Guy purchased Showtime, a Hero 101 34ft back in November 2016 in Fredrikstad, Norway. This was to be his next rebuild project. She was taken out the water with the intention of putting her back in and sailing her home in the spring of 2018. However due to our Clipper race adventures this was delayed until September 2018, I went back over with Guy, here is my diary I wrote each day and what happened next!
6th September 2018
Guy and I made the journey to Manchester airport. One of my friends Richard kindly dropped us off at Malton train station early in the morning for our 1pm flight to Oslo, this was a one way ticket so we could not leave the car. I did a little bit of work on the train as it’s been manic trying to finish everything, a busy time at work but we really need to get Showtime home.
Our luggage consists of boat life stuff, including life jackets, tools and a flare container full of who knows what. All Guys luggage was overweight but even after looks of puzzlement and head shaking during scanning they let us on the plane.
After a 12 hour journey door to boat we finally sat down with Kjell Arne for pizza and beer, or wine in my case. This is coming customary to have a pizza on arrival into Fredrikstad, but they do very good pizzas. We are now very comfortable in our own little cabin on Kjell Arnes boat, next to Eriks in the heart of the town, perfect location. Kjell Arne, Erik and Raymond are very good friends of ours in Fredrikstad, their help and advise during our stays here is invaluable, we are forever grateful.
7th September 2018
We took the dingy up river to the riggers boat yard and I got my first sight of Showtime in the water. She looked quite small against the other boats. There was some water in the bilges which we pumped out, then we went to turn the engine on. Nothing! Guy had problems with wiring last week but had found the problem. Four hours later we finally found another loose connection and when I pressed the start button and her soft even whirring engine noise graced us, it was such a relief.
Unfortunately we had to wait another four hours for the 3 bridges to open so we could take her down river to moor up next to Kjell Arne where we would continue preparing her. So we spent the time cleaning and a bit more maintenance. We did some shopping for dinner, then found the fridge did not work. The least of our worries but disappointing.
In the last hour despite the fact we didn’t have any charts we took her out and motored around an island, it’s wonderful sightseeing from the water especially on your own boat. My other first thoughts after the excitement of slipping lines were – this is our boat, I can do what I want on it and nobody to shout and boss me around on it! That felt liberating, it’s been the downside of racing in a team, just takes one person to either throw their male ego about( happened recently on Kassy) or just shouting unnecessarily, which is not helpful when what you need is some physical help most of the time, and it can make for some miserable sailing. I’ve seen the best racing when everyone is happy and in harmony. Others with more experience may beg to differ but that’s my opinion after 50 races!
Waiting for each bridge to open so we could get through was fun and interesting to see the construction and technology used to lift all that weight on each road bridge, I took photos during our transit to show such engineering.
That evening we studied charts with Erik for following the coast from Fredrikstad to Kristiansand. We also looked at the weather, it’s unfortunately looking doubtful that we will be able to make the crossing.
8th September 2018
I was exhausted last night and quickly fell into a deep sleep. However I think Guy had a restless night. His thoughts on whether we would be happy to take Showtime across the North Sea, would we have her prepared enough? The fact we don’t know her very well and the weather forecast is not good, it would mean beating upwind in strong seas. He said at this stage he is not happy with the integrity of Showtime to get us across safely and he had me to think about.
I reassured Guy that I knew he would make the best decision and I would support his decision. I had read enough sailing stories lately to realise that sailing is so fickle and anything can happen, you have to be flexible. Guy knows I understand this. I am also nervous, the sea is not forgiving and I don’t want any of us in danger, it would be totally irresponsible when all we are doing is a personal crossing. There is always another time if we need to change our plans. I’ve priced up return flights just in case.
Spent the day cleaning the galley and heads, took the cooker apart and deep cleaned it. Pleased to say it all worked when we put it back together. Guy has cleaned other areas of the boat – not sure what as I’ve had my head in the oven but the hoover was going! Kjell is helping us rewire some of the domestic batteries as the connection had corroded on one of them. The connections and security of leisure and engine batteries now completed, everything takes a long time when done properly.
It was a lovely sunny day until about 2pm then sharp showers all afternoon. This led to me being a bit lazy, once I finished cleaning I relaxed on Kjell Arne boat, writing this diary and cooking dinner for the boys.
In the evening Erik and Tone came over for a chat. Erik then went to work (night shift) and after walking her two little dogs Tone sat and chatted with us over a few glasses of wine. Lovely evening with great company.
9th September 2018
I realised I never actually set foot on land yesterday. Just went from Kjell Arnes boat who we are moored against and stepped onto ours and back all day. So I went on land to empty the rubbish this morning!
It was a very wet morning so we did more jobs down below, finished the batteries and checked all the lights worked. The heads don’t appear to be working so may have to revert to a bucket.
