The Tyro Saga 10 – Slow progress continues

June 2016

Wednesday 15th – mostly sunny                                        

After many attempts to communicate with the engineer, all of which elicited no response, I concluded that the only way to get anything done was to be there.  Accordingly I arrived one showery afternoon and found, to my complete lack of surprise, that he had done precisely nothing.  Furthermore, he was nowhere to be found, and didn’t come back to his boat overnight.  Sarah knows nothing of his whereabouts (nor is there any reason why she should!) and I haven’t yet had a chance to ask Alan.

So I tried my new impact driver on the seized bolts on the mast.  Nothing.  With or without penetrating/releasing oil.  So now I shall buy some Coca-Cola and try that.  Need to wash the oil off first with a solvent….  Very frustrated.

Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th – sunny with showers

The engineer eventually returned and explained that he’d been all over the country (as far afield as Falmouth, Liverpool and Newark) working on people’s boats (Newark?).  Why he can’t respond to texts etc. is beyond me.  Far too busy at the moment.  I’m ‘on the list’, apparently, and ‘not at the bottom’.  I should think not – I’ve been waiting for months!  Anyway, he reckons he could do something next week (this’ll just be putting a mock-up in place and working out how to cut the bearers and so forth; then I can put the bilge pumps (new, electric and old, manual) in underneath.  Then (eventually) he’ll get the engine in, line it up, bolt it down and connect it to the (new) prop shaft.  Then I can start connecting fuel, exhaust etc. and he can do the clever technical stuff with the sensors and controls.  (That’s not as technical as it sounds – the sensors will be the old temperature gauge and tacho; the controls will be the key switch and new Morse lever.  But they need to be done properly).

Anchor light holder – broken but not yet removed…

Meanwhile I tried applying Coke to the recalcitrant bolts.  I suppose it’s the phosphoric acid that does the trick. I used a small paintbrush – which seemed to get it into the cracks.  After several applications and hours’ waiting I tried the impact driver again.  On the large bolts holding the mast foot in place there was the suspicion of some movement, so I applied more Coke and waited.  At the masthead, two of the three bolts holding the old anchor light on moved!  With continued use of phosphoric acid and violent angular momentum I eventually got one of them out intact and one sheared off. The third refused to budge and its slot started to get rather chewed up but if necessary I could clout the fitting with a big hammer now and get it off – although I prefer a little more finesse. One of the bolts at the bottom gave up, and its head sheared off, so I’m looking for another idea.

Someone suggested repeatedly heating the bolts and surrounding area and then applying releasing oil, letting it cool (presumably to let the oil penetrate) and repeating.  He’ll lend me his little gas blowtorch next week. Others have suggested this so I’ll definitely give it a try.

I’d managed to dismantle the lamp itself and found that the bulb was blown (which just might be related to me having dropped it) and the internal fitting (a size smaller than but otherwise identical to that in a domestic table lamp) was damaged, rendering it unreusable.  So do I buy a new combined anchor and tricolour light (permanent, reliable, expensive, more delay) and return the tricolour I bought or cobble together some other solution?

What I have achieved in the last couple of days is moving the engine battery from starboard to port, to match the starter and alternator on the new engine.  This will shorten the cable runs, especially for the big starter and alternator cables and also free up some space on the starboard side, near the galley, for the eventual installation of a calorifier.   The domestic battery will also need to be moved across – for the same reasons; all the instruments (except the battery meter) are on the port side and it fits in with my plan to use the port quarter berth as a gear store in the absence of a large cockpit locker.  The starboard one will become a pleasant and roomy single berth.  Eventually.

£25-worth of seconhand anchor cable: 25m of 6mm chain and two short rusty lengths of 8mm.

Disheartened and fed up by lack of progress I retreated to the Aged Parent in London for a few days, the better to do some research and to recuperate a little.  En route I delivered the old anchor chain to the people in Guildford who’d bought it on eBay. Back on Tuesday, possibly via Roger, a WOA member who’s offered some help and will be in Portsmouth for a few days.

