Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Preparation for the deadwood bolts

Well I have started to attack another one of the big jobs. This is that two of the deadwood bolts that needs replacing. There is quite a lot to prep for a job like this. For starters I managed to mark the wrong bolts, and one of them is under a railway sleeper that is propping the boat up, so I cant use that. The next problem is making sure that the bolt has as much assistance as possible in getting loose. I have been advised that Coca-Cola is the best freeing oil for such jobs so I have periodically being emptying coke into the bilges. I have also has a look under keel to see what the bolt looks like there. It looks pretty jammed in, is I reckon I might try to heat it up and chisel a bit around it. I need to make sure that when I bang this bolt through with a lump hammer, that it does not sheer half way through.

The metal pin is the drift that I will use. Actually it is an old mooring pin, but it is exactly the same size as the bolt which is the important bit.

The other picture is of a mahogany saloon table that I am building – many thanks from Ben for that one. After much cleaning off contact glue with scrapers and petrol, I have got these solid mahogany Victorian stair treads looking OK.

Rubbed effect was getting rubbed too much!

After my little pensive spell aboard the yacht, I have decided that the rubbed effect varnish is really not appropriate for a small yacht like Roach. The interior needs constant attention on a small yacht as it get a lot more abuse than the interior on a larger yacht. There is more movement is a seaway and consequently much more contact below with feet, hands and other bodily extremities. The cabinets can also get wet from an open companionway hatch and when that salt water dries, it is not easy to clean off. So I decided that all the rubbed effect is now going all gloss – this should help wiping down the interior, although it is a bit too shiny for my taste, it is miles more practical.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is she too small a fish?

Recently I have been a bit confused about Roach. My brother now has a family, and so has my sister. So I was thinking whether I should upgrade to something larger so that we can go holidaying together in comfort. I even started thinking about going plastic. Yup, I looked at Nicholson 32 mk1, but when I went below I was thoroughly disappointed. Acres of Formica and a sweet plastic smell greeted me. I felt uncomfortable: sensible material yes, maintenance free yes, but appealing, warm and tactile – NO. It was clear from that moment that I was a wooden boat guy through and through. A plastic interior would really affect the quality of my sailing – I guess I am one of those people with an aesthetic leaning that get their kicks visually.

I think I developed this plastic idea because I have been so busy at the start of this year, that I have not been to the boat for about two and half months. So it was a great relief when I was onboard after all that time to find myself having a coffee in the tiny saloon contemplating her sale. I could not do it. The warmth, the smell of mahogany, the feel of the handrail. My eyes glanced all the way around her interior. All those lovely nooks and crannies ; the porcelain sink, the oil lamps, the leaded glass drinks cabinet. Then all the presents people had given me; a Finnspray pump, the copper anchor light, a framed etching of Roach on the mud. I was taking it all in and all feelings of disloyalty evaporated without a trace.

Roach has a long history, but now I was feeling that I was being included in her history. I finished my coffee and decided that in future, we will have cramped holidays aboard her with my brother’s of sister’s family, but it will be packed full of memories, history and legacy.

PS. Later I found this very good article by Moray of Classic Marine who gives a more pragmatic approach to owning a small yacht. I really could not agree more: