) we are due to ‘splash’ back into the marina and, right now, it looks like we are on target so fingers crossed for only a few more days up the stairs.

This morning, Wednesday, the riggers returned to do a few more bits and pieces, and they reinstated the genoa and the staysail so Morphie is starting to look like a sailboat once again!

Richard is currently underneath the hull preparing the antifoul for it’s spa treatment whilst I’m blogging in the saloon. My next job for the day is to clean the mainsail before it goes back on tomorrow, fingers crossed, if the wind behaves….

So that’s it for now – please take care and continue to look after each other. Sending lots of love and hugs home to you all. I decided against an Australian cutie this week because I thought it was time you met more of Australia’s weird and wonderful critters instead. So today’s offering is an Aye Aye, which is a long-fingered lemur with rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. Who knew that lemurs – even ugly scary looking ones – lived in Australia too? Definitely a face only a mother could love LOL.


Week 1 on the hard at The Boatworks, Coomera

Monday morning (31 January) we were up really early, filled up with water and disconnected from the shore power before returning the courtesy car (all by 7am). We were then invited over – a bit earlier than expected – but we were ready so we slipped our lines and slowly reversed out into the river before motoring forward into the slings of the travel lift. The guys who operate this monster machine are really careful by deftly wielding massive boat hooks to keep us centrally positioned. They then tightened the slings onto Morphie and we used our dock lines to tie the front slings back to our cockpit winches. This is just a precaution to stop them from slipping which could be possible due to our fine entry keel. Job done we were then lifted slowly up out of the river and, once we were suspended over the land, they put up the stairs for us to get off.

We climbed down and watched Morphie move to the wash down area. So we stopped off for a cooling milk shake before walking back and watched her being given a high-pressure wash. The guys were worried that by using strong pressure the paint on the boot stripe – which was very dirty from being in the river – might peel off. We said go ahead we’re replacing it anyway! Actually it did peel off quite badly in places but considering this boot stripe was painted in 2012 we had had our money’s worth!

Afterwards we followed the boat lift through the yard (which always feels like a funeral procession somehow) to the liveaboard working yard near to Garage 25. This is a brand new area with great facilities including washers / driers / en-suites / kitchen / microwave / air conditioning / BBQs and sitting area and, most importantly for those of us out of the water, the use of a shared fridge. We were quickly positioned and tied down into our cradle. So, phew, big sigh of relief all had gone well.

Checking the place out, we were a bit shocked to see SV Hurtle Turtle (who we had met earlier in the season) on the hard with a huge crack and damage along one of her hulls. We have since found out that they had anchored in the Brisbane River for New Year’s Eve and, at 3am the following morning, a large powerboat had reversed into them hard and then drove off. The owners contacted the water police – who were luckily already patrolling – and the perpetrators were caught. Assuming that alcohol was involved plus the fact that they had left the scene of an accident (without even checking if the poor people onboard were safe and well) they should have the book thrown at them. But that doesn’t help poor Hurtle Turtle whilst she languishes on the hard being cut open to be repaired…..sigh…… What a nightmare for the owners!

Later on we headed to the BBQ area and met for the first time, Russell & Barb (SV Happy Hour) and Alison & Randall (SV Tregoning) and had a nice social evening together. Here I am, freshly showered, cooking up a storm….

Tuesday morning we were up at 5.30 am as there was little wind and the rigging guys were due to remove our main sail. They turned up at 6am and when it was off the boat we flaked it and bagged it. The guys told us that the crane would be along at 9.30 am to remove the mast so we headed to Garage 25 – which we can see from the cockpit in our elevated position – and had breakfast.

We saw the crane arrive so walked back to Morphie and watched as the guys worked hard undoing all the fastenings that held our genoa furler, our staysail furler and our main mast in situ. They removed the whisker pole first, followed by the boom, then they climbed the mast to secure the crane’s hook and, finally, it was time to pull the mast out.

This was the first time we had seen this done to Morphie so I watched very anxiously but Richard was completely laid back about the whole situation as though he had done it a thousand times before LOL. Was very relieved when everything was secure and on the ground. Poor Morphie looked quite different naked!

This was completed by 10.15 am on a heatwave day with temperatures sitting at 35 degrees but feeling more like 40+ with the incredibly high humidity levels. Pretty horrible conditions to be honest and even the locals were struggling. So we took ourselves off to the Cruisers Lounge to do some admin-type work so that we could get some respite from the heat in the air-conditioned environment. On the way back we had to run for it to avoid getting soaked by the fast-approaching bad weather system.

Back to Morphie, with all fans at full blast, we did a bit of a spring clean and started to re-organise ourselves down below. We received a weather warning for severe, damaging, thunderstorms but luckily they circled us rather than coming too close. Phew!

Wednesday morning it remained hot and humid despite the overnight storms and heavy rain. So we had a lazy start and then breakfast at Garage 25. We turned our attention to the back cabin and did a bit of a spring clean there too. Then I turned my attention to the cockpit whilst Richard cleaned up the engine. And what a grand job he did too….. Morphie is looking absolutely marvellous after all this love and attention – here are a couple of interior shots to check out.

