24 December 2012

Forward half of two more stringers fitted (0.5hr)

Took an opportunity to fit the forward ends of two more stringers. The chamfers are very long and twisted now. Again the pull saw cuts most of it and a bit of sanding to fit it. All fiddly as each frame joint has to be glued, drilled, nailed and then surrounded in glue. Then the stem joint has to be copper riveted and bound with twine and glued all round.

Finished restaining the hardwood on Daisy G. She is looking a well used boat, with many dents and dings in her rubbing strips, but that is what they are there for. Quite a bit of paint came off with the masking tape, so there will be some touching up needed. Inside of cockpit still to do in cream before I tackle the green hull.

22 December 2012

Four stringers fully fitted (1.5 hours)

I have fully chamfered and fitted four full length stringers. Six more to go. As usual, the work goes faster as you get used to it. Chamferring the ends against the stems is best done with the pull saw. Sanding is very slow with the multi tool. The stringers have more twist in them as they approach the keel, which is relatively easy to allow for with the saw, by lining it up parallel with the stem.

The lines of the stringers look a little depressed towards the ends. I think I misread the drawings slightly when setting up the keel/stem backbone. We live and learn.

21 December 2012

First stringer secured to bow (about 1hr)

I have cut and chamfered the bow ends of the first stringer and secured it in place. I tired sanding the chamfer, which works but is very slow as it is really quite long. I found that it is much quicker, and more accurate, to cut the bulk of the chamfer with a Japanese pull saw, and just finish it off by sanding. This makes rounding the surface much less likely.

This stringer is now glued and ring nailed from the centre frame to the bow frame. At the stem it is drilled right through and both stringers are held by a copper wire pushed through and clenched at each end, bound by strong twine through two positioning holes in the stem and then all bedded on Sikaflex. Bit messy but seems to work  well. I need to repeat at the stern and then fit all the remaining full length stringers. The end chamfers will get more acute and much longer as I approach the keel.

19 December 2012

Stringers dry fitted (1 hr)

I have pushed all of the full length stringers into place, which helps to show the overall shape of the canoe. They are just pushed into their respective slots on the frames and tied at the bows. The whole set up becomes quite rigid at this stage, but it was fairly out of shape by the time I had got them all in. I levelled everything up again and finally screwed the frame supports to the strong back and the main frames. The whole set up should stay in place now...

The next stage is to cut and chamfer the ends of the first stringers to fit the stem/stern, glue and nail that stringer to each frame and glue, pin and lash the stringers to the stem/stern. Then repeat for the remaining eight stringers. I think this is likely to be one of the longest stages of the process.

18 December 2012

Canoe keel

This poor photo shows the true keel, which is very thin. The covering board has cleats on the bottom of it to ensure that the true keel is kept straight during construction. When I took this picture I suddenly thought I had used the wrong timbers for the first two stringers, but I haven't, so that is a bit of effort saved.

The slots in the frames for the stringers have to be filed slightly at an angle towards the end to accommodate the sloping stringers in straight cut slots. The first stringers are marked and tied at the ends to ensure that the hull is symmetrical, which looks OK here. The tricky part will be to cut them to length and chamfer them to fit either side of the stem. The designer says the simplest way is to sand them with a power file or sanding block until they fit. I will try my Bosch multi tool to see how that works

17 December 2012

Intermediate frames in (1hr)

I have fitted the remaining frames. They pop out of the plywood sheeting easily. I fitted them according to the dimensions, but the stern seems to come out slightly shorter than the bow. They are meant to be identical. Probably my workmanship.
I have pushed the first stringer into place on each side as this is the one which sets the symmetry of the whole set up. This is a tight fit, but it has to be. Gentle tapping with a soft mallet has got everything lining up quite well.
I think the central frame is fractionally too narrow, as the line of the stringer is pinched in slightly at the middle. Little I can do about it with precut frames, but a point to note for the designer. Interestingly, if I pop the stringer out of the centre frame, it adopts a much smoother line around the centre, but its line towards each end then becomes pinched. Getting a boat fair is really not a trivial matter, and this canoe is effectively a prototype.

The large keel timber is temporary. It is effectively a straight edge which clips over the true keel, which is only 10x10mm, to keep it straight. When all the stringers are fixed, it comes off. The stringers are fixed with Sikaflex and a copper ring barbed nail through a pre-drilled pilot hole. Seems to work well.

