Monday, 23 April 2018

Mast is up...

...but not without the usual bugger'ations and contusions...

Imagine if you will then, three old men on a boat, with an A frame, a plenitude of rope, and a willingness that only old men could have for an appointment with an erection* - or maybe it was the beer and pork pies afterwards...

*of the mast, clearly, what did you think I meant...?

Hottest day of the year so far, and the hottest spring day in almost 50 years (apparently), ideal lifting conditions as it was also breathless...  the other two old men joined me on Sparrow, and the first of the days bugger'ations occurred...  having got the boat ready for the lift I had removed the warps holding the mast and fork to the aft deck, cue Rod steadying himself as he stepped on board, hand on mast and mast drops out of the fork and and on to the board that runs along the the back of the boat - no damage done to mast, or Rod, it was only a foot drop and the mast was still tied to the front of the boat, but when the mast bounced, the plate the windex was bolted through also bounced..  and cracked...  cue windex slowly sinking to the bottom of the harbour!! How I laughed.... like a drain... bugger...  #firstworldproblem...

Gone..  for now... but not forgotten...

After that small irritation it went surprisingly well - only two more bugger'ations which was to remember that, first, simple geometry doesn't allow for you attaching the rear lower stays before the mast is upright (they tighten as the mast is raised), and two, remember to put the foiler/roller (with forestay inside it) inside the A frame before raising, otherwise the same geometry means you have to take the A frame off before being able to  fully attach the forestay.. happily these were all minor distractions, I may even do away with the A frame next year as most of the other guys don't bother, and with three people there's plenty of lifting power to get it beyond the 45'..

Having done that we attached stays, tightened them up, and then restored to the cockpit for reviv'ifiers.. Doom Bar beer, pork pies and Pringles (for those on diets.. ) - it was a good afternoon, in good company.. 

When I got home, by the way, I ordered myself one of these..


...got to be worth a try, and I know where it dropped...  more anon...

Sunday then saw me repair to the boat with sails and boom, and put the whole thing back together..  stays tightened up and balanced, sides, fore and aft, boom attached, topping lift, main sheet, mainsail bent on and then all secured under boom cover, kicker attached, forsail bent on and raised, roller sheets fed back to cockpit, and sail rolled... done!

That's it - we're ready to go - just as the "summer" reverts to being Spring again...  typical....  buggeration.. 

Monday, 2 April 2018

....and we're in...

...now... where's the summer?

Just finished two solid days where I think I fitted almost 50% of the whole winters maintenance, and a launch, and I am absolutely knackered...

Was due to launch Saturday, but Friday when I was panning to get my urgent jobs finished (never mind the nice to have's) was a washout - all day rain - so I turned up at the club expecting to have to ask for a few weeks more ashore (and I wouldn't be the only one - lots of boats in the club not ready because of weather) but one of the guys said, no worries and I could shift to Sunday launch even though I was supposed to be working..  bless him, so tools unloaded I set to with a will..  first and most important job was the outboard pad..  this took very little work..  offered up the new piece, carefully sanded the lip where the fit was too tight, drilled and bolted and done... (just need to fit penny washer and stainless steel nut on the left (I'd run out of stainless!)


..pleased with that...  it's not stuck/sealed down  I intend taking it off and expoxy'ing it next winter... three coats of wood seal, and a tidy up with some two pack gelcoat filler, and she's as good to go as I had time to do it in...  if you know what I mean..


....while I was putting on the wood coat I happened to notice that the rubbing strakes were looking a little sad in places so I also rubbed those down and painted a couple of coats on those while I had the brush out..

Next job..  fit the dri-plug...  as one of my mates would say, what a balls-ache that tuned out to be! Basically the design is sound (I think), but the cable size I am using is at the top of what the plug can take...

Piccie courtesy Gael Force Marine [clicky]

....so socket is on the left in the picture above, two small terminals with a threaded screw to hold the wire, no room for normal terminals and mine didn't come with those rather handy looking terminals..  fixed it in the end by hooking bare wire around the threaded screw with a mini washer to help hold it firm - through bolted to the cockpit side, and then cable run into the locker, jobs done that end...  all I have to do at the other end is wire it into the switch panel (along with the VHF), and that can wait for a quiet day on the water...


...next job - replacement for the defunct windex...  all previous lessons were learned,  robust construction (check), put together properly (check), and firmly bolted to the mast head (check)


...impressed with this by the way..  not a named brand, but in my mind amazing value for the quality of the build..  good solid fixing, robust metal pole, metal guide arms, and the vane is well made too..  and cheap..  change out of £17 for something that would have cost twice that from Windex... recommended, but let's see if it lasts the summer.. 


....then it started to rain, and it was time to wrap up...

Next morning I was due to launch at 10...  the plan (as there were only five boats to go in) was to plonk us all down on the slipway where we could float off in our own time...  arrived at the club an hour and  half before to allow enough time to give her a good wash - last chance for a fresh water rinse until the end of the summer - strapped the engine on, and it was time for the last item of every winter - the new licence plaque is the closing out ceremony...  firmly attached, we're road legal...