The current list of jobs to do:

  • Cut out the old angle irons that held the engine, then cut the bearers to fit the new one
  • Remove the old exhaust system as necessary
  • Fit electric bilge pump and float switch under where engine will go; wire up and test
  • Fit the new engine, secure it in place, connect all the pipes, electrics, controls, sensors etc. (a week’s work, he reckons but I can do some of it)
  • Fit new propeller and prop shaft ?with new Cutless bearing?; connect it up, checking alignment very, very carefully
  • Test engine, as far as possible while ashore
  • Find and buy appropriate new anchor light; remove old lights; fit, connect and test new ones, including threading the cable along 10m of mast.  Heel and cap need removing first and that means freeing the bolts.
  • Replace side and stern lights
  • Attach new rigging wires to mast and adjust length as necessary
  • Assemble (and cut to length where necessary) new roller-furling mechanism and attach to forestay
  • Possibly get jib altered to fit new roller-furler
  • Buy and attach extra blocks to masthead to take spare/spinnaker halyard and topping lift;
  • Reeve new spare/spinnaker halyard and topping lift
  • Reattach lazy-jack lines
  • Hoist mast back onto boat
  • Raise mast and coarsely adjust rigging temporarily.  Re-check engine alignment.
  • Connect new lights and test them
  • Sand the paintwork on the bottom and rudder and prepare for anti-fouling
  • Lightly rub down paintwork on topsides and touch up/recoat where necessary
  • Paint keels, bottom and rudder with antifouling.  Two coats if poss, esp. on keels.
  • Paint propeller, if considered necessary
  • Thoroughly scrub deck & superstructure; repair gel coat where necessary
  • Repaint non-slip areas on deck
  • Buy & fit jackstays
  • Refit heads valves
  • Fit new sacrificial anode(s) if necessary
  • Launch
  • Check for leaks and hope we don’t have to come out again
  • Re-check engine alignment
  • Test engine and propeller; run to charge batteries
  • Find and cure leaks in deck, lockers etc.
  • Refit dodgers, mainsail trough, mainsail & jib with all lines
  • Secure everything for sea
  • Dragoon someone into crewing and carry out initial sea trials
  • Repeat until satisfied
  • Motor gently round to Gosport to get rigger to do fine adjustments to rigging or borrow gauge and learn how to do it myself.
  • Re-check engine alignment
  • Clean
  • Go sailing

The next few days were occupied by attempting some of the simpler jobs on the above list and even completing one or two of them.  In particular I managed to get the angle irons out – every one of the twenty bolts holding them in succumbed to WD-40, my new(ish) socket set and plenty of torque.  Pleased with that.

I am reminded of a notice displayed in a workshop into which I sometimes poked my head:

Careless torque costs money

I also had an awayday to Gunwharf in Portsmouth where the WOA 50th anniversary rally was taking place.  Roger Clark was there with his extensively renovated Fulmar, Concerto, and had offered advice.  Once I’d managed to park and found the boat (I hadn’t been to Gunwharf for years) he welcomed me on board with a cuppa and proceeded to answer all of my questions (bar an electronics one) fully and with copious interesting digressions.  He also lent me a rigging tension gauge which will be very useful if I ever get the mast up again.  Well worth the money spent on fuel, parking, lunch and a bottle of wine for Roger.


Saturday 9th

Arrived at the yard to find that, once again precisely nothing had been done to the boat in my absence.  This despite an exchange of emails with the engineer in which he acknowledged that ‘this is the week’ – last week.  His van was parked in his usual slot but he was nowhere to be seen.

As was the ladder that I’d left propped up on and securely lashed to my stern.  A brief search, however, revealed it propped up on Rosie, astern.  Nice of him to return it.  Another boat had appeared close alongside to starboard and the owner, on board (Tony), suggested that ‘those lads’ had borrowed it, but it turned out that they’d borrowed a different one.  However, they proved to be Martin and Anton (owners of Floating Exception) whom I hadn’t seen since last summer, so we had a bit of a chat and exchanged ’phone numbers.  I subsequently noticed that their new halyards were rove incorrectly and they won’t be able to hoist the sails – or each other to sort it out – until it’s corrected. But they’ll be at the barbecue next weekend so I can point it out then.

As usual, I found it difficult to get going, and spent the rest of the day shopping, making lists, faffing about and doing puzzles.

