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!
'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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.