16 December 2012

Started on Canoe (4 hours)

First stages of building my flax canoe started. Screwed together the building frame, and then set up the stem and stern pieces. The tricky part is that nothing is absolutely straight, even the bits that are meant to be. The building frame has a slight curve in it, but the designer told me the critical thing is to get the keel straight. He has set up a board with carefully fixed blocks which is clipped over the  keel to do just that.  Eyeing in everything also helps.

I had to do some post gluing adjustments when I realised there is meant to be about an inch of rocker in the keel, where I had thought it straight. The curve is now in it, but that meant putting in a spacer to fill in where I had cut the keel a bit short. Only one cut so far and I got that wrong! But not a show stopper. Once the glue has cured, the remaining frames need to be fitted, and then the stringers to give it its basic shape. Sounds simple...

I also stained some of the woodwork on Daisy G. It is cold, so it will take a while to dry. Not ideal conditions for paint and varnish.

9 December 2012

Too cold to do much

It is too cold to really want to spend too much time in an unheated shed. Not great for painting anyway. I tried out the blanking plate with the engine in position. It can certainly be put in and taken out, but it is quite tight. I will need to practise how it is best done so I can do it without thinking. Whether having the well full of water will help or hinder I don't know. What I did find is that it is all too easy to drop the blanking plate right through the hole through the bottom of the boat. Not a thing to do at sea.

I have been sanding the hardwood trim around the cockpit. It had far to many white paint streaks on it last season. The next thing is to mask it all off and restain it, before painting inside the cockpit. I hope that it will all look quite smart eventually. Updated my on board art gallery with some new pictures I did over the summer. One copy of a Klimt painting of "Eve" came out surprisingly well. I even finished it, which he never did.

20 November 2012

Outboard well blanking plate complete

I have sealed the edges of the plywood with epoxy and then painted it. I had thought to apply some anti-fouling to it, but decided it isn't necessary. Most of the time the plate will be out of the water. It will only be in place, under water, when I am actually sailing. I have oiled the oak parts with linseed oil and covered teh two brackets in the boat first with epoxy and then with copper tape, set in the epoxy, so I hope it will stay on. They will be permanently under water, so need to be anti-fouled.

I have finished the superstructure painting outside of the cockpit, and it looks OK. I might apply another coat on the stern deck where it looks a bit thin. I have got to decide whether to do the hardwood next and then paint inside the cockpit or vice versa. Decision decision. I want to replace the main sheet with a longer rope and the lazy jack "topping lifts" but I will wait until I can get to a cheap rope show before I do that. I won't need them until April

13 November 2012

English Raid 2013

Next year's English raid will be on the Norfolk Broads from Aug 5-9.
Details on the Raid website
I'm working on the map

View RAID England 2013 in a larger map

12 November 2012

Outborad well blanking plate made

I received my plank of 18mm plywood from Robbins timber last week. They deliver to Cirencester twice a week so it didn't cost me as much for delivery as I feared. I then took my fancy new router and set to work making the new blanking plate. First cut it out roughly and oversized with a jigsaw. Then crewed my MDF template to the cut-out making sure it was central on it. Then using a bearing guided router bit I trimmed all round to form the finished plat. It worked like a dream, it was very straight forward. Just for the fun of it, I fitted a rounding over bit and went round the top edge of the plate, just to finish it off a bit more neatly and possibly to make it slightly easier to fit into the hole.

I bolted the handle to the centre of it, so that it can twist. I've made up two catches, in oak which need to be screwed to the bottom panels of the boat on either side of the opening. They still need a bit of finishing off to allow for the slight angle at the keel line. When they are all finished, I will cover them in epoxy for protections, because they will be permanently under water, and put copper tape over them to cut down on fouling.

5 November 2012

Painting progresses

Cabin superstructure painted and hardwood stained. I will do the side and fore decks next and then move around the back of the boat. It is really cold, but the paint seems to be drying and setting well. No sign of it lifting off with the masking tape, which sometimes happens.

I am staining the hardwood trim with Sikkens Filter seven, which was used originally and seems to work very well. Some people don't like the matt finish, but I prefer it. My shiny varnish never looks good, and gets scraped as soon as I start sailing.

Starting to refit ropes to the cabin top. I have washed the jibs sheets in the washing machine and they have come up soft and as new. I want to replace the main sheet as it is really not quite long enough. It used to be the jib halyard, and it is about a meter too short for ideal. I may wait until the West Midlands Boat Jumble in February. Always a good place to get rope.

3 November 2012

Table done and playing with router

Stain in table dry so I have refitted it and that is one job done. The dowels do show up a bit which suits me fine. I have also started playing with the router which is great fun. Hard to hold it steady as it runs up the edge of a board, but it forms a very neat edge. I have bought a set of cheap bits, and I think that hollowing out a block for a cup holder may have largely burned one out. You get what you pay for as always. I have ordered a bearing guided deep straight cutter to cut out my well blanking plate.

Final coat of paint on the cabin roof and I will start on the cabin sides next.

2 November 2012

Pianting and other jobs under way

Cabin roof all masked up and I have painted two coats of Dulux Weathershield over the top after fairly thorough sanding and cleaning.
I have invested in some far more expensive masking tape this year. I used cheapo stuff from Lidls last year, and as they say, you get what you pay for. It kept tearing as I pulled it off the roll, and if it was left on more than a day it was very hard to get off. This is green "Frog tape" which went on easily, and I have just removed some after nearly two weeks, and it came off smoothly.

I am planning on a third coat of Dulux. It will be interesting to see how it lasts, but it has stuck on much better than the Toplac I used last year, which peeled off in a few patches before I even left the garage. Probably due to poor preparation, but it happened again after I had cleaned it up and reapplied.

I have taken the cabin table off, drilled out and dowelled the old screw holes, which are now redundant due to it being hinged, and am just restaining before I fix it back in. The dowels are light hardwood (ramin probably) and I had quite liked the idea of two rows of large light wood dots, but they have stained almost to the same colour as the hardwood table.I am also discovering the truism that it is much easier to work on things if you make the effort to remove them from the boat and work on the work bench. In fact it is much less effort, it just doesn't seem so at first.

I have just bought myself a Dewalt combination router, the first I have ever had, to do various planned jobs, such as cutting out the outboard well blanking plate. I have had to order the correct cutter separately as the ones in the set which I did order clearly were wrong when I looked at them, but had seemed right on the website. Shows my experience with routers.

30 October 2012

International exposure.

The current copy of Woodenboat Magazine (Nov/Dec) has a good article by Kathy Mansfield on Swallowboats, their history and range of boats. There is a fine picture of Daisy Grace in amongst all the others, being helmed by my daughter at the English Raid on the Solent in 2010. I'm clearly just mobile ballast. I know my place when she's onboard.

21 October 2012

Latest project, build a canoe

I have just picked up the kit for a salmonboat Chinook canoe. This is what it should look like when finished:

This is what it looks like now, a roll of linen, three CNC plywood panels of frames and thwarts, a bundle of softwood stringers, a flask of activated linseed oil and various additives, threads and glues. The idea is that the frames and stringers are covered in the linen, which is soaked in the activated linseed oil. When exposed to UV light this cures to a firm resin. If it doesn't I shall get very wet, but it should do.

This will keep me busy for the winter. Need to finish various bits on Daisy G first, and then I need to build the building base.

14 October 2012

Outboard well blanking plate

I have done a bit further work shaping the template to the outboard opening. I don't think I will get it any better. The next stage is to cut it out of some 18mm marine ply, which I have yet to order. I realised as I was fitting it under the engine that I was sliding it in and out quite easily as a single piece, so I am not going to cut it in half and fit hinges. I am going to keep it in one removable piece, which is held down by a central cross piece which twists to go under a a pair of catch block on the sides. I have raised the depth sounder transducer which was sticking out further after I removed the surrounding plywood which held the flaps in place. I just cut out the bit of that plywood which had the hole for the transducer in it and fitted it on top of the floor, rather than underneath. The transducer is now flush with the bottom of the boat again. I have recovered the wooden block which holds it in anti-slug copper tape. I put some on two years ago and it really works. I only replaced it because it became loose as I fiddled with the unit.

In the cabin I have been working up some distracting paintings to keep me company on long nights at anchor. This one was done on six small panels so that it could fit the curve of the cabin side. I think she looks quite fine. I don't realy go for nautical pictures in a boat. You need something to take your mind off the mess you have got yourself into.

12 October 2012

Goose neck slide repaired

The goose neck slide track had come loose and twisted last season. I took it off, to find that it was just held by four screws into the mast wall and some black mastic. Cleaned off all the gunge, filled the screw holes (which had enlarged, with thickened epoxy and then stuck a length of oak over the line of holes. I hollowed the back of the oak with a circular sander on the multi tool. Stuck it all down with a bed of thickened epoxy. I straightened the track in a vice quite easily and screwed the track back on.

The gap in the base of the sail track is to allow the sail slides to fit in, which they just do The whole thing is I hope much more robust now. There is a lot of lateral force on the goose neck in a strong wind and the original fixing was a bit slight.

7 October 2012

Outboard well infill

The infill panel progresses. I put the engine back in and experimented with spaces. With the panel cut in two length ways it can be hinged and there will be room for the two parts to fold up out of the way when the engine is lowered. So I have decided to go for it instead of replacing the flaps. I have made up a new infill out of 18mm MDF to use as a template for the final 18mm marine ply panels. It fits quite well. I might modify it slightly for an even better fit, but I don't think I will want it completely tight. It will need epoxy and antifoul on it, so there needs to be a bit of room.
The stern end of the opening had a single plastic flap right across it, held in place by a strip of plywood across the back of the opening. The screw heads were full of epoxy and irremovable. The multi tool came into its own again and cut them off flush using a metal cutting blade.

6 October 2012

Winter jobs done

I have removed the outboard well flaps from the other side now. I used the Bosch multi-tool with a scraper to loosen it, which made it much easier than just working a screwdriver around the edge. I also found it is wonderful in removing hardened barnacles, which just fly off.

Crawling about underneath I used the multitool on the layers of sealant left on the underside of the hull, and again it was a revelation. where I had anticipated a horrible upside down job with a scraper and a face full of filth, the sealant just rolled off. It looks as though the hull had been copper coated before the faring panels were fitted, so I haven't exposed great areas without anti fouling. These is still some left, but it should be  fairly easily removable. What I have discovered, on putting the outboard back on board to check clearances, is that I can now turn it almost through 90 degrees each way. What had restricted it before was a flange on the engine leg hitting the edge of the plywood covering the flaps. With that plywood off, the engine can turn much more.

I have made up a dummy faring panel, which I have sawn in two, length ways. It seems to have room to be hinged open, but I am going to have to fit some temporary hinges to check that it really fits. If it does I shall get some proper marine ply and do a proper infill job. Not what I planned, but I think it could be better than the original flaps.

I can't over emphasise just how useful I have found the multi-tool. I thought it was a bit of indulgency when I bought it, but I use it for everything. It is better than a hack saw for delicate cutting and better than every other sander I have got. Cleaning off half the sealant layer used up one battery, but by the time I had used a second one to clean off the other side, the first battery was recharged. I love it. I have also bought a drill and impact screw driver from Bosch, which use the same batteries, so I have four batteries and two chargers. Having separate drill and driver again speeds things up exponentially.

3 October 2012

Outboard well flaps

Several of the flaps which overlap to fare the outboard well have either bent, cracked or broken off over the last three seasons. I have to decide whether they really warrant replacing. I am not sure they make that much difference. I have removed them frorm one side. Quite a job as they are sandwiched between a screwed on plywood sheet and the underside of the hull, all held in place with a thick layer of rubbery glue. It was quite a job to get one side off. Putting it back on will not be fun. The yard had the boat upside down when they were originally fitted. Can't see that happening here.

The flaps are double layers of centreboard slot gasket, glued together with a fibreglass infill. I made a couple last year, which was messy. I would need to make 22 to replace them all. I am thinking of building some sort of solid infill instead, but it would have to be easy to remove to lower the motor, and I'm not sure how feasible it really is. I may just leave it as a hole. I need to get the other side off however I decide to go ahead. Not a pleasant job. I don't like lying on my back under anything, trying to work on it overhead. Makes me feel nauseous.

30 September 2012

Doing it properly for once

I have started stripping off fittings in order to repaint thoroughly. I have got a cordless impact screwdriver, and it is so easy to take off and reinstall fittings that for once I am doing things properly. But first I have photographed each side of the cabin roof to make sure I know where everything goes back.

I keep on about how useful the cordless multitool is, but I can't get over how useful it is. I have refitted two lengths of plastic conduit, and to get them exactly the right length to allow a right angle connector to be fitted between them has always been near impossible. Now I can saw off half millimetre lengths until it fits perfectly.

