Saturday, 27 June 2020

Second wave..

All gone a bit quiet, which isn't to say nothing's going on, but in the words of the old Prince song 'I was busy doing something close to nothing'...

Launch date has been and gone, Sparrow is still on the hard, and I've decided that for the time being at least that's where she'll stay..

Why?

Second wave concerns, mostly.. the UK is managing it's exit from lock down badly, and nothing that I am seeing in mainstream media leads me to disbelieve that there won't be a second wave in about a month or two, with the inevitable lock down, and put simply I would rather the boat was in the car park, than on the mooring, when the time comes that I can't get to her...

I've got stuff I can do on her in the warm and the dry..  I fancy having a go at the damage on the nose for one thing.... 

More anon..

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Engines... ready!

So...  time to take the bull by the horns and finish off those three jobs I was talking about oin the last post..  first one ("Test run the outboard and do a test fit to the boat to see if raising it half an inch resolves my issues with lifting it..) is done..

Raided the wood pile/spares box at home and came up with a batten about a cm deep, cut it to length, and sat the engine on top of that, so it rested between engine and outboard well lip..  it raises the engine height by the aforesaid cm, but more importantly it means I can now raise the engine to the upper tilt position without fouling the opposite edge of the outboard well [clicky].. 


 .. it's still tight, and I may have ti turn it to one side to get the necessary to lift it slightly so it can be dropped, but I will live with that as it is way better than the alternative which was to star cutting at the edges of the upper tilt rest [clicky]..

Next, a run up in the tank to make sure she'd still start, fresh fuel, and off she went...


Job done...  wash and brush up next, and then the anitfoul..

Monday, 8 June 2020

Maintenance ongoing.. forehatch, halyard block, cockpit lockers, cabin and washboards..

A busy couple of days over last weekend and this weekend (and some more today hopefully) saw a not inconsiderable jump forward in maintenance..  the weather has been stupidly warm and sunny (until this weekend funnily enough*) and it was ideal drying conditions for paint, epoxy and plastic padding all of which were wielded in varying quantities and effect... 

First off, proof for Alden on the screws, cross hatches throughout except for the two through deck bolts...


...much better.... which is way more than we can say about this pile of hideousness..   

Sanded and post first coat of epoxy..

...water had got under the paint and epoxy on the starboard side cockpit locker lid..  buggeration...  I put two coats of epoxy on it when I made it two years ago but I clearly missed something...  so, rubbed down and taken back to good and  then left to dry out in the sun for two days, and everything looked...  errr, even worse...   

Sanded to within an inch of it's life, I put a coat of epoxy on it to stabilise and seal it, but the splits clearly needed a little more attention so once that was dry I whacked in some plastic padding, and then put another coat of epoxy on top of that for good measure by which time it was looking much...    err, worse...

Sanded again, plastic padding, and second coat of epoxy..

...this is damage limitation, the lid will need replacing, but I'm hoping that  these bodges will mean I might not need to do it this winter...  it's now painted and doesn't look too bad but it needs another coat...  pictures when I get back to the boat...

After years of procrastination and delay the fore-hatch is also done, not quite as I imagined it, but it is done and I'm happy with it... so from this - galvanised garden gate hinges bent to required shape (which was probably a good solution for a couple of years to be fair)..


Hinges removed....   yuckk..


..and then I finally discovered what the pads were that the hinges were sitting on - solid fibreglass/epoxy resin - the deck is cambered, and to get a block of wood shaped to the contour and height would have been a right pain, so it looks like previous owner made a mould, and poured his own resin pads up to the base of the hinge (they were different heights each side) and jobs a good 'un... the only downside comes when the hinges inevitably fail, as what you're left with is a permanent bespoke/custom fixture that you then have the reverse issue of fitting with the hinges (worse, as bending the damn things is not easy and a couple of mm's out and your're stuffed)..

So off came the resin pads (large hammer, large screwdriver, sander) not too bad a job, though as you can see (following) it took off gel coat in a few places..


Plastic padding, sand, plastic padding and sand again, and we are left with the following..


I use masonry paint in as close as colour as I can get to Sparrow's deck, for hatch tops, the latest iteration is a little light, but experience has shown that it dulls with age, and becomes much closer once it's been exposed to weather for a few weeks - all in all I'm very happy with that...  I toyed with the idea of leaving the hinge pad area as it was, but decided to mask it off and paint..  it looks neater..


So having removed the hinges, the question then becomes what to replace them with... at some point (boat archaeology should become a university degree course!) a previous owner had hinges on the lip of the hatch opening but the mechanics show that this clearly wouldn't have worked, as the edge of the cover would not have had enough clearance to open without hitting said lip which is why previous owner had fitted the external hings, as that lifts the cover away from the lip ...  

So three choices, one,  new external hinges, two, grind away the bottom edge of the hatch cover at the back so I could fit internal hinges, or three, not bother and put in a latch...  

I went with latch..   external hinges ruled out for the reasons previously explained, internal hinges ruled out because the benefit of a hinged hatch is not enough to justify the major grinding surgery required...



Job done, and very nice to be able to open the hatch on a hot day, not been able to do that in a long while...

Moving on (and in reality all these jobs were happening in parallel - as paint/epoxy dried on one, I was working on another) clearly something needed to be done with the bottom washboard - it's shagged, but as per the cockpit locker lid, a delaying action could only help, so the same was done, a mix of epoxy, and plastic padding, and sanding...

Looks awful but you didn't see it before...

....coat of paint and it is immeasurably better...


...another coat (when I do the locker lid) and it will be done..

Last of all it was time to do the fore-cabin - which four years ago looked this bad, so you can only imagine how much worse it was as I forgot to take a picture...


