Painting and starting the fit out, 2015

After a couple of weeks in the sunshine, June 2013, with the tent opened up, Steve’s pretty well finished fairing the hull, another important milestone!

There’s been more visitors than usual to keep us chatting, locals as well as yachtsmen from further afield. They’re attracted by seeing what’s beginning to look like the hull of a beautiful boat in the furthest corner of the Tidemill. It’s known to some as ‘death row’, we’re very close to the bonfire and the neglected boats ashore gathering rainwater in their cockpits.

Paul’s available to do some work during August, and there’s the usual beard-tugging, sucking of teeth and considered conversations as Steve and he discuss what to do about the rudder tube and queen plank over the counterstern. It’s all agreed and Paul starts work, completing it in August 2013 whilst we take a break with the OGA in Cowes for their 50th anniversary celebrations. Returning to Woodbridge in September, it looks like the weather’s set fair for us to carry on working. With the tent open on all sides, and the hull pretty well fair, its time to sort out the sheer. After careful skimming with the plane, Steve and James keep taking another look, just to be sure, and the starboard side is done. With more good weather forecast, we get the hull painted with primer to protect the wood over winter.

The May Spring Bank Holiday, 2014 looks set to be fair, so we load the van with the first bulkhead and cockpit sides, made of marine ply, routed to simulate tongue and groove. Carefully put together from patterns, 300 miles away in Derbyshire, Steve starts to fit them all in place. Not only is the hull taking shape, we’re getting started on ‘fitting out’. July 7, 2014 finds Steve and Simon in Suffolk, preparing Cachalot for caulking. Simon makes a perfect job of putting more coats of primer on the hull, and we engage Paul to start work on 22 July. On 26 September another milestone is reached as Paul completes the caulking and ‘paying up’. We spend another week tidying up and preparing the tent for another winter, concerned as to whether the tent will actually survive. 

With all the patterns carefully made before leaving Woodbridge, and brought home to Derbyshire, the winter project 2014/15 was to make the engine box and sole boards. After a few experiments with the teak reclaimed from the deck, and various options for ‘holly’, the final decision was made and Steve started work in earnest. Many chilly hours spent in the workshop high above the house resulted in a wonderful varnished engine box becoming part of the living room furniture in February, and by Easter, the sole boards were complete as well! May Day weekend 2015 found us in Woodbridge at last. Will the new sole boards fit? Steve lifted them all into the boat, and assembled them . . . There’s a few minor alterations, but it’s time to start painting the interior and checking out all those last butt blocks.

Steve spent just over a week in Woodbridge in early June, 2015 achieving his Springtime goal of getting the whole of the hull interior painted at last! ‘Henry’, the hardy and generally trusted vacuum cleaner, did need the smile wiping from his face when he fell from a deck beam knocking a tin of (very expensive) paint into the bilges! With grey bilges and white above the sole, she’s looking good, and another step towards putting on the deck.