After a bit of a break, I’ve bought a new boat; a little Hurley 22. As such, I reckon it warrants a new blog. This one’s been fine, but as a web developer I prefer the control I get from hosting one myself and being able to tinker with it, rather than the get-what-you’re-given wordpress.com hosted ones.
So… I’ll be Sailing Around over here from now on.
…for now, anyway.
It’s been months since I’ve posted anything here, largely because there hasn’t been anything to tell. I came to the realisation that my life’s just too full of other stuff to devote any time to a project boat which was two hours drive away and cost money to keep. Everything became more of a chore than a pleasure, so she had to go. A chap called Tim bought her from me and I wish him all the best with restoring and racing her.
So that leaves me a boatless sailor; but still a hopeless optimist and pragmatist. As soon as life allows, I’d like to live near to the sea, and given my experiences over the past year or so I know in more detail what I want from a boat. What I’m comfortable with in terms of size, rig and simply how much money I can spend before that nagging feeling arises. Until then, I doubt I’ll post anything more here. I may not even post those adventures on this blog, but on my actual website. I’ve not decided yet…
Spent a day working my backside off on Nervous Tension yesterday. The plan had been to spend the weekend down there, but my feeble office-job arms can’t take the pressure and I made more progress than anticipated so I headed home for a well earned bath.
- Crud scraped off the keel and two coats of zinc primer applied
- The last of the barnacles scraped off the hull and scrubbed the waterline
- Removed any flaking paint from the topsides and dug out any soft wood behind
- Roughly filled and faired topsides, then a good coat of undercoat (as a guide coat more than anything)
- Removed loose paint from the deck and applied half a coat of aluminium primer (at which time I ran out of both paint and daylight)
The weather’s been fantastic lately, so I’ve been attacking the Land Rover with a tin of red gloss. It’s pretty bright now, but a couple more coats and it’ll be looking great.
Nervous Tension’s still at Lauren Marine on the Itchen, and they lifted her out last week. If the weather stays fine this weekend I’ll be down there scraping, scrubbing, grinding, glueing and priming. I’d like to get her back in the water by the end of May. It’s an ambitious target given the state she’s in at the moment, so I’ll probably have to save some jobs for later in the year, but a fresh coat of paint all over and a good slop of antifoul will work wonders I’m sure.
The weather man can officially go to hell. A perfect forecast of a force three and sunshine for moving Nervous Tension from Langstone Harbour up to the River Itchen last weekend… Well, it was when we set off, for about half an hour before degenerating into blustery, rainy greyness. By the time we’d reached Portsmouth the sun was back out however. All well and good before the wind died and Calshot disappeared in the blackest cloud I’ve ever seen.
We stuck the reef back in, but nothing quite prepared us for what happened next. Best described as armageddon in hailstorm format. 90 degree wind shifts, massive squalls, clouds black enough to turn the distant streetlights on and hailstones like jagged little peas. It was quite something. The leech of the ageing mainsail tore, the window in the dacron no2 genoa blew out and the end of the tiller exploded. I threw the now useless extension down below and hunkered down on the cockpit floor for the rest of the trip – it was actually remarkably cosy. The really exciting bit was that in this melee of being knocked rather flat repeatedly and trying to spill as much of the surplus power that we could we were heading straight for a moored Condor Ferries ship. Typical.
Weather soon passed though, nothing serious broken and my confidence actually greatly increased in the boat. If she could survive a squall like that with far too much sail up then she was still robust underneath despite her shabby appearance. From then on in, with three reefs in the main to stop it tearing further and with tide and time against us we had the outboard on tickover to just help power through the chop and make some good progress. Even so, the sun was going down as we passed Calshot spit and we carried on in the fading light. Just off Netley we had a stern but fair ticking off from the Harbour Master about being in the shipping lane with no proper navigation lights. He did seem to take pity on us after hearing we’d been out in the squall earlier and we carried on up to Southampton shining our torch at the tiny triangle of mainsail.
So the boat’s now happily on a pontoon at Lauren Marine, and what have we learned?
- The echo sounder works
- The main isn’t in very good condition
- Neither was the tiller
- Working navigation lights would be a good thing, just in case
- The boat’s actually quite robust and behaves very well despite the beard on the keel and the lack of weight on the rail
Sunday I’d hoped to go for a bit of a sail, but it was fairly breezy and on rehanging the rudder I noticed a huge great crack where an old repair had gone bad. Probably best not to sail when the rudder was in danger of falling into two pieces, so we spent the day repairing it and doing further jobs on the boat – more patching of the deck and repairs to the stem, plus she got a good dry out inside with the fan heater.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in terms of getting emails from various people – first from Rupert Holmes who recently restored the Extension 24 “Minestrone”. He had a lot of useful insight into the boats and the issues he encountered in doing a fairly similar refit. Then this morning, a load of comments from Mike and Hilary Payne – owners of Nervous Tension for 5 years up until Spring 2009 – offering encouragement and stories from their days spent sailing her.
Roll on the warmer weather when some serious progress can be made!
That most favoured tool of the DIY boat builder. I took mine to the front of my boat this weekend. Time was short so I figured a rough and ready job is better than no job at all. Ground the repairs back a few millimetres, filled, roughly faired then glassed over them. It was cold so the resin will probably bloom, but it’s more of a covering layer than a structural layer on the bits I did, so not to worry really. It’s progress.
I also repositioned one of the struts I’d fitted as when I was sitting on the pontoon I noticed the bow roller was at a rather jaunty angle. Took it off and lined everything up by eye. I think I’m going to glass over the whole lot then refit the roller. Give that stem some proper weather protection on it’s end.
Still need to deck over the front, cut out the (largely rotten) front bulkhead – glass everything on the inside and reinforce the whole lot. At least once the deck’s on it’s mostly working inside where a fan heater actually does something.
More snow forecast across the UK for this week – not an ideal time for working on boats.
Dare I say it: it’d be nice to take part in the Red Funnel Easter Regatta. Now there’s a deadline.
I was looking back through some old posts and came across this one from earlier in the year. So I guess now it’s time to see what’s left and reassure myself that actually more or less everything now is to satisfy my desire to have a tidy boat rather than a structurally sound one.
Patch a crack in the deck Repair the port quarter under the pushpit base Fill andfair scuffs on the port topside Repair section of starboard bow which has been torn off (on closer inspection – very structural!) Repair area of damp wood from a previous repair on starboard bow Rebuild missing section of starboard transom Repair transom crossbeam (now removed from boat) Figure out where the water in the bilge is coming from Repair stringers on port side(just needs glassing) Refit bow roller
- Reattach deck to stringers on port side
- Repair top of companionway
- Deck over bow well
- Investigate what’s behind suspicious bits of plywood under the heads
- Build forward bunks (and maybe move the sea toilet)
- Make cushions
- Make new hatch lid that actually fits
- Rewire everything
- Go for a sail
Went pretty well to be honest. I was doing pit on J/109 “Me Julie” again in light airs and patchy fog. Delayed getting to the start as we had to scrub the ice off the decks before it was possible to stand up on them and also drop a couple of late sailors off onto another yacht. Seemed to work in our favour though as we arrived at the port end of the line just as the gun went and the fleet were setting off from the starboard end – it seemed to put us firmly in pole position by the first mark, which we kept until the last (downwind) leg. The yachts rounding after us caught some better air and went steaming off faster and deeper, while we got pushed ever further by the tide. Still, we made a creditable 3rd place and sailing with the sun streaming down through the patchy fog was just brilliant. Would have been a great day to have a decent camera for sure.