Sunday 11th

The following morning, however, I was galvanised into action by a ’phone call.  Steve Roberts, a WOA member, had volunteered to give me a hand, and said he’d be arriving early afternoon.  I sorted out the inside of the boat (which had already become a bit of a tip) and readied the tools and materials we’d need to run the new cables in the mast.  Then I removed the old steaming light (I had to drill out the rivets), laid out the new cables alongside the mast and took the drastic and irrevocable step of cutting them to (generous) length.

The new tricolour and VHF cables emerging from the masthead

Steve arrived, and after a cuppa and a chat we set to work.  Many trials and tribulations ensued – these things never go smoothly – but eventually the task was accomplished.  We used the old wires (anchor & VHF to the top and steaming light halfway up) to pull through two strings (more of the 2mm polypropylene from Aldi J).  Then we cable-tied together the three cables (in the bottom half and two in the top) with triplets of ties and left the ends long.  This is supposed to stop them banging about inside the mast and keeping me awake.  I hope it works – it was quite difficult to get them inside.  Indeed it took us till evening to get the loom fed in and drawn through, and the two top ones out of the hole. (I’d also managed to get the top plate off that morning) and enlarged the hole to allow the VHF fitting through the ‘wrong’ way.

The steaming light cable, though, refused to come out of its hole.  I thought it was the right-angle turn into the hole in the mast trapping the join; Steve came up with various theories about the loom (or part of it) being looped round the intermediate shroud bolt, which we even went as far as trying to loosen and remove but abandoned the idea when it turned out we needed two 13.75mm or 17/32” spanners – which, unsurprisingly, I don’t possess.  It would have been a bad idea anyway.

Food was required. The chippie being closed, we settled for Chinese, and tried to avoid talking or thinking about the problem while we wolfed it down in the saloon.  Then back to work.  I hopefully gave the relevant bit of string a steady pull, and with a little persuasion the cable followed it out through the hole!  Either the rest did it (or us) some good or special fried rice has some hitherto unsuspected qualities.

We discussed provision of a new and larger masthead plate to carry all the gubbins thereupon and Steve said he’d have a look in his lab.  He’s a materials scientist at Oxford and they use aluminium sheet all the time.  With that, and pursued by my copious thanks, he took himself off to his own boat at Fareham.

The next day, (Monday) sadly, was less successful.  I seem to be incapable of – or unwilling to? – work for more than one day at a time.  I did rouse out the new standing rigging and started to fit it, but the old clevis pins turned out to be somewhat worn.  So, rather than spoil the ship for what I imagined to be a ha’p’orth of gear I decided to replace them.  So away went the wires again.

However, the new steaming light had arrived in the morning post.  On inspection it turned out to need holes drilling in different places in the stainless steel mounting plate and none of my bits were up to the job. (Now – there’s the benefit of experience.  Earlier I’d’ve tried to do it with HSS bits and broken them.)  Wonderful thing, experience.  So I now needed clevis pins, bolts, nuts & washers to fit the lamp and its mounting and some good quality hard bits.  By now, due to my general lassitude, the shops were shut, so that would have to wait till the morrow.

The new steaming light during fitting. I decided to stick with an incasdescent bulb as it would only be used with the engine (and therefore alternator) running – and I couldn’t find the right sized LED to fit.

On the morrow, (Tuesday) then, I repaired to The Rig Shop who supplied the necessary bolts (free of charge!), tried to sell me super-duper expensive blocks for my spinnaker halyard and didn’t have the clevis pins in stock but ordered them for me.  Force 4, for once, were able to supply the block at a more reasonable price and also a new plug for one of the lights to plug into the deck socket and a new 12V utility socket for the saloon.  Then a trip to Tool Station furnished the bits, a crimping tool and a few other …er…bits and pieces.  After a late lunch I set to work on the steaming lamp, and breaking only one of the new bits I got the holes drilled.  Getting the nuts in position behind them required a pair of tweezers, little bits of gaffer tape and considerable ingenuity, but eventually it was secured in place.  (I can see why the old one was riveted).  The new crimper was put into use and the lamp was soon connected, tested – and even proved to work.  It’ll need some sealant to guarantee it’s waterproof, but I’ll do all those little sealing jobs together.

Popped out for food and when I got back there was a sizeable piece of aluminium sheet on the cockpit seat.  Steve had obviously been and deposited some of the contents of his lab’s scrap bin.  I ’phoned him to thank him and then wondered how to get it cut to size.