29 September 2012

Jobs progressing

I still haven't completely emptied the boat, but I have already done several jobs. All "water tight" hatches removed. They all leaked, and it turns out none had been bedded on sealant fully. I bailed five bucket loads of rain water out of the stern cockpit lockers. It must have all got in through poor seals.
I have also rerouted the cable from the solar panel into the cabin in a route that keeps it away from various ropes. This require the companionway hatch being removed, but that needed some repairs anyway, so it needed to come off.
I have also been planing down the timber trim around the cabin roof. It has always stood slightly proud of the roof, making a potential water trap. A sharp block plane reduced it to flush all round and my wonderful new multi-tool has sanded it all smooth in no time. I love it.

25 September 2012

Winter work already underway

I bought myself a Bosch cordless multitool and already wonder how I managed without. I have moved the tracks for the jib sheet lead blocks further back. I have wanted to do it all year. That left three bolt holes in each grab rail. I simply drilled them bigger, hammered in some dowelling and then cut them off flush with the multi cutter. Swapped to a narrow sanding attachment and the whole job was smoother and finished in a few minutes. I then used the same sander to clear off all of the paint drips I had got on the cabin roof edge, which I have not been able to do with a large sander, and couldn't face doing manually. By the end of the winter I shall either have an immaculate boat, or a very large pile of saw dust. It is quite addictive...

22 September 2012

Haul out day

It really is the end of the season. I had Daisy G lifted out, pressure washed and put on the trailer. I know I can retrieve her myself, but I just wanted it to be quick and hassle free. Baiter is such a shallow angled slipway it is always a nuisance to use, especially if it is busy.

Towed home with no problems and no losses as far as I can tell. No major works planned for the winter other than a complete, proper repaint. There are lots of bumps and scrapes which need to be sorted. I painted the companionway washboards with ordinary Dulux exterior paint this year, and they have weathered at least as well as the marine paint used elsewhere, if not better, so for the superstructure I am going to use it for everything. I will still do the hull in Toplac as I like the colour and it doesn't actually take that much. The next few days will just be unloading and tidying up ropes etc.

26 August 2012

Some sun, lots of wind (24nm 273nm total)

There was just one good day forecast so I took the opportunity. Down to Poole in the evening and motored round the islands looking for a sheltered anchorage. There was quite a wind and I didn't fancy a noisy night. Eventually settled on Shipstal Point, which gives good shelter form a western wind. I really needed my navigation lights, as it was quite dark by the time I dropped anchor.

The morning was beautiful and calm. I raised all sailed and drifted away towards the harbour entrance. By the time I reached Brownsea it was blowing quite well, and I sailed out of the harbour mouth and went for a tour around Studland Bay, anchoring for lunch and a walk off Studland. When I set off, I felt that the wind was getting up, so put in a reef. Glad I did, it blew up to F6 through the afternoon. I sailed back in and tried to trace the channels up Red Horn Lake using the Navionics app on my phone. It isn't reliable enough to find such small features. And whatever they say, you cannot see the screen contents in sunlight. I anchored for a period but I noticed that the bright sun now had a fuzzy ring right around it and thought "that can't be good". I up anchored and sailed with just jib and mizzen. Up to 5 kts downwind, and about 3.5kts across the wind.
I had planned to pick up my mooring undersail, which would have meant I hadn't used the engine all day. But off Parkstone Yacht Club the wind started to swing around and a sailing race bore down on me, and so I started the motor to get a better grip on the situation. I think it was wise, the wind was strong and the moorings are very close together. Good day's sailing and possibly the last this season.

22 August 2012

More English Raid photo

This was taken by Jeff Curtis in the Bayraidr Spark. On the Orwell on the way to Ipswich. I have retouched it slightly as I was mortified to see that I had left my fenders dangling. They are big, blue and very effective, but not attractive. So I have airbrushed them out. Vanity, vanity...
The rest of his photos can be seen on Picasa here
Posted by Picasa

19 August 2012

Sailing in the sun, not far and not fast (15nm 249nm total)

Down for the day as it was so hot and sunny. The thermometer in my cabin went over 30C for the first time this year. Not much wind, so I sailed out to Studland for lunch. Then back in to Bramblebush bay where I anchored and rowed into the shallows. There is a huge area which is too shallow for any boat, but I can get my dinghy into it. I need to spend a whole day there one day and just explore the shoreline. Fantastic for birds. I saw two immature guillemots off Studland, which I have never seen before.

