Winter jobs: from bow to stern

Winter 2017/18

Winter is always a busy time for maintenance and repairs on Pintail and this year was no different. Stefan cycled over the big hill from Agios Nikolaos to Elounda nearly every day and became such a fixture in the chandlery there that he got free cake and biscuits as well as borrowed tools along with all the bits and pieces he bought. From bow to stern there are important bits of kit to service, repairs to make and general upkeep to do to keep Pintail going.

Starting at the bow above the waterline, we decided to deal with the excess weight of our 100 metres of anchor chain which was weighing down the bow considerably enough to turn the cockpit into a swimming pool in (thankfully infrequent) heavy rain because it couldn’t escape down the drains in the stern. After a lot of research about the pros and cons and taking into account the experience of 18 months of anchoring, Stefan replaced 40 metres of chain with 60 metres of much lighter rode (rope). The rope was expertly spliced to the chain and the bow is no longer lower in the water. Whilst at the bow Stefan also replaced the anchor swivel with a stronger, heavier one. Hopefully we’ll soon be anchoring again to try it all out.

Below deck in the sail locker Stefan took out the bow thruster and got it running smoothly again. It hadn’t been working properly for a while but he’s become so expert at maneuvering Pintail into tight spaces in harbours that he doesn’t really need it anymore. Good to have it working as it should in case of emergencies though.

Whilst in the sail locker Stefan also decided to move the water maker from under the washing machine where it had sat horizontally to a vertical position on the locker wall. We’re not sure if it’s coincidence or not but on testing the water maker we found an improvement in the salt content of the water made.

One very dirty job was replacing the toilet pipe between the forward head and the holding tank which we have been using rather more now that we are at anchor more.

Moving backwards towards the middle of the boat Stefan serviced the air conditioning, the main engine and the generator. He noticed a small water leak in the heat exchanger on the generator so we quickly ordered replacement parts. There was much swearing on Pintail when it came to fit them. Doing repairs in awkward and tight spaces requires contortion Houdini would be proud of and language only ever heard from sailors!

Above deck a couple of small tears in both sails meant getting them both down and repaired ready, we hope, for some sailing when we leave Crete.


Stefan also serviced both our outboard motors. It never fails to impress me how he manages to put all this back together in the right place and have it running again!

At the stern we had some repairs to the gelcoat where it had been bumped over the years. Stefan would wish to make it clear that none of these bumps were caused by him but it’s good to have it looking shiny and new.

For the first time since we left Essex Marina Pintail was lifted out of the water so we could change her anodes and check how the Coppercoat was doing. It’s always nerve-wracking watching your boat come out onto the hard. She’s literally a duck out of water! However, it did mean that we got to spend a week on land in an apartment with a wonderful spa bath, our first bath since Sardinia!

Inspecting below the waterline often means some unexpected repairs and back at the bow we found some delamination in the gelcoat where water was getting through where the bow thruster had been retro fitted. With big thanks to our friend Steve for his expert boat building advice and help, Stefan was able to repair the gelcoat and give the area a fresh coat of coppercoat so you’d never know there had been a problem.


Everywhere else the coppercoat was still doing its job well. Just a general scrub down and sand to reveal the copper again and we’re good for another while. So much easier than having to antifoul every year!

The boot stripe, however, needed some cosmetic work so I got to work with some sandpaper, primer and Toplac to make it mirror shiny and new again.


Moving back towards the stern, another reason for lifting out was to replace all the anodes, in particular the anode on the propeller which had kept falling off during the year. When Olivier had dived to remove the plastic sheeting from the prop in Cartagena in February it had disappeared so he replaced it. Somewhere in Italy when diving under the boat Stefan had noticed it had vanished again. We spoke to the manufacturer of the prop who sent a solution to stop future anodes from falling off so here’s hoping this new one lasts a little longer! We also had the prop’s cutless bearing replaced and serviced the stern gland. The engineer left the prop looking all shiny and brand new but an error in refitting it meant Pintail needed a second lift out to rectify it.

Above deck there was (a lot) of chrome to polish, fenders to clean and a tender to give a good scrub. I also repainted some of the non-slip deck where it had been getting heavy wear.

Finally, below deck we gave Pintail a complete makeover. Finding a good fabric shop and expert upholsterer in Agios Nikolaos we took the opportunity to have all nineteen saloon cushion covers replaced and new curtains to match. To finish it all off we replaced the carpet throughout the saloon and cabins. Stefan even moved the television so we can both sit comfortably when we watch it. The result makes Pintail feel like a brand new boat!

And she is definitely ready for our 2018 adventures…

5 thoughts on “Winter jobs: from bow to stern

  1. Interior looks wonderful! Well done both of you…we are all so happy that our dear Pintail is being so carefully looked after.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks great. Bet you can’t wait to get going! Good luck. Shivering here in big freeze! Shovelling snow all week. Got car 🚗 cleared today and over the road. Can’t get it back in for mountains of shovelled snow which has to go somewhere. Had a bit of a respite today. Cheers. Averil

    Liked by 1 person

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