Major damage to Seraphim

On Friday the 9th of April I hit HOOK lateral mark in Southampton Water.

The accident happened at 1145 and I had full Genoa and main up and simply didn’t see the buoy

Damage seen from a distance. You can see the damage extends downwards som 40 DMS as the blue line seems to be distorted. The upper deck has also collapsed a few cms.

More Sea Trials

More sea trails today, this this in 20kts of wind and slightly more challenging conditions. Putting one reef in was a different than that on Yaga, with everything having to be done at the mast.

The procedure was to loosen the kicker then go to the mast and put the cringle for the reef onto the horn.Loosen the lazy jacks, then back to the cockpit and raise the main. Back to the mast and tighten the reef. Quite a lot of toing and froing. I’ll see how this all pans out and may change the reefing system if it proves too difficult in rougher conditions.

Ed and I sailed up Southampton Water as far a Town Quays marina, where we had both kept our yachts many years ago. Passing many cruise ships we thought about pre COVID times where the area was a hive of activity. Hopefully, with a vaccine in sight, prosperity and activity will once again return.

Queen Mary II in her dock, where once Titanic berthed.
Cargo vessel with Azura in the background

Clean up and Bonding with Seraphim

An early start today. Left Esher at just before 0700 and arrived at Universal for a day of cleaning and putting things away.

It’s amazing how much stuff came off Yaga. So much so that I decided to allocate one of the stern cabins as a workshop and storage area. I barely managed to fit it all in. Yaga, for a 30 foot yacht had so much clever space on her.

WIth that job done, which took me most of the morning, I started on the bilges. I managed to soak up 5-6 litres of what tasted and was salt water. I managed to speak to John, the previous owner, and he confirmed that he had taken the log out recently, so it may have been that, will keep an eye on it. Everything looked reasonable and I also emptied the shower tray bilge area, which had a slight blockage.

I bilge area was remarkably cleaned and in great condition for a 20 year old yacht. Paint was all intact and the bow and aft area were bone dry. With dehumidifier and heater on, I left the floors up and had a spot of lunch, which comprised of a pancetta and mushroom and chilli omelette.


After lunch, it was time to attack the cockpit locker. This was a similar and quicker job. I the days clean up process I found interesting items belonging to both previous owners, which ranged from engine spares, cockpit cushion covers, lifting keel sliders and surprise surprise a pound coin in the aft cabin bilge 😊

Time to go home with satisfied and with a feeling that I am bonding and becoming a part of my new Seraphim.


My First Sail on Seraphim

Luckily the COVID restrictions still permitted me to be able to gain access to Seraphim and be able to take her for a sail. I was fortunate enough to have the help of Ed, who kindly came to the marina to give me a hand.

I arrived fairly early and did as many checks as i could remember. Engine oil, water levels, strainer, etc etc etc. Having disconnected the shore power I started her up. Huge amounts of white un burnt diesel filled the surrounding area, but soon dispersed. I left her running for a while and completed a quick tidy up, by which time Ed had arrived.

So, after a walk around and explaining the lay of the land to Ed, we prepared our lines and slowly slipped out and reversed out of the marina. The tide caught us, but we departed with a metre to spare, something I must watch out for in future manoeuvres.

We headed out into the Hamble river and initially performed some reversing and turning manoeuvres , before continuing downstream. It was wonderful being on the water again and especially in my new yacht. Passing Mercury marina, where Ed and I had completed all our courses and YachtMaster instructor qualification, we reminisced about happy times pre COVID. We soon arrived at our destination, a line of pontoons at the mouth of the river, where many yers ago, we practised on our training courses.

Practising reversing onto a river pontoon in the Hamble

We practiced forward and reverse moorings and general boat handling. All rather fun and enjoyable, learning how Seraphim performed. Only 10 knots of wind, so ideal for an initially learn and feel exercise.