Work on the new mast electrics is now complete apart from fitting the tricolour and aerial, which will have to wait till the new masthead plate is cut, drilled, finished and mounted.  I don’t really want to fit them until just before the mast goes up, for fear of damage, anyway.  There’s a spare ‘mousing’ line left in the mast, just in case I decide to add another cable at some time; the two lights both have nice shiny and watertight plugs at the bottom (one brand new, t’other reconditioned) and the sockets in the deck have also had a clean, and the tricolour one registers the full battery voltage when tested.  On the other hand the socket for the new steaming light plug is completely dead, so there’s some fault tracing to be done.  The new VHF aerial lead, at 20m, is long enough to reach all the way to the set, without a joint, so that is what I shall do.  There’s already a serviceable gland in the deck, although, in common with all the other fittings, it’ll get a strategically placed blob of sealant at the appropriate moment as an extra line of defence against the dreaded water ingress.

I’ve even cleaned the mast step and its bolt, adjacent to these sockets!

Then I thought I’d better have a look at the wiring.  The lack of volts at the steaming light socket turned out to be due to a loose spade terminal on the back of the switch, so that was easily fixed.  I proceeded to label what I could work out, for future reference, and untangle some of the snakes’ wedding that had clearly formed over the years.  I was handicapped in this by being able to get only two of my head and arms into the hole, so seeing what I was doing with both hands was somewhat problematical.

 The surveyor had said that,

“The wiring around the boat was haphazard and untidy having been added to over forty years by well-meaning DIY boaters and no warranty can be given as to the correctness of wirings type or size or if these have been correctly fused.”

…the main mess is in the battery locker… Unfortunately it still is, as I have neither the expertise or the money to get it tidied up.

…so that will need sorting out.  Much in common with many boats, I suspect.  The main mess is in the battery locker, and will need some proper busbars and cable leads to get it sorted out.  The loom running forward to cabin and nav lights is actually quite tidy, although not properly supported through the lockers.  But I have sticky pads and lots of small cable ties which will rectify that.  However, I removed the trunking cover in the heads compartment and traced the wires therein.  This enabled me to sort out one or two little conundrums (conundra?), such as why the port nav light had two wires: one was an extension to the starboard light, with a connection made inside the trunking with – you guessed it – ‘chocolate block’ connectors with rusty steel screws!  Easily rectified, provided there’s enough cable there.  A couple of other wires in there have had the same treatment, and these might not have enough extra length.

There’s also a wire connected to the port/starboard/stern light switch, which, on removal, seems to have no effect.  That needs following.  And then finally I fitted the new 12v socket and, in the subsequent sunshine, put it to good use in running the fridge.  The old one, whose fixing flanges have broken off, will be put to use as a ‘rover’ but will need a fuse.

The tricolour (cleaned up) and steaming light (new) plugs all ready to commect at the mast step, with a not-very-neat extension to the hole. The third cable is from the VHF aerial and will reach all the way to the set with no join.

The next couple of days were somewhat disjointed.  I had to find a temporary doctor to prescribe me my regular medication, of which I was about to run out – that took longer than it needed to because of the lack of cooperation from my own surgery.  A trip to the library for email and research became extended, and by the time I’d called at various emporia to pick up equally various bits and pieces the day was nearly over.  The Rig Shop called me back – they had the clevis pins in, total cost £33 for the seven of them.  All right, they’re A4 stainless steel and crucial bits of the rigging, but nearly a fiver each for bits of metal is a bit steep.  At least I had plenty of split pins.

Anyway, I bit that particular bullet (no wonder my teeth are so awful) and picked them up, and was then able to put the rigging together.  Cap and lower shrouds, backstay and babystay all connected up with shiny new fittings.  The forestay is still coiled up as it needs its lower terminal fitting fitting, and this has to go on after it’s been threaded through the new foil.  I’m also a bit doubtful about putting that all together, as the terminal is absolutely crucial to the safety of the mast and I’ve never done it before.  So I want someone who knows how to do it.   And on top of all that, the jib luff rope doesn’t fit into the groove in the foil, so that will need replacing.  And a sailmaker will tell me that the sail’s so old it’s not worth it…..

