26 February 2012

Rowing down the stream on a lazy Sunday afternoon

One son and his girl friend rowing down the longest bit of the Stroud Water Navigation in my little dinghy. Tried the outboard but no chance. It tangled with weed as soon as it spun.

25 February 2012

Getting the dinghy down from the roof

The weather is improving and I am hoping to get my little dinghy on the canal sometime soon. I can get it on and off my roof rack, just about, on my own, but the little up stand I fitted at the rear of the deck is an absolute nuisance. It catches on the bars of the rack as I work it on from the back of the car. I have thought of fitting a couple of runners on the deck, but the easiest solution might be just to take the up stand off. I also decided that I don't need the complexity of rudder, pintles, gudgeons etc on the transom. If I want to sail, I will just use an oar through a rope loop. I think it will work well enough. I shall also try without any form of lee board. There is bound to be lee way, but the lee chine might dig in enough to make it possible to make some ground to windward. But if not, I shall row up wind and sail down wind. I bought a pair of sectional oars at the boat jumble earlier in the month, and they fit in quite nicely.

19 February 2012

Nearly ready

I have bent on the mainsail, added a few hooks to hold up loose ends of reefing lines and strapped all spars to the supports. The dinghy is crammed into the locker with newly painted floorboards. I just need to get the engine back and start loading sailing rations (beer largely) and I am ready for the new season. I am hoping to get a Boat Safety Certificate in the next few weeks, and then I can take her out on the Thames at some stage. But she will go down to Poole first for the start of the season. Only about six weeks now.

18 February 2012

Boot top finally painted

 It has warmed up a bit and I finally put two more coats on the boot top and peeled the masking tape off. Came off very cleanly, even though it has been on for three weeks. Pleased with the results. I have widened it significantly towards the stern, where the sea water splashed well above it and there was a lot of weed.

I took the outboard down for a pre-season service as I couldn't figure out where the oil and fuel  filters even were, let alone replace them. Once that is back nearly all work will be done. I have placed the mast on the supports and tried to fit in the halyards. They are bound to be wound round some standing rigging somewhere. They always are. My imagined 10 minutes to raise and stay the mast always takes best part of an hour as I have to disentangle a cats cradle. I just need to bend on the main sail and load up the lockers over the next few weeks. Then hope for good weather this year.

8 February 2012

More minor additions

It is too cold to do anything much at the moment. Thermometer in the boat is reading -5C. But I have done a couple of small, long outstanding jobs. A light, doubled line is fitted either side stretching along the bulwarks from the cabin to the fore deck. I can fit fenders to these if necessary. Before I had to tie them with long ropes from the  cabin top grab rails, which made going forward hazardous. I have set them up with a 2:1 purchase at one end, so they are really tight.

Inside I have fitted a double bungee along the side of the centreboard's case. This gives me a place to stow the washboards at last. Up until now I just jambed them into the quarter berth.

Too cold to carry on painting the boot top.

6 February 2012

New windows in sprayhood

I have got my sprayhood back from Quay Sails in Poole and they have done a nice job of fitting two extra triangular windows. Looks well and will give a much better view when sitting under the hood out of the rain.

I also attached my new forestay and gave it a good stretch and it is now just abotu exactly the right length, so pleased with that as well. Still have the boot top to paint but have got the right colour now.

5 February 2012

Dyneema forestay

I went to my pre-season opening event today, the West Midlands Boat Jumble. Well down on buyers and sellers because of the appalling weather. I bought a tin of boot top antifouling which was half price. Sadly, when I got it home I found I had picked up dark blue instead of white.

But on a happier note I found a 10m length of 6mm dyneema, which I have used to make a new forestay. Now all standing rigging is dyneema. I followed instructions on eye splicing dyneema from this gliding site, and it really was quite straight forward. I only had a normal half open Swedish fid, but managed to bury a great length of the tail using it.

First eye, which tightens as the load goes on.

Second splice, with the tail buried, but sticking out the side waiting to be tapered.

Completed second eye. It was really quite easy, but it is strange feeling rope. The final length came out 5cm shorter than I intended, due to the  thickening in the long bury I presume. There are a few bends in the rope and some looseness around the splices, so I think most of it will pull out. I can't really test it until I raise the mast. But I am pleased.