Birthdays and blue fenders

New fenders

The new fenders

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on this blog, which is a shame, because I’m supposed to be keeping up with Masquerade and not just when we are sailing.

She has had various modifications, alterations, and repairs and we are pretty much there in terms of the skipper being happy. She has her bow thruster, her macerating electric heads that can use either sea water or fresh water, and the holding tanks are now fitted.

There are new speakers on the deck to go with the new audio system, and just about every bit of navigation equipment has been replaced. In fact, we are due to sail to the Hamble tomorrow to have the Raymarine instruments signed off as being fitted properly.

Birthday champagne

Pouring the birthday champagne on board

And she has lovely new blue fenders to go with her hull.

Apart from that, the only outstanding niggles are a slight ingress of fresh water, which we now think is rainwater coming from somewhere; and the water pump that needs replacing.

So now let me backtrack. We haven’t brought Wikka back since the onslaught of Django (who is now calming down a bit) but we have been on board a couple of times, the first immediately after the major work had all been completed.

That involved motoring down the Medina from the boatyard, so not quite sailing but we had our maiden mooring – first time of mooring on our own and at Masquerade’s new home in East Cowes.

That trip also coincided with celebrating the skipper’s birthday in the Isle of Wight, starting with drinks on board and then the water taxi to West Cowes for dinner at Mojac’s. (That is a superb restaurant, by the way – 10 of us all had three courses, none of which disappointed.)

At the helm

At the helm

Another couple was supposed to have stayed on the boat with us, so we rushed down a day in advance to clear up but Terry’s team from the boatyard had left Masquerade better than she was before they started. (And unfortunately one of our friends was ill so it was just the two of us after all.)

Osbourne house from the water

Osbourne house from the water

That was a non-sailing trip: Thursday and Friday night on Masquerade, Saturday night at the Union Inn and back to the boat Sunday night. There was no wind whatsoever and we vetoed going out just on the motor.

Proof that the sails went up

Proof that the sails went up

Our next trip was not long ago; we had a couple of days here just to make sure everything was ok, which is was, apart from the abovementioned water niggles. We came down on Friday and back Sunday so we did get to sail a bit on Saturday – “buggering around in Solent” as the expression goes. Not for long, but it was very exciting finally to have a sail in Masquerade in the UK; we finally have a sense of ownership now that there isn’t a constant stream of people taking up floorboards (are they floorboards on a boat?) with the result that everything ends up in different lockers.

But back to the sailing – we thought it made sense to make sure we could get the sails up and down and see how she handled with just the two of us. It was a lovely day, well in terms of wind, it was a bit cloudy and miserable, and we did enjoy our couple of hours out on her. We went out into Osbourne Bay and did a huge amount of tacking.

another blue hull

Another blue hull

I should say here that there was a race on that weekend so we spent a huge amount of time tacking to get away from various racing boats and then tacking to get away from being too close to shore. So at least now we now we can do that without squabbling. We also discovered that we can get into the Medina on the small craft side of the sandbank at the entrance.

Watcher at the Medina

The watcher at the Medina

And on a totally different note, the first day of this trip involved James in business meetings all morning so I experimented with what the sailor’s wife can do on board. The newly hooked on sewing sailor’s wife in particular, so that involved bringing my sewing machine from home and trying out cutting a pattern and sewing up an apron in the Japanese cross-back style. It all worked well and I didn’t even get in the way of Dave from the boatyard who was doing his final tests to establish that the water pump needs replacing.

Measure twice cut once

Measure twice, cut once

You can sew on a boat

You can sew on a boat

That’s it up to date for now. I’ll get this posted so this weekend’s events can be the more recent on the blog.


In fact, you can sew on a boat with plumbing work going on…

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