I rove the new spinnaker halyard and topping lift on their new blocks, too, but decided to leave the jib halyard till its masthead sheave had been cleaned and lubricated – which I should, of course have done before putting any new ropes up there.  But I wasn’t going to take them out again and, anyway, that was a job for the next day.  I did try writing up these notes on the laptop powered by the boat’s battery via my new inverter (Aldi again).  It worked, without running the battery down too much even in the dark, so when the solar panels are pumping in the amps it should be fine.  Still a bit worried in case the jib can’t be fixed….

On Friday I decided to buy a day’s mains electricity (at £3) and do all the things that needed it.  These would be…

  • Cut and drill the new masthead plate
  • Sand down the bottom prior to anti-fouling
  • Wire-brush out the new rust spots on the keel (and prime them)
  • Charge the small drill
  • Vacuum out the boat, especially the bottoms of the lockers
  • Use the electric kettle instead of the gas (This aim was somewhat compromised by my failure to find it in the car.  I must have left it at home.  Maybe I should buy a small one to use in the boat).
  • Plug in and use the laptop (whose battery has had it)
  • Have my radio on ‘sleep’ when I go to sleep

What’s more, I actually achieved nearly all of those.  I decided to leave the rust spots pro tem and do everything involving painting in one go.  I can do that with the battery drill anyway.  Not a bad three quid’s worth, I should say.

Saturday 16th           Hot

Too hot to work (well, that was my excuse) and, satisfied with yesterday’s progress I decided upon a day off.   Bit of a lie-in, shower, leisurely breakfast and a stroll to the library to get on line, catch up with emails and see what advice the members of the WOA had come up with.  Back home, a bite of lunch and then Graham from the Moody 33 (whose electricity I’d shared on a previous trip) came by and we got chatting, first about my solar panels.  I went down to his boat and he delighted in showing me his (enormous) progress – immaculate new teak joinery; neat and tidy, well thought out wiring etc. etc. He also lent me his copy of the Boat Owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, Nigel Calder’s 800+ page tome which Steve had mentioned last weekend, and I spent the rest of the day (apart from a brief shopping expedition to Bitterne) reading that.

Sunday 17th              Hotter

Another gentle day today, not feeling 100%.  However, I did remove, clean, polish, replace and lubricate the two sheaves in the masthead that I could get at – the other two on the forward side have had to make do with a squirt or three of silicone lubricant.  And popped round to Shamrock to get a new split pin for their axle (of course, it’s not possible to buy just one), and some bolts to fix the tricolour bracket to the new masthead plate.  On fitting them, they turned out to be a few millimetres too short – they don’t engage the lock part of the Nyloc® nuts – so I’ll have to get some more tomorrow. (But they’re a good tight fit in the holes and have actually tapped their own threads.)   A good chat with Julian though, and some advice about what else to do with the mast down and the boat ashore.  I never wanted to be a boat mechanic, but by the time this boat is ready to sail, as I’m repeatedly told, I shall know it inside out and be able to fix any further problems at the drop of a sou’wester.

Had a go at cleaning out the underwater skin fittings – cooling water intake and both heads valves – with partial success, and met Amanda for the first time for a few months.  She’d been in a serious car accident on the motorway and escaped almost uninjured, apart from her confidence, never enormous.  However, we discussed her proposed modifications to her Hunter Freedom and looked forward to meeting next week.

Bright early evening sunshine as I type this, and the solar panels are putting out enough amps to enable me to run the laptop on the inverter.  It’d be better still if I could be bothered to turn the panels round another 50° to face the sun at right angles.

Time to tidy up the boat, then a shower and shave, then into town for a takeaway, traditional on the last night (and to complete a day of junk food!).  Then tomorrow, retreat to see the Aged Parent in London for a day or three, and back before next weekend’s barbecue.

No sign of engineer all weekend.

Friday 22nd   very hot

Came down yesterday and the only useful thing I did was write a list of the jobs remaining.  It filled an A4 sheet.  So this morning I made a start by cleaning out the engine cooling water intake and begging a thin sheet of cork to make a new gasket for it.  I continued by withdrawing and cleaning the heads inlet seacock, which was caked with crunchy deposits, chiefly, I suspect, of ex-barnacles and similar.  Both this and the outlet seacock (previously cleaned) were then slathered with white marine grease and reassembled.  These are among the small number of fittings whose failure could sink the boat, so took care to get it right.  I just hope they’re OK when she’s finally launched.

