Fresh underwater anodes go on when the boat hits the water in Spring or when it is lifted for a scrub. Not so this year as yacht lifting facilities in Iceland mean that an expensive crane would have to be hired. So when we got to Reykjavik at the weekend the first thing we did was to poke a camera under the boat to see what sort of shape the anodes were in. Sadly there was precious little zinc left. With no obvious place to dry the boat out against a harbour wall the cheapest option was to take to the frigid water and do it with scuba gear.
Despite the harbour film of diesel on the surface the water was crystal clear so on went the dry suit and the gaffer tape to the perished wrist seal. Stepping off the bathing platform involved dodging the plethora of mooring lines that have kept Shimshal secure against the hurricane force winds she has had to endure this winter. Needless to say the water at 64 degrees north was not warm in late winter!
As I touched the prop anode it disintegrated so it was in desperate need of change. A few false starts with trips back to the surface to collect the right sized Allen key - 6mm for future reference. Finally the fumbling with gloved hands to insert the bolt through the new anode trying so hard not to drop anything. Job done!
Then it was time to take an underwater tour round the boat and note the pleasing absence of weed or barnacles. Was the water too cold for marine life to prosper or was it the combination of Copperguard and my home made ultrasonic antifouler that has kept the bottom clean?
Afterwards the warmth of a Reykjavik winter's afternoon was a blissful release as was the the realisation that we had just saved ourselves a fortune in lift out fees.