Monday, 23 December 2013

One Step Forward

One step forward, two steps back – not quite but it sometimes feels like that. I was at the boatyard
yesterday feeling pleased that I now have the boat under cover, that I now have a twelve Volt circuit and that I’m now working on the final sanding of the gel coat (P 3000) more like a rub down with chamois leather than a sand paper. That was before I got into conversation with the owner of the boatyard – he’s a great guy, always there with helpful advice and support. Well today he pointed out something I had not noticed.

This boat has been modified. Originally she would have had either an inboard engine or an outboard hung off the stern. A previous owner had moved the rudder further aft and hung it off the transom in order to create space for an outboard well. To my eyes and those of others more expert than me, this was a good idea. The greater distance between rudder and keel should make for better manoeuvrability, and an outboard in a well gives you all the benefits of an inboard engine with the advantages of being able to lift her out and take her away for storage, maintenance or repair.

The boatyard owner had been intrigued by the arrangement and he had clambered around the boat to get a better look. In particular he wondered how the cockpit had been modified to keep her self-draining.

In his search he discovered an over-complicated arrangement whereby water landing in the cockpit was drained either side of the well to the stern of the boat to drain out through the drains which had existed before the well had been constructed. So far so good, unfortunately the well had been constructed of wood and fibre-glassed over and the cockpit water was able to run either side of the well by means of holes drilled through the well walls. It would have been better simply to drain the water into the well.  As it stands however, the arrangement has enabled moisture to penetrate the fibreglass shell and there is evidence of rotten wood around these holes.

It’s not the end of the world but at some point the well walls will have to be rebuilt. The situation isn’t critical, the current arrangement is still good for a few years and I could launch and enjoy her this season at least. Problem is – I don’t want to launch anything but an excellent sea boat. It is as if, we have come to a point where I no-longer own this boat – there is so much of me tied up to her that  she now calls the shots - she owns me. So, it seems I have another job to add to my list.

Maybe I should feel down and despondent but no. For some reason, I feel fine about it. The more you work on a boat, the more problems and challenges you overcome, the more confident you feel. Ok it’s a piece of work and an expense I hadn’t expected but  its part of the adventure so – bring it on! At times like this its good to remember that Joshua Slocum (the first man to sail around the world single handed) pointed out that when he had re-built ‘Spray’ for his voyage there were probably only two planks he didn’t have to replace. Well, if its good enough for him…… At the end of the day I'll get there even if I have to drag her to the water single handed!

Meanwhile for more news from this neck of the woods please visit my other blog at Frugal Living in France