Monday, 28 April 2014

... And she's in

I have finally found the time to drop Ciao Bella in the water. Sunday was pretty wet in the morning but the forecast on Windguru was for a dry spell in the evening, just about the time when there would be some water at slipway at Baiter.
First things first, I dragged the trusty Tohatsu out of the garage, filled the tank with fresh petrol and ran it in a dustbin for a while.  I didn't want it to splutter to a halt and leave me drifting around the harbour :)


I had moved the boat onto the grass verge last week in the hope of finding a suitable time to launch,  I needed to get the mast on board, not easy on your own, and strap the whole lot down.

Having set the crutch up on the stern, I lifted the top of the mast onto the rail, then tied it as close to the crutch as possible.  Then using one of the halyards I pulled the bottom of the mast up onto the front of the boat.
I got to Baiter about 4pm where Paul, my glamorous assistant, met me to help rig the boat.   After the usual kerfuffle the mast was up and she was ready to glide majestically down the slipway.. I just had to slip into my fetching wet suit first... don't worry, there are no photos!
Apart from the occasional large pebble acting as a wheel chock the trailer went easily down the slip, without falling off the side.  I floated Ciao Bella off the trailer and anchored her off the side of the slipway, then swam back to the trailer to recover that.
Eventually on board, dried and motoring over to EDSC it felt great to be back on the water.
Motoring away from Baiter

There are a few things still to do, I will have to replace some of the bottle screws and also I worryingly found a loose screw head on the stem head fitting, I hope it has just vibrated loose and not sheared.
As I paddled away the sun was just descending and the view, as always, was stunning.  It took about 4 hours in total to launch this year,  not bad, especially as I was going at a very unhurried pace.

It's good to be back.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sail Cover

Although I had planned to make my own sail cover, I stumbled across this one on flee bay for a buy it now price of £40.  Looks like it needs a very small repair but generally in very good condition... and professionally made :)
Apparently it was in a load of kit on a Westerly Renown (32' Ketch) which has in mast reefing so was probably a left over from before it's conversion.  It has been used but only vary lightly and is very clean... I'm sure the Seagulls will remedy that!

Professionally made.

Detail of small tear / wear.

Canvas looks in good condition.

I think I'm nearly ready to go sailing :)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Anti foul on

After a coffee grinder malfunction yesterday, I found myself with about 200g of freshly ground coffee. Coffee goes stale pretty quickly once ground and me being brought up in the "there's starving kids in Africa ye know" approach to wastefulness, I naturally felt I should do my best to use it all. 
The net result being that I was up at 7am on Easter Saturday absolutely wide eyed. 
Today's mission was to get the anti foul on.   The line needed raising as well so after giving the hull a final scrape I masked up and abraded the areas which hadn't previous been painted.  I also roughed up the areas where I'd had poor adhesion last year. 
I finish off last years tub of Hempel cruising performer before legging it down to Cobbs Quay Chandlery for a fresh tub.  While there I saw 'tyger' Dom and Sarah's swift 18 sat on its trailer, it looked like they'd just done the same job but could see either of them.  
After slapping on copious amounts of the blue stuff I was starting to look like Pappa Smurf but at least it was done.I'd given the rubbing streaked a coat of Sadalin the other day so she's starting to look much smarter now.

I removed the pile of old harbour dues stickers and put the new one on.  After a bit of a rummage round for other jobs to do, I came to the conclusion that she's nearly ready to go in.  Don't get me wrong, there is loads that I want to do but the season has started and I want to sail more than I want to fix.

With the main part of the boat done, enough for this year anyway, I enticed James out to help me get the mast of the gazebo.  I was disappointed to see the spinnaker halyard just about worn through near the top of the mast.  I will have to think of another way to route this. 

By 3pm the coffee hit had worn off and I was ready to crash.  Time to soak in the bath and peel off some anti foul. 

I've got to give the rigging the once over. 
Make or buy a sail cover. 
Load her up and send her down the slipway. Poor weather forecast for the next few days and away next week end... I'm sure she'll go in soon. :)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Feeling flushed

`There's no stopping me at the moment.  Tonight I have knocked off a couple of jobs, first I moved the battery to a more suitable position, from under the cockpit sole to the the bilge space under the port rear quarter berth.  As the bilge is curved and there is a great big hole down into  the keel space floor to sit it on, I bolted the battery case to the side wall, spacing it out slightly with a hard wood batten to allow the lid to fit on.  The strap is clamped between the batten and the wall.

