Wednesday 21 November 2018


The prevailing wind at Great Haywood marina is south-westerly. But overnight on Monday / Tuesday, what with the machinations of the jet stream, it had become a bitingly cold north-easterly. We got the diesel central-heating going immediately on arrival on Monday evening and that, together with the effect of the 500 watt convector heater I'd brought, meant we were able to take off our outer jackets and scarves just before bedtime, though we were rather tempted to keep them on all night.

I'd been a bit concerned about the wind the Met Office had been promising, because I wanted to take Erin Mae across to services in the morning, and thought it might be tricky getting out of the mooring. In the event, the 180˚ switch from normal meant that as soon as I had backed out, the wind caught the bows and swung them round the way I wanted to go. We got a pump-out, filled the diesel tank, and pushed off to go back to our mooring. Unfortunately, the north-easter was now pushing us straight onto the service jetty. I tried the cunning "reverse against a secured stern-line" trick, but made little progress against the strengthening wind, and was a bit worried about what I was doing to our nice, new blacking. In the end I had to push and then drive the stern out, and reverse back to a point where I could finally swing Erin Mae's nose round in the right direction. Boats in reverse frequently demonstrate that they have a mind of their own, and I think she was objecting to being put to bed for the winter.

Once securely tied up again, we went through the procedures for protecting the water system against the coming freeze. It's pretty straightforward, and it took only (!) half-an-hour for the water-tank to empty. Then I siphoned the water out of the calorifier (the hot-water-tank), and we were ready to go. Conditions on the road did not look promising, so we fortified ourselves before leaving with Staffordshire oatcakes from the Canalside Café before braving the motorways.

So that's Erin Mae in hibernation for a few months. Hope she's going to be OK. And that I haven't forgotten anything that I should have done to keep her snug.

Friday 16 November 2018


Engineering have just finished the blacking of Erin Mae's hull, and it's looking good.

They've also freshened up the paint of the tunnel bands – not that anyone has yet ever caught me up in a tunnel!

We've followed their advice to renew the anodes – those blocks of aluminium attached near the bow. Erin Mae is nearly 12 years old, and this is the first time they've needed attention. I'd thought that Engineering would replace the old anodes, but they've simply added the new ones, which presumably makes sense.

Science lesson: For those who don't know, aluminium is a more reactive metal than steel, and corrodes in preference to the steel, providing extra anti-corrosion protection for the hull. They're called anodes because it's an electro-chemical process, with the aluminium adopting a positive electrical potential in comparison with the steel. It's exactly the opposite effect from what boat builders discovered when they tried to cover wooden boats with copper sheeting, using iron nails to hold it in place. Iron is more reactive than copper, so the nails would corrode in no time and fall out, rather defeating the purpose!

So now Erin Mae's back on her mooring, looking very nice. We plan to get up on Monday afternoon, with the hope of winterising on Tuesday morning.

Monday 12 November 2018


Engineering were meant to start Erin Mae's blacking last Thursday. I checked the jetty's webcam from time to time to see whether they'd come over to fetch her – nothing doing by the weekend.

This morning, however, there she was – gone! 4th space up is empty.

Actually, the delay is probably no bad thing. The Met Office is indicating that the weather should be mostly a bit warmer and drier this week – better conditions for getting the hull cleaned and coated. I'd had two concerns about getting the blacking done this late in the year. Firstly, that the weather would prevent them doing a good job. Secondly, that icy weather would arrive and freeze up Erin Mae's interior before I'd had a chance to do the winterising. Looks as though everything should be OK.