Ships log for the yacht "Sparrow" an Ian Anderson designed
'Hurley 20', sail no. 109, launched 16th November 1967.
This is the day to day stuff involved with owning and sailing a
small boat, so nothing earth shattering but there'll also
hopefully be some adventures along the way..

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Think we're ready...

...well, as ready as I'll ever be..

Not surprisingly I guess for the end of March, the lift in week has been hit with a succession of spring equinoctial gales, with most of this weeks lifts cancelled, and shifted out to the coming weekend. We were due to lift all week, with Sparrow going in this coming Sunday, but as it turned out only Monday went ahead as planned, and Tuesday with a reduced number of boats, before strong winds and rain as forecast came sweeping in off the Atlantic..  F5 or 6 gusting F7 and SW'ly for most of the week and clearly not safe for people or boats.

So it was that in between the showers (for what I was doing, wind is no issue, it's rain I don't need) a number of other things have been completed this week...

1/. The boarding ladder is back on..

2/. Job#12 is done...   "The minor shackle between swivel and pick up chain is old and needs replacing - I'll take the opportunity to end for end the chain at the same time". 
  1. I've 'end for ended' the chain, swapped it round so the old end is new beginning and vice versa
  2. Replaced the pick up buoy itself  with a spare I had in the garage
  3. new shackle between buoy and chain
  4. new shackle between chain and swivel, and ..
  5. new shackle for swivel to mooring buoy
I'll upgrade the swivel next year 

3/. After 10 years (😨), job #5 "Previous GRP damage to nose (still) needs a rebuild" is 90% done..

Reminder of how it looked - note the small lump of Milliput as I had just started to fix it...

The damage occurred under the previous owner, and I think happened because of a mooring chain jumping out of the fairlead during a storm or bad weather, and then the chain had just graunched gel away over a period of time..  that's my guess, anyway..   

..either way, 10 years down the line it was long over time to fix it. The product I had chosen to use was a new one to me, though I was already aware of it from my other hobby [clicky], and I have to say "Milliput" is bloody amazing stuff... 

I was using the White Superfine version..  it's a two part epoxy putty that when kneaded together for 7 minutes, can then be moulded, worked and shaped like putty or plasticine, but it dries rock hard within 3-4 hours... No preparation is required as it also has adhesive properties, though I gave the surface a quick wipe down with acetone.. better still this stuff can be worked and smoothed with water - so the following is mid stage...  rolled a tube of Milliput between my hands, then placed and shaped fairly roughly, before then wetting your fingers (I had a cup of water handy) and smoothing it out...

..then this morning - a couple of days after the above, I went down and sanded it off to get a better shape, ready for painting (though I believe this stuff my be UV stable, so that is not urgent, but I will do it soon)

..I am absolutely delighted with this...  been putting it off for years trying to figure out how I could use more traditional epoxy resin, if only I'd come across the stuff sooner..

It also has other applications... as I had a small ball of it left over after, I tried it on some old screw holes, roll a thin tube of it, pushed that into the hole and smoothed off the outer edge with a wet finger. Similarly small surface gel craters can also be treated, take a small piece, press it flat, and then place that in the crater, before pushing it in hard, and then smoothing off with a wet finger. All of these had dried rock hard when I checked, and all were well stuck. Brilliant stuff, and very much recommended..

4/. The bilge stringer got it's coat of epoxy spray primer..

5/. The cockpit locker lids are back on after a winter in the garage - I'll do the same again this coming winter, so will knock some spare covers up during the summer to use in their place..

Just fuel for the outboard, put the outboard on the back, quick wash of the cockpit and a row out to put the mooring chain on the mooring, and I'm good to go in...   roll on Monday...

Friday, 17 March 2023

More ticks than a mangy dog..

Yup - time for another one of those "more ticks" updates.. funny how they always appear just before launch date.. 😏

7/. A smooth off of her bottom - no idea how many years of antifouling paint on top of antifouling  paint there is down there, but while it's not falling off it isn't smooth either, so a sanding pole with some mesh and a bucket of water is planned... 

I bought some 60 grit sanding mesh this year, as the stuff I used last year was too fine a grit and was only doing a partial job, but either the stuff I bought was rubbish, or it was too coarse, but either way the experiment was an abject failure. I wondered if the antifoul had dried out too hard over the winter as the 60 grit was just skidding over the surface rather than biting, but when I went back to the old stuff it was working fine so I have a suspicion the stuff I bought is rubbish. No worries a couple of hours with the old stuff and she was a little smoother, still looks like the surface of the moon in places..  I'd really like get her soda blasted and taken back to surface, but we shall see. Either way I'm calling this one done for this year..

