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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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Play d’eau and South Africa

We left beautiful Beaucette Marina soon after midday
click to enlarge

1 September 2014. A decision had been made.

Having prepared our Fleming 55, Play d’eau, for the journey, Kim and I left sunny Beaucette soon after midday delivering a long and triumphant blast of the Kahlenbergs echoing around the marina’s quarry walls, and set sail (set motor?) for the journey. Not to South Africa, but Southampton via Alderney where we’d have a few hours break for supper.

Casting off from Buoy 20 in Braye Harbour, we travelled throughout a moonless night in a rather emotional sea and arrived in a flat calm Solent just as the sun rose, casting her fire orange hue over the water.

Having completed the handover to GRP Boat Repairs Ltd at Shamrock Quay, I caught the 1440 Blue Islands flight back to Guernsey and was tucked up and asleep by 8pm.

Why Southampton?

The sun rises over Cowes in the Solent
click to enlarge

Well, Play d’eau is in need of extensive repair work which will be carried out by UK specialists. Whilst there, Lin and I will take the opportunity to visit South Africa for the two months Play d’eau will be under cover in a heated shed.

A great friend of ours, Kim Hollamby, had flown to Guernsey to accompany me to Southampton. Lin was staying behind to make final preparations for our extended South African adventure.

Why South Africa?

Readers will remember that our youngest son, Toby, married his fiancé Amy in April this year in the Tala Private Game Reserve just outside Durban. We spent a month sightseeing this beautiful country and meeting members of our new extended family. We agreed that this, our first time in South Africa, would not be the last.

Why two months?

The chart plotter shows exactly where we are
click to enlarge

Simple. The work needed on Play d’eau will take two months, and since she is our home we have taken the opportunity to return to beautiful South Africa.

There’s so much to explore. Magnificent mountain ranges, wines, exotic game reserves, wines, family to meet, wines, journeys to be made, and have I mentioned the fine luscious South African wines?

What’s up with Play d’eau?

Good question. The main problem is hundreds of blisters on many of the surfaces above the waterline. Above the waterline? Yes, above the waterline.

Apparently, when she was built a water-attractive filler was used in some places under the gel coat rather than an epoxy water-repellent filler. Hence, any water resting on surfaces was ‘sucked’ through the gel coat, into the filler, causing blistering, looking just like a bad rash of teenage acne. Given her debut was at the 2002 Southampton Boat Show, she’ll be thirteen in a year’s time, so teenage acne isn’t a bad metaphor.

The Blisters

The hundreds of blisters look like a teenager’s bad rash of acne
click to enlarge

So, Play d’eau will be in a heated tent, with the blister correction work being carried out by a Fleming recommended facility. Work will be monitored by a marine surveyor and finally signed off as complete and corrected.

Other work will include blasting the hull back to the original epoxy coating, applying additional epoxy, re-antifouling, reseating caprails, remaking any loose caulking in the teak decking, repairing any ‘dinks’ in the internal wooden flooring, certifying the fire protection systems, replacing a gearbox oil seal and servicing the Glendenning engine synchroniser.

And that will all take two months. But at least she’ll be ready for next year’s cruising with not a hint of acne.

Piers and Lin
from a friend’s bungalow near Cobo
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

3 comments to Play d’eau and South Africa

  • Dave Birch

    Hey Folks.
    Hope the acne isn’t the contagious type!!!
    Have a fab time on your travels and hope to catch you when you get back.
    Dave

  • Hil

    I love your blogs-you always take your readers with you. The photos are stunning-what a wonderful beginning to such an exciting adventure. Clearly Play d’eau will be warm and well looked after so you don’t need to worry about her at all-so just feel and be free! Have a glorious time!

    Lots of love, Hil x x

  • Marion Blue

    Thanks for the telephone call, so lovely to hear from you, and from South Africa! Hope you enjoy your time there, back in time for Christmas, I suppose? And a face lifted Play d’eau! Hope to see you in the nearish future.

    Love. M.

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