Saturday, 24 November 2012

Boat Renovation – First Steps

Well, lots of advice received about how to set about renovating an old GRP boat. Lists and sequences are important and the temptation is to dive in before a proper project plan has been made. John Alberg (the Unikely Boat Builder), as usual, provided some very sound and practical suggestions based on years of experience. John is a guy to ignore at your peril!

He implied that there is always a temptation to get into cabin refurbishment and renovation when, in reality, the important thing is to make sure your boat is safe and seaworthy. Comfort and aesthetics can come later, especially if time is limited.

As I explained in my last post, time wasn’t limited when I embarked on this project, but it became very limited when I took delivery of the boat. Delivery date coincided with a critical phase of house renovation and a call back to the old office to undertake a project or two. To make matters worse, winter is just around the corner.

So, in the next week or two I intend to take John’s advice and check the bits that matter – mast rigging, ropes, sails, engine etc. But even then, where to start? Well, this old tub came with lots of equipment – some of which may work and some which I wouldn’t want to rely on. The compass for example is ‘fixed’ at 280 degrees no matter what direction the boat happens to be pointing. 

So to begin I have taken off a couple of barrow loads of stuff to perform some kind of triage – assess what works, what might be made to work and what needs throwing away. I suspect I’ll be doing a lot of throwing away.

 The VHF is ancient with very few working channels. Several lifejackets are perished and there are two cookers. One seems to have been cannibalised to make repairs to the other. My real concern however, is the electrics. The wires resemble a tangled spider’s web rather than anything else. Well, if you want to make an omelette, first you have to break the eggs! I’m tempted to rip out all the wires and start again. There is a book ‘The 12 Volt Bible’ – think I need to order it.

Once the boat is clear and I have room to move, I can start thinking about the priority jobs that will get me afloat in spring.