Saturday, 29 June 2013

July! What happened to April May and June?

Well, I’ll tell you. April and May were almost the wettest, coldest months of spring in living memory. We had snow in May. For much of those months Susan and I were planting crops and seedlings only to see our hopes dashed by yet more frost, sleet hail and occasionally – snow. The store of logs which we expected to see us through the warmer days became completely exhausted and we had to find and chop many more to keep the fires burning. Fortunately a log warms you twice, once when you cut it and again when you burn it.

We also picked up a flu bug which laid us both low for several weeks. Lots of people in the village had it too and I can’t remember ever feeling so ill before. The flu didn’t last forever but the recovery was a long process. Neither of us had any energy except for meeting the basic requirements of staying alive.

Then we had to go to the UK to check on family and make sure all remains well with them following our voluntary exile to France.

Then to cap it all, dear old Google withdrew advertising from the blog because I hadn’t completed an on-line form. It took a month to sort that out. The income is tiny but it’s enough to pay for a pot of boat paint now and again so it did have an impact. All this is a roundabout way of apologising to regular readers for my prolonged absence.

Now for the good news – well despite my lack of postings I seem to be enjoying a larger than ever readership. Almost 4000 readers last month (June) 30,000 readers over all and anywhere between 80 and 150 readers daily. Maybe it’s better if I don’t write so much.

As for the boat, well I managed to get back on board a few times in June and have decided to try and tackle the worst parts of the boat first. The cockpit is the dirtiest, most tired, scuffed and scraped area on the whole boat and so that’s where I have decided to concentrate effort. She’s been painted in this area before so that’s where to begin.

Reading up on the subject tells me that 80% of a professional painter’s time is devoted to preparing for painting. He only actually spends 20% of his time with a paint brush or roller in his hand. The advice is that for an amateur boat renovator, he should invest 90% of his effort on preparation if he wants to get a finish remotely as good as that of a professional. So, with regard to the cockpit it’s washing and degreasing, followed by sanding to start with.

Recommendations regarding sandpaper are – use nothing more course than 80 grade and aim to use 125 grade to finish if you want to paint. If you hope to restore without paint you have to move to finer and finer grades – down towards 400 – and then smooth even more using a rubbing compound. I think the cockpit will need painting but hope to get away with re-polishing the rest of the topsides. More detail as I get into the job.

Finally, take a look at this pic. Its the piece of string which holds the lifeline to the pushpit. Obviously there are several of these on the boat but only one tied in this way. I love it but can't find any reference to is in the standard and classic books on sailing knots or hitches. So, if you have any idea what it is, and where it is described I'd love to hear from you.