Better news: I found the engineer, who told me that he’d do the preliminary work on Sunday morning!  I shan’t be holding my breath, but it sounds hopeful.  And Steve’s coming at some point over the weekend and I shall dragoon him into helping with the furling gear.

Saturday 23rd                       v hot

Slept badly (unusual in the boat – probably the temperature) then (after a much-needed shower and shave) set to work to trace the wiring.  By the time the marina barbecue got under way at lunchtime I’d identified and labelled all the wires, replaced most of the choc block joints with in-line crimps (must buy some more of these) and tidied up again.  The unidentified cable turned out to be (as suspected) the compass light, wired to come on with the side & stern lights.  That’s fine but I now also need it to work with the tricolour, so some clever wiring will be needed.

Sunday 24th              cloud/sun/light rain later

The engineer was due at nine to start on the engine bay.  I was ready at half-past; he arrived at ten, at which point (he wanting me out of the way) I took myself off to buy bolts, crimps and food.  While I was out Steve ’phoned to tell me that he was in too much pain to drive (he’d fallen over in the bath!) so he wouldn’t be coming after all.

When I got back on board at 1130, the good news was that the engine beds wouldn’t need to be cut (saving time, money and mess) and that the engine would go into the bay without having to remove all the woodwork around the companionway.  It might even be possible to use the same prop shaft, if a spacer could be incorporated in the new coupling.  He’s going to order the angle-iron for the bearers and will fit the engine over the next couple of weeks.

I spent the afternoon removing the old exhaust hose and instrument panel.  The panel mount will need an insert to take the new, smaller, panel so when I was rained off in the evening I spent the time making a paper template for this.  I’ll try and find a piece of laminate or GRP to cut it from – or maybe the joinery shop can do it for me?

Monday 25th             Warm & sunny

Very lethargic and dispirited for no obvious reason, other than the ever-extending list of jobs to be done.  Ended up having a day off by default, and stuffing myself with junk/comfort food finishing with fish & chips and banana & custard.

Tuesday 27th             Cloudy & warm

Started on all the sealing jobs – masthead plate and all the holes therein, mast foot plugs & deck sockets etc.  Permanently fixing the masthead plate took much longer than expected, even after I’d found the relevant nuts, screws, washers & bolts which I’d put away ‘somewhere safe’; it wasn’t helped by me then knocking over the dish containing them onto the gravel.   Eventually completed that (not as prettily as I’d’ve liked, but who’s going to see it at the masthead?), sealed round all the new lights, since I didn’t trust their allegedly waterproof seals filled (temporarily I suppose) a few old screw holes and finished repairing the portable bilge pump whose handle I’d broken off weeks earlier.

Satisfied with that and after another late lunch, I started on the ground tackle.  First job was to hoik out the bower and all its cable, which presented few problems, but I discovered in the process that the bow roller was reluctant to turn owing to one cheek of the stemhead fitting being slightly bent.  As it’s not a structurally crucial piece I’ll have a little go at persuading it back into shape with one of my hammers at some point.  The roller runs on a bolt across the two cheeks so it should be possible to remove it (standing by to catch any bearings as I do so!) for repair and lubrication.  I laid out the cable (now 8mm chain in good condition, the attentive reader may recall) in 5m fakes and marked it at 10, 20 & 30m with pieces of string with one, two and three knots in them; the intervening 5m marks are stout pieces of black gaffer tape.  Time will tell how durable and useful these are.  Total length is 37m which will be plenty for anchoring in shallow, sheltered bays overnight.

Less impressive, however, was the weight of the anchor.  It’s a Danforth type (although not stamped with that name; good in soft mud, in which the Solent abounds) but once I’d tracked down a spring balance (courtesy of Duncan in Custos) it weighed in at only 16lb (7.3kg).  That would do as a lunch hook, but I’d be disinclined to trust it overnight in anything but a flat calm.  Eric Hiscock (in Cruising Under Sail) recommends a minimum bower weight of 30lb, even for the smallest boat, and he should know.  The new cable is pretty chunky though, and it’s well known that ‘the anchor holds the cable and the cable holds the ship’ so maybe I’ll test it thoroughly and then give it a whirl.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Oh yes – shipwreck and total loss of the boat and all its contents, including me.

