All the effort to get this old Westerly Nomad on the water before the end of summer finally caught up with me. Externally she looked fine, better than I could have hoped. There was still much to do but other things took priority. Logs for winter heat, potager remodelling, visits to family in the UK and a barn to convert to usable, liveable space.
So, the boat is afloat and she looks good but I have no reefing system yet and the cabin is a slum. So, as winter turns to spring it will be back to the boat to start work over again. The good news though, the very good news is that I have an excellent permanent mooring in one of the most beautiful harbours on the estuary within walking distance of my home.
Now here is a piece of sound advice for anyone steering a similar course in terms of boat renovation – secure your mooring as early as you can. The boat took two years to renovate but I was on a waiting list for a mooring for ten years! The essential message is that if you know where you want to keep your boat – even if you don’t have a boat yet – get your name on the list.
Here is some other advice for boat renovators which I recently had published in the Westerly Owner Club quarterly journal.
- If you want to do the job as well as a professional, multiply the time he would take by at least four!
- Renovation can be a relatively inexpensive way of getting onto the water but it still costs money. You can save on the purchase price and you can save on labour costs but you can’t skimp on materials and ‘marine quality’ costs money.
- Much of the work is ‘mindless’ a good music system helps – at this point I should record my thanks to Seasick Steve, Lightening Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.
- Invest in good tools and equipment – I burned out several cheap sanders before I realised they were a false investment.
- Bearing in mind (1 above) set up your workspace, secure your access to power and water even if it means investing in a portable generator, and make yourself comfortable from the outset, you’re going to be there a long time – longer than you initially think.