Posts Tagged: counter stern

With planking complete, we plan what’s next

Last planks in, the hull is complete: September 2012

The final planks have to ‘herringbone’ into the counter stern, which calls for some careful deliberations about how best to do this, leaving space for the rudder stock. Paul and Steve ask, ‘Where’s the old photos from when we first took the paint off?’ At last, the plan was drawn up, this is going to be one of the more tricky places to get it all in line.

It’s almost becoming a contest to complete the planking on the port and starboard sides, working towards the ‘shutter’ planks at stem and stern. There’s one or two periods of frustration for both Paul and Steve, as a plank splits at the last moment, or just won’t be persuaded to take the curve. And then we find the extra board, sourced from Pete’s remaining stock for ‘Transcur’ ten years ago, has woodworm! So out that goes, quick as a flash, and it’s back to getting the last couple of planks out of existing stock!

20 September 2012: the ‘whisky’ plank

Beverley is sent out to town to buy the whisky, this really IS the final plank, and it seems to be going OK. Paul Masters joins us on Sunday to finish nailing up, as Beverley’s hurt her back and can’t hold the ‘dolly’. All the planks are securely nailed with roves and butt blocks. The inside is all cleaned out and we can declare the hull complete!

Steve’s had a few tentative tests at fairing, that will certainly be a back-breaking job prior to caulking her up. Just in time, as the weather forecast is gale force winds and even colder nights than we’ve had since Friday, so its back to Derbyshire for the warmth of our house on the hill!

Shutting up for winter, 2012

Steve returns in October for a final week in Woodbridge before the dark nights draw in. The tent’s all tidied up ready for winter and the remaining wood stacked outside. He sorted through all the carefully removed teak and has brought most of it back to Derbyshire. We need to decide how to deal with the deck: there are several options, and lots of suggestions from all quarters as to what will be the best plan.

Deck beams, archboard, frames and the rudder

Into the New Year, 2008

By March it really feels like progress! Paul's finished work on the counter, which is now fully restored in terms of new deck beams, archboard and frames. Steve's nearly completed the new beam shelf on the starboard side, steaming it into place and fitting it up to the new frames and knees.

The new workshop back home in Derbyshire is really coming into its own as a boatbuilding shed, and attracting quite a bit of interest in the neighbourhood. Matlock Bath is probably just about as far from the sea that you can get in mainland England, and there's bemusement as to why Steve's also started to build an 11' dinghy in clinker ply. Whilst seeking out suppliers for the planking, Steve found a woodyard in Grimsby with elm ideally suited for the rudder. On inspection, the rudder had proved to be beyond sensible repair, so sufficient elm was brought back to Matlock and the rudder is now ready for fitting and painting!

Up with the deck!

Autumn into winter, 2007

Advice from Adrian meant Steve and Glyn could make a start on the frames. After measuring up and making plywood templates, a couple of visits to Grimsby resulted in several pieces of good oak bends being brought to Matlock, where Steve started to fashion the new frames on the kitchen table! Beverley started thinking about an alternative solution.

Returning to Woodbridge the frames could be put in place, at last, some new wood going in rather than rotten wood coming out! But then, there are more long deliberations. What can we do about the deck? Repairs to the counter stern are deemed impossible with the deck in situ.

So, careful slicing between the teak planks and extraction of the screws means that we now have a large pile of teak in pretty good condition, albeit in need of a good clean-up! The ply deck was lifted to form a pattern for future reference and the teak marked with chalk and stored in neat bundles.

At last, Paul will be able to see what he’s doing and have space to work!

Back in Derbyshire, the kitchen table is proving rather too small for the task in hand, but there's a solution. We decide to proceed with plans for a workshop in the garden, which necessitates constructing a large deck.

Planning applications submitted to Derbyshire Dales District Council, are eventually accepted, so we’re ready to proceed with a ‘winter build’. Dave was engaged to build the deck, with Simon helping and Beverley keeping everyone happy with mugs of tea. From the workshop or deck one has a spectacular view across the rooftops to the other side of the valley, providing an excellent vantage point and place to work!

Moving to the North Arm: summer 2007

As the planks came out, it became more and more impractical to sleep onboard – so we looked into buying a camper for our Suffolk accommodation. Would it be a VW? After looking at a few  within our price range, the answer was certainly a resounding ‘no’, as that would be another project. So, after lots of research travelling around the Midlands and beyond to look at vans with Rob, we invested in a Bongo.