The kedge, once I’d disentangled it from the other contents of the lazarette, was also not entirely satisfactory: a 15lb CQR type (again, no authenticating stamp) with 5m of 6mm chain is fine, but the 23m of rope appears to be polypropylene rather than the stretchier (and more expensive) nylon.  It’ll do for now.  I put on a seizing to stop the end back to the standing part at the business end of the rope, and wired the shackle pin.

What I think I’d like is a 25 – 30lb CQR as the bower and the existing 15lb Danforth as the kedge but I suspect they’re quite pricy.  However, a quick interweb search reveals a 20lb CQR-type in reasonable nick, on Gumtree in Southampton for only £15, which looks like a bargain.  Then I can use the Danforth as the kedge and keep the smaller plough in reserve – or sell it, possibly for more than £15!

Finally, I took the castellated propeller-retaining nut off the shaft, along with its washer and cleaned them both up with my fine files and some sandpaper.  The nut appears to be stainless steel and the washer copper, or possibly an alloy thereof, which is somewhat surprising. The prop will have to come off as well, of course, but that needs a puller which I don’t possess (although I could make one I suppose) but I’m sure someone does.

Wednesday 28th                   rain at first; brighter later

Up early; cleaned the soot from around the exhaust baffle and cleaned the engine bay.  Then gave it another coat of Danboline, having first reinforced the biro marks with a black Sharpie so they could be seen through the (white) paint.  All done by 9.  He’s busy moving engines and other gear around the yard (and Alan’s moving boats for some reason) but will get over to the steel merchants to pick up the bearers tomorrow.  He says.

I’ve developed over the years the habit of peering into skips to see if there’s anything interesting therein. I was rewarded on this occasion by finding three fenders of the right size which as far as I could tell, had bee thrown away because it was easier than cleaning them. I hoiked them out, took them away and attacked them with bleach, detergent and elbow grease. £45-worth of fenders for nothing 🙂

One of the fenders I found in the skip – before cleaning…
…and after.

Not a lot more I can do at the moment, and I’ve had enough of this for the time being, and there’s a lot to do at home.  Elevenses, wash up. Tidy the boat. Pack clothes. Load car.  Hit the road.

Thursday 29th

At the Aged Parent’s in London; my copy of Nigel Calder’s excellent Boat Owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual arrives.  Fourth edition, published last year; 944 pages of pure usefulness.  Will head home tomorrow with plenty to read!

I thought, after a year of working on the boat (since she last sailed) it might be an idea to assess what I’ve actually achieved and what jobs are still left to do.

