Preparing Opsimath for autonomy while enjoying the local scene!

We drove down to Folleux/Foleux on Thursday with a lot of new projects in view! Solar panels, wind generator and water purifier installation in addition to lots of smaller projects to optimize Opsimath for autonomy. Little did we know that lots of fun things would be happening here, including today’s vide bateau, a great evening at l’Escale listening to local group Too Fingers drum, strum and sing their talented little hearts out.Peter successfully mounted the solar panels on our beautiful gantry from MPI, where Jannick Bottin’s artisans crafted the elegant stainless steel structure to measure for our boat. It now supports the solar panels and our Marlec wind generator. Hopefully, we’ll be able to suspend the dinghy from it when we’re on the move. Four thumbs up for MPI, they seem to be very well known and much liked for their personal service and top of the line products. We also got a new blade anchor made in their workshops in Saint Aignan, France.On a less technical note, the structure sports fishing rod holders! Peter got the solar panels and wind generator mounted with no major issues. Then came the business of running the wires and cables, which had been keeping him.up at nights wondering how he’d do it. it was up and running within a couple days. The really tough part was installing our Nature Pure QC2. After eliminating the option of a desalinization machine, we decided to go for a much more affordable and sustainable option: a water purifier. Designed especially for boats and RVs, this will allow us to drink whatever water we can fill our tanks with (other than salt water). “Tank water” is notoriously nasty, so most boaters stock up.on the bottled stuff But I loathe bottled water, and have no intention of sailing around the planet buying and tossing plastic bottles. For about 300€, problem solved!

Installing the Nature Pure was not quite the 30 minute job touted in the promotional video. We had to find new T-connectors for the pipes because the ones delivered with the kit simply weren’t compatible (luckily we had our car to go hunt this down). Peter had to do some serious rigging, including positioning the tap and filter in the tiny space behind the sink… but he did it!

The results? We are thrilled! The tank water now literally tastes as good as spring water, the tap looks and works great and functions on the pressure in the water lines, no electricity necessary. It filters all particles and pathogens and supplies up to 2000 liters of drinking water per filter. No more bottled water! Very satisfying and a worthy addition of equipment.I was also a very busy bee, with softer pursuits than Peter, but equally satisfying results. I spotted a new pegboard-style wall fixture at IKEA, and decided it would be great for the companion way: now it holds sunglasses, keys, phones, pen and paper and so on. We’re constantly passing these things back and forth, and this is really a nice solution. It will be very handy when we need to quickly clear the decks.

Meanwhile in the galley, things are getting seriously more practical. I’m adapting the space to accomodate my need to cook, turning a very simple galley into a very useable space. We’re cutting chopping blocks to strategic sizes to maximize the work surfaces and keep things easy to use, clean and stow. Here’s another great IKEA sailboat hack: a magnetic bar behind the stove to keep knives and other utensils easy to reach.

Here’s another big improvement:

The design of the galley is overall pretty good. But the cut-outs for the wells to the right and left just did nothing to make things practical in a galley that gets more use than just cooking pasta. To the left of the stove,it was impossible to open the well without removing everything from the counter. Problem solved with a nice IKEA cutting board and some wood glue!

To the right of the stove, the well is super practical, but it was either open or closed, so useless as counter space. Another 9€ Ikea cutting board and the well now houses the plates, utensils and booze, while providing extra counter space. To keep things in place while underway, we installed a couple of stainless steel rods and use bungee cords to hold it all in. Cheap IKEA hacks that make a big difference!

Speaking of stoves, I now have my eyes on buying a new Eno gimballed stove, as this one, while serviceable, just isn’t rocking my culinary world…

In other news, I’ve been busy transforming the very cold, impersonal echo chamber of molded plastic that is our bathroom on the seas. We’re both pretty pleased with the result, which is a space you can actually relax in and not feel like your hanging on for dear life in a… cold, molded plastic capsule. I added lots of soft elements to absorb noise and an adapted over the door pocket organizer to hold books and magazines. This has effectively created a much more comfortable place in which a sensitive soul can find a moment’s peace and do what needs doing. If you consider that sailing often presents significant physical challenges to digestion and proper elimination, you realize that a comfy loo isn’t just a luxury. Once we got our projects cleaned up, we had the satisfaction of many jobs well done, a beautiful and comfortable second home to enjoy, and a final supper before the drive home. Next stop: getting her off the docks and hoisting some sails!

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