Along with tidying up the site, Steve’s hoping that the sailmaker will be able to measure up before the end of the season, so is keen to get the boom and gaff in place. There’s also nowhere left ashore to store any spars! James helps bring the boom on board and Steve sets up the gaff and calls to make a date with Ratsey & Lapthorne.
Now the boat is in the water, we have to dismantle the tent, remove it and clear the site where we’ve been working for the past ten years. Deadline is 18 September, so not much time! Steve cuts down and bundles the fabric, which is well past re-use, and James lends a hand with the rather precarious (and somewhat dangerous) task of taking down the scaffold. There are a few ‘near misses’ when balancing a ladder on pieces of scaffold, but the whole structure is finally stacked ready for removal tomorrow.
Having arrived back from Derbyshire just as the light fades, Bev joins Steve and James as they relax in the Anchor with a well-earned evening meal and a pint of St Ed’s.
Friday 15 September finds us loading the tent and scaffold onto James’ trailer. The scaffold is being re-used as new winter storage for ‘Charm’ when she comes ashore at Larkmans next month. It remains for us to clear the rest of the site ready for the next phase of development at the Tidemill Yacht Harbour – with a new road planned and clearance of the area beyond where our tent was.
Chris has kindly let us use his tent until the end of the month as Steve sorts out the scrap wood and makes a tidy pile for fitting out Cachalot’s interior next year. Carefully scouring the ground for discarded screws and nails, we gather a valuable pile of scrap to weigh in. It feels strange to see the site so bare and empty, thinking back to all that’s happened here over the past ten years . . .
Now that the tent is empty, there’s room for the mast to be under cover. Two fellow berth holders volunteer to help move it inside, with a mast trolley loaned by Larkmans.
The tent has to be dismantled, and it’s not before time! The lean is becoming more and more pronounced, and it seems unlikely to survive another big storm, but makes an ideal workshop to finish varnishing the mast as another bout of wet weather approaches.
As Steve cleans up the mast and applies several more coats of varnish, Bev returns home to get the ‘other’ project up and running again after the summer interlude. There’s the plumber and plasterers to schedule in as well as sorting out the new floor.
Steve finishes the mast, prepares the cross trees and gets the final bits of metalwork from Moray at BronzeWorks. It’s agreed that the best way to get the mast in is to take the boat to Larkmans again, so James takes the mast by road and Steve works at Larkmans to get the mast ready. Eager not to miss the tide, and having re-calibrated the depth sounder, Steve sets off a little early to motor up river and spends a few moments in the Deben mud part way to Melton . . .
After the launch, the bilge pumps were set and timed regularly – it all seemed to be going OK so we went sailing with James on ‘Kestrel’ with the East Coast OGA, setting out from Waldringfield for the August Cruise to Brightlingsea on 11 August. Andy agreed to keep a watchful eye on the bilge pumps, so Steve didn’t need to worry (much!) and could enjoy the sailing and a bit of relaxation for a week away . . .
On our return, the priority was to be the mast, but the bilge pumps were still running rather too frequently. Reluctantly, it was agreed this was more than just ‘taking up’, despite all the old tricks of sawdust under the hull . . . she needed to come out for a better look below the waterline. We could have had her lifted at the Tidemill, but a better option seemed to be the short motor up river to Larkmans, where James could have a look at her seams and do any work while she was left in the slings for 24 hours. The tides were just right, with high water around midday, so Steve motored up river on 23 August.
While awaiting spare parts to fit the bilge pumps and leisure battery, Simon and Steve start to think about the layout of the interior. There’s a detailed collection of photos on Steve’s iPad along with the carefully stored ‘patterns’ from the old bunks – all the cushions have been washed and survived the sinking and subsequent storage very well. They will all be re-used, on newly constructed bases. The old stove has been scrapped and will be replaced with a Taylors diesel heater and there’s a reconditioned Taylors stove to replace the old Calor gas twin burners.