Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ready for sailing again.

After a year of busy landlubbing, I've prepared the boat for sailing again. It's been a year parked here:

Snug and secure in the mud

Which is nice quiet place and picturesque, and with my favourite bird the curlew one of the major sources of noise. The little bay in the river sheltered from all weather, and the boat is afloat only at the top of the tide. Most of the time, it sits in soft mud. And it doesn't cost anything. I'm glad not to have to pay marina or mooring charges! But that was partly why I chose a cat with daggerboards, lifting rudders and outboards. Any bit of mud in some out of the way place is fine.

The boat had developed a leak in the roof of the bridgedeck, though very small - the only evidence was a small puddle on the floor of the saloon and a slightly corroded brass screw in the ceiling. I'd previously taken down a couple of ceiling panels to investigate, and concluded the sealant round the base of a winch probably needed renewing. But it was no longer apparent. The leak had stopped leaking. Still, everything needed checking over, the electronics needed reinstalling, cushions and bedding to load and so on, so I sailed the boat up the river to Totnes.

The antifoul was stained by the mud, but otherwise entirely free of weed and barnacles. The only work I imagined I needed a yard for was to pressure wash the deck, to clear off a thin patina of algae, but in keeping with my preference for frugality, I didn't even tie up at the Totnes yard's pontoon for that job. That would have cost, for parking, water and electricity. Instead I parked the boat in the old ship's turning bay, no longer used. Again, the boat was settled on soft mud most of the time. And the deck was easily dealt with by spraying on some dilute bleach with a garden sprayer.

Two boats in the yard have their AIS switched on.
So after a year of sitting in the mud, the boat needed very little maintenance. Mattresses and the cushions I'd left on the boat were completely dry and mould-free. There was no smell - having no engines on board (the outboards had been stored in my garage) and no plumbed in toilet, there is nothing that could give off any offending odours. That familiar boaty diesel/damp/mould smell was entirely absent. :) The saloon catches the heat of the sun enough so that the boat is warmed a little and it is well ventilated, so my efforts with insulation and ventilation have paid off.

There was little work to do - a lock had become seized in a door (and not from corrosion either, just a mechanical fault), which I replaced. I end-for-ended some anchor ropes and spliced new eyes. Fired up the laptop, AIS, radar detector and so on to check it was all working. A nice little laptop had come my way, so I formatted the drive and installed all the boating software I have on my main laptop, so now have a reliable spare laptop. If the one I normally use fails, all I need to do to get the replacement working is to plug in one USB lead.

So, after a week of fiddling about and checking things over, and loading stuff onto the boat that had been stored elsewhere, I was ready to go. West coast of Scotland would be nice I thought. But a friend also chose that as a destination for this summer on his 50' wooden boat. Hmm, I invited him to join me, and he invited me to join him. In the end we decided we'd go in his boat, so Scrumpy is all set to go, but now settled on the mud again. Perhaps later in the summer.