Steve and Moray, at BronzeWork, have regular chats about the metalwork, in particular the stem band which must be fitted before she’s launched. There’s also the conversation with Richard at the Tidemill about the practicalities of getting her out of the tent, and setting a date of the launch. It’s now agreed, provisionally, for five weeks time: 28 July, 2017.
Look out for your invitations!
As promised, Bev drives back to Suffolk and the weather is almost perfect for the somewhat unpleasant task of anti-fouling. ‘Flaming June’ has arrived with temperatures into the 30s and a light breeze, excellent! We have another tidy up under the boat, removing all the stored wood and other paraphernalia – what a difference it makes! We open the tent all round for ventilation and Bev dons protective clothing to start applying the red anti-foul. First coat is easy, painting over grey, but the second coat’s more of a challenge as it’s drying almost before it leaves the roller! Steve lends a hand to speed the job up, and we finish the whole hull, she’s nearly ready for the water!
Whilst checking the fit, lying in the forepeak, he knocks out a chock and it slips, the solid oak dropping 18” onto his face! Clutching his mouth and expecting to find a handful of teeth, Steve’s relieved to find there’s just bruising. Bev doesn’t find out about this incident until she returns to Suffolk . . . apart from the Samson post being completed and fitted, the rudder is at last hung and a final coat of primer applied below the waterline in preparation for Bev’s return to do the anti-foul.
More jobs ticked off the list! The rudder stock is fitted and new tiller now in place. Control cables for the engine are connected with control lever and stop button installed in the cockpit, stern gland greaser re-fitted and new capping to complete the restored cockpit coaming. Bronze skin fittings all cleaned up and replaced, along with her Dunkirk plaque, polished and back in place. We’re getting there, she’s beginning to look like a boat ready to float!
There’s pressure to get all the ‘essential’ jobs done ready to launch! After a short weekend break to meet Bev’s Russian friends in Edinburgh, Steve returns to Suffolk for a week, leaving Bev at home working on the ‘other’ project. Steve manages to complete lots of small jobs, which are hardly noticeable, ticking them off the list at last: keelbolts all dropped and replaced, water and fuel tanks secured with caps on the deck, engine exhaust box recycled, and fitted, having failed to find a modern replacement that fits in the space . . .
At the end of May we take the car ferry from Plymouth to Santander for a short trip to the Picos de Europa. We return via Cowes, Isle of Wight for a chat about sails with Steve Meakin and Andy Cassell at Ratsey & Lapthorn. With plans to launch we also need to change the insurance from ‘builders risk’, so Adrian arrives to do the survey. There’s still lots of tidying up to do around the boat and tent, disposing of all those bits and pieces that were ‘going to come in useful’, and never have! In place of all the rubbish, we need to retrieve the lead from safe storage in Ipswich in one of Pete and Clare’s sheds, bring down the cushions that have been gathering dust in a back bedroom at home and carry on working down that long list.
There were two weddings, another ski trip to Val Thorens and the kitchen project to occupy us from January to mid-April 2017, but Steve made time to write a long list of all the jobs that need to be done in preparation for getting in the water this year!
There’s new sails to be made, and Ratsey & Lapthorn have been engaged to make these, so we’ll be off to Cowes later this month.
Moray McPhail, at BronzeWork in Martlesham, will be making the new keel bolts and sorting out all the other metalwork for us. Following discussions over the chainplates, it was agreed to have a channel to carry the shrouds over the bulwarks so, on our return to Suffolk at the end of April this was the first job to be done, port and starboard.
After joining the OGA at the Tollesbury Rally on 29 April, we returned to Woodbridge but the incessant wind forced us back to Derbyshire by the end of the week!
As we make progress with the ‘winter project’ of extending the kitchen back in Derbyshire, in quite reasonable weather for the time of year, we keep an eye on the forecasts for Suffolk as Storm Doris approaches with warnings from the Met Office of gale-force winds and “. . . potential for a shortlived core of very strong winds to develop.”
Sunday 26 February we receive a text from Jeff, skipper of the boat next to ours at the Tidemill: “Your roof is ripped over the forward part of your boat, not sure if you’ve been kept informed.” After a phonecall to confirm the extent of the damage, Steve enlists the help of Joe and they set off for Suffolk early on Monday morning armed with strong ropes, tarps and cable ties – not sure what they will find and if they’ll be able to repair the damage. Hoping their repairs to the tent would survive the winter Steve and Joe returned exhausted after their 500-mile round trip.
Alongside the 'other' winter project at home (a radical extension to the kitchen), Steve has a few boat-related tasks in mind. After setting up in the front room to varnish the skylights and coachroof hatch, he makes a start on the new tiller at the beginning of December, where it's warm enough to glue up the laminated wood.
The planing and sanding has to be done in the top shed, but it's brought back into the house again for the varnish, then takes pride of place along with the restored coachroof skylights and cabin hatch, awaiting the trip back down to Suffolk.
With the hull painted, deck finished and all the spars ready, there’s plenty of smaller jobs to do to get her ready for launching next year.
The coachroof is not being replaced, but the skylights are in need of some attention so are brought back to the house for the winter, along with the hatch cover. The sitting room with a table set up is dry, dust-free and warm – the ideal workshop for stripping them down and varnishing!