3 years of hard graft restoring her plus a year of sets backs (such as COVID-19!) and finally Heron II lives the dream and arrives safely in the Mediterranean.
Out of lockdown and making the most of Heron II (and our freedom) with our first family trip onboard. Destination = Helford River. Stopping at the lovely Fowey and St Mawes enroute. Beautiful. The Mediterranean is still calling and we will hopefully get there soon ….
We did it! Heron II won Restoration of the Year (over 40ft) with Classic Boat magazine. During such difficult times worldwide we are able to really smile about something, thank you to all of you who voted. This is fantastic recognition of all the hard work that went into the project and the dedication to the quality of finish. No big boat yards involved, just a lot of love and hard graft, mainly from Aaron and some close family and friends! Thank you to those wonderful people. We look forward to properly realising the dream when Coronavirus finally sods off. In the meantime, stay safe and try to keep finding things to smile about.
It’s a very happy day to see Heron II on the front page of Classic Boat magazine, with a good write up inside – 7 pages! Look how proud we are to find her on the shelves at Nice Airport. Grab a copy while you can (not necessarily at Nice Airport), it’s out now (March Issue).
Fame at last! Heron II makes front page of Sailing magazine in the USA and a 10 page spread with loads of pictures. sailingmagazine.net
Sailing magazine was founded in 1966, the oldest continuously published sailing magazine in the US. So happy to see all Aaron’s effort recognised and documented, Heron looks spectacular. Pick up a copy if you can or watch this space for some coverage in UK mags.
Finally we leave Dartmouth and head to sea. A special day. We got all the sails up – Main, Staysail, Jib and Jib Topsail. And we hit 8.4 knots! Smiles all round.
Everything is wired in and here we are on the AIS. Wow we exist!
An important feature! The sound system is now wired in, we’ve gone for a Fusion Black Box 100, speakers in the saloon and in the helm box out on deck. The size of the speakers are pretty imposing but the smaller speaker meant dropping the wattage and we are keen to TURN IT UP (when out at sea of course)! We are slightly regretting the position in the saloon, they’re not very subtle – but no time to change it now, maybe next time we get the paint out we will move them and patch up the walls.
Although Aaron would prefer Heron II aesthetically without such things as stanchions, it is a requirement for the charter world. Plus we have our very own pair of little feet to walk the boards and learn the ropes, so alas, safety first and the stanchions are going on. We have had them polished up and they are looking all shiny and new.
Today we came alongside the harbour wall in Dartmouth, from where we currently sit on a pontoon mid river, to load the lead ballasts and trim Heron II. She has approximately a ton of lead blocks in the bow to drop her to the correct waterline. And a little in the stern.
The electrics are under way; it’s been a big task looming as Aaron has decided to continue the tradition of the project by tackling the planning, wiring and connections himself, to then have them signed off by an Electrician. The timescale for this has always been a big question mark.
The conduit is laid and the wires are running throughout, although even this wasn’t plain sailing as the wires refused to run through attached to a pre-threaded rope, so there was lots of opening up the conduit to help ease them through. Aaron has been back in the workshop making housing boxes for the switch board (which sits next to the chart table) and for the plotter (which will sit at the helm). The compass and instruments are in position in the cockpit and inside we have red/white lights throughout and angled reading lamps in the bunks and saloon.
A long and hard day. The jobs list included doors on, upholstery in, final bits of wiring the engine and fuel in the tank. Penultimate job – put the boom on! Last job of the day – motor out of Mill Creek and to freedom (well to the River Dart)! What an amazing feeling and we arrived at the Dartmouth town jetty to a heartfelt welcome of about 50 people; friends, family and enthusiasts. Corks were popped and celebrating really commenced Thank you everyone, it was a lovely way to mark the occasion and we were really touched by how many people came out to see us in.
Today we stepped the mast. It’s meant to be lucky to place a coin under the mast; so our daughter expertly threw (she has been practicing her throwing skills a lot lately!) the pound coin onto the foot plate, to stick among all the gloop. Then the technical stuff happened …
Now for the rigging, starting with the 10′ bowsprit. The whisker shrouds are now mounted on the topsides, to space save on deck – less potential for a broken toe 😉
The mast has new stainless fittings designed by Aaron. The top of the mast is dressed with two wind indicators (one visual and one electronic), navigation lights, VHF aerial and a flagpole for our H2 flag.
A Good Friday indeed! We got the Fish and Chips in and the Champagne on ice. Then we waited for the tide to rise. She was meant to poetically roll down the slip (earlier in the day), float on high tide and slide out of the cradle and off the slip, where she has been residing for the past 32 months – easy! Alas, the cradle was old and cranky and so, in addition to the winch, it took a lot of man-power and some crowbars to help edge her down the slip, with the cradle giving out on the last few feet. So Heron II sat higher than we intended, but we still waited eagerly and hopefully. 19.25 (high tide) arrived and nothing! Plan B – rig up the tow-bar of the trusty 4×4 and pull her off the cradle, anyone spare jump on-board to rock her and lastly, hope for that notorious tidal surge! Voilà! April 19th 2019 IS a Good Friday – Heron II finally floats again.
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