View Sailing August 19, 2012 in a larger map

Nearly made a hash of picking up my mooring. Sailed into the painter joining the dinghy to the pickup buoy. It came undone. So much for my round turn and two half hitches. Mad scramble and I managed to hook in the painter and tie to the Samson post. Then realised I was tied to anything else, but fortunately, the engine had kept on tick over for once and I managed to reverse back to the pick up. Noticed I have a couple of nasty scratches in addition to the one I filled last week. I don't have plans for any building work this winter, so I think I will spend the six months repairing all defects and finally giving the boat a complete repaint.

13 August 2012

Back in the Water at Poole (20nm 234nm total)

After the day out on the Thames, I have relaunched down in Poole. Always a bit of a rigmarole as I have to launch at Baiter and anchor the boat, lock the trailer, motor over to Parkstone Marina, tie up and leg it back to Baiter ( I had taken my folding bike for this, a bit of fore thought for once), bring the car and trailer over to Parkstone, lock the trailer and then finally get back into the boat. Motored over to Brownsea Island in the fading light with navigation lights finally doing their job (although it wasn't all that dark really). Peaceful night at anchor away from the horde around Pottery pier. SWam a lap around the boat, it was that warm, but noticed a nasty scratch in the topsides I caused when I launched her. She had been blown back onto some else's trailer before I could push her away. I filled it with Araldite to keep the water out. Another winter patching job.

View Sailing Aug 10 and 11-12.2012 in a larger map

Next day was a beautiful sailing day. I toured around the islands and went out and anchored for lunch in Studland Bay. Then stormed back into the Harbour on a broad reach doing 5-6.5 kts all the way. I managed to record each leg on my Android phone for once, although I have my doubts about the claimed maximum speed of 94kts.... In theory I could navigate with it, but it is too small to be practical. But it does show that a larger tablet could do the job. I also finally got the new stack pack sail bag to work with the lazy jacks, and I am a convert. Very easy to lower the main sail and then get it stowed away out of the wind.

Day on the Thames (8nm 214nm total)

Having the boat at home and taking advantage of a hot sunny day, we took her down and launched her on the Thames at Lechlade. Tied up just down river for lunch and then motored down to Kelmscott, via two locks, where we stopped for a drink in the pub. Then what should have been a leisurely motor back, except the engine packed up after the first lock. A friendly narrow boat gave us a tow back top the top lock, where the motor started again and we got back to the marina.

View Sailing Aug 10 and 11-12.2012 in a larger map

Launch and recovery was easy, with all of the masts off and no strings to sort out. Launching would have been even easier if I had first remembered to take the lighting board off.

Motoring on the river is OK, but my boat is not really designed for it. I have a deep narrow rudder, which tangles with weed and mud easily. I had it tilted up most of the time which makes it heavy and a bit vulnerable in the locks. I think if I wanted to do a long river journey under engine, I might make a shorter, deeper rudder blade specially for river journeys. But it was fun to do

8 August 2012

On the Orwell

This is a photo that Andrew Wolstenholme took of Daisy Grace just below the Orwell bridge, outside Ipswich. The beautiful little Lara in the background.

7 August 2012

English Raid 2012 (58 nm 206nm total)

Big sail of the year, the English Raid on the rivers Orwell and Stour in Suffolk. The map below shows tracks from my mobile phone showing the basic sailing, with some glitches. (Claimed 54kts speed is unlikely, but I did hit 8kts at least twice.)

View English Raid 3, 2012 in a larger map

I started the outing by treating Daisy G to a lift out and pressure wash at the marina. Not strictly needed, but there was a special offer on and I thought it worth it. Certainly stress free, and there was some weed on the bottom.

I towed her home for the night (three hours drive plus the three hours in the morning to tow the trailer to Poole) and then the next day towed her over to Woolverstone near Ipswich, where we were launching, another five hours driving. Very easy launch there, with help from others to hold her whilst I parked the car and wheel clamped the trailer.. Then a gentle sail down the Orwell into Harwich Harbour and locked into Shotley Marina.
The setting is dramatic. Felixstowe docks occupies an horizon, with container ships being loaded and unloaded 24 hours a day, with commercial ships and ferries coming and going all the time. An enormous wind turbine erecting rig appeared one morning and was gone the next. Survey ships trundled back and forwards (I now know what a diamond over a ball over a diamond means. It was shouted at me in fairly clear language...)

