State of the Boat and Us After +5K & 10K Miles

Having put Beyzano through over 2150 miles in the 3 months from UK to Las Palmas and then the Trans-At Crossing of another 3K, just wanted to add some details about the equipment and condition of the boat.

The only things which let us down were quite major, the engine blew the head gasket and the kicker fitting broke at the mast during heavy weather and the start of an accidental gybe which was controlled by the preventer. The latter was avoidable but in 32 knots we suddenly saw a tiny fishing dinghy in the trough of a huge swell and in swerving to miss it the wind got behind the main.

We met people on another 473 whose engine had similar mileage and exactly the same issue with their head gasket. Hopefully now it has been fixed we shouldn’t have that problem again at least!

Other than that the watermaker, generator, navigation lights and equipment, fridge, freezer and all other items on board continued to work well prior to the ARC. We didn’t break any crystal glasses or stored jars and there were no injuries to any crew.

Before leaving on our Atlantic Passage we changed the fuel filters, impellor, engine oil and filter. The generator was serviced in the last 3 months by us but the impellor broke and one piece disappeared. At time of writing we haven’t found it but are in St Lucia so will sort it out soon. We think the bit of plastic may be in the pipe under the generator so have to hoist it out of the port lazerette to get to it. If it is further in, inside the engine, we need to get help. We didn’t change the steering cable in the end as the 1 of the 20 strands which was broken wasn’t going over the pulleys and was not an issue. We had spare cable and bulldog clips just in case and our autohelm will drive the steering without the cabling.

We put foam cladding on the spreaders to protect the sails from chafe, fitted our larger genoa and rigged up the pole. The external aerial for the satellite phone was fitted and all peformed well. We only used the main on a few days as the genoa or cruising chute was a better set up, without the worry of an accidental gybe.

Without the generator we had to run the engine in neutral for 4 hours a day which we don’t like doing as the engine should work with a load but there was no option. The watermaker played up a couple of time on the ARC but as we hadn’t maintained it we were lucky it worked at all! We had nearly 700 litres of water plus bottled for drinking and the watermaker did fill the forward tank 5 times. We didn’t run out! We are now replacing the 3 filters as it will be one of the essential pieces of kit from now on, giving us the freedom to anchor for long periods of time.

There was some chafe where the cruising chute sheets came through the guard-lines to the winches so we used a lot of gaffer tape to protect the rope, also at the top of the genoa halyard and at the bow for chute line. Nothing actually wore through but we were careful to check regularly.

Others broke poles, tore sails and fell out of their bunks but they were racers!

Overall we have been very happy with the boat and equipment and she doesn’t look like she has just done over 5K miles, no scratches or damage so far! A local tradesman charged us 120 US $ to remove the thick layer of salt and polish up the hull and in the heat it was well worth it! We are still very comfortable living on Beyzano and with our new lifestyle. Banking and general communications have been easy in every port and we don’t miss anything other than our friends and family.

April 2014
Our Raymarine Plotter now shows well over 10K miles on the log but as we installed almost a year after buying the boat, our mileage is far in excess of that.

We still think the boat is wonderful, if that says anything. She is fast, has coped very well in a few considerable seas and winds and is very spacious and comfortable to live on. We wouldn’t change anything unless we continue into the Pacific, then just adding a new furler to give us 2 headsails for goose winging downwind.

She is still looking good and receives lots of compliments, especially ‘immaculate’. Bearing in mind she is now 12 years old, she is doing well. We polish the dark blue hull properly once a year and if it is very white with salt after a boisterous passage, we rinse the hull with a vinegar solution and she comes up shiny again.

Nothing major has broken but the hatches have started to show wear and a couple of the hinges are leaking, so we will replace the overhead hatches this year.

We bought a new dinghy and outboard but these aren’t really part of the boat. Further details on a variety of items can be found on the pages under Equipment.

We are both still enjoying the sailing life very much. It has turned out to be far better than we had dreamed it would be and we have met and made some lovely new friends. Old friends and family have also made the effort of flying out to spend time with us, which has been great. The ever changing bays, the freedom to go as we please and being outside all the time are real positives and we rarely sit inside the boat. There is always something to do or someone going by and now we have been in the Caribbean a couple of seasons, we usually find a boat we know in every bay and just once in a while decide to stay a couple of nights in a deserted bay, alone.

Provisions are pretty easy to come by, as is WiFi, fuel and water. Competent engineers can be found and it hasn’t been too expensive to get things done when necessary. The social life is excellent, local restaurants and bars have good deals and good food.

Together we have learnt to dive and that is a perfect hobby here, plus we can check the underneath of the boat ourselves.

All in all we would say it is wonderful 🙂

6 Responses to State of the Boat and Us After +5K & 10K Miles

  1. How many hours had the engine done when the gasket went? Our previous owner fitted pipe lagging to the spreaders and covered the spreader ends in leather. Both are still going strong 🙂

  2. Rhian says:

    Not onboard currently so just from memory it was 1400. Will check for you though.

  3. Rhian says:

    Just checked the logbook and it was 1467. Someone else with the 473 and this engine had the same problem around the same engine hours!

  4. Thanks! Concerned now so will be checking the hours on DA at the weekend!

  5. John Lyman says:

    Hello, thank you for posting your story! I own a 2002 473 with the 75hp Yanmar engine with 1100 hours so I am very interested in the head gasket issue. What were the first signs of trouble and did you have the 1000 service done on schedule? -John

  6. Rhian says:

    Unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of warning and had already left the UK to join the ARC. The evening before it really gave up the engine sounded very noisy and the exhaust had dark smoke. The following morning, for the first time, the engine wouldn’t start but did on the second attempt. We motored 5 nm to the nearest marina but the engine wouldn’t idle at all and on slowing down for the berthing it stopped and wouldn’t restart.
    The services were all done on schedule and we change the oil more frequently than necessary really. The spanish engineer thought the issue was overheating and warned us not to exceed 3000 rpm but the engine does rev up to 4000. We usually motor at around 2500 anyway, so were at a loss regarding the overheating but now keep to about 2200 just in case.
    Hope that helps and your engine behaves better than ours!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *