Sunday, 20 January 2013

The first re-launch date and first sail

Now that the boat had been painted & varnished and anti fouled it was now time to re-launch the boat for the first time in over 12 years. It was a nervous time especially for me after all the work my wife and I had put into getting the boat this far. The day was sunny and the time came to get the boat put in the hoist to put it in the water.

Then the boat was lowered into the water, coming as no surprise the boat leaked a little, after all it had not been in the water for over 12 years and the was going to be a bit of taking up to do. However, as it was released from the slings and left to float the water came in a lot faster than before. So much that I had to put a fire pump into stem the flow of water into keeping her a float. This when on for the best part of four to five hours until the water coming in had all but stopped and the boat was floating be her self.

As I had a feeling that the boat was going to leak, as the planking was so dry after it had been out for so long and that it was a dry summer and winter before the launch. It was something I was expecting to happen I left out all the loose floor boards and other fittings until it had taken up and was dry in side.

After about a week it appeared to have stopped leaking. So it was time to raise the mast once more and set the rig up so that I could take it for it's first sail in over 12 years. As with anything that as been restored back from a wreck to sailing condition. It is a nervous time as the rig take up the tension of having the sails filling with the breeze and powering up and making its way under it's own sails. Also it was a time to test out the new rudder which I had build from a design that I had been given  by the last owner, which he said was taken from the pattern of the old rudder that was no condition to be used.

So after this first sail the boat started to work and a couple of leaks started and so it was taken out of the water to sort these out and to do a few other little jobs that the first sail had shown up.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Then came the work on the mast.

After the work on the boat, then came the turn of the mast, boom, gaff and the bowsprit. When I got the boat I had all the spars but the boom. this I had to make a new. As somewhere a long it journey into my ownership it was lost.

The first thing I had to do was to insect the spars to see if any had to be replaced, if so how much was going to be the replacement cost and how much work would it involve getting new ones made. Thankfully there was not a lot to do if the mast, apart from a bit of gluing a small spilt which had come about due to the mast been left out in the weather and the glue joint being exposed to the elements. This taken care of, I when about making some new crosstrees to replace the ones that had done missing a long the way. These new ones were made out of well seasoned oak and made up to the length that the sail maker/rigger had set out in his plans for the rig. He had been given the measurements from the original spars that I had, so that he was able to let me know the length of the boom I had to make that was missing.

Like with all new spars you have to find the right wood for the job. This bit was reasonably straight forward. As I had a good contact in the timber industry who was able to source  the bit I needed.
Then came the fun part making it. The hardest part is making a round boom out of a square piece of wood. It takes a lot of planning and moving up and down a piece of wood with an electric planner turning this square block of wood into a round spar.  However, once done it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Then came the sanding of this and the other spars and the many litres of varnish it took to seal the wood from the weather. This varnishing took a long time as the mast just appeared to soak up varnish as if it was a sponge. But finally it was done has were the other spars and they were ready to have the fittings fitted to the them. The fittings thankfully were not a problem as my local classic boat fitting company( Classic Marine Ltd Woodbridge Suffolk) had the necessary fittings in stock, also was able to fashion custom parts where needed quickly, so to keep the project on track.

They also were able to make up the standing rigging at the same time. Then once the spars were all done it was time to put the mast back up on the boat for the first time in at least 12 years. I bet the boat felt good that it was going to be going sailing once more, after it had been left to get into such a state of disrepair that it could of gone either way. A pile of firewood if nobody had come along to restore her. Thankfully for her it was going to be back on the water and sailing again.

Once the mast was back up and the standing rigging and running rigging was set up it was time to bend on the sails for the first time. This was a glorious  site with its sails once more upon its spars.


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Painting the boat's hull, a never ending task

One of the jobs that on a wooden boat, never ends is painting the hull. It is a job that you have to do every year. However, if you buy a boat that you have to restore then the job takes a lot longer as you have to build up the layers of paint to get a good finish. This can take you a long time especially if you like I was during this time working outside in the pal of the weather gods.

So the long process of putting on paint and sanding it off and fairing started and if you have an old boat that is not not very fair or as a few dents in then the job is going to take time. However, when you have spent a lot of hours doing it and the end result is a nice hull then the long hours disappear and the pain of using a sanding board and sander makes it all worth while.

With that out of the way then in was the turn of the rubbing skates and toe rails and cabin sides and  hand rails. This is a long job getting layers of varnish on the bare wood and building up the thickness of varnish so it would protect the wood for the coming season. The first few coats of varnish you put on appear to disappear as if you had not put any on, but over a period of time when the wood stopped taking it in. then the layers started building up and till it looked like a glass like finish.

Then the next year you start the job again on painting the boat, but not to the same level as before because by this time you have build up the layer of paint and varnish, But it is still a never ending job and one of the joys of having a wooden boat or so I have been told.