I was way more a gardener than a salty until I met and married my sexy sailor! Since 2011 we have refurbished, sailed over 7000 nautical miles and lived aboard Tiki - our Young Sun 43. I write about off grid living in a floating tinyhouse, home steading at sea and sailing to remote places with no fixed agendas.
Doesn’t matter if we are at sea cruising or in a safe anchorage for the next round of renovations, everything depends on the weather. It decides safe from scary at sea, and possible to marginal on most of the job list.
We had such big plans for this summer in Sydney Harbour. Hard work coupled with an injection of funds from newly found work were going to bring the boat to a new level of wow. What we didn’t account for was the wettest summer imaginable. It is disheartening to clean back, sand and prime an area only to wait an eternity for a 2-3 day dry spell. It just hasn’t happened. Neither have many of the well-intended jobs.
Disheartened yes, but not discouraged. It has to stop sometime and we’ve remained positive. For example we have progressed immensely on the matter of stopping the leaks, the decks look scrubbed clean and we get to keep the tanks filled with yummy rainwater ;0)
I’ve been on the hunt for crabs ever since we arrived in Australia as they are right at the top of my list of favourite sea foods. It all started with family fishing trips to the Swan River and Mandurah Estuary as a child. I have wonderful memories of a massive copper pot of freshly scooped Blue Manners boiling on a campfire – newspaper laid out on the foldout table with bread buttered and white pepper and vinegar at the ready for the gourmets amongst us. We’d stuff the warm crab meat sandwich to bursting and the buttery juices would run down my hands with each delightful bite – heaven.
All grown up and living on the other side of the world in London they were not so easy to catch – I’m no contender for the “Deadliest Catch” series that’s for sure. I resolved to them being caught and prepared for me, which tended to leave me somewhat disappointed. When I first met my partner and planned to move onboard a boat for a large part of the summer I straight away called home and asked mum if she would bring me over a couple of drop net pots on her next visit. Strange thing to ask for I guess, but she didn’t even blink. They arrived as priority in her luggage (what a great mum!) and I couldn’t wait to get crabbing again.
Sailing Brittany in northern France each summer and learning from the locals I would head ashore on the low tide to set my pots near rock and hope for a selection of small rock crabs. They never yielded much meat but really added that essential oomph to any stock or our staple seafood bouillabaisse. The divine brown and spider crabs which could be purchased cooked or live from the fishmongers were brought up from a depth that my simple pots could never reach and so became a regular treat for us when dining out.
Which is why I am so excited to have the larger crabs back on my catch list here in Eastern Australia. Whilst we are in northern climes with mangrove-fringed shores it is the mudcrab I’m after as they will not be around as we head south. My first beauty crawled into the pot I had thrown off the back of the boat just yesterday and the cooked version of him is starring in this blog header – gorgeous isn’t he? The hardest part is deciding how to cook them – an online search for recipes returns a huge list. Not only was he the first “muddie” I’d ever caught, it was the first caught crab in such a long time for me that he got the royal treatment. Half was consumed warm and unadorned and was eye-rollingly delicious. The other half was chilled overnight in the fridge and meat was extracted to be served tossed through spaghettini with olive oil, lemon juice and a few chilli flakes.
The same pot and bait caught a couple of blue swimmers today which are currently going zzzz in the freezer. Until I get used to the fact that they are here in my life again with abundance I will be treasuring these guys steamed naturally, buttering the bread in anticipation, a little vinegar and black pepper at the ready.
I can’t wait to try our luck at catching a few spanner crabs, or Moreton Bay bugs as we head south to explore the coast towards Sydney. Whatever we catch I’m very glad to say that crab is back on the menu!
I came across a good review of Young Sun 43 yachts by TalkoftheDock. My SY Tiki was a ketch rigged centre cockpit, twin cabin version of the Young Sun 43 built for a US owner. She survived a de-masting in Hurricane Hugo Sept 1989 and is now cutter rigged and with some ballast removed weighs a mere 20 tonnes – a lot lighter that the original specs. Her revamped rig was designed so she sailed like a dream in the lightest of winds (view the superb results of our light wind Parachute trials) She also has a refurbished Perkins 4.236 engine located under the centre cockpit and accessed between the galley and workstations.
When researching her history it was difficult to sort through all the conflicting posts of information and the review has certainly shed some light and helped clarify a few things.
The first Young Suns were designed by Ron Amy, built in 1978 in Taiwan and sold into both the US and Australian markets under different names. It was available as either a center cockpit cutter or pilothouse cutter and there were four interior layouts available. The little sister was the popular Perry designed Young Sun 35.
In the US market the design morphed into similar versions built at the Formosa Boat Builders yard. She had at least three cousins – the Formosa 44, Spindrift 43 and later, a Hampton 43 that was built in China.
Setting off from the anchorage the wind was light and right behind us, the sun was setting gloriously in front of us – what better time to trial the new parachute sail?
We obtained a standard 28ft ex-army parachute from the US and set it up for the first trial sailing by dividing the lines equally and tying them off onto two steel rings.