Just in time, as the tractor was arriving as I stuck it on...



...and then gently on the beach...


...half an hour after that was taken she floated off...  I managed to hitch a lift on one of the rescue boats to get on her, as it was too deep for the welly's, and as we know she's nose heavy so jumping on the nose wasn't going to happen...  just enough time to pump some fuel, fire up the engine, leave it in reverse, and five minutes later off we went...

That trip under the bridge is always the mark of the start of a season and always looked forward to..  it was good to be back on the water again...  moored up on the stern so I could reach over easily to attach my pick up to the mooring buoy, sprayed the shackle pin with water proof grease this year to see if it helps at the end of the season, firmly tightened down, put a tie clip round the pin and shackle, and then transferred boat to mooring chain..  with the weather we were expecting, double checked the chain was firm, double checked the mast was tied down, and it was time for the shore boat..  job done...

Just the mast to put up!

Monday, 26 March 2018

More ticks than a (slightly) mangy dog..

...while not being up to my usual work rate at this time of the year (the weather has been a decider), 
with the Easter weekend launch looming a significant number of the tasks were completed this weekend just gone.....

As is usual I started prioritising into "must do", "would likes", and "can waits" ...

Top of the "must do's" (there's one other - more anon) was the anti fouling so on a cold'ish, grey day, I had four enjoyable hours scrubbing around on the rubble beneath Sparrow giving her bottom a seeing too...  if I ever get rich this is the job I'll pay someone else to do - but she looked pretty damn spiffy when I'd finished...



..boats just look the dogs nadgers with a dark blue antifoul..!


...then - having done a club duty of three hours power washing the slipway, it was time to pick some more jobs...

Can't do the other "must do" yet - the outboard pad - as I need to prepare the word for scarfing in - I'll do that at home this evening, but I have a fair few "would likes" so cracked on with those...

First off,  job #8, which was moved forward as a result of finding another puddle of rain water on the quarter berth under the screw holes for the hand rails on the cabin roof..  simple enough job, with a plapatating moment in the middle!

What I decided to do was loosen off all the screws to the rails, and then wrap some butyl tape round the crew between the penny washer and the roof, then screw back in - had done all the port side when I moved forward to do the front one's and the entire cabin shifted to 45 degrees with a loud(ish) bang!
Scared the living bejeezus out of me - forward prop had come loose and dropped , and as I moved forward it was enough to tip Sparrow on her nose...  a Hurley 20 is nose heavy anyway so it didn't take much...  no damage done as it was only a foot, a gentle drop, and she landed on the wooden sleeper, but my oh my..

Five guys hanging on the back got her flat, then a car jack under the nose to lift her on to the back of her keels so I could move the front sleeper forward (she'd slid forward when the nose went down) and all was good...  lesson learnt - I've got a pile of sleepers now rather than a single upright...!

Heart re-set I finished the hand rails, and then moved on to the next job - #3.1 fitting the fixed VHF - all done, just need to wire her in to the power and fit the aerial - if necessary I can do that on the water - the important bit was the drilling - I was going to glue it but the unit is heavy, and the weather is too cold for epoxy, and a couple of small bolts, sealed with butyl is a strong waterproof solution...



Enough's enough.. went home for a reviv'ifier and a warm shower... boats are a worry...

To do..

1/. Outboard pad
2/. Wire in power for the tiller pilot
3/. Tiller pilot fitting
4/. Coat of paint on the hatches
5/. Rub down of a few spots on the rubbing strip and re-coat with wood treatment
6/. Wash and scrub
7/. Fit harbour plaque
8/. Launch.........................................
 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Jobs done ... at last.. outboard pad and boarding ladder

....with a little over week to go there are at last signs of movement.. 

An afternoon off work and trying out new power tools - does it get any better..

First off the outboard  pad...  oscilating multi tool with a half moon saw head saw this one off very quickly..  you may remeber I wanted to check behind the pad for any signs of damage - rather than take the whole pad off though I took the top 3" just to reveal what's going on...


..not a lot to be honest - bit of a relief - this is a 50 year old boat so you're going to expect some movement - transom is stiff, bit of a gap between lip and hull..


Cleaned it up - filled the gap with epoxy putty...  painted the exposed edge just to keep water and damp out (glad I did as it rained last night)..  next job is to scarf in new plywood pad - epoxy or varnish it - then glue and bolt..


Moved on to the next job - boarding ladder...  the ladder is short, just 3 steps and two feet long so I've put it at the bottom of the transom (but still above water line)..

Before..


After...


couple of aluminium plates as backing - stainless bolts and penny's, nyloc nuts, all holes sealed with butyl - this one is done - and yes it can take my (not inconsiderable) weight...


After that I moved to the inside and finished off hanging the curtains - new bungee for the bottom edges, and all now done..

Just before heading for home (and it was freezing - breath was steaming in the cabin!) I measured up for the fixed VHF..  on the roof to the right of the hatchway, and above the switch box is the optimal spot..  that's for next week...   tomorrow, Saturday, is antifoul day.