Having acclimatised myself to Seraphim, it was time for some sea trials. We headed out past Hamble SCM and into Southampton Water. Raising the full main and completely unfurling the genoa, we turned the iron maiden off and enjoyed the peaceful serenity of the wind and waves. After performing a few tacks and at the edge of the Solent we turned back and headed downwind, with the keel raised off course 😊

Ed, multi tasking with winch and helm.
Me checking the main sail and Ed on the helm

We headed back up the Hamble and decided to top up the fuel tank. Although, I had half a tank, it would be good to top her up for two reasons. One to prevent water accumulating in the tank and two, because in these strange times one never knows when an opportunity like this may present itself again. 120 litres and £151.05 worst off we then continued upstream and back to our temporary home port of Universal marina. I decided to back into the berth in what turned out to be a perfect manoeuvre.

The day was completed with a first meal on Seraphim which we had on deck. A home made tomato and chic pea soup garnished with olives and Feta cheese. The perfect end to a perfect day, with many thanks to Ed for being there and helping me out and forming another strong and shared memory.

The peace and tranquility of the River Hamble

New Beginnings

At last the search for my dream yacht is over and the day has arrived where I take possession of her. An OVNI 385 , currently called “Seraphim III”


The search started in April 2020 just after we entered self isolation and lock down due to COVID 19. I had planned to visit the Ukraine with my friend Stas. The trip was meant to encompass my 60th Birthday and a visit to the town where my Father was born and lived for the first 12 years of his life. A visit of nostalgia, history and ancestry. Hopefully, I will manage to resurrect this adventure. The other adventure, was a sailing trip, with best mate Ed, from Sardinia to Venice via Croatia. Again, a postponement rather than a cancellation, I HOPE!!

I started by reviewing my criteria and requirements for my new yacht. After 12 years of sailing Yaga, my 30 foot fin keeler, i soon realised that one of main limitations was the ability of getting into many more shallow draft marinas, harbours, shallow bays, creeks and rivers. I needed a sturdy yacht that could go almost anywhere, and with a shallow draft. This led me towards the aluminium OVNI range


Finding one is not easy. They are in high demand, and finding one in lock down even harder. The events that led me me to my final purchase were a series of bizarre and random coincidences. From travelling to Scotland, viewing yachts on line in France, speaking to previous owners and brokers. Ironically, my eventual choice led me back to Southampton. This is where I found Seraphim III an Ovni 385, owned by a wonderful couple, Nicola and John Rodriguez. After a few visits, chats and inspection the deal was agreed. By sheer chance, Yaga was sold within 4 days of finding Seraphim, by a chap who had lost his Huzar 30 to a storm, when she slipped her moorings. So the planets and stars aligned and the deal was done.


Yaga. A final farewell to a faithful friend that took Alex and I on many fine and memorable adventures. A remarkable yacht. We will miss you Yaga but not loose touch.
Seraphim about to be lifted for an inspection and scrub down.
A bottom wash for her new owner
John and Nicola waving a found farewell to Seraphim with Ed looking on in admiration at the emotions.
Seraphim at her berth at Universal- under new ownership.


At last the time has come where I can go for a day sail.

I arrived at Quayside Marina at 0730 and made my way to Yaga. She’s been sitting here since August 2019 and the only movement she’s had was horizontal due to the rising and falling tide. She looked impeccable, this is due to the fact that I had commissioned Lewis, a local in Kemps Quay, to wash her every 6 weeks and polish her every 4 months.

If was odd getting back into the routine of preparing her for a sail, but the old routine soon reinforces itself, at bit like riding a bike, once mastered, you never forget.

By 0800, all was ready and I was just waiting for Ed, who arrived promptly at 0810. High water was at 0730 and we have plenty of water to get out.

We slipped lines at 0825 and motored up the river Itchin, past Shamrock Quays and then Ocean Village, both home of Yaga previously.

The familiar sight of Calshot Light Ship

Even with no wind and motoring through Southampton Water was a wonderful feeling of freedom and peacefulness, away from the madness that has fallen upon us. Once out in the Solent the wind eventually picked up and we were sailing. Turning of the engine and listening to the wind whistle through the rigging and the sea splashing on Yaga’s hull, must be one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.

