Posts in Category: Completing the deck 2016 -2017

Port and starboard bulwarks

  • Thinking about designs for the stanchions
  • Stanchions taking shape
  • Stanchions glued up
  • Final touches to the stanchions
  • Final touches to the stanchions
  • Setting a stanchion in place

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.

  • Gaffers arrive to check on progress!
  • A stanchion in place
  • Making a section of the bulwarks
  • A coat of varnish before fixing the bulwarks
  • Cutting the bulwarks to fit the fairleads
  • Light coating of varnish

Finishing off the counter stern

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!

  • Checking for fit
  • New knees for the counter bulwarks
  • Counter bulwarks secured with new knees
  • Counter bulwarks taking shape
  • Detail of the counter bulwarks

A new bowsprit

A new bowsprit, August 2016

A new bowsprit, August 2016

What about the spars?

'Cachalot' features in several photos in Tom Cunliffe's book 'Hand, Reef and Steer'. The caption for the picture above is 'a fine bowsprit', and of course, she's flying the St George's cross as a Dunkirk Little Ship sailing in company on the Return to Dunkirk, 1990. However, the bowsprit now needs to be replaced since it is showing it's age and needs to be a bit stronger . . . The new one has arrived from James at Larkman's, being constructed from two pieces of narrow grained Douglas fir and, whilst the same length, has a greater diameter.

The boom has now been taken to Larkman's yard for varnishing and other refinements . . .

The mast has already been repaired and varnished with several coats, surviving a fall from it's rack during the winter storms in early 2016, and ready to step once the hull is ready . . .and the gaff has also been repaired, but needs transporting back to Suffolk from Derbyshire where it attracts frequent comments and enquiries from visitors, bemused to find such an unusual item in the garden of a house in the Peak District!

Find out more about the gaff, still being stored in Derbyshire, in the post from Winter projects 2015/16.


Marking the waterline

As Steve prepares to paint the hull, he realises the waterline doesn't seem to be level after all the moves since 2007.

Using a long plastic tube filled with beetroot stained water, he works out the line and jacks up the boat fore and aft . . . then she also needs moving port/starboard.

Just to be sure, we find a photo of her as she came out of the water in Spring 2007 and compare it with her now in the tent.

'Cachalot' ashore, after sinking at her berth, January 2007

Finish the deck and start painting the hull!

Work in June had to fit in with returning to Derbyshire for the third Eroica Britannia in Bakewell on the 19th and to vote in the EU Referendum on the 23rd. The weather wasn't really 'flaming' though, and continued to be unseasonably cold, wet and windy.

There's the added problem of dust and noise as construction work at the Tidemill Yacht Harbour is seriously delayed. With dumper trucks moving heaps of soil and mud past the tent every half an hour, it's not an ideal working environment for keeping anything clean, especially as the next job after finishing the deck will be painting.

Work must go on though if she's to go back in the water this summer. So, now the deck is glassed and sanded with all the trims in place, Steve lays the king plank on the forward and aft decks.

  • Forward deck with king plank in place
  • Aft deck with king plank and cockpit coaming
  • Counter stern undercoat on starboard side
  • Counter stern
  • Starboard faired and painted with undercoat
  • Starboard counter stern painted with undercoat
  • Starboard topsides with undercoat

Once the deck is finished, Steve's keen to start getting the hull painted with undercoat, despite the continuing dust and noise. He fairs and undercoats the starboard side, but begins to wonder about the waterline. Where exactly is it?

After conversations with Tidemill Harbourmaster Mike 'the Pipe' and experiments with a plumb line, it becomes clear that the boat is not actually sitting 'true' on her cradle. This must have been the case since being moved to the North Arm to sit under her tent when the new toilet block was being built back in 2007!


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.

All those little bits of teak

  • Teak edges for hatch and all through-deck fittings. New Samson post in place.
  • Making the teak edging pieces for the cockpit
  • Cockpit coaming fitted
  • Final sanding of the coaming, up it goes!

Once the rubbing strake's done, there's all those little bits to do. Steve carefully mitres teak edges for all the through-deck fittings. There's the cockpit to finish off, again with teak edging, before sanding down the coaming, hoisting it up onto the deck again, and setting it in place to bolt in and seal. Meanwhile, Bev's been doing OK with cycling and walking recommended, relieving the frustration at doing nothing. To keep the 'other project' on track, she set up a meeting with the architect on 25th May. Steve returns to Derbyshire for a couple of days then we both drive to Suffolk for the Bank Holiday weekend. Wide sunny skies until Monday, when 40 mph winds are forecast. With the van roof down, Steve secures the tent as best he can and we retire for a stormy night. Tuesday dawns bitterly cold, still windy, the tent flooded but no more damage and after a trip to Thorogoods we decide to retreat to the warmth of Derbyshire again.


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’.