31 January 2011

One of the big reasons we love the Swallowboats range

This video of capsize testing of a Bayraider by Denman Marine in Australia, (which they build in Tasmania under licence to Swallowboats) shows just what makes these boats special. The Baycruiser carries 400kg of ballast water and has the additional buoyancy of the cabin with a foam core ceiling. They just don't fall over in the water. If they are pushed over, they just bob up.

30 January 2011

Sorting out ropes and painting in the cabin

It is really cold, but a sunny day so I've been carrying out some real winter maintenance. I got all the running rigging and washed it in the machine. With a good dollop of fabric conditioner, they come out really soft. I have a problem with the inner core of several braided ropes either sticking out beyond the cover, or poking out of the side between cover strands. I don't know if it is a common problem with braided ropes. Mine are all made by English Braids. In any case, I have recut and resealed the ends with a hot knife. I have replaced the jib halyard with a slightly thinner, longer rope which I think I can yank taughter with a handy billy. I will use the halyard as the main sheet, which I think is a bit too thick for the blocks. I'll see how it works in practice.
After that I started to paint the inside of the cabin. Most of it done except down in the bow and the quarter berth, where I will have to wriggle around head first to reach anything.

29 January 2011

Small jobs, but hard to do much in the cold

I have tidied up the pictures on the bulkhead, which looks a bit more sensible. #What you can't read on this photo is the cabin thermometre, which is reading -3C. It is really cold. Very dry though, which is something. I have carried out a few small jobs, but can't do anything involving paint or glue at these temperatures.

I have fitted a bracket to the outside of the lower washboard. This gives me somewhere to hang the instruments panels when it is raining. If I just have the companionway open, the rain pours in. Fortunately I haven't yet had to to sail in the rain, but it is bound to happen sooner rather than later.

I have cut and shaped two softwood mouldings to fit on the side benches. On the starboard side it will go just on the hinge line of the locker lid. These are meant to stop the flat fenders that I sit on when sailing sliding away under the side deck when tacking. The only problem I have sailing Daisy Grace is that the cabin top is just a bit high to see over easily. But I love the space it gives in the cabin. These strips will need to be epoxied in place, but not at -3. Another job for when it warms up.

Nearly there

The roof is slated except for the ridges. The ridge tiles are due on next week. The windows and doors are glazed (but did I really need double glazing?). Gutters and down pipes on. Just the doors to make and hang and then I should be in. But it is freezing cold again. The pond is hard frozen. I suppose it still is January, but I wish it wasn't. The doors will have horizontal boarding in the end. The builder convonced me it will be more weather tight that way as the boards are lapped. I'm going to fit a rain water butt round the back so that I have some water on hand for scrubbing down and washing things with. Other than that, just electricity by way of services.

26 January 2011

Roof slates going on

The slates are going on at last. This view was taken yesterday morning. This whole side has now been completed and they have started on the far slope. The builder is huffing and puffing about how fiddly mitring all of the slates into the valleys is. It is, but it would have looked awful with a flat roof or plain felt.
The whole shed is looking very dominant, partly because it is set up at the top of a slope and partly because the base has had to be built up so high on the house side. When the trees are in leaf it will be largely invisible from this view point. We are going to grow creepers and vines up over this elevation as well, so I think it will all scale down. From the road it looks quite small, which was the intention. That is also why we got planning permission in an AONB without any problems. The local parish council actually supported the application as it tidied up a rough corner and could get some parking off the road, which is always an issue around these lanes.
People often ask how I manage to tow a 20ft boat up to here. The answer is you have to know the way. The direct route is impossible. Only 6ft wide, 1:4 slope and as twisty as a duodenum. The correct route is 2 miles further, only 1:6 and all of 8ft wide. Simple really. The trickiest bit is when you get to us. You can pull the boat straight out of the shed onto the lane, but you can't back it in with the car. You have to park at right angles to the entrance, unhitch the trailer, swing it round 90o and then push it in.

23 January 2011

Internal bulkhead completed

It has been a relatively dry weekend, so I have managed to get a few jobs done in the boat herself.
I have finally completed the semi-bulkhead by the galley. It looked a bit grim at first, but now I have fixed all of my junk to it and stained the hardwood trim it looks much better. This view shows how it looks from the cockpit. Now I can see my clock and other instruments and, most importantly, the whiteboard on which I scrawl the day's tidal details. It is just a white glazed ceramic tile, stuck up with Velcro. It wipes absolutely clean, however long the ink is left on it. Far better than any plastic whiteboard I have seen.

This second view shows how it subdivides the cabin. In a curious way it makes the inside seem bigger. I think I shall move the map to somewhere else. It all looks a bit crowded. I have moved my chart-tool holder to the bulkhead where it is  more out of the way, but actually easier to get at. I've shaped the top of my pink lady's picture to fit the curve of the cabin ceiling, so she fits in better.
I've started work on the cabin table, but I still need more screws to finish it off. I've also fitted a little hardwood strip over the bottom edge of the companion way, which gets a lot of wear.

22 January 2011

Roof fully battened, ready for the slates.

Are we in the home straight? The roof is fully battened on white sarking, which I'm pleased about. It will lighten the whole interior. With luck the doors, glazing and slates will go on next week. The electrics are still in the future, but I can live without them for a while. But it will be nice to have them. My builder wants to line and insulate the whole thing, but not now. In the future if I decide to build myself a boat over a winter, then maybe, but it would be a luxury right now. One I can't afford anyway.

I got in the boat for a couple of hours and had made a few minor additions, which I might get completed tomorrow. I can't do the major change I have planned until I get the the West Midlands Boat jumble in a fortnight and restock with stainless steel screws and U bolts. It is a big jumble and I regard it as the start of the sailing season. With luck I can get the paint I need half price in dented tins. Plus endless miles of rope. Last year I opened my own car boot and sold off a lot of sailing junk. I actually made a profit. Most things were bought by dealers before the paying customers came in. I was amazed at the odd things people bought. But not my big collection of Classic Boat magazines, which didn't raise a flicker of interest. They are still blocking up half a room. I don't even like Classic Boat that much. I prefer Watercraft and Wooden Boat. Both of them are bi-monthly, which I think helps keep up the quality of the content. The monthly magazines become dull very rapidly.

20 January 2011

Walls complete and roof covering starting to go on

The wall boarding is complete and the eaves have had soffits and fascias fitted. The first strip of under-slating felt has gone on and the battens are going up. The whole thing could be complete, apart from electrics, by the end of next week, weather permitting. The main doors still have to be made up, but I hope that that won't take too long, inshallah. We shall see.

It will take me ages to get the shed usable as I am going to move up loads of "stuff" from our old stone cow shed. That will need shelving, hooks and cupboards installing. All will take time, but it is fun. The real pleasure will be being able to just work on the boat without having to take off and replace covers, and just leave tools and things out, rather than having to get them out and put them away each time.

15 January 2011

Shed wall largely complete

Most of the boarding is on apart from the far end wall and the gables. Then the roof tiles and the main doors to go on. The boarding on the front is run right through to the trees to give a bit of privacy to the areas around the back. There should be just enough room to park a car to the side of the main doors. The site is a very odd shape. I think it will be about another two weeks until it is all done. Then I have got to hope that the boat fits in!

13 January 2011

Shed windows in and boarding progressing

The windows are in. Look slightly curious as they are double glazeddomestic units. The builder had them left over so it saved some costs. It lends a certain je ne sai quoi I think. I'll be glad when the roof is on.

Solent RAID in 2011?

I have heard through the grapevine that there may be another RAID this year, back in the Solent. Originally the organisers of last year's English RAID said "Never again!" but it looks like they have been talked around to it. It is all provisional at the moment, but I shall be there if I can. The outline is shown nelow. Lymington-Bembridge-Itchenor (Chichester Harbour)-Hamble River-Lymington and a final optional day to Keyhaven.

The long term plan is another Engliush RAID on the East Coast in 2012, which would be great fun.

View Solent RAID 2011 in a larger map

11 January 2011

Wall planking started at last

The shiplap boarding is finally starting to go on. 9mm thick so the whole edifice should be pretty robust. The doors will look a bit starck as they are uPVC ones left over from another of the builder's jobs, but it saves me a bit. I think the windows will be a job lot as well, but it will all be covered with creepers eventually and hidden behind the copper beech when it is in leaf. After all that it is just the roof and the main garage doors and then I can move Daisy G inside. Should just about be in time for hauling her back down to Poole for the next season.

9 January 2011

Bulkhead completed and shed roof advancing

We have actually got a sunny Sunday, so I have got inside the boat. I have just about completed the new bulkhead, and I think it is a success. The hardwood trim needs to be stained, but the boarding is complete. There is an ugly seam up the forward side of the bulkhead, but that is hidden from view. My plan, once all is repainted, is to mount the clock, weather instruments and the white board on this bulkhead, plus a shelf of some sort. Then I can see the clock and the white board from the cockpit. Next I need to hinge the table, but infuriatingly I just don't have the correct screws. They have to be just right to hold the hinges and catches without penetrating into the centreboard trunk.

The shed roof is shaping up well. The builders turned up on Saturday, saying they just had to use whatever dry weather they can get. All rafters are in place, bolted to the ties and some cut back at the eaves. Next the windows and doors have to go in and then finally the wall boarding will start to go up. I am still trying to decide whether to get a cheap wood burning stove for it. It would be a real help in the winter for gluing and painting. We shall see. The stoves are cheap, it is all of the flue pipes which push the price up.

3 January 2011

Shed advances

Amazingly, despite it being a Bank holiday here, my builders turned up to carry on working. I suspect they had got bored at home. They put the rafters on for about quarter of the roof and then it started snowing again. I am really fed up with this weather.

I got into the boat yesterday for the first time for a fortnight. Managed to fit in the filler panel between the bulkhead and the compression post, but it still needs final trimming and a top coat of paint. Not much chance of doing that in the immediate future.

I had a set of wood carving chisels for Christmas, to support a skill I totally lack. I have started carving a small figure to fit in the cabin below the Ganesha statue, but it will depend on how well it goes if she is to go up there. It is meant to be high art, but my wife says it just looks like another naked lady. Same thing in my book.