Posts Tagged: tent

The tent comes down!

Precarious work dismantling the tent!

Is that ladder really safe?

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.

Scaffold and remains of the tent are removed

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 . . .

Preparing and stepping the mast

Room in the tent for the mast

Final coats of varnish

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.

Back at her berth with mast stepped

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 . . .

The list is getting shorter!

Prop re-fitted, July 2017

New depth sounder

It's less than a week now before she'll be taken out of the tent, and the list of 'essential before she goes in' has to get shorter! The weather isn't being kind, though, with stormy showers to contend with, rather than the balmy warm weather of last month.

Once work on the engine was finished when Jim came to help last week, Steve installed a bracket for the main battery unit and fitted the new depth sounder and prop. Having stayed at home to work on the house project, Bev returns to Suffolk with Simon, who joins us for a few days. He's the first person to sleep aboard since we bought the van in 2007! He has to manage with a cushion directly onto the sole boards. The interior isn't scheduled until after she's launched.

Dave and Moray arrive to check out the 'fit' of the chainplates, and make some final tweaks to the curves. These are now all firmly fitted in place, and looking good.

  • Simon and Steve clear the workbench
  • Rolling up the front of the tent
  • Tent cleared ready for her launch!
  • New, tidy workbench behind the boat

A major 'essential' task is to clear the front of the tent, where the workbench and storage area has been for the past ten years. Simon and Steve get to work sorting through all the wood under the bench, with smaller pieces put aside as firewood for Claudia. Then there's all the tins of old paint and varnish, glue that's gone off, out-of-date flares and fire extinguishers, etc., etc. . . . what a lot accumulates!? Fortunately, Chris has let us have use of his tent next door for dry storage, empty since his boat was launched a couple of weeks ago. Thankyou, Chris! As the bench is cleared, it's moved to the other end of the tent and re-erected. Bev returns from a shopping trip to find that the new bench has the electrics set up almost well enough to pass a Building Inspector's visit (unlike the trailing wires we've had for the past ten years).

Storm Doris strikes!

Roof repair survives the winter (May 2017)!

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.

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Getting ready for winter

Tony tidies up the mound

Tony tidies up the mound

There's been major work at the Tidemill this year, which has included dumping a small mountain of earth beside our tent. This affords an excellent vantage point for taking photos!

We really do need to tidy up the site around the tent as we see the end of the project in sight. All four sides are littered with a mixture of usable timber along with a range of waste materials and bits and pieces that 'might come in useful'.

As the Tidemill is returning to a state of tidiness, we're keen to play our part, and are told to create a pile of wood for burning beside the new mound. Beverley sets about moving timber, creating two sticked piles of usable planks, the final set of 'templates' and quite a large pile for a bonfire!

The woodpile grows, fuel for a bonfire!

The woodpile grows, fuel for a bonfire!

As Autumn approaches, we have to decide how to secure the boat, and tent, for the winter. There's plenty of discussions with Tidemill staff, and others, about whether to dismantle the tent or leave it 'in situ' as a workshop for the Spring.

We decide on leaving it up with the scaffold well secured. The fabric is so fragile it provides limited protection against heavy rain - however, we hope to have the hull and deck painted and varnished by early October and can set up an 'inner tent' for protection.

Fitting the rudder

The storms in early June did no more damage to the tent, but the frame is seriously buckled and, once it's opened up, the lean from the vertical is clear to see.

Back in March 2008, Steve made a new rudder, having sourced some elm from a Derbyshire woodyard. Constructed in the newly-built garden workshop at home in Matlock Bath, it seems such a long time ago now. Those were the days when we thought the project would not be quite such a 'long haul'!

But at last, after storage under the boat in Suffolk for the past eight years, it's time to set the rudder in place.

  • Workshop with a view across the hills of Derbyshire!
  • Making the rudder in Derbyshire, Spring 2008
  • New rudder complete and taken down to Suffolk, 2008
  • Preparing to fit the rudder
  • Fitting the rudder
  • Preparing to fit the rudder
  • Setting the rudder in place

Returning after a couple of days in the Derbyshire warmth, Steve set to work on the rudder in early June, 2016.

There was some tidying up of the rudder stock to do and fitting the 'boot', then hanging the rudder to make sure it could swing freely.

Sanding the deck and a new rubbing strake

With the beginning of May looking promising, Steve goes down to Woodbridge. Departing much later than planned on the 11th, he didn't arrive 'til nearly midnight! Bev stays at home, still hobbling around, looking forward to some advice from the physio about what she can and can't do . . . Steve's first job is to make more repairs to the tent. It has a serious 'lean', several degrees from the perpendicular, with the poles bent at alarming angles. Apart from the ripped section in the side, there's several holes along the top where the poles have rubbed through the canvas . . . an inner tent made of tarps is a necessity whenever rain is forecast now.

The tent fixed as well as he can manage, Steve concentrates on the boat, removing all the 'peel ply', filling the blemishes and finally sands the newly-glassed deck. Almost ready for buying the paint and a trip to Larkmans confirms the colour. James is finishing the deck of 'Charm': International Sand it is. Next job is the rubbing strake, carefully crafted from larch and fixed along both sides from stem to just past the cockpit coaming. A visitor passes complimentary comments on the fair of the hull.

Storm damage to the tent, but it's lasted well!

A day trip to Essex, via Woodbridge

The coaming returns to Suffolk

The coaming returns to Suffolk

Mast restored to it's stand and tent patched up . . .

