Steve tidied up after all the work in the forepeak, so Bev took the opportunity to test out the new space . . . it’s going to be really comfortable on the re-used cushions with plenty of headroom and room to spread out!
Following extensive research into how to replace the custom-made old exhaust box for the engine, and having failed to find any suitable replacement, or means of repairing it, Steve made a new one whilst at home over the winter . . . today it was fitted, and tested (albeit in the berth, with the engine in neutral) it’s a positive result so far (ie no leaks into the super-dry bilges).
After fixing all the supporting timbers, and making patterns for the forepeak boards, Steve needs to work quickly, now without the benefit of the tent, to get the newly-purchased plywood cut down so that they will fit into the boat for storage, as it’s forecast to rain . . .
Re-using the old forepeak cushions will be a bit of a challenge, as they were made-to-measure, but we think it will be worth it for the comfort they’ll afford crew sleeping in the forepeak. It will be cosy, but a bit less ‘coffin-like’, now there’s more headroom. The boat has been turned into storage and workshop space for now . . . good job we have the new van for ‘living space’, as the weather turns back to being chilly and windy with occasional showers!
On Tuesday, 23 April, Mike and Steve bring ‘Cachalot’ back round to her berth on the North Arm.
We move the van back to where there’s been a lot of landscaping over the winter and park up near where the tent used to be, looking upriver towards Melton again.
There’s only a couple more days of fine weather, and we need more plywood to finish the forepeak so once the boat’s in her berth, there’s a trip to Ridgeon’s at Martlesham Heath where the Adria once again comes into her own. Being based on a panel van, the two 10′ x 4′ boards fit neatly and easily in through the double doors on the back with the bed lifted up out of the way!
After our early start in February, March was pretty busy . . . but Steve did find time to work on the sole boards while we were home in Derbyshire, ready for fitting on our return to Woodbridge at Easter.
After sending the OGA Gaffers Log to press on 12 March, we drove the new van to Arnside, Cumbria for an excellent conference about boats built there by Crossfields and fitted in a short tour in the Lakes, including the narrow road along Wastwater.
A couple of days later we set off for Val Thorens, in a newly-acquired Mini [but that’s another story], calling to see Kate & family in Southampton before catching the night boat from Portsmouth, meeting Simon and Ricarda off the train from Paris at Gare de Moutieurs and enjoying a brilliant week ski-ing with them, before returning via Southampton on 31 March.
2 April found us with Mike & Dee of ‘Bonita’, sipping champagne and nibbling canapes at the Classic Boat Awards ceremony, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Kensington. Neither ‘Bonita’ nor ‘Cachalot’ was a winner but we enjoyed the event and felt honoured to have been nominated.
Thankyou to everyone who voted for us!
It’s generally too cold to start work this early in the year, but we’ve taken the plunge, and ‘upgraded’ the trusty Bongo for a 6 metre Fiat Adria motorhome! After 12 years, the Bongo was still a good van and, having passed the MOT (with a little bit of welding), we decided to sell and buy a van with insulation, heating and separate sleeping/sitting areas.
It was sad to see the Bongo driven off by her new owner last week, but lovely and cosy to cook, eat and sleep in the Adria, without having to change the layout of the van.
‘Cachalot’ is still in her temporary berth on the South Arm while the Harbour staff finish dredging and winter maintenance so we park just above the boat meaning Steve can get started with planning how to fit out the forepeak while Bev makes the new van our winter ‘home from home’. We’re still discovering all the options which include hot & cold running water, fridge, cooker and a great heating system powered by LPG or mains hook-up!
The great news is that the bilge pump only seems to have been tripped once, since November . . . and the cover has kept her snug against all the winter weather, and showing no signs of wear apart from bird droppings!