Friday, 24 April 2015

Completed job list - winter layover 2014/15

Slipped out to the boat yesterday for a few hours to complete "putting her back together" - also known as bending on sails...  Genoa is now back on the furler (which was lubricated), and I also test raised the main to make sure it is sliding smoothly - no issues on either. Checked the bilges just to be sure (dry), so I'm now ready to go sailing...  no options this weekend (busy and non-optimal tide times)..

Lastly, and purely for reference...  ...but I completed the following this winter gone:

  1. Source better fixing bolts for mastfoot/tabernacle (they are better, but still not perfect)
  2. Drill the bow roller to take a locking pin (to keep the rope or chain in the roller)
  3. Finish painting cabin [clicky]
  4. Washboards - repainted (padlock hasp to do) [clicky]
  5. Cockpit locker lids - replaced in 12mm ply
  6. Hinges/locks for cockpit locker lids [clicky]
  7. Antenna fitted
  8. Masthead light fitted (and windex) [clicky]
  9. Antifouled [clicky]
  10. Outboard serviced
  11. Genoa sheet cam-cleats replaced [clicky]
  12. Varnished rubbing strip [clicky]
  13. Varnished grab rails
  14. Varnished push-pit board [clicky]
  15. Serviced Life Jackets
  16. Serviced tender launching trolley wheels 
Clearly some of them are given's, and will get added to next years list, but still a gratifying number of projects completed.. lessons learned..??  "Keep on top of the painting and varnishing as it will save time in the long run". Next winter I'm determined to crack on with the electrics...

Monday, 20 April 2015


No pictures I'm afraid...   bit too busy....but the good news is that Sparrow is back in the water, so the summer can now officially start.. 

Busy, busy, weekend for the guys at the club who coordinate the lift-in's, all volunteers (we're a self help club) but I think it safe to say they were enjoying themselves. Sunny weather all weekend, but they were contending with F5's most of Friday and Saturday (gusting considerably more), but by Sunday when I was launching it had moderated but was still a fairly solid F4, and being SE'ly was damn cold (straight off of Siberia)...

Got to the club about half eight (for a 12:30 HT) thinking I'd be in plenty of time, but they'd already started so I missed the early slots..  normally I get dropped at the far end of the slip - first to float off, this time I was the top....  having made sure she was safely parked, I had an hour or so to go before I needed to worry about her floating so I slipped off to the tender and went out to my mooring to put my mooring chain on...  that done, I rowed back to the club (with a big tide under me - it was really flowing all day) and the keels were already wet to half way..

At this point my old mate Dave turned up, one of trusty (rusty? ) crew  for the day as I was planning to launch and lift the mast on the same tide..  as it looked like I might float before some of the bigger ones behind me we rigged a slip to one of the pilings to stop me drifting out of control.... with the water now well up we transferred to Sparrow (not before Dave almost threw himself in - tricky things, tenders...) Few minutes later the last of my crew, Rod the Mod - erstwhile skipper of Ami-Ly [clicky] - turned up and we were quorate.. a bare 15 or so minutes after that and we were afloat which was unfortunate as some of the bigger boats behind were not, but the slip was holding so no harm done - fended off for a moment and then one of the club safety boats came in and dragged me out sideways to clear water... 

Swift trip under the bridge and 5 minutes later we were on the mooring at which point it was almost a virtual copy of the event last year [clicky] albeit even smoother - I even remembered this time to check the furler was on the right way round... no issues at all really, back stay needed smoothing out half way up, but all under control...

The new mast bolts that I'd got to avoid the issue of not being able to get the bottom mast bolt in were still not big enough - I'll get next size up this summer for next year.. in the meanwhile the big screwdriver was wielded again...

Having tightened up all the rigging, we withdrew to the cockpit for beer and chat in the sunshine - libations were offered to Neptune, the boat, and the crew, and all in all it was a remarkably stress free event..

Hour or so later I dispatched the crew via one of the club safety boats to shore, and I tidied up; then unscrewed the flag pole holder, turned it round, and screwed it back on the right way round (); fitted the boom, fed in the mainsail, and attached halyard; packed up and rowed ashore just as the water was beginning to disappear..  a good day!

Thoughts now turn to first sail, but not before I put the genoa on - tides are good this weekend for an afternoon sail so I may slink off for a crafty afternoon on the water...

Friday, 17 April 2015

That's it for winter 2014/15 - I'm done...


Popped down to the boat on Wednesday night and finished off the new cam cleats - friend "Coral" Paul was down and offered to hold the screwdriver, while I nipped up the bolts from underneath - as expected all done inside of 15 minutes so we adjourned to his boat for a chat...  agreement is reached that we'll have a joint sail somewhere this summer - maybe Bembridge, as neither of us has been...

