As the planks came out, it became more and more impractical to sleep onboard – so we looked into buying a camper for our Suffolk accommodation. Would it be a VW? After looking at a few within our price range, the answer was certainly a resounding ‘no’, as that would be another project. So, after lots of research travelling around the Midlands and beyond to look at vans with Rob, we invested in a Bongo.
Beginning to realise the enormity of the project we’re now taking on, Steve starts to strip out the entire interior to expose more of the areas we need to check out more closely. The covering boards, coaming, boom gallows, bulwarks and cockpit are all removed and carefully piled up to form patterns for the future. The famous counter stern becomes more and more vulnerable as the real extent of the rotting timbers in the stern emerge. When will we reach some sound wood?
Now that she’s very clearly a project, Tidemill YH Manager, Richard, wants us to move over to the North Arm, overlooking the Deben. She’s been drying out quite badly too, despite the loan of a tarpaulin from Paul and Jo which we’ve been using since earlier in the year, and a liberal coat of undercoat.
So, more big decisions about what to do and where best to continue the work. Should we try to bring ‘Cachaolot’ back to the Midlands, or take her to another yard in Suffolk? She’s so fragile now, it’s hard to envisage moving her at all, so we invest in our own tent, made to measure by Brackenbury’s, and have it erected with long ground-screws on the North Arm of the Tidemill. Hopefully it will stand up to the winter winds.
More and more of the boat is dismantled, photographed, catalogued and carefully stored either under the hull in the tent or brought back to Derbyshire for safe-keeping, cleaning, renovation or reconstruction. Our thanks go to Pete and Clare, who have provided us with safe storage space in Suffolk for items less easy to transport home!