'Cachalot' becomes very fragile as more rotten wood is removed, May 2007

‘Cachalot’ becomes very fragile as more rotten wood is removed, May 2007

Beginning to realise the enormity of the project we’re now taking on, Steve starts to strip out the entire interior to expose more of the areas we need to check out more closely. The covering boards, coaming, boom gallows, bulwarks and cockpit are all removed and carefully piled up to form patterns for the future. The famous counter stern becomes more and more vulnerable as the real extent of the rotting timbers in the stern emerge. When will we reach some sound wood?

Now that she’s very clearly a project, Tidemill YH Manager, Richard, wants us to move over to the North Arm, overlooking the Deben. She’s been drying out quite badly too, despite the loan of a tarpaulin from Paul and Jo which we’ve been using since earlier in the year, and a liberal coat of undercoat.

So, more big decisions about what to do and where best to continue the work. Should we try to bring ‘Cachaolot’ back to the Midlands, or take her to another yard in Suffolk? She’s so fragile now, it’s hard to envisage moving her at all, so we invest in our own tent, made to measure by Brackenbury’s, and have it erected with long ground-screws on the North Arm of the Tidemill. Hopefully it will stand up to the winter winds.

More and more of the boat is dismantled, photographed, catalogued and carefully stored either under the hull in the tent or brought back to Derbyshire for safe-keeping, cleaning, renovation or reconstruction. Our thanks go to Pete and Clare, who have provided us with safe storage space in Suffolk for items less easy to transport home!

Stripping off, and it’s more than the counter!

Paint stripping by Process Media Tech Ltd., using the Farrows System

After long discussions and lots of research we decide to remove all paint and anti-foul from the hull. Kevin arrived on another bright Spring morning in March 2007 to start work. After a day’s concentrated work spraying with ‘volcanic sand, freshly heated water and low pressurised air’, ‘Cachalot’ was looking very different, there’s no going back now!

We spent the evening as new members at the East Coast OGA Annual Dinner, Royal Burnham YC, and had a most enjoyable time meeting lots of new people from the local area.

We return to Derbyshire, leaving Paul to do some exploratory work during March. As more planks are removed and frames inspected, it becomes clear that the problems extend to more than just the counter. We’ll always remember the night Paul phoned to tell us, with some hesitancy in his voice, the bad news as he took more of the rotten wood out: archboard, beam shelf, frames, deck beams and probably worse as we expose more of the hull. There’s been more long and anguished discussions about what to do: shall we just call it a day, forget about her and do something else, put it all down to experience? No! We all agreed to go ahead and restore ‘Cachalot’ – so where do we start?

Starting to sail with ‘Cachalot’

Summer 2005

Having seen her for sale on eBay in early summer, 2005, Steve discovered that the sale had fallen through, and the seller was prepared to consider his offer (subject, of course, to survey). So what should we do? As we drove to Suffolk Yacht Harbour, Levington, Kate phoned and implored her Dad ‘not to do anything rash’, but he fell in love with the boat and our story of ‘Cachalot’ unfolds from there! With help from Mike, as skipper, Dick, Glyn and Beverley sailed her from Levington to the Tidemill Yacht Harbour, Woodbridge, Suffolk, at the head of the River Deben where we'd secured a berth for her. We first heard about the OGA when staying overnight with East Coast members, Jo and Paul.

Maintenance plan and getting started with sailing

We drew up a maintenance plan based on advice in the surveyor’s report, intending to do it in stages working with Paul, a local boatbuilder. A Day Skipper ‘ticket’ was required in order to satisfy the requirements of the insurers to take ‘Cachalot’ out of the Marina, so we signed up for that. We also needed a means of getting ashore, but what would be the best option? The first choice was certainly not suitable, a pretty little clinker dinghy that looked the part, fitted neatly on the cockpit roof but was much too ‘tippy’. The Seagull outboard also looked the part, but was hardly reliable, even with Jim’s expert advice. In the end, a flubber and outboard seemed to be the best solution.

Sailing in the Deben, summer 2006

After an excellent week on our RYA Day Skipper course with Rob, just after Easter, 2006, we needed to get plenty of practice in handling 'Cachalot' before going out of the river. We started by carefully manoeuvering her in and out of the Tidemill YH, over the sill, taking care to check the tides so that we could return later! Sailing (or motoring) up and down the Deben to moor at Felixtowe Ferry or Ramsholt gave us plenty of opportunities to begin to learn about pilotage and how to sail - to get it right and, of course, to get it wrong at times! Like everyone else has done at least once, we did spend six hours aground, when Kate came out for a sail with us.