While we did not spend a lot of time on ITIKI over the northern winter, we did manage to tick off quite a few items from our wish list of boat jobs, but don’t worry we still have a few more things to keep Keith amused over summer. A big thanks to Mick Turner here in Hammamet who actually did most of the work and took great care of ITIKI while we were away. Mick and his lovely wife Jo, really helped us navigate our way around Tunisia and made our stay very special.
Here are some of the highlights. As you can see we have had some serious problems to solve and have come up with some tailor-made solutions. We have also made a good contribution to the Tunisian economy!
While we bought the Weber in La Rochelle and have used it a number of times, balancing it on the back of the boat was not a long-term solution, particularly as the lid would not stay open. This innovative and original design, conceived by Keith, uses a rod-holder, custom built stainless frame (thanks Mick) and a polypropylene fish cleaning tray. It’s all removable so we pack it all away when not in use. We can move the tray to the port side to use it for cleaning fish and the yucky bits can go over the side. All we need to do now is actually catch a fish…
Fabrics and furnishings
We had ordered some rear cockpit sunscreens from La Rochelle but they did not materialise before we left. The front screens were a priority for us so we really pushed more on those. We picked up some mesh fabric from our favourite supplier while we were back in Australia as we didn’t like what was on offer in Tunisia. The track at the top is attached to the solar panel frame which overhangs the hardtop slightly. This means we can run the screens outside the rear cockpit seat and still use it when the screens are down. At the bottom they are attached to the backrest of the rear cockpit seat with straps - we still need to figure out a new back cushion for that seat as factory one is just too big to be useful. The screens are in two separate parts which zip together, making them easier to remove, but we can roll them up as well. They give extra privacy when moored stern-to and can be lowered even when the full set of clears are in place.
We had a zip off sunscreen made for the back of the helm station, won’t need to use a sarong to keep the sun off now! Another addition at the helm is a backrest cushion – it’s the perfect size and shape - however the colour was all they had in stock – will get it recovered at some stage, but for now it will make life at the helm a bit more comfortable.
I say ol’ chaps!
Yes we have chaps for the RIB, she is looking very glamorous now, all dressed up and ready to party! This will also protect the her from the sun and extend her working life. Maybe I could get a set for Keith for his next birthday...
I found some very nice fabric in a remnant bin back in Oz, great quality and a very close match to the interior fabric. I whipped up a cushion for the back of the sofa near the nav station (FP don’t provide one for some reason) and I quite like sitting here. I used the same fabric to make a couple of arm covers for the sofa, where we tend to grab hold when going downstairs (see above). Note that these have been lovingly embroidered by a dear friend with the ITIKI logo! As you can see Keith added another grab rail by the stairs so that next time I try to fall down here I don’t have to grab the TV!
Downstairs Keith has added some nets to a couple of the cupboards so that stuff doesn’t fall out when you open the door. I keep telling him he just has too many shoes!
Let there be lights!
We now have a BBQ light which is great to see what’s cooking. The switch is just below the BBQ. The light can be directed from side to side in case you want to clean a fish or two at night, or light up the passarelle. We also have a sensor light which comes on when someone (invited or uninvited, 2 or 4 legged) enters the cockpit after dark. This is also really handy if you have been out to the pub and come back after dark…
More med-mooring is anticipated over the coming season so we have added more cleats to the stern on the inner sides of the hull. This will allow us to spread the load on the lines more evenly and position the boat better laterally. These may also be of use for a “lines ashore” mooring, which we have not had to do yet so still need to figure it out.
We have fitted some stainless-steel rubbing strips beside the cleats on the side of the boat, as we found that tight mooring lines (aka slime lines) were starting to gouge the fibreglass. Another addition is these handy mooring line covers. But wait, don’t pay a fortune for them at a chandlery – these are $3 seatbelt covers from The Reject Shop!
These chocolate-bar fenders (above) should also come in handy to protect the corners of the stern, particularly when coming into concrete fuelling docks.
Anchor at the ready
Our emergency anchor is a Fortress which was just sitting in the anchor well last season. We have now fitted some clips to hold the anchor securely and maximise the space in the locker for all the fenders. It should also make it easier to get it out and deploy it in a hurry if needed.
Prepared for the worst
As FP Volvo Engine owners will know, there have been some failures with the MDI black boxes, which are critical to start the engines. If you can’t start your engine you can’t go anywhere and may not even be able to lift you anchor with the electric windlass. Clearly if you are dragging, heading for a lee shore or in some kind of trouble and you need your engines to get out of it, a failed MDI is the last thing you need. Whilst our serial numbers are apparently not included in the problematic batch, we decided not to take any chances and fitted MDI bypasses to both engines, as well as one for the electric windlass. Let’s hope we never need to use them!
Water, water everywhere…
My personal favourite is the water filtration system now fitted to ITIKI. That will allow us to use dock water through our plumbing system and confidently drink the dock water, without reaching for the Lomotil. Stay tuned for a full-length feature on ITIKI’s water management systems, including a review of the Rainman® desalinator, once we get underway.
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.