Mast restored to its stand and tent patched up . . .

A call from Toby and Hugo, wanting help in retrieving their tender from Fambridge, means the chance for a ‘one way’ trip with an empty trailer to Essex. Steve manhandles the repaired and varnished cockpit coaming down to the road. He lashes it to the trailer, carefully packing it in cardboard for the journey with Hugo. They make good time to Woodbridge, but find that Storm Katie took her toll on the tent. A full section of one side is ripped out. The mast has also been blown from it’s stand, damaging new varnish applied last summer. But as Hugo says, it’s nothing that would not happen during a good blow at sea! The tent, however, really won’t stand up to any more gales, so 2016 has to be the launch year, as promised last August in Ipswich! The wintry weather, since an early spring-like Easter, makes another trip to Suffolk quite unattractive for now, though, so we stay at home doing more of the ‘little jobs’ for the boat and think about plans with the architect for the ‘other project’.

Finally, we’re laying the deck!

The first week in August finds us back in Derbyshire for a few days, the house is still there and judging by the state of the garden, it’s been raining a lot! Return to Suffolk on the 10th with the intention of staying for the rest of the summer. We plan to do some house-hunting, following early research by Bev on her new road bike. Beverley takes a week out to join James on 'Kestrel' in the August Classics, 14 - 23 this year while Steve is persuaded by Wendy that he must forgo sailing this summer and get on with the deck. Did he really promise that 'Cachalot' will ready for the August Classics, 2016? He gets started in earnest, making good progress by the end of the Cruise. But where's the summer gone? There's rain, rain, wind and more rain in the week up to the Bank Holiday, with a welcome invitation to dinner at the Masters on Bank Holiday Monday.
  • Cutting the first board for the deck
  • Preparing the underside
  • Preparing the board, edges and underside
  • Painting the underside
  • Underside painted and ready to lay
  • Bulkheads
  • Side decks on
  • Making a start with laying the deck
  • Underside of the foredeck painted
  • Aft deck
  • Glassed deck ready for winter 2015/16
  • Bulkheads making the interior look good
Bev drives to Matlock for a couple of days to check out the house and visit her Mum. She gets a slow puncture in the car, which becomes a theme for the week with four on the bike back in Suffolk! It's a new tyre for the car and a tougher one for the bike after four inner tubes get holed! While Bev pedals round looking for houses, Steve continues to make great progress with the deck boards and bulkheads, all grooved and painted ready for fixing. After another short trip back to Derbyshire, we put the house on the market and return for Maldon Town Regatta on 19 September. Autumn looks set fair for us to keep working on the deck into October, so we order 20 metres of glass with two-pack epoxy and put a thermometer on the coachroof to monitor temperature in preparation for glassing the deck.
We join Simon and Julia for the Cycle Show at the NEC, and try out bikes way out of our price range! The final week of September finds Steve completing the preparation of the deck, and with bulkheads installed, we're ready for our lesson from James, kitted out in our very fetching protective clothing. Everything has been carefully masked off, materials and tools all readily available, scaffold planks alongside the hull for fairly easy access and plans on how to glass the deck without getting ourselves into too many sticky corners! Bev is assigned as glue mixer, which is OK at first, but once there's only the two of us it becomes much more stressful . . . after four sessions, the job is done!

Sorting out the sheer and painting the hull

DSC01423Paul’s available to do some work during August, and there’s the usual beard-tugging, sucking of teeth and considered conversations as Steve and he discuss what to do about the rudder tube, and queen plank over the counter stern. It’s all agreed and Paul starts work. As we depart for Cowes, and the final OGA Anniversary celebrations, August 2013, Paul continues working on the rudder tube, and we leave the van safely stored on Jo and Paul’s drive. We’re going back to Derbyshire from the Isle of Wight, for a couple of weeks at home.

DSC01396Returning to Woodbridge in September, it looks like the weather’s set fair for us to carry on working for a couple of months. With the tent open on all sides, and the hull pretty well fair, its time to sort out the sheer.

After careful skimming with the plane, Steve and James (who’s popped by to see how we’re doing) keep taking another look, just to be sure, and the starboard side is done. With more good weather forecast into the Autumn, we’re on track to get the hull painted to protect the wood over winter.

While we were in Cowes, Paul finished the rudder tube and now its time to fit the queen plank. There’s lots of discussion about how to ensure the ‘slope’ is right for the deck over the counter to drain properly.

With a final check of the hull, there’s a few more bungs needed to be made, and glued in place. It’s an important job, to get the sheer right, and difficult to judge. So we enlist the help of Trevor and his brother this time, to help get the line just right on the port side.

DSC01665Henry the vacuum cleaner has been a permanent resident in Woodbridge this summer in an attempt to keep on top of all the dust and woodshavings. Once the hull is ready, Beverley helps with cleaning it down, ready for painting with yacht primer.

Take a last look at the lovely wood, before the paint goes on! As the weather becomes more autumnal and the days get shorter, its time to go back to Derbyshire for birthday and anniversary celebrations. It’s been a good year for both sailing and boat building, we did some sailing, joined the OGA50 celebrations and managed to get the hull painted as planned.

DSC01726But there’s some bad news, the tent is beginning to show its age. The battering it’s had over the past six years has worn the fabric in the roof. Now the hull’s got no drainage holes, the last thing we want is for her to fill with rainwater, so its off to buy more tarps for laying up this winter, and we create a ‘tent within the tent’ for ‘Cachalot’.