...coat of bathroom paint later (chosen as it it inhibits damp and mould growth) and we now have an area I would choose to sleep in...

Look..  the hatch is open... 😀

...and that's it - the inside is done, cockpit is mostly done, time to move to the outside...

...three jobs before I launch..
  1. Test run the outboard and do a test fit to the boat to see if raising it half an inch resolves my issues with lifting it..
  2. wash down with Oxalic acid followed by a scrub
  3. anti-foul
....launch date is tentatively the 22nd...

* fairly typical, but this weekend would have been the Jolly Boys cruise of the Solent, in fact we would have been returning today if plans had gone to plan..  and fairly typical because as is usually the case the weather broke from tropical to gales, rain and cold snap just as we would have been going! Here's a flavour of 2017..  😀


Tuesday, 26 May 2020

First sail, first jobs...

Lunch spot...
With the lock down beginning to ease in the UK, and permission given to go to our boats and socialise with one non-family member providing social distancing is practised, it was more than enough excuse for Rodders and I to take to the water in his boat Ami-Ly on  a warm and sunny bank holiday Monday..  

First sail since last September, 9 months since I handled a boat under sail, it's been a long time but I'm happy to report that I hadn't forgotten... most of it... 

Saturday and Sunday the UK had been locked into a massive low and we were seeing winds of F6 gusting F7 on the Saturday, moderating on Sunday, but by the time we went out on Monday a massive high had displaced it, and the sky was cobalt blue, the sun was out, and the wind was down to a F1 or 2 gusting 3 (very) occasionally...

A very nice and gentle day on the water, all the sails were up, it wasn't quite windy enough most of the time, but when it did blow up, the boat was moving nicely..   spotted Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss coming out of the harbour

After you..  no, I insist, after you...
Stunning looking boat...   stupidly powerful looking, and an appearance that wouldn't be out of place in the SBS..


So a slow pootle over to Seaview, lasso'd one of the mooring buoys in front of the sailing club for lunch (too early for the pick up buoys to have been attached) and a slow lunch with beer, followed by a snooze in the sun, and then a slow perambulation back to home ....  utterly fantastic...

Glorious day..  Solent at it's finest with the sun glinting on the water.. 

Meanwhile - other work has started...  Sparrow's launch date is the 22nd June and I am working towards that with a 75% certainty that it will happen... Why only 75%? Well I'm still not sure whether there will be a second spike/event/recurrence, so I have 3 weeks to decide whether to splash that antifoul on, and will decide then whether to proceed or not...

The companionway way seat has been taken to the boat, and is a success... I may just shift the GPS fitting to the side of the box to make some room as where it is I sometimes kick it if I'm going into the cabin quickly, but otherwise, as a perching point for when I'm motoring or sailing under pilot it is a whole load more comfortable than the upright that was there before!  

New companionway seat - must be about v3 of this cockpit tidy!

The cockpit locker lid port side has had a coat of paint, unfortunately on the starboard side water has managed to get in (b*stard!) on one quarter so the paint/epoxy has lifted..  I've scraped back to sound, and left it to dry out before I decide what to do (either epoxy and paint, or just paint..)... 

The washboards have also had a coat of paint, and I think that this is probably their last year, they'll need replacing over the next winter layup, in fact I may even do it now while it's warm, I'm ashore, and I have access to power...  another coat required...

Lastly, I have disassembled the camcleat block I put together in 2016 for leading the topping lift and main halyard back to the cockpit...  took it home, sanded it down and gave it a coat of preservative before putting it all back together and remounting on the boat...  (Alden you'll be pleased to know the screws now all match... )..  that one's done...


Log:


Distance: 14.37 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F1 or 2, occasionally F3; Predominantly SE'ly going South as the sea breeze kicked in..
Sail Plan: Full main and jib
Speed (Max/average in knots): 6 / 2.1

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Signs of spring...

...so 6 weeks later and there are signs of movement.... whether it is too early or not is not a subject for discussion here...that's burnt many column inches of posts on various yachting fora...

My fellow yachties span the whole range of human types, from the jaw dropping to the saintly - I will say only that with my views I'm in there, but somewhere near the middle....

So - what news?

Using a sailing analogy (and why not?), my sailing club's committee has had the unenviable task of trying to chart it's way through legislator'y waters that change on an almost daily basis, and with members banging on their door almost within minutes of announcements demanding the right to launch their craft with immediate effect..  I think they've done very well to be honest, I've been a committee member in the past (windsurfing club) and wouldn't do it again..  thankless task, you're always going to be pee'ing in someone's tea...  😁

Either way, under the UK's latest guidelines announced last weekend, and clarified over the next few days, we're now allowed to take unlimited exercise outside, and travel for the purpose, and boats/boating have been confirmed as a form of exercise (but overnight'ing is not allowed). Separately, the harbour authority has confirmed the harbour is open for same. So the club is open again for owners to start work on their boats, and the club is now working on how to keep us safe while we do that.

Sparrow has a speculative launch date of the end of June - more announcements on that will come over the next few days. Before then I need to slap the unguent on the bottom minimum, but some of the other job list items will also be attended to...  given that it's going to be warmer than when I normally do my prep I'm hoping that I may get the opportunity to do some epoxy work.

In rough order then...
  1. engine is already serviced (but I want to give it a run in the tank to make sure it's good)
  2. antifoul
  3. got a stencil to paint the engine leg with the boat name - I need to make it less 'attractive'
  4. coat of paint on the lockers/washboards
  5. coat of wood protector on anything that needs it
  6. going to do a wash down with oxalic acid this year
  7. epoxy repair on the nose that has been waiting almost 10 years now
Separately,
  • engine cover has come 
  • outboard lock (Fulton type) ready
  • new windex also arrived (I know, I know....)