Not on the list this year, but as I'd just done a smooth off of the bottom and not yet got the paint rollers from Amazon I needed for the antifoul, I thought I'd giver her an acid wash as the water line was looking a bit brown, stained and dingy 

Once again the Oxalic proved little short of miraculous ..  amazing stuff..  mixed it with some wallpaper paste to give it a little stiffness, in warm water, slapped it on all over, left it 10 minutes, and then lots of rinsing later, and the difference between before and after is astonishing..

That's Oxalic run off on her bottom, so definitely a job to do before you antifoul rather than after..  πŸ˜€

While I waited for the oxalic to do its stuff, I applied Fertan to the bilge stringer 
- in these temperatures (typically 10'C'ish at the moment) it will need a good 48 hours to work, so the longer the better..  Once it's done it's stuff I have some spray epoxy primer to coat it with, and then I'll re-paint with bilge plaint - that's a job for this weekend/next week.

Then yesterday it was time for the last big one of the maintenance cycle for this year - the antifoul. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, what a sh*tty horrible job this is, though changes introduced over the last few years are making this a bit easier, and certainly a bit quicker..


As per last year I went with 6" rather than 4" rollers again, but I could only find foam ones rather than the soft pile I used last year - of the two, the soft pile are a better choice I think, they hold more paint but also the coverage is better on a slightly rough surface. The cardboard sheet idea from last year also re-appeared this year - one, it's more comfortable than the hard core surface of the car park, but two it's easy to slide around on for when you need to reach the inaccessible bits between the keels..

1st coat on...

Actually timed it this year, I've always wondered how long it took...  masking up took 30 minutes (worst bit is the compound curve on the stern), 70 minutes for the first coat (always takes the longest), cup of tea, and then about 60 minutes for the second coat and removing the masking (which by the way is the the finest job there ever was - from out of chaos comes order πŸ˜ƒ)

Second coat on, and masking removed..  job done! 😍

Boats look the dogs nadgers with dark blue antifoul...  πŸ˜€

Packed up, tidied away, removed the copious spots of blue paint with some acetone (how does that happen?? I was fully covered, and had rubber gloves on, and still looked like a Smurf!), then wondered over to have a chat with Jolly Boy t'Other Dave who was just about to put his genoa on. Volunteered to give a hand, and within half an hour the genoa was up, and I was home and in the shower...  good day!

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

AmiLy launch and more jobs...

So more progress being made despite the bitterly cold temperatures at the moment..

Last week I got down to the boat and finished off Job #9, the curtains are actually hanging and I have to say that despite the piss poor sewing I'm quite chuffed with them...  took the opportunity to replace the bungees they hang on at the same time. Security and shade in one fell swoop..

Also completed Job #13 - "Fresh coat of bilge paint required"...  I have the before pictures, which show the bilge in it's slightly tired state... 

.. but you'll have to trust me when I say it's done, as last time I went down (two days after!) the paint was still drying due to the aforesaid Baltic temperatures... I still need to treat a few areas of rust on the keel reinforcements with some Fertan but I'm calling this one done..

Not all hard work however, as in between the above, and laying 8 cubic metres of cement in the club yard on a work party, a minority of the team also got to put the first of the Jolly Boys boats back in the water...  AmiLy was launched yesterday! πŸ˜€πŸ™Œ




Gloriously sunny day, but so chuffing cold with a F4 gusting 6 northerly..

While sitting on the pontoon in Port Solent, we did manage to get the sails back on though, which is a fairly major exercise involving multiple battens, stack packs, reefing lines and lazy jacks..  that completed though, it was bacon butties and tea while we waited for enough water to be able move her round to her usual berth on Whale Island.

Having shifted a car down to the other end, we then pushed off and into the harbour for the first time this year...  it was good to be back on the water, but Lord above it was cold...  very, very, few boats about to orientate ourselves on, not much water (was still coming in), and the tricky winding channel out of Port Solent almost did for us, but 45 minutes later we were back..

Safely tied up on the pontoon it was time for the obligatory large slice of Smithy's cake with tea before wending our way back to Port Solent to get the other car, and then home..  slept well that night! πŸ˜€

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

It's curtains for you.....

Progress being made on a number of fronts..  which is just as well given launch date is a mere 4 weeks away... 😏
  • Item 12/. "The minor shackle between swivel and pick up chain is old and needs replacing - I'll take the opportunity to end for end the chain at the same time"
Decided to do the minor shackles at both ends of the mooring chain so got those, and while I was about it I picked up a new major shackle (goes between buoy and swivel) too...

Can for scale...  new chunky, shiny, loveliness...

  • Item 9/. "I think I also want to do something about the curtains, which have been UV'd to death.. Bungees replaced so they no longer sag but curtain replacement will have to wait until I get a sewing machine...  hand held sewing machine obtained as an experiment - time to see if it will cut the mustard.."

The hand held sewing machine was a total waste of space I'm afraid, but you live and learn..

