First Rustler Owner’s Baltic Meet

Everyone at the Marina was pleased to see us. It has been Carra’s home for 6 years now. We were due to be in the shed for 3 nights – but a tin shed at 30 C is the equivalent of being cooked alive slowly. So we were relieved that they could put us back in the water early.

No slings – no drama

I went to move her round to the mast crane – there was a pathetic cough – but she failed to start. We have the ability to start her using our domestic batteries and the engine roared into life. One for investigation but for now we had to get the mast on. Niklas and the crew from Doghouse manoeuvred the heavy mast into position. But the back stay ( the wire holding the mast up at the back) appeared  to be 10cm too short. There were comments about the boat must have relaxed…. I was very sceptical given the thickness of our fibreglass. Then they decided to try and force the mast back by hauling down on the mainsheet with a taught topping lift. After 10 mins of achieving nothing,  I was concerned that they might break something but also I just didn’t believe the boat relaxing was the issue. I said something must be rigged differently, as I pointed out the mast hadn’t grown and it was seated correctly at the bottom – so there must be something different at the top. There then followed much shouting and I think Swedish swearing – I haven’t done that du- olingo lesson yet  and it was ascertained that the trainee rigger had not noticed that there was a link missing on the forestay (the front wire) hence the mast was too far forward. Surprise, surprise once the link was in place the backstay fitted. I was just glad the boat was still in one piece after the demonstration of brawn rather than brains.

We then set to rerigging the boat – all the lines and halyards and sails – hot work in 30C. We decided to try starting the engine with just the engine battery – and it worked first time. But I wasn’t happy why hadn’t it charged with the shore power. One to check out.

Carra and Sini

During the winter I had chatted with Mika a Finn who had just bought a Rustler 42 – he had planned to do an Atlantic Circuit but due to Covid he had got to the Kiel Canal and decided to go next year. On his way back he dropped me a line and he popped into the marina for a night so we had the first Baltic Rustler Owners meeting. It was inspiring looking at all the adaptions Mika had made to his boat….. we now have a long list. They joined us for Dinner on board Carra and we had breakfast with them on Sini the next day. Mika and Outi were a fascinating couple – Outi had sailed across the Atlantic with her family when she was 15years old. She was now helping her father  build a wooden boat – that he had designed – he is 81 years – just shows you that age is no barrier. Mika was a serial entrepreneur who had designed a digital lock whose power was derived from putting the key in the lock.

After they left we did some tests on the battery. Marcus our friendly New Zealand Electronics engineer found that the fuse between the battery and the shore power charger had blown – as a result of the condition of the battery. So he put the battery on an external charger to be reconditioned for 24 hours to see if it could be brought back to life…… it couldn’t so we bought a new starter battery. But considering she had been left for nearly 2 years we were lucky than only a battery had failed.

Last shop stowed and we cast off our lines and set sail down Svinninge Fjord – not knowing if we would be returning or going to Denmark.


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