Paul's boat is two or three in front of mine when we're on our moorings (the red one in the following) but unlike me he has his mast up and is planning to sail round the island to his mooring - best of luck, matey!

Returning to the boat I then installed the magazine rack I've had sitting on the boat since last summer waiting to be attached to the internal bulkhead - all done now so that's a useful spot for licences/charts/guides/mini almanacs, and the tidal flow charts for the Solent..  much tidier!

Last job for the evening was to fill the holes from the old cam cleats with some plastic padding..  all went OK, but the first time I've ever used this stuff and I was quite surprised at how quickly it started to go off.. happily after I'd plugged the last hole but no more than 10 or 15 minutes working time...  too much hardener?

Yesterday I went down and rubbed down the padding to flat with some wet and dry ..  gratifyingly hard and a good repair I think.. repairs and new cleats..  job done..  and no that's not rust - I had on my cycling jacket, fluero orange!

Finished off with a damn good wash and scrub (boat not me) and pressure washed to finish...  performance of the Silky Bright was disappointing..  mixed it up as suggested, but it says only leave on 30 seconds (much more than that and it would dry), but very little difference before and after, even with a good scrubbing as well. Gave up and used the tried and trusted washing up liquid.. perhaps the dirt I have is too ingrained?? I think I probably need to try the oxalic gel treatments....

So my launch is scheduled for Sunday and all eyes have now turned to the short range forecasts as I'd like to get the mast up pronto - preferably on the day - the A frame is loaded, and I have Rod the Mod lined up for lifting duties..  forecasts are slightly different (as ever)...  I'll make my mind up about the mast tomorrow; she's definitely going in though!!

XC Weather - F4's gusting 4 or 3 later (HT is 12:00)

WindGuru shows same pattern but higher gusts...

Spectacular difference in cloud cover though..  maybe it's localised!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Job #11 - masthead light (and windex) - completed

....that's it - all done now, just need to nip down the nuts on the bolts holding the new cam cleats, and give her a swift wash, both of which I'll do this week one evening, but the job list for this winter is now as complete as I had time for...

...with apologies for the blurriness of the pictures, the job on Sunday was to complete the masthead fitting, the best part of which had been figuring out what to use as a bracket for the windex base - in the end, having discarded the idea of plastic joinery blocks (and old favourite of mine), and actually bought some "MDF Joinery Rigid Joints" I actually found what I really wanted in my "spares/junk/keep that for later" box in the garage...  one section of a plumbing fitting used to hold plastic pipes to a wall... just snipped off one side, and I ended up with the following collection of 'bits'..

The windex bracket is on the right in front of the masthead light, the HDPE has been pre-drilled for the mast head plate....

...which is as follows: order -
  • windex bracket bolted to rear corner; 
  • windex fitting bolted to bracket; 
  • tested continuity of the mast cable by twisting the cable together at mast head, and testing at the plug at mast base - all good after I'd also swapped plug to a new one (old plug was UV brittle)
  • two bolts to hold the whole shebang to the mast plate (they are too close to the light fitting to put in after); 
  • light fitting bolted to HDPE (with butyl tape between base and HDPE); 
  • HDPE then bolted to mast fitting with washers/penny washers
  • cable fed through and new female spade connectors crimped and fitted to light fitting
  • bulb in and checked continuity again (still good)
  • lens on and then amalgamating tape wrapped round join where lens fits body, and a blob of butyle pushed up the hole where the wire goes through the plates..
...job done...

..and underneath...

I'll fit the actual windex just before I raise the mast - "Sparrow" is likely to be moved around the yard before launch day (to make way for other boats behind me that are going in before me), and the windex is a mite exposed to possible damage...

...I enjoyed that..

Restocked the boats essential supplies () and all done for the day...

Friday, 10 April 2015

So close I can smell it... Job #16 Antifoul, Job #21 Varnish grab rails and Job #11 masthead light

Made some really good progress in the last few days.. the new lighter evenings coupled with warm sunny weather have meant two or three hours working on the boat after work is now possible and I've taken advantage this week...

So Wednesday saw me dismantling the old light on top of the mast  (Job #11 - 6) in readiness for fitting a new one..

I had expected it to be a right pain in the nether regions to get off, but turned out to be not quite so bad.. the old one is one of these (Aquasignal 40 series I think), but so old that due to UV damage over the years the lens was completely opaque..  it was also the old style screw on (piccie is the newer click in style)

The previous owner had attached an aluminium plate to the top of the mast, which the light was then bolted to - disimilar metals on bolts and plate had caused them to lock solid except for one - having tried to undo them I succeeded with the one, and then resorted to a very large screwdriver to lever the bottom of the light which caused the others to give way...

