As a national ‘lockdown’ looked increasingly likely, Steve drove down to Suffolk on 14 March to check on ‘Cachalot’, just in case we’d have to leave her for another few months. Sure enough, on 23 March, 2020 the edict arrived for everything to stop . . . and we’ve been locked away in our Derbyshire hillside for the past four months. So, what was the plan?
‘Cachalot’, safely surviving the winter under her covers, would have to remain in ‘social isolation’, rather than join the East Coast summer cruise, cancelled along with all the other OGA East Coast events for the summer.
Covid19 rules meant we weren’t allowed to travel to Suffolk, as it involved an overnight stay, so Steve utilised his joinery skills in an unplanned project for the house – replacing Victorian plaster coving in our front room and hallway. Now partially completed, he finds that joinery with plaster on a 3.5m high ceiling is even more challenging, and potentially dangerous, than replanking a 30’ wooden boat!
He’s also been doing some woodwork, of course, and repaired the workshop roof and windows, originally built on decking high above our house, in 2007, when ‘Cachalot’ first became a project. ‘Cachalette’, tender to ‘Cachalot’, and built 2010 by Steve on a terrace just above the workshop, has benefited from a thorough maintenance programme during ‘lockdown’. Over the winter she’s stored in his mother’s garage, just a couple of miles from our house. Work included re-gluing a knee, renovating the ash sole boards, repainting and revarnishing the whole boat.
As ‘lockdown’ begins to be eased, Steve fits a towbar to our recently acquired Landrover Freelander and trails ‘Cachalette’ down to Suffolk, along with the newly covered cushions for ‘Cachalot’ (an excellent job done by our local furniture restorer, Andy), sails, rigging and other bits and pieces from winter storage at home.
On arrival at the Tidemill, he’s pleased to find that the bilge is completely dry with the counter recording that the pump has not been triggered since his last visit, almost four months ago to the day in March.