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Fosdyke - 6th June

Yacht Quintet
Fosdyke Yacht Haven

6th June, 2005

Fosdyke - 17th June->

No we haven't left yet. And the fact that it keeps raining and the yard owner seems loath to let us into his nearly empty shed means that we will be here forever, or we relaunch with a matt finish, unpainted hull.

Click for a larger imageTo tell the truth we have painted a number of times. And either it has rained during the painting day before the paint has dried sufficiently, requiring major rubbing back to remove the spots and streaks, or it has been wonderfully dry but blowing a gale and we have finished up with a pebble-dashed hull requiring major rubbing back to remove the gravel. And as well as that occasionally huge flakes of the old paint have bubbled up overnight requiring scraping off, priming, filling and major rubbing back to feather the edges. Either way we have not yet been successful.

And it really has been a shame because I managed to cajole our old friend Tony Considine, a professional painter, into loading his car with ladders, rollers, brushes and Denise and drive down from Hull three times (or was it four). And each time wind or rain (sometimes both) made his efforts ineffective. Still the paint finish in the saloon has benefited mightily from his skills.

But we are hopeful of the forecast for the next couple of days. Lights winds and temperatures approaching 20 degrees, and the promise of no rain on the East coast looks as though we (by which I mean Clive) may be able to put a finishing coat on.

We hope that we are, at last, on the final leg of the very long journey to get the boat up to scratch for this 'big trip'. Certainly the trip itself ought to be more relaxing.

My own contribution to the refit has been negligible as I spent the winter sailing in Sydney, Australia and generally swanning about, whilst Clive has been head down and arse up (literally) out on the icy flatlands bordering the River Welland, carrying out major surgery on Quintet.

The refit tasks have included:

  1. replacing all sea cocks
  2. installing a sea toilet to replace the bucket which came with the boat
  3. rebuilding the galley
  4. rewiring the whole boat and installing a battery management system
  5. installing a folding seat back to the port settee in the saloon
  6. removing the brown formica top and rebuilding the saloon table (Can you believe there was NO bottle stowage on the boat? Me neither. There is now!)
  7. installing a watertight and draining cockpit floor
  8. upgrading interior and navigation lights

and a host of other trivial but time consuming (and, so he tells me, money consuming) activities all made more difficult because the winter has been pretty cold in the fens and the facilities at Fosdyke are pretty basic. Some of the work sessions were curtailed before the work had progressed very far so that Clive could drive home and thaw out for a few days before returning to the windswept flatness of the Wash.

Most of this work was planned. But there has been some unexpected work crop up as well.

The supposedly simple task of installing a meatier alternator on the engine has been dogged with difficulty. The bracket didn't fit so a custom job was commissioned. The replacement bracket looked fine but didn't fit so had to be taken back and modified. Now it is on, it doesn't work quite the way the other one did. We have not yet resolved the difficulty and certainly won't be going anywhere without electrics.

The anchor chain caught in the hawse pipe. So a larger pipe was designed. The device was made up, exactly to our spec, but when fitted, would not open. It fouled the anchor winch. It has been remade just this afternoon and hopefully will be successfully installed tomorrow (while Clive paints).

Close inspection of shrouds has shown some damage to the cap shrouds and the intermediates. The lowers had already been changed as they were made of galvanised wire, parcelled and served, and possibly even older than me. And the running backstays had spliced eyes! They were certainly well stretched after so many years of use. So they are all being remade and should be ready for the end of the week when we can step the mast again (we hope).

But the discovery that had us rolling in the aisles was the ballast.

Quintet carries a number of hundreds of pounds of internal lead ballast as well as the cast iron keel shoe. This ballast has been moved from its original location under the heads and was reinstalled under a false floor in the forepeak. (according to the newspaper which it was wrapped with, in 1991)

We had discussed its location and had agree that it should ideally be returned to its original location lower down in the bilge and further aft. But on inspection it appeared that the task of moving it would mean dismantling the boat so Clive decided that it should wait for next year.

But I wanted to see that it was well strapped down and would not move so I studied the installation and realised I could see fixings on just one edge so I went to the opposite corner and prised the floor up. It came free. By hand. No fixings at all. The lead ingots had been neatly placed with wooden chocks to stop them moving side to side and fore and aft. But the whole shooting match was free to fly upwards in the case of a severe broach or worse, a capsize. I guess that half a ton of lead in half brick sized pieces might punch a nice hole through a deck hatch after travelling 5 feet or so.

I have now spent a day repositioning the ballast and making provision to fix it firmly in all dimensions. The fixing part is tomorrow's job. But it makes one think 'what else haven't we discovered yet?

At least when the mast goes back up, I can do exciting things like rigging halyards and blocks and trying out sails. And won't it be good to put that sandpaper away and get the sail repair kit out.

So hopefully the next report will see us in the water, afloat if not actually under way.

I wonder whether the pumps will be able to shift the amount of water she leaks in before she takes up? She has been up on the dry for 7 months now. She must have opened up a bit.

Note Add another bucket to the shopping list.

And maybe alert the lifeboat!

Les Sutcliffe

Fosdyke - 17th June->