30 January 2012

Keeping a warm bed.

I was in  DIY emporium and spotted a roll of insulation which consisted of a layer of bubble wrap sandwiched between two toughened layers of aluminium foil. I thought that it could go under the  cushions to make the bunks a bit softer (the cushions are thin) and should make them warmer as well. So I bought a roll and cut it to go under the Vee berth. There is enough to go under the short side bench, but I'll need another roll if I want to do the quarter berth. It certainly feels warmer to sit on than the hard plywood. It can't do any harm. Easy to cut and a bit of double sided tape holds it in place. I have cut out the hatches, so they can still be lifted.

28 January 2012

Bottom scrubbing

I have spent the day scrubbing the waterline and scraping barnacles off the bottom. The Coppercoat is very good, but a few barnacles do establish. Leaving them a few months to tackle seems to make them come of more easily. I presume the poor things are long dead. The antifoul boot top scrubs off quite cleanly with a plastic pan scouring pad. The problem is getting the paint either side clean enough for masking tape to stick to before I can repaint it. I have got one side half taped. I am going to widen the boot top considerably in the back half of the boat. The hull is nearly parallel with the water surface back there, and quite a bit of weed could grow on the paint surface above the boot top.

I have also carried the boot top round the bottom to the stainless steel rudder head, which does grow quite a bit of weed.

23 January 2012

New cushions

Looking very chic. My wife has made me new cushions and matching covers for the two pillows I carry. The interior is looking far better now. The pillows also make very comfortable back supports in the cabin, which was not the case before. The wooden seat backs are just far enough back to bring your head up against the cabin top sides, forcing you to lean forward slightly. I had planned to fit permanent padded backs to the wooden rails, but these firm pillows work just as well and can be taken out of the way if you want.

Very little more to do in the cabin now. I still need to scrub the waterline and paint that, plus touching up some of the exterior work. But nearly read to go sailing.

22 January 2012

Anchor rope

Long outstanding job done. I have fitted a large cleat in one of the anchor lockers for the end of the anchor rode. Only just room to get a hand drill into the locker to drill into the samson post for the cleat. I usually store the anchor in the starboard locker and the rode in the port. They will all go into one, but it is very tight and you don't want to be struggling trying to get the anchor away on the fore deck. I have toyed with the idea of chocks for the anchor on the deck. I'll think further on that.

I have put a proper eye splice in the end of the anchor rode. First one I have made for years. I learnt how to do them 24 years ago in my "shore based competent crew course". I really ought to get a more advanced qualification some day...

I still can't decide if the hull needs a new coat of paint. I will do it if I can find a cheap tin of Donegal Green at the West Midlands boat jumble in a fortnight. If there isn't any, I will just touch up scratches with the half tin I have still got.

Rudder fittings

The rudder head has a lot of movement on its two pivot bolts. I had decided they needed replacing, so after a lot of heaving and propping, I got the top one out and slotted a new one in. Not easy as the clearance is very exact. Lining up the rudder and transom hole was not trivial. After finger tightening the nut, there was still a lot of play. I then tried just tightening the nuts on both top and bottom bolts, and now there is minimum play. They just needed tightening,not replacing. Good to find out in a dry shed rather than on a tidal beach, even worse, at sea. The bolts are in a horribly confined space. You can only get 1/12 of a spanner turn each go, so it takes a long time to get the nut secured. I will replace both nyloc nuts before I launch.

21 January 2012

Mainly rope work

I have been fiddling with ropes much of today. Fittings new lanyards to the shrouds. They will need a bit of stretching. New tie downs for the spray hood, to be the right length this year. New tackles for the centreboard up haul and down haul. New lazy jacks. Spent some time simply heat knifing the ends of overlong and fraying ropes, which have needed doing for over a year.

I have also fitted a steel eye plate to the underside of the gallows to hook the main sheet onto when I am towing, just so it has somewhere obvious to go. So no big jobs, just lots of tidying up loose ends, literally. Still to tackle the waterline...

18 January 2012

New jib sheet blocks

I have finally replaced the jib sheet blocks. All blocks on the jib sheet arrangement were undersized originally and led to far too much friction. But they are expensive, so I have only replaced them gradually. I could have just used a thinner jib sheet, but with no winches, a thicker sheet is easier on the hands. The original blocks were also swivel blocks, as they were attached to the sliding cars, and that just leads to them twisting the now doubled sheet. I had jammed them with cable ties, but that just increased the friction more. So I finally have these two new ones, and now everything runs smoothly. I bought a dyneema soft shackle at the Southampton Boat Show and will use that to link the sheets to the jib's clew.

16 January 2012

Little jobs progress

The big jobs are largely done, so Iam working at lots of little ones. As small as putting in a line to hang tea towels on (there has got to be one somewhere). I have also put a small upstand at the back of one of the seat backs, which means it will neatly hold the life jackets in place. I have also sent the sprayhood off to have its two new windows inserted.

The area of green paint which looked damaged came up clean with a hard rub, it was only superficial, so there is no need to repaint the whole hull, it is quite sound. I need to do the antifoul boot top, which means some unpleasant scrubbing of old slime. I am going to extend the white line at the stern, as the watermark is quite clear and some way up the green. But it is too cold for painting just now.

8 January 2012

Cockpit tent experiments

I have been experimenting with old table cloths and bits of tarpaulin, to see how a cockpit tent might work. The answer is really rather well. There could be a central "flat roof" section, between the back edge of the spray hood and the boom gallows. Then a simple wall on either side , which could be rolled up easily. The internal space would be very usable because it would be high for its whole width. There may be a risk of rain getting in through the roof, which would be fairly flat, but I think it could all work. If made of a thin canvas, it might even roll up and be stored on the gallows making it quick to fit and remove. I have had a rough quote of 400-500 pounds from a sail maker in Poole for a tent of this rough size.

What I am planning to do is to have two new triangular windows fitted in the sides of the spray hood. They are terrible blind spots if you are trying to shelter and sail with the hood up. I have had a quote of 64 pounds for both windows, which I think is good. Less than the cost of a tank of diesel these days. I have marked the windows and just need to find a box to pack the hood into.

7 January 2012

Cockpit Chart holder

I am working on small refinements. I like to prop up a chart in the cockpit (I have got the discontinued Admiralty Tough Charts for the areas from Devon to the Isle of Wight. I really like them, but they didn't sell too well. I think so many motor boats use GPS chart plotters that these never really had a market. You can still get them on ebay) The bulkhead holds them at a perfect angle, but there is always a risk that they will blow away. So now I have fitted a single bungy across each side, which should just hold them secure. The bottom is held nicely by the wooden deck pad, so that gives it a bit more justification

6 January 2012

Tiller extension finished and fitted

The extension is stained, varnished and fitted. Feels very solid and I can use it whilst sitting right forward under the spray hood or standing, which I like to do in tight spaces or shallow water. I cold probably have put quite a bit more curve into it, but it is probably easier to use without too much. It is not for hiking out, that's not my sort of sailing.