Posts Tagged: tent

Six years on: spring 2013

Bongo has a refit, and we venture down to Suffolk

The entry for 15 April 2007 declares Cachalot a ‘project’. Six years on and we’re still enjoying the challenge. BUT, six years had taken its toll on the Bongo, and she’s overwintered at Full Circle Autocare Ltd. for new wheel arches, door sill and tidying up of dents, bumps and scratches in the paintwork.

Richard and Jim have done a great job, and we’re looking forward to getting back to Woodbridge just as soon as its warm enough!!! When will the winter end??

21 April 2013

Its the start of the OGA 50th anniversary celebrations this weekend, so we're off to Heybridge Basin to say 'farewell' to 'Witch' and 'Bonify', despite the weather, as the first boats leave on their four-month adventure.

Back in Woodbridge, we begin to make plans for this year, after another late start due to the very chilly winter . . . its still bitterly cold at night and we cuddle up in the van with extra blankets, duvets and woolly socks! We aim to get the hull ready for painting this summer, and start by thinking about the deck . . .

What about the deck?

We turn our attention back to the deck . . . after researching the options and having some test pieces of the old teak deck sawn at the woodyard in Tansley, it's decided! The remaining foredeck will have to come off, allowing for a complete new marine ply sub-deck, a layer of glass to ensure we have no leaks, then the sawn teak will be re-laid. The Tansley woodyard has agreed to saw all the stock provided we supply it to them completely clean, with no stray fastenings to wreck their saw. So there's lots of plans and more measurements to be done. Fortunately, the inside of the tent isn’t too cold up on the deck during the day, and with the door closed and several warm layers, the van’s not too bad either.

Moving to the North Arm: summer 2007

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.

'Cachalot' becomes very fragile as more rotten wood is removed, May 2007

‘Cachalot’ becomes very fragile as more rotten wood is removed, May 2007

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!