It’s neaps and there’s only about 30 minutes to get over the Tidemill YH bar this weekend. Although first and second high water are in daylight we decide not to go out (and risk not getting back in). With no rain forecast, hardly any wind and still long days, Steve decides it’s time to do some varnishing. He spends all day Sunday cleaning up the capping rail and bulwarks getting two coats on by the end of Monday. Despite the forecast, as we enjoy late evening supper there’s the gentle patter of raindrops. It’s only a short, light shower, but enough to ‘dull’ the shine.
First week in October and it's still mild enough during the day, though the nights are rather chilly. The bulwarks have several layers of varnish and the last coats of paint are applied to the hull. There's plenty of tidying up and sorting through all the tools to take home for winter projects in Derbyshire.
Finally we tie down the tent as best we can and hope there's not too many storms before the Spring.
Before the bulwarks can be varnished, several hundred bungs must be made, glued in place and sanded off. It’s beginning to be a race against the weather as we get out extra blankets at night as October approaches.
28 September finds us driving back to Derbyshire for a meeting with the architects about the ‘other project’ . . .
We return on 1 October as the weather looks set fair for a week or so to finish varnishing the bulwarks and wrap her up well before winter sets in properly.
We bring the restored gaff spar back down from Derbyshire, on the roof of the van. A gaff on top did get a few strange looks from other motorists at the service area when we stopped for a coffee!
The new bowsprit, made at Larkmans by James, is now hoisted up onto the deck for safe storage over the winter. James is still working on the boom, which will be ready in the Spring.
The weather for the first week in October is mild and ideal for finishing the varnish and painting.
The final task before painting the deck and topsides is the capping rail, to be made from the remaining iroko - but will there be enough? Steve starts with the most challenging section, the counter stern, one curved piece made from four sections. It takes two to manoeuvre it through the plane and needs some careful balancing for finishing off!
Once in place, the end is in sight - eight scarfed pieces, four on each side, and after a couple of days deluge, the weather fortunately takes a turn for the better. All goes well until the last two sections, the remaining planks aren't wide enough for the curve. Steve experiments with gluing two pieces together. After a night out to dry, they're deemed unsuitable as the join will show - so it's back to Thorogoods on Monday 26 September for more iroko and, on Tuesday, the capping rail is complete.
Once the counter bulwarks are in place, it's time to think about replacements for the port and starboard sides, and the capping rail.
After careful measuring, a stock of iroko is purchased from Thorogoods, sufficient for the new bulwarks as well as the capping rail. It's all sticked up ready, beside the tent . . . but what's the best way to secure the new bulwarks to the deck?
After much discussion, with various people, and several mock-ups and drawings, Steve starts production of 14 stanchions to sit neatly beneath the capping rail.
Making the stanchions takes quite a while, and was interrupted by a few days out sailing with the OGA for the August Cruise. Bev sailed with James on 'Kestrel' for the whole week, and Steve spent most days working, joining the fleet for evening events ashore . . . It was great to welcome a crowd of gaffers at the tent on 22 August though, even though she's not in the water, we kept our promise of beers a-plenty!
Bending on the iroko for the bulwarks went well, and by the beginning of September the deck was looking pretty shipshape - just needing the capping rail and enough good weather into the Autumn to allow us time to paint and varnish ready for winter.
Time for the finishing touches! Last summer we promised to have her ready for the OGA August Classics this year, she won't be in the water but skippers and crews are all invited to visit during their sojourn at the Tidemill 23/24 August. With the deck and hull all done, there's just the bulwarks before we can varnish and paint her for the winter.
Steve starts with the reclaimed counter section, strong, laminated and possibly original. He makes a new set of knees to secure it firmly to the deck and makes good progress - it's great to see the counter restored (almost) to her former glory!