The good news is that the aluminium plate is largely sound as I have plans for it - I've made a slightly larger plate out of HDPE (chopping board plastic) which I will bolt to it, and which will have the light and also my Windex on it... that's a job for this coming weekend.

The new masthead light is a plain white - Sparrow's less than 12m so doesn't really need a tricolour, and when the time comes, the port and starboard nav lights will go at deck level where I can more easily see/fix them if they need it...

Having got the light off, and tidied up the aluminium plate I then moved to the next job which was to sand and varnish the coach roof grab rails with the same stuff I used on the rubbing strips - I've put two coats on because they looked largely ok - I may put on another coat this weekend when I have time to check them..  While I was doing it and had the paint brush out, I also rubbed down and varnished the outboard mounting plate....  and that was the jobs done for that evening..

When I got home I was slightly amazed to see that the antifoul had arrived (they only shipped it the day before) so that went on last night...

Obligatory "before" shots..

...and after....  

...two coats, with an extra thicky layer on the waterline and the leading edges .. with navy blue bottoms look the dogs nadgers!!

So close to completion I can smell it..  so what's left to do?? Masthead plate would be good - not bothered so much about the light but I'd like the windex...  and bolt down the new cam cleats...  to be honest I could do both on the water if I wanted so I'm that close....

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Cracking on... Job #8 - Washboards / Job #19 - Jammers / Job #9 - Hatch covers / Job #16 - Antifoul / Job #20 - Rubbing Strips

..busy, busy, busy..  two weeks to launch.. the club yard, and Sparrow, is a hive of activity.. are getting ticked off like a metronome...  tired though..   so after the four day weekend...

...the lower washboard (Job #8) is done...  scraped back to sound paint, sanded, and then ended up putting on four coats (I think) of exterior white.. I have a new padlock hasp on order that's in transit from Hong Kong of all places (reasonably priced stainless fittings in the UK just don't seem to exist..). Next winter I'll build new ones, in fact one singular, as I fancy a single board...

...the hatch covers are now also done - Job #9 - exterior quality ply, three coats of white exterior both sides, neoprene tape on all four under edges - nutted, bolted and butyl'ed to the point of maximum tightness, happy with these..  one of the two 'major' jobs for the winter..

...the VHF base and flagpole holder are now in place on the push pit board..  I took delivery of a cable gland this week which I planned to use for the VHF aerial cable, but before I start drilling holes I need to finalise in my own mind what plugs sockets and adaptors I'll be using..

...with a palm sander I took the rubbing strips back to a solid, smooth, surface (Job #20), and they have now had three coats of the same exterior wood stain [clicky] I put on the pushpit board.

I think they look good - time will tell if this was a useful experiment or not..  either way, job done..

...the other big job of the winter is the jammer replacement (Job #19) - they are now ready to go on and I was all set to do them when I realised the new bolts I had bought weren't long enough - having drilled through and measured I think the thickness at the top of the winch post must be something like 25-30mm..  a whole inch...  marine ply under the surface glass/gelcoat, with another layer of glass underneath.. very solid! So 40mm bolts needed and I will get them this week, just a matter of bolting it down then as the holes are now drilled both sides.

Separately, the anti-foul (job #16) is ordered and should arrive Wednesday this week ready for next weekend.. I was unimpressed with the Tiger Xtra last year (though to be fair it didn't seem to do any worse than anyone else's in the club - it was a bit a warm, sunny, weed-fest last summer seemingly) but this year with no bargains at the chandlery's round here, and Flag Cruising no longer available from Toolstation, I've gone with Premier Marine Paints Cruising Plus. 2.5 ltrs of dark blue (everyone knows boats look the dogs nadgers with a dark blue bottom) set me back £39 including the postage, from Amazon of all places (is there anything they don't sell?)..  bargain, as I had some birthday vouchers to spend anyway..

Times moving on fast now - I have my launch window - I'm going in on the 19th, all being well..  just the two jobs left to do though, oh, and a damn good wash with the  Silky Marine Deep Cleaner [clicky]...

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Job #22 - push pit board refurbishment - Job #17 Service outboard - completed

From this un-pretty sight.. this.. a slightly prettier sight.. 

...sanded back to the wood, and then 3 coats of exterior, oak shade, wood protector..

...not a varnish, but it does give a smooth hard surface..

..and despite the blemishes still showing through, it looks a lot better...

...finished it off with butyl tape under the washers/bolts (to protect against water ingress); I'll refit the flagpole holder, and the base for the new VHF aerial tomorrow.. done..

Speaking of "done", I picked up the outboard from the engineers this morning - that's done as well... all good; not a moment too soon for the anode (on the right) though..

..uh oh..

Sad news, Bill (of Home Marine at Emsworth, the outboard engineers I use) tells me he's retiring as of this year, 67 years is enough he says, the good news is that he leaves the business in good hands as Simon will be taking over..