We made are way to Newtown Creek and as we drew closer could see a mass of mast in the creek. So we opted to anchor outside on Hampsted Ledge. We dropped the hook at 1230 in 4 metres of water and settled into a lunch of Chilli Con Carne, which I had prepared earlier, followed by apple strudel, from my local Polish deli.

We could have stayed all day and night for that matter, if it had been allowed, but we had to make our way back to QuaySide and catch the next high tide to enable us to get back into our berth.

Sailing in Southampton Water was eerily quite and only encountering one half laden container ship and an empty cruise liner, probably going out of port to save port charges.

We managed to sail all the way back and were back on the berth by 1753

A fantastic day, with my best mate. Good for the mind, body and soul.





Familiarisation – bilges and below the water line

No matter how good a surveyor you may have commissioned prior to buying the yacht of your dreams, there is only a limited amount of checking that can be done.

One of the first jobs that I undertook, especially on an aluminium yacht, is the check the bilges. I went through mine two or three times and found a multiple of items ranging from underwear, coins, and remnants from past works carried out. This clean up, not only safeguards your investment, but also allows you to familiarise yourself with every nook and cranny. In this process I discovered potential storage spaces, seeping pipes and electrical conduits. In my inspection, I checked bilge pumps, water pumps and gas alarms.

Some of the items discovered

In fact one leak, which the previous owner had for many years was isolated to the fridge sea water cooling pump. This leak alluded the previous owner, so much so that he accepted it and regularly drained the water, with a specially purchased mini electric portable bilge pump. The leak was narrowed down relatively easily, by tasting the water. Discovering it was salt water, eliminated all fresh water system and allowed me to concentrate on sea cocks, engine inlets. Admittedly, the sea water fridge pump, was a bit of an oddity.

This familiarisation process is also beneficial for future servicing and troubleshooting, especially when you may be out at sea and there is no one around to give advise.

Installing my iSocket remote heating control

Today started by taking my new iPad back to The Apple Bentals Centre for a refund as I don’t really need it as I had my old one fixed. Then Eden Walk car park was empty as was the whole of Kingston, due to the second COVID lockdown, which began two weeks ago. The process was jock and painless.

Then, a trip down the A3 to Seraphim to install the iSocket, which is a plug that you can access and control via 3G. All went well and a successful install and I’m now able to control the heater and dehumidifier remote.

Whilst on Seraphim I vacuumed out the fore and central cabin bilges. Centre bilges had about 1/3rd of a bowl of salt water and I couldn’t see and obvious leaks.Relaxed a bit with a coffee and omelette with pancetta, yellow pepper and chilli. I’ll order smaller plastic storage boxes for tools and useful bits and bobs. Left at just after 1500 for Esher.

Will try these and see how good they are

Finding items on a Yacht – safety tip one

I have started making Seraphim my own. This initially involved storing all tools and valuable accessories on board. The main stowage problems on a yacht is space and being able to find things. I decided to store most on my tools and valuable accessories under the fore cabin bunk. This is an easily accessible storage area and I mange to store almost everything.

It’s my belief that from a safety perspective it’s important to have quick access to tools. Not only for me, but also for the entire crew. Imagine a scenario where I’m incapacitated and the crew need vital equipment to resolve a leak or engine issue. Where would they start, how would they ever be able to find stuff ?

With is in mind I placed all tools in easily accessible plastic storage boxes, which keeps similar tools together, dry and protected. All boxes are clearly labeled with an indelible marker and then mapped on a diagram with is available to crew in printable format. To enhance the finding process, I have also made this available in pdf format, which can be installed on any phone or tablet, of crew members. The crew can simply type in a keyword and find the location of the said item which will be displayed on their device.

Here is an example of the fore cabin location map and I intend to do the same for all other areas of yacht. This will not only include tools, but also safety equipment, cooking utensils, sails, etc etc etc

Fore Cabin location map