Shotley marina, Felixstowe in backgrounf

Shotley marina is enclosed with access through a lock, so gives a very peaceful night. No waves or swell, although you can here the docks on the go all night. It is overlooked by an ancient Martello Tower with a water tank now perched on it. Nice to still be useful at that age.

In Shotley Lock
The lock is very easy to use as there are floating sides to it, which you tie tightly too and they slide up and down with you. We generally rafted up in a group to go through, but the lock keeper would let you through any time on your own. some of the  boats on the raid were beautiful. This little Iain Oughtred Elf Lara was my favourite. Not only gorgeous, she flew like a speed boat. She beat the 30ft whaler Molly to Manningtree, which I should  think is a record.
There were about 20 boats, but non from overseas. There were a few planned, but they cancelled when they discovered how much the ferry fares had been cranked up during the Olympics. I expect the ferries lost money on that.

The first full day we sailed up the Stour to Manningtree for lunch, then back down to Harwich for fish and chips before crossing back to Shotley. Beating all the way to Manningtree, then flying on a broad reach all the way back to Harwich. I hit 8kts on that run, some of the fastest sailing I have ever done. We raced from Mistley to Harwich. I did it in 1 hour 9 minutes. Molly did it in 52 minutes. The organiser said he had never known it to be done so fast. Several Bayraiders beat me, but they all had crew and were sailing unballasted. I didn't dare dump ballast, and had a reef in, but still beat several other boats.

         On the way to Manningtree, Lara carving me up. 

On the hard at Pin Mill
On the second day we were due to sail to the Walton Backwaters but this was cancelled due to strong wind forecasts. Andrew Wolstenholme did sail out there with Kite and confirmed that cancellation was the right decision. He said it became quite wild. Instead the Raid sailed to Levington on the Orwell, but I diverted to Pin Mill, where I anchored and went ashore for lunch. There was due to be an afternoon race from Pin Mill, but the wind really blew up. I sailed with a double reef for a bit, but wasn't enjoying it, so lowered the mainsail and beat back to Felixstowe under jib and mizzen. Big standing waves there, so I motored back into Shotley. A friend came to have dinner with me in the evening which rounded off a good day.

On the final day we raced up to the Orwell Sailing Club in Ipswich. I was very brave and went under full sail for the first time. But no match for Andrew Wolstenholme's Kite, which just flies. A gorgeous boat, but she needs a full braked trailer, which I have tried to avoid in my choice of boats.

    Kite sailing away from me. I just can't keep up with her in a strong wind.

Freston Tower, built 1597, from the Orwell
After Ipswich we sailed back down to Woolverstone to pull out, although I would actually stay afloat until the next day as I prefer to sleep on the water rather than in a car park. We passed Freston Tower, a six storey Elizabethan folly we stayed in about a month ago. It belongs to the Landmark Trust and is wonderful.
Coming into Woolverstone I had my only mishap of the Raid. I fouled up getting my main down and banged into a moored yacht. The poor lady on board was just minding her own business on a sunny afternoon. My towing eye did some damage to her topsides so I hope my insurers can sort it all out quickly for her.

Hauling out the next day was the easiest I have ever done. When I backed my trailer down to the slipway, the crews of two other boats took over and Colin Henwood (part owner of Kite and master boat builder) cranked Daisy G back onto her trailer. I just had to strap her down and then drive her home ( six hours...) Andrew Wolstenholme said he was very impressed how I have adapted her for single handed sailing, which was a great compliment from an excellent boat designer.

Daisy G is in the garage at the moment and we might take her on the Thames before I take her back down to Poole, dependent on the weather.

Some general thoughts. My electrics worked fine. I recharged my phone and VHF, ran the depth sounder and GPS all day and used the cabin lights every night, with no apparent loss of power form the 20Ahr battery. The solar panel was showing that it was charging all the time.
I recorded all my tracks with the Navionics app on my Android phone. Some hiccups (I am sure I never really hit 54kts)  but otherwise it worked OK. I couldn't use it for navigation as it was just too small. An iPad probably would be big enough, with a suitable waterproof cockpit mount.
Some boats on the Raid: