Friday, 22 March 2013

The second year of sailing the Mai-Star II

The second year of sailing was very much the as the first. Like with all wooden yacht or motor boats the yearly chore of painting and varnishing the wood work or just touching up the paint work where it was damaged the year before. Fitting new equipment or replacing old gear that had seen better days. It is a never ending chore that makes boating fun both on and off the water.
With Mai-Star II it is a matter of  getting to know the boat a little bit more every time my family & I when out on her, seeing what she would do in different sea conditions and wind speeds. So all together a fun time, as well as a few mishaps along the way in the way of going aground from time to time. This is what east coast sailing is about when you explore little creeks and inlets. The problems that beset us from the first year were for the most part sorted; just the trimming with the correct amount of ballast is going to take time.
Getting to grips with the sails was fun, as with all new sail plans it is a matter of getting the correct settings for the different wind speeds and point of sailing, as well as trying out new sails and seeing how they perform under different conditions. Also getting to know when to reef the boat before it gets over powered  and too much of a handful to sail short-handed.
During the second year while my son was on his school holidays, he came out on the boat and it was his first trip on the boat out on the North Sea and he enjoy every minute of it.  

So this year when the boat is relaunched he is going to come sailing more and see more of the creeks and inlets around our piece of coastline on the Suffolk - Essex and retrace the steps of the children from the pages of A. Ransomes books.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The first year sailing, not much of it but it was fun.

The first year's sailing there was not much of it, but it was fun.

The first year was a year of getting to know what the boat would do as much has it was to find out what it would do. One thing was very soon a where was that it did not like moving around a marina. Especially as it has a long keel and with a small outboard, you have to make moving around very carefully planned or things can and will go wrong.

Out of the local rivers it was a good boat in when sailing in a bit of a breeze as long as you reefed early, that it something that will have to do sorted out over the winter as it was having to be done a little too early. More Ballast please said the boat and its crew.  The new sails had to be tested to see the sheeting positions were correct and if there was any need to adjust these, thankfully it was fine and the sailing trials when OK apart from the ballast problem.

The engine trials were fun, finding out how fast the boat would manoeuvre as well as how fast it would stop from going full ahead under motor to stopping. in the end that was quite a way. But it was to be fun. After it takes a lot of power to stop 3 tons of old gaffer once it got a fair speed up.

The first year showed up a few problems with storage down below, nothing major, just a few cups that needed better cup holders making so that they stayed in place while making a brew under sail.

So all in all it was a good first year, now to get the boat sorted for the new season and learn from the last season and get a few more things done to the boat to make this year even better than the last season.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The first season's sailing, not a lot of it but there were some good days out.

The first season was a matter of getting to know the new boat and its handling, to see how it turned in a marina or not. How much it would take to get her underway as well as how much it would take to stop her.  Also how it sails under different sail setups and wind conditions. So all in all a lot of fun.

Most of the first season was taken up with local sailing and exploring the local rivers and creeks and the odd coastal trip.

The one thing that was very noticable was that the boat needed a bit more ballast as it had be removed at sometime and not replaced. So the hunt was on for some more ballast, about 3CWT of it.

The main thing with the boat was getting to grips with the gaff rig as I had not sailed this for a good many years and it was working out how to get the best out of the rig in different wind and sea conditions.

Other things were to see how to get the galley and cooker to work in different conditions and see how large my to do list was going to grow over the next few months. Thankfully the list was not too long. The main one being the need for more ballast as it was needed to having to reef early, but that is something to sort out over the winter re-fit period so that it is ready for the new season.


A lazy motor down the river Orwell

My son first trip on the boat

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Then the fun part of owning a boat begun, The running costs of the boat.

Like with all boat restoration projects getting to the water is one battle. The next one is to make sure all the hard work that was put into the boat pays off and you have a great time out on the water.

With Mai-Star II, getting to the water was a long protracted period of stops and starts, having money to do some jobs and then not have the time to do the jobs and then the opposite. But that is boat restoration for you, it happens how you get over it, what makes it fun or hell depending on your point of view.

Then came the day of the first attempt at launching the boat. It was an experience to say the least. The boat had been caulked and putty put in the seams the boat had been primed and anti fouled and there appeared to be no gaps in the planks. Then when the boat was put in the water it was a different picture, water was coming in from all over the place, it was difficult to see where it was not coming in. 

It was not a thing that was not uncommon to old wooden boats that have been out of the water for so many years. That coupled with the fact that it had been a dry winter and a very dry and warm spring and early summer, it was a situation I was expecting to happen, but not quite that bad.

So the boat was left to hang in the hoist slings for a couple of hours to see if the flooding would slow down. In the end it did not that day, but after an evening of wetting the inside of the boat with wet sacking and taking a look round the bottom of the boat an attempt was made the next day. This time it was a success, the water had stopped a great deal and the bilge pump could cope with the amount of water that was still coming in.

After a couple of days, well a week the leaks were all but stopped and the next part of the re-commissioning could take place.

That was to step the first time this had been done on the water for at least 12 years and to sort out the standing and running rigging and to ensure that all the bits were in place.

Then next came the bending on of the sails after they have come back from the sail maker who had done a great job of making a new set of sails out of an discarded genoa off a modern racing yacht.

So these new sails were bend on to the spars and hoisted and you could feel the boat coming a live once more with weather in its sails.  While I was doing that it was time to set out where the two foresails sheet position would be on the deck and fit the sheet lead blocks to the deck and the cleats at the cockpit end.

That was the end of the first day, then next morning it was time for the first trail sail to see how the long hours of work had paid off, then to enjoy having the boat once more on the water and sailing.