In the afternoon the weather was better so we went back on deck. Guy tightened the shrouds to get the mast straight and replaced the pins on the shroud fastenings. We then sealed the hatch, put the boom up, got the genoa out and started running some lines. It was too windy to put the genoa up but hoping we can tomorrow along with the main sail.
In the evening Guy did some splicing and whipping on the genoa sheets.
10th September 2018
The day started warm and sunny, work on deck continued. We borrowed Eriks bikes and went to boatbua and bought bits and pieces for replacing various items on deck. We tried to erect the spray hood but mysteriously it does not appear to fit well without interfering with the traveller. I scrubbed sheets which had green algae on them. Another friend Stig popped by and there was much talk on the weather, it’s not gone in our favour. Using windy app it’s confirmed that we would be foolish to try, we would be beating into the wind of 35knts and once Guy explained to me the effect of fetch it was decided to cancel our passage home for now. We would moor Showtime up and visit at our leisure before we find the right window.
I priced up and booked tickets home for next Sunday. This would firstly ensure we both get back to work on time. But more importantly we would have more time to get to know Showtime and do a bit more work on her, we really are not ready for those sea conditions in a boat we didn’t know or feel ready to take on such a trip.
This is a relief all round, we could now relax in a place we love.
11th September 2018
It rained all day, but we had already planned a trip to Stromstad in Sweden with a Erik so this was the perfect day. It was a beautiful drive despite the weather, you could just about make out the stunning scenery. In Stromstad we found fishing vessels, a fish auction and boat shops. We were all in our element. We bought smoked mackerel and fresh herring from the fishmonger next to the market. The fishmonger spoke very good English, not only did he give us a great recipe for a meal using the herring he also popped in some fresh dill to help us. We enjoyed pan fried herring smothered in dill with a fresh salad and my favourite remoulade dressing.
12th September 2018
A lovely sunny day. I think Guy would have liked to have tinkered all day on the boat, but I convinced him we should set sail. The first genoa was quite hard to hoist, I was on the winch as a Guy fed her through. But we ended up taking her down, it was too big. We then hoisted the second genoa we have for her, she went up much easier and fit perfectly. Next the main, again we seem to have 2 mains. We chose one but alas she had no batons. We failed to locate the batons so unless located from her last owner they will get ordered from the sail makers here in Fredrikstad. Oh well, we still slipped lines and went for our test sail with just a genoa.
I helmed down the river, avoiding the passenger ferries, motored past the old town then hoisted the genoa. She handled extremely well. It was great to be out with her.After an hour and a half we tacked and headed back to land to prepare dinner. Tonight Guy is cooking pork loin, potato and vegetable gratin and fresh vegetables. With some South African wine to wash it down, perfect end to a lovely sail.
We have a little black book, originally found on Showtime. In this book we continue to make lists of jobs to be done and a shopping list of boats parts. There is always so much to do and never ending, but priority now is that we are happy to leave her over winter.
13th September 2018
After a great sleep, sailing always knocks me out, we awoke to a blustery but sunny day. The first good news of the day was that Erik has managed to secure us a mooring on the river astern of his boat. This is great news and our preferred place. What wonderful friends we have here in Fredrikstad.
We spent most of the morning cycling to different boat stores along the river bank, a very pleasant bike ride for some much needed leg stretching. Bits and pieces purchased included parts for the VHF radio, rubber base for the tiller, split pins for something important in the engine and research into water based epoxy. Basically there is a very small leak from the rudder into the bilges, we can’t get them completely dry for long. We opted for a tube of something suitable, it has stopped the water getting in from where we knew it was coming in but new cracks have been found since. We will buy some more filler tomorrow. Not a permanent solution but will hopefully see her through the winter until we can get her home.
14th September 2018
Guy announced that he was going to decant and clean the diesel tank today. That sounded dull and dirty! I googled ‘What to do in Fredrikstad?’ the answer was get on a boat and go to Sweden. So that’s what I did. A lovely 2 hour trip through the islands, nearly 2 hours spent in Stromstad again where I had a walk round and Fisk soupe for lunch,and then 2 hours return by a slightly different route. I could never get bored of this scenery, absolutely stunning. The only downfall on the way back was the drunk Norwegians on bored, tax free booze meant they made a day of it! But I spent all my time on deck to keep out their way.
15th September 2018
We shopped for fenders, electric bilge pump, storage containers and mooring snubbers. Erik took us round in his car and we used his discount card. We then had a lovely trip out to help Erik deliver a 31ft motor boat to Halden. A very sunny day it felt more like we were motoring round the med, but the beautiful fjord we passed through confirmed we were still in Norway. The trip was pleasant, not too splashy and good fun. Though noisy under motor, we missed the sails!
There were still so many things to do on the boat but we stopped for a pizza night out with Erik and Tone. When we came back we finished putting ropes on the fenders and Guy must have finished the packing as I think I fell asleep.
2am we got up to catch the flybussen to the airport.
It was a 12 hour trip home, alas without Showtime, we will be back for her.