The conduit for the cables is quite chunky, about 20mm so I had to bore a hole in the locker lid and slot it out to allow it fit.

While I was on a roll I decided to crack on with finishing off the loo installation. The platform needed supporting to stop it putting pressure on the hull.  I screwed hardwood battens to the ribs too take the weight. 
There was enough slack in the pipes to simply bore two holes in the kick board and feed them through without having to reroute them.  The new position is much better, should be easier to keep clean and get to for maintenence. I had to take a notch out of the lid to allow it to open fully.  This will need painting over to finish off but apart from that... job done.

The piece of cabin sole which was removed fits nicely over the loo and allows the forepeak to be used as a bunk again.  Especially as the locker behind now fits flush.

Also.. this little sticker got pushed through the door today,  better really push on now... I'm wasting sailing time.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sorting the Bilges

Todays little adventure was to get to work on the bilges.  This needed doing, a; because they are shockingly bad and b; and more importantly, I had to put in a board for the loo to sit on.The bilges have been sadly negleted as they are normally hidden under the sole.   The picture below give some idea of how bad they are.
I started by giving them a right good clean with some Silky deep clean, this stuff is the bees knees.  I'm not sure how diluted it is supposed to be but I mixed it up about 3:1 and it made short work of the muck as you can see below. 
I then spent quite some time making a platform for the loo to sit on.  For a non technical piece of wood this really took some time to get right.  The final effort of the evening was to give everything a good coating of Danboline,  I have a sneaking suspicion that Dan may have painted many tudor ships until Henry carelessly beheaded his sister.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A bit more

It was still warm and light when I finished work tonight so I managed to crack on with a bit more.  I finished of the repair to the rudder blade.  The Resin mix had set well and I just had to file it to shape before slapping on some yacht enamel.

The lower bearing housing for the rudder stock needed some attention, I had snapped a stainless screw in it last year while working on the beach.  I managed to get the old bit of screw out but I also notice some other bits of metal in the GRP.  After some digging I pull out two broken drill bits and another broken screw.  By this time the hole was getting quite big... some remedial action was required.    I poked out all the lose bits and wiped it over with acetone, I then filled all four holes with a resin filler mix before reattaching the bearing housing with the screws into the three good holes.  The idea being that the resin mix in these will set and take up any slack from previous wear.  The nasty hole will be allowed to set before being re drilled. All the fun of the fair!

Having made good progress I grabbed some sand paper are roughed up the rubbing strakes followed by a coat of Sadolin,, it's amazing how simple things start to make the task look so much better.

My last job of the evening was to refit the rudder and reattach the tiller.  A simple task which posed the problem of how do you know that the rudder is in central position while you are in the cockpit attaching the tiller?   So here's my tip of the day... I wedged an old fender between the rudder and hull and hey presto the rudder stays in position :) 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Polish a coprolite

Last night, during a fit of enthusiasm I decided to roll my sleeves up and do a bit on Ciao Bella.   In the scheme of things I have decided to do the minimum to get Ciao Bella back on the water this year.  This means starting with the hull as once that is done she can happily sit on her mooring.

The first job was to wash the hull down with Oxalic acid which makes short work of the brown stains which don't seem to be shifted by anything else.   The topsides although clean looked very dull so I spent a bit of time with some cream cleaner and a polisher.   This hull is never going to look like it's just come out of a showroom but it does now look presentable.

The next job was to sort out the cracks at the top of the rudder and fill in the old holes from the lower pintle bracket. Water has clearly been getting into the rudder foil and causing corrosion.  In the picture below you can see a rust streak running down the side of the rudder.

I used my trusty Dremel to chase out the cracks and remove old repairs which hadn't worked.  I then gave it a good slosh of Acetone to clean the area and help the resin to bond.  I mixed up some resin with Colloidal silica to make a filler mix.

I then put some masking tape around the edge to make a dam, otherwise the resin would just run out and dribble down the side of the rudder :)  I had read in 'Fibreglass boats' by Hugo Du Plessis that Polyester Resin is not waterproof and although epoxy is better it is still not waterproof and depends on good post cure to achieve that. He goes on to say that 'Good Polyester is better than mediocre Epoxy'  With this in mind I will be over painting with enamel paint once the repair has cured and shaped.