One ring was attached and raised on the spinnaker line towards the top of the mast. The lower end was attached to a line and ran it through a shackle on the bowsprit then back to the cockpit.
The results were fantastic! Without a breeze to mention we were being gently pulled along at just under 3 knots. The type of breeze from behind and changing direction that would require lots of work using a spinnaker or any other poled sail was a wonderfully relaxing event with the parachute. We both lay on the foredeck with our arms folded behind our heads, looking up as the parachute changed direction with the wind as required – and it looks so peaceful.
The current setup which requires some tweaking causes it to manoeuvre with a jelly fish like motion. Meaning the vertical sides accordion in and out and a bit of maths is required to calculate how to alter the various cord lengths between the top and bottom sections of the chute.
We will adjust as we go to see the best setup – but a wonderful result for first trial.
Well after a truly lovely first leg we anchored outside the Marina at Scarborough for a nights rest before heading up to Fraser island. Next morning spent on deck doing little jobs and getting used to everything. Wind picked up perfectly but unfortunately the engine didn’t. Neil went through everything methodically and I helped by scouring the forums and engine manuals looking for extra clues. We narrowed it down to the fuel injector pump – a mysterious beastie that if broken can not be repaired by mere cruising mortals. It was broken. I blogged the checklist of how we found out it was broken if anyone is interested… So we needed a tow in, and lucky we had signed up to Coast Guard Rescue!
Long story short they towed us in the next day when it was blowing an absolute hooley and we spent the next week immobile whilst the Diesel Injection specialists did their stuff refurbing the injector pump. We had the 4 injectors overhauled at the same time for good measure and so now they, along with the almost new pump are all set for the next 20+ years. They better be, the dent in our cruising budget was humongous!
Prop is covered in weed from the Manly stay but we’ve no incentive to swim, sea temperature is 16C. Brrrrrrrrr
Sand engine instrument panel, repair joins and oil teak Refurb main skylight hatch. Remove teak trims and old window and replace with new. Sand and stain the trims and hatch base. Polish steel bars. Re-assemble and remounted. Sew spray hood patches where fabric has worn. Replace old broken clears with new clear vinyl. Align and install the spray hood frame mounts on deck. Design and install a mount for the foot-rail of the spray hood to attach to. Put up the spray hood and test for sturdiness, attach webbing straps where needed. Glue and repair the interior drawers from the aft cabin. Test out new 3.5HP Yamaha engine on the dingy. Check out all the other boats in the Marina whilst doing this :0) Complete overhaul of the engine fuel system – fuel tank emptied and cleaned, fuel filter lines replaced, manual lift pump removed and cleaned out (noted – need to buy new one). Primary and secondary fuel pumps removed, cleaned, filters replaced. Electric fuel primer pump & filter cleaned.
Check the stop valve is in the off position and open the throttle to full. Check the fuel supply – like have you got any? Before we go pulling everything apart, check the belt is turning the Fuel Injector Pump (IP). Use the electric pump to check the input to and output from the primary filter is clean and air-free by disconnecting & reconnecting each point.
Working along the fuel line, switch to manual pump and push through to the secondary filter and again check in and out is clean and air-free. Now we’re at the IP. Disconnect supply at entrance and check as above to ensure it is not blocked. Bleed (loosen them open until they drip) IP at the valves and let them run to ensure clean fuel. This is the Low Pressure section of the IP. Crack (same as bleeding, different name..) the injector nuts -fuel should run clean and air free. This is from the High Pressure area of the IP. Check the internal “spline” is turning (ie able to create the pressure) by removing the plate cover and watching as you turn the engine over.
are you still with me? Try turn it over again and if still no good then you will need to return at another time for Part II. Good luck and please keep us posted on the outcome! As for us, we’re stuck at the injector nuts as no fuel is coming through. Good news is the spline does turn.
Coast Guard are towing us into the Marina where we’ll get a professional second opinion and probably end up having the IP bench tested. We suspect the stop valve mechanism inside the IP has failed somehow – Neil’s money is on a spring-like component..
When life throws you expiring onions what else can you do but make soup?!
6 onions peeled and sliced
white wine, a healthy splash
beef stock cubes
In a soup pan gently sauté the onions in butter for 30 mins until lovely and golden. I covered the pan, and if they start to stick too early add a splash of wine. Have some yourself if it’s not your watch.
Add 1L of water and stock cubes to personal taste and bring to a gentle simmer for about 1hr.
Serve sprinkled with cheese and some crusty bread. It is also delicious with these scones
Yoghurt Cheese scones
250g SR flour
150g natural yoghurt
75g grated cheese
Herbs / cayenne pepper added are also good to add
Preheat oven to 225C
Rub butter into sifted flour and salt, then stir in cheese. Add herbs now if doing so.
Mix egg and yoghurt together and add to flour to make a soft dough.
Roll out to 2.5cm thick and cut into about 5cm rounds.
Pop everything onto a baking tray, especially the offcuts as they make tasty cheesy crunchy things..
Brush with milk or egg and bake at top of oven for 10 mins.