Don't waste you're money

Quite a clever machine but not even powerful enough to sew a hem in the very thin material I was using for the new curtains, so I hunkered down and hand sewed them...

The old one's are way beyond the pale...  the mother in law ran these up for me in 2013 when I bought Sparrow, so what we're seeing is 10 years of UV and a dry/damp salt atmosphere...    you can see the original pattern but mostly they are bleached white (or a grubby grey)

I washed them a few years ago but it didn't do much... 😁

...and here's the new one's..  material sourced on Amazon for about 8 quid..  chosen purely for cost, and that they are quite cheerful..

...all six ready to go back up (2 per side and 2 at the front)..  you can see the wonky seems from the hand sewer on this one - abandoned that soon after...  so they aren't going to win any sewing prizes, but given the primary purpose is security (keeping prying eyes out), with a long second of keeping the sun out, then they'll do nicely..  all I need to do now is replace the bungee they hang on and jobs done

  • "Service outboard (fix oil leak)" - done, but not without some issues..  my usual "go to" outboard engineering shop - Emsworth Outboards - have gone out of business (great shame..) so I asked around for some recommendations, and one of the guys on the Practical Boat Owner web forum recommended a guy that used to work for them, but left a few years ago..  South Coast Outboard Servicing [clicky]. Can't complain at the turn around - he took it away and it came back the next day, and that was after he'd ordered spares to repair the oil leak issue - which turned out to be a leak through the sump gasket.  So.. engine serviced, and sump gasket replaced...    we should be good for another season - I also found out the engine dates from 2007/8, so only a sprightly 15 odd years old..
  • "Rub down and coat of paint on cockpit locker lids / wash boards (as needed)" The locker lids on the whole are doing OK, but I noticed at the end of last season one of them was showing signs of splitting on one corner, and there were also some hairline cracks in the outer surface which would be perfect for syphoning in water if left untreated..
Rather than leave them on the boat to suck up water all winter, I took them off, and then bought them home to dry out before initiating any repairs..  I have a couple of old ones that I covered in plastic to replace them with temporarily.

Couple of weeks of drying out and I gave them a good sand down with an orbital sander before filling the hairline cracks (and cavities behind them.. πŸ˜’) with an epoxy silica paste. 

I used some thin plastic sheet to push the same down between each of the layers on the corner and clamped it...



That'll do for now....  😏

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Life jacket servicing...

75% completed...

Both jackets survived the 24 hour inflation test with no issues - both as firm after the 24 as they were at the beginning..

Re-packing commenced..

On the downside, one of the bottles was showing signs of corrosion so I've gone ahead and ordered a new one - lesson learnt - this was in a life jacket I'd kept in the car since the end of last season - usually I store them inside...  it's been cold and damp, and this one has clearly suffered.

Time to pack them away..

New bottle should be with me some time this week..

Post edit: Now replaced - life jacket back online

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Running rigging replace...

Time for an update on winter maintenance, which to be perfectly blunt, has not been the hive of activity one might like ... 

Two reasons really.. one, the weather has been atrocious, wet followed by cold followed by wet, and repeat, really disincentiv'ising...  and two, I've been car'less as my old one was side swiped by an 18 wheeler lorry on Christmas Eve, and the insurance company declared her beyond economic repair. By the time the insurance paid out, and I then found a new (to me) replacement car, January had all but disappeared. With launch only a little over 8 weeks away it's time I cracked on with at least some of the items on the list..  I suspect the bilge pump project will slip for sure, too many other priorities.

Job #14 on the winter maintenance list is to replace the running rigging which are original to my ownership of the boat, so they've been in use for 10 years..

There's nothing significantly wrong with them except that they are getting a bit stiff (salt water) and also a bit green/grubby, so the plan is to replace them with new ones, but then give them a good wash, check/replace whippings, and then store them ready to swap over when the new one's start to show the same signs of age...

The new halyards were sourced at the Southampton Boatshow last year. Three lengths of 20mtrs (one of them is a bit shorter), 6mm braided, and they're from the off cuts bin on the English Braids [clicky] stand - the whole lot came to about £45

These have plastic eyes in one end (I don't trust my splices) so to whip them in I used a variation of a locking whip (there's more types than you can count when you check Google.. 😁) to make sure the eyes remained in position..  as I say, lots of variations but this one (following) was nice and simple and the one I used..

Happy with these, and that red halyard is sex on legs..  😁

The mast is down at the moment so I have the choice of replacing them now, but to be honest it's probably easier with the mast up, as at the moment everything on the mast is tied down so halyard runs  are not as simple as they will be when the mast is up and everything is hanging free... jury's out - I'll check the the mast next time I'm down at the boat..

The first of the Jolly Boys to launch will be Rodders - AmiLy is going in at the beginning of March. He and I will be slapping some anti-foul on her before then - I feel sure pork pies and beer may also feature.

Will put the outboard in for repair and service next week..