Friday, 25 April 2014

Spring clean

With April rapidly pushing on and warm weather arriving we got on with painting the rigging. We use a combination of Stockholm Tar, Linseed or Danish Oil, Japan Driers and a drop of Black Varnish or Bitumen paint, so essentially anything we have to hand really. It is a back-breaking job as you sit for several hours in the bosun's chair with a snatch block connecting you to the fore stay rather than have to hang on with one hand whilst clutching a pot and brush with the other. 
Bee, at the hounds.
Bee went aloft this time and stay's, shrouds and running backs were duly coated. We have to choose windless days as the stuff can go everywhere and gleaming white yachts get the Jackson Pollack treatment if we're not very careful. The mizzen shrouds were done the following day and the complaints from visitors are still going on as they unsuspectingly grasp the nice shiny rigging to help them onto the boat... Perhaps I needed a little more driers.

The saddle, mast rings and traveller had numerous coats of Neats Foot Oil to help bring the leather back to life, finishing off with a liberal coating of deer tallow courtesy of Howard, Belfast Maine. 

  The engine sea trials have come and gone leaving us free to depart when a favourable wind comes along. Less noise and vibration coupled to a better turn of speed have left us happy with the choice. Toots, for the most part, seems unconcerned with the new noises whereas simply activating the key and the alarm on the old one was enough to have here up the steps, along the deck and under the dinghy.

With a few days of favourable winds we hope to leave and head back down toward Cornwall.

Que Sera



Thursday, 3 April 2014

Haul out blues or worse...

Another haul out comes and goes and Hannah splashes with new colours, generally tarted up and made ready for the next bit. But where will it be?

16x14 prop but will it work?
 Part of the reason for coming out was to fit a new shaft and prop. This was not without its problems, none major but given our fragile state of mind every hiccup felt like a mountain to climb. Things became so bad that one day we actually, albeit briefly, discussed selling up and doing something else! Well living in a canal boat since you ask and several hours were spent looking at various boats and imagining a life where weather forecasts were there to check on the amount of sunshine we might expect rather than a way of life. I think it all fell apart when we were visited by Tony, a fellow gaffer owner, who warned us that his good friend lived on a canal boat and the life was rather social. Bee, as those who have met her can testify, doesn't do social. Or probably those who haven't met her I should say... But it is interesting, at least to us, that we may be considering that another life might be calling us even if we really have no idea what that might be. Not living on Hannah is something we find hard to imagine but I have noticed my physical and mental changes over the last year and whilst Bee seems to have the ability to keep going, Toots has suffered more of  late too. We'll see.

Things were getting behind a little and I went to see the yard to see if we might have longer than the 3 weeks we'd asked for. They countered by asking if we couldn't be ready a day earlier. Nowt like a tightening deadline to spur us on. All the prep had been done and once the primer was applied everything, as it does, came together quickly.

Because the topsides had suffered we'd decided to freshen it up but gone for single pack rather than the usual 2 pack. Easier to apply, touch up is simpler too. So we set to whilst Paul supplied the raw shaft, John turned it and we settled on a Poole company to supply the prop. Several companies we contacted regarding a prop have still to respond which seems an odd way to run a business... The prop arrived with John and the shaft, we slid everything into place and tightened it all down. Props are one of life's complications. No matter that they have been around for several hundred years, that computer's now produce them; it still seems to be a bit of a guessing game. The owner supplies the asked for info but can only expect a "best guess" with the proviso that if it doesn't work changes can be made (at your own expense).....

 Last minute jobs were completed and then we found our splash was put back as a commercial job took precedent. Tuesday came and Hannah slipped into the slings and back into the water, escorted from the hoist by the same tug that brought her in. John collected us from the fuel dock and away we went back up the river to the Marina for another couple of weeks. Since then the majority of the engine work has been completed - just a couple of hoses to connect and we'll be in business.

The commercial job we were "bumped" for was a cat that was heading up to Shetland for a fishing business. We chatted to one of the folks concerned as he beguiled Bee with tales of Shetland and the joys we might find there....could be a contender?