Jobs done Jobs to do
Have stbd keel joint repaired Grind remaining rust spots off keels
Have heads seacocks refurbished Rust-treat and prime metal so exposed
Bare patches of antifouling retouched Prime bare patches on rudder & elsewhere
Clean anode Anti-foul keels, rudder and bottom
Regrind heads outlet valve Clean anode (again)
Grind rust off keels Clean, repair, renovate & oil rubbing strakes
Rust treat and prime keels Touch up damaged areas of topside paint
Anti-foul keels Clean around exhaust outlet
Scrape hard marine growth off hull Clean/polish/paint all skin fittings/flanges
Sand down old anti-fouling …will be painted with hull
Clean out holes through skin fittings  
Engine/propulsion system
Have new stuffing box fitted Remove and clean old propeller & sell it
Have starter motor overhauled (inc. remove & replace) Engineer to fit and align new engine & propeller (including fitting new bearers etc.)
Alternator ditto Try again to sell old engine or parts thereof
Attempt to clean rust off engine Make insert to fit new instrument panel
Coolant leak detected & hose/clips replaced Fit ditto and connect
Discover lack of oil in gearbox. Rectify Fit new ring anode to prop shaft if necessary
Bleed fuel system (three times) Fit emergency cut-off ball valve to fuel pipe
Try & fail to solve engine running problems  
Clean manual bilge pump strum box Clean out fuel tank
Fuel & tank cleaned by repeated filtering …unnecessary – fuel seems clean
Pump several gallons of rain out of engine bay  
Disconnect all pipes & wires from old engine ?Move primary fuel filter to stbd side
Remove companionway woodwork Fit ball valve as emergency fuel cut-off
Tom remove old engine  
Photograph & attempt to sell ditto  
Remove old engine bearers  
Clean & degrease engine bay  
Drill limber hole between main & engine bilges  
Repair crack in this bulkhead  
Paint engine bay  
Second coat ditto  
Remove old exhaust hose & clean area  
Hatch slides cleaned & regreased Remove chipped/cracked/peeling non-slip paint
Deck scrubbed Repaint with non-slip paint
Lifebuoys cleaned Repair all chips and cracks in gel coat
Dinghy tested and used Renovate and polish gel coat
Forehatch handle removed & reseated Ditto & oil teak grab handles
Compression seal applied to lazarette hatch Find and cure leaks through cockpit seats
Buy and rig tarpaulin to keep rain out Straighten cheeks & overhaul bow roller
  Fix lifebuoy light
  Install extra cleats fwd & midships
Sails bent on Assemble & fit new headsail furler & forestay
Existing anchor cable inspected & marked Get jib luff adapted to fit new foil
Standing rigging inspected & condemned Clean fwd masthead sheaves (for halyards)
Main halyard replaced Reeve jib halyard
Cable replaced with longer & heavier one Step mast and tension standing rigging
Mast lowered Fit ensign beckets to backstay
Standing rigging removed & replaced Clean & reassemble radar reflector
Running rigging removed & washed Make leadline
Spare jib assessed; hanks serviced; measured Fit boom
Anchor & cable tested by use Rig all remaining running rigging
Mast lowered to ground & supported Bend on sails
Measure & mark bower cable Rig dodgers
New standing rigging fitted Fit jackstays
Fit new blocks for topping lift & spare halyard Terminate guardrails correctly & tension
Clean & lubricate masthead sheaves Lead lines aft
Reeve new running rigging on mast  
Assemble furling gear & forestay  
Solve problem of disconnected domestic batt. Secure batteries in new position
Buy small solar panel to charge domestic batt. Tidy up wiring in battery compartment
Try & fail to calibrate autopilot Connect new engine as required
Buy larger solar panels; use these for domestic battery via new regulator Fit new (LED) \tricolour light
Fit new VHF aerial
Transfer small panel to engine battery Replace galley, fo’c’sle & heads lights with LEDs
Fit socket for domestic battery charger Fit bunk light for stbd quarter berth
Move batteries & associated wiring Tidy up all outstanding wiring
Run new wiring in the mast Fit solar charging sockets for both batteries
Fit plate for new tricolour light Work out how & where to store solar panels
Fit new steaming light Reconnect autopilot
Ditto side lights (LEDs) Make/acquire portable anchor light
Replace saloon light with LED Fit bilge pump c/w float switch & controller
Replace choc block connectors with crimps Get manual for radio/CD player
Buy and adapt 50m mains extension lead Work out how to wire compass light, and do so
  Fit new engine instrument panel
  Install shore power system inc. battery charger
  Overhaul/buy & fit tacho & temp gauge
In the cabin
Window hinges serviced & seals cleaned Clean out FW tank & pipes
Lockers cleaned & mildew removed Refit (overhauled/new?) FW foot pump
Chart table made to slide freely Clean & paint all lockers
Gear restowed (several times!) Ditto stbd quarter berth
Table socket replaced Secure bookcase
Galley cleaned (several times) Fill old holes to stbd of c/way
Investigate leak; remove leaking FW foot pump Re-hang curtains
Cut hole in sole (under step) & clean beneath Bring cushions & curtains back on board
  Rebuild cabin sole to reinforce & incl. hatches
  Install calorifier
  Install cabin heater
Repair leaking gas pipe Replace gas bin with proper locker
Secure gas bin in position Secure gas supply pipe to bulkheads
Fire extinguishers serviced Seal lazarette lid closure
Hose clips on heads pipes replaced  
Heads pump & valves overhauled  
Bolt cutters serviced  
Gas cylinder replaced  
Complete purchase paperwork  
Arrange insurance  
Arrange berthing  
Transfer Small Ship Registration  
Set up accounts spreadsheet & start using Carry on & complete accounts
License radio  
Buy charts Correct charts

And that’s where I got to at the end of that summer. Still no sailing 🙁

About the author: Steve Freedman
Tell us something about yourself.