That evening we headed over to the BBQ area again….. We didn’t have any company but, as we were so exhausted from the day’s endeavours and the draining impact of the heat, we came back to the boat straight after dinner for an early night.

Thursday morning we headed down to the Galley for breakfast before a trip to the chandlery for some bits and pieces. Back on board, Richard started the toilet conversion job. We have been using fresh water for quite a while, utilising the shower hose, but now it was time to convert it properly. This was not as simple as it sounded as it required some floor cutting and some plumbing as part of the process. So I decided to leave him to it and got a courtesy car for a couple of hours so headed into town to top up on fresh food. Oh yes and, of course, this was all in the pouring rain! Looking like a drowned rat on return to the boat, I checked out progress and he was doing well although we needed to buy an in-line tap, so looked like a trip to Bunnings was in my near future. Oh joy…

Friday morning I concentrated on cleaning the toilet whilst it was off the boat, so I was able to use bleach-based products – which we don’t use onboard due to the risk of damaging the cream-coloured gelcoat. So I was in my element scrubbing away with a toothbrush. Richard then put it all together in preparation for the final installation which will happen once the mast has been dropped back in. So not in situ but looks pretty good!

In the afternoon we picked up a courtesy UTE for the weekend and headed out to get some pizza for tea – the cook was given a night off, yay! The traffic was awful virtually at a standstill and, as we crawled alongside the M1 on a parallel road, we saw numerous emergency vehicles and cloths strategically placed to shield the situation from rubber neckers. We quickly realised this was very serious and, sadly, we found out later than a motorcyclist had died at the scene. So a local family were about to receive some heart breaking news…really terrible. A bit subdued we returned to the BBQ area where we ate our pizza before retiring for the night.

Saturday morning it was so windy we could feel the boat rocking despite sitting in a secured heavy-duty cradle. That was definitely a first! We made sure everything was secured before carrying on clearing out and Richard persuaded me to throw a few things away. We had carried our old sails as spares half way around the world in the lazarette, just in case, and have never used them for anything. So I agreed to bin them along with some other stuff he had dug out. On a roll he then persuaded me to consolidate my shoe supply which I did. After that he had a manic gleam in his eye so I refused to play his ‘love it or launch it’ game anymore as he had obvious designs on my wardrobe! And that was about it for the day apart from dinner in the BBQ area followed by a quiet night onboard.

Sunday morning, around 7am, we were laying in bed considering getting up to hear lots of loud engine noises. And, of course, it was Garage 25 having a car meet. So we enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit checking all the cars from above – didn’t fancy going down to mingle with the crowds. Then I heard oriental music and realised that there were dancing dragons too – presumably to celebrate Chinese New Year – so that was quite fun to watch. Boy do the Australians love their cars or what?!?

Later on we washed the hull down and cleaned the bootstripe in preparation for the following day. Then we made the most of having transport by doing a bit of shopping for some fresh provisions and a trip to the local Bunnings, of course.

In the evening we headed over to the BBQ area but it was pretty busy with Tony (the owner of the whole site) and a crowd of people – assuming family and friends. Not wanting to disturb this social event we sat quietly in the kitchen chatting and having sundowners. We were invited to join the crowd outside to eat but we didn’t want to jellyfish into their private gathering – but they insisted we shared some of their food so brought us a plate in each to try which was very generous of them! Eventually we returned to Morphie in a break from incessant heavy rain and had a quiet night in.

Today, Monday, and the weather has changed. Yay! The temperature has dropped quite a bit and it is largely dry with just the occasional shower threatening. So Richard taped up the boot stripe whilst I cleaned all the stainless steel fittings on the mast that are not due to be being replaced. When we were both at a decent juncture we headed over to Garage 25 for breakfast.

Back to work I finished the stainless steel cleaning before climbing back up to the saloon to blog whilst Richard started sanding down the boot stripe.

Tomorrow, providing it is dry, we’ll try our hand at painting. Not something we’ve done before but the specialist paint guy in the chandlery has been very helpful in talking us through the process to follow and we’re hopeful we can achieve a good finish. Wish us luck!

So that’s it for our week here in The Boatworks. The introduction of a liveaboard area has made such a difference to us. Living up on the hard is always a bit of a trial not least because of the heat and the lack of shade but the facilities here are so great that, to be honest, this really isn’t that bad. But, obviously, peeing in a bucket is not my most favourite pastime during the night LOL. We expect to be up in the air for another couple of weeks yet but at least the list of jobs is reducing a bit each day….

Bye for now and sending lots of love and hugs to you all. My Australian cutie for today, to make you smile, is another of their amazing unique creatures. So I give you a beautifully-coloured Robin which is found in the state of Victoria. Who would have thought that our red-breasted friends would have had Aussie rellies looking like this?