The cockpit bench is cracking near the stern, where I stand on it getting onto or off the stern ladder. I think the plywood is probably a bit too thin for its job here. I have marked the limit of each branch of the crack with a dot and marked out a triangle which covers the whole area I want to replace. I can't do any work directly on it until I get her home for the winter, but I have started preparing for the repair
I will cut out the cracked area with my Bosch multitool. Just to practice, I have cut out a 6mm ply patch from a larger sheet using the multitool and it works brilliantly. Far neater and quicker than a jigsaw, which requires drilling holes for the blade to plunge through. The multitool blade just shakes its way through in a couple of minutes.
Then I cut out a larger patch, which will go under the hole in the deck, when that is bonded in, the finishing patch "should" just drop into place. Then a bit of filling, sanding and painting and all should be better than new. I will glue in the under patch using the blind patching technique I used on my old fibreglass dinghy many years ago, which worked remarkably well. But I can t do it yet as It will take a few days (waiting for epoxy to cure mainly), and I need to get the plywood thoroughly dry. Rain has got in so the area is damp.
Just down to Daisy G for the day to do some work on her. No sailing, just motored in to the pontoon. It was very windy in any case, up to F6 forecast. I have got my sail back from Concept sails. They just replaced the panel I had ripped, so good as new. Very good service, sail fixed and back on boat in under a week for £40.
I fixed a GRP tent hoop across the cockpit to brace the new sprayhood extension and this works well. Holds it up nicely and will stop rain pooling on it. I didn't even need to cut it to size, it just fitted. The ends are slotted into drilled oak blocks that I screwed to the outside of the coamings. when not in use, the hoops breaks down into short lengths and is rolled up in the extension which is lashed under the boom gallows.
The forecast was for sun and the odd shower. Showers don't normally last all afternoon and night... But I have got my new spray-hood extension, which got a thorough trial. It took some experimentation to get it to fit, and I think I will fit a tent hoop at mid point to hold it up a bit more tautly, but it really does make the cockpit fully usable during heavy rain.
It slides into the track on the boom gallows and I will store it there. Still needs a bit of practice at stowing it so that it does not foul the main sheet. Quay Sails of Poole made it for me.
I have screwed a length of three strand rope around the dinghy as a fender, and that seems to have worked well, although the screws are not as invisible as I had hoped. The moved rowlock positions work well.
Saturday morning was blowing F4-F5 and plenty more. Hurricane Bertha wasn't supposed to arrive until Sunday! I sailed off the anchorage double reefed and all seemed fine until the mizzen gybed over. It wasn't cleated yet and it blew in front of its mast. At that moment the main followed suit and gybed across into the mizzen, which I was desperately trying to push back, but too late. Nasty rip in the mizzen where the main boom went into it. The sail is now with Concept sails waiting to be stitched up. I sailed out into Studland Bay with just main and jib, which worked fine, but it was too windy for my liking. I turned back into the harbour and had lunch anchored in the lee of Brownsea
A couple of lovely days in and around Poole Harbour, with a surprising amount of wind, so some very good sailing. Took my new dinghy down and launched her. She floats, rows beautifully and tows well, although she does drag more than the inflatable did. Really nice to row, but I need new oars. The sectional ones I have are too short and too thin. I kept thinking they would crack.
I sailed round to Studland beach and tested how she coped with swamping. Not well. Even with the stern buoyancy tank she completely swamps. I did get into her, but all was basically under water. I may try to fix some more buoyancy under the main seat. The skeg wheel works very well on the slipway, but not so good on sand and soft mud. I managed a little sculling, but it is a technique I need to practice on still water. Too much swell onto Studland sands. She carried loads really well. I brought the inflatable dinghy back to shore in her, without problem. I need to move the main rowlocks further forward to fit my long legs, and I must fit a rope fender around her as she scratched Daisy G each time I scrambled aboard.
The second day I spent tacking and tacking around the harbour. Getting up to 6kts on a broad reach, even with the dinghy in tow. She is quite noisy at night, with every ripple banging into her flat bottom and reverberating around. But I got used to it. She slides on and off the roof single handed very easily, which I am pleased with. That was the very first consideration when I chose the design.
I have finished my new dinghy, "Nellie Grace" Very pleased with the boat, but my paint finish is awful. I just can't paint. runs and dribbles everywhere and I may as well not have bothered masking areas off with masking tape. I don't know why I am so bad at it. But at least I won't worry about scratching her.
She went onto the roof rack quite easily as I had hoped. sliding n form the back. I think she is heavier than designed, due to the fancy seats and the extra work on the skeg and keel. I hope to take her down to Poole soon to try her out as a tender.