Page published 10 February 2021

Go to Top Just 17 - The Launch

13 Sep 2011

Almost exactly six years to the day after Imagination was launched after a major repaint, Just 17 is now moored in the same spot, less than 25 feet from the front door of "The Pleasure Boat"! It wasn't quite as I had planned it, but being so late in the season, it was hardly surprising that moorings were somewhat limited.

Imagination at the Pleasure Boat

Imagination, in a photograph I posted on the Geograph site, showing her a fortnight after her launch in September 2005 following her major re-paint.

The planned mooring this time is on the other side of the dyke, ahead of Rhiannon, but a river cruiser had been brought into the Pleasure Boat dyke from her normal swinging mooring during the recent gales.

Just 17 at the Pleasure Boat

Glen and Adrian, landlord and regular at "The Pleasure Boat" give a cheery wave as I photograph Just 17 after her 2011 launch and long awaited arrival at the pub.

Of the various things that still needed to be completed in the final Refit Report, the window frames were tackled by Ian and I this morning. I had brought back some bolts on my last return from Kenilworth and fitted them to the strakes yesterday afternoon, when I had also managed to sort out the electrics control panel and re-connect the solar panel. The foredeck mast lowering gear had been done on Friday, before leaving for Kenilworth. The only thing that not been done was the rub down and varnishing of the internal woodwork.

As I had decided that I would do the varnishing after launch, it only remained for Ian and I to have a lunch of bread and cheese, before we set about preparing Just 17 to be trailed to the launch site. Having taken a look at the Parish slipway last night, I thought it best if we launched at Martham. However, Ian persuaded me that Hickling was worth another look and so it was that we opted for Hickling.

Sure enough, the water levels were higher than I had seen last night when I went to look, although not so high that we wouldn't have to drop the trailer wheels over the end of the ramp in order to float Just 17. My worry with that plan, as I told Ian, was that, as the slipway is not at a right angle to the dyke. you have to ensure the trailer is at an indeterminate angle to the slipway as you drop the wheels off the ramp. Last time I tried I ended up with the jockey wheel at a strange angle and a bent connector plate on the trailer.

Raising the mast and preparing for launch was straight forward and, with Ian on the winch and me steering the trailer down the ramp things were going well. We soon reached the stage where I needed to remove my shoes and sock and roll up my trousers. Paddling about on the wire mesh at the top of the slip was fine. However, the mesh only reaches down a few feet and beyond it the concrete slip is slimy and slippery.

The point arrived where one wheel went over the end of the ramp. Unfortunately, the other wheel did not and, as before, the jockey wheel was soon at a crazy angle. Unlike last time, so was I. As the wheel went over the ramp, so I tried to pull on the trailer to square it up and get both wheels over the edge. However, as I tugged so I slipped, and before I knew it, I was nearly lying in nine inches of water. Only the top half of my shirt was dry.

As I got up the second wheel found the end of the ramp. The boat then only needed the slightest push to free it from the trailer. Once tied up it was time to inspect the damage to the trailer. This time it was slight. The bracket that took so much trouble to replace last time, was undamaged. Indeed it was only the rather flimsy looking clamp that holds the jockey wheel assembly onto the trailer that had suffered any damage and it was easy enough to bend back again. However, it looks as if it will need replacing before it needs to hold the full weight of the boat again.

Launch of Just 17

© 2011 Ian Ruston

Only my shoulders and top of my chest stayed dry after my fall. It was surprising how I didn't feel in the slightest cold.

With the damage assessed it was time to haul the trailer up the ramp and hitch it to the car again. Then I took the outboard from the car and mounted it on the the transom of Just 17. Then I took her from the Parish staithe round to the Pleasure Boat dyke. I was a little disturbed by how little power there seemed to be. Perhaps the normal man would not have said this. Certainly, Ian had expressed surprise when I had claimed that my battery was still working well after twelve years. Now I began to wonder if a new battery should not be on my shopping list.

Just 17 at the Pleasure Boat

Not the neatest bit of mooring, but Just 17 will soon be moved across the dyke to a more permanent station.

Ian was waiting for me as I reached the end of the pub's dyke, as were the landlord and a group of locals. Once ashore, I didn't manage the prettiest bit of mooring, but my excuse is that the posts were not ideally placed for a 17ft yacht. It doesn't matter too much as Just 17 will soon be moved across to the other side of the dyke. With the boat roughly secure Ian and I then adjourned inside for a pint. It seemed a thoroughly good idea at the time!

Go to Top Just 17 - Post Launch Work

14 Sep 2011

As noted in yesterday's report, one of the tasks that I had not managed to complete before Ian and I launched Just 17 was the rub down and varnishing of the internal woodwork. I achieved that task this afternoon. At least, I applied a single coat of varnish. I'm hoping it will be enough.

Cabin in Chaos

The cabin is in an inevitable state of chaos as I slap on some varnish. I don't claim to be expert at the job!

As I took up the floorboard in the forward part of the cabin I realised that there is another job to be done. I need to glue in the floor joist. This short piece of wood wasn't needed until I fitted out the cabin. Originally, the floorboard was wider and its sides were supported at each side along its whole length by the hull. Now, with the galley and lockers fitted to each side, the board is only supported by a small ledge at the leading edge of the main bunk and floor moulding and the slope of the hull in the bow. Without the joist, the floorboard flexes dangerously.
Charge Controller

The Charge Controller seemed to be working again after the panic last night. The vertical piece of wood holds the fire extinguisher bracket. On the far side of the two holes are nuts held in place with Araldite. It means no bolts need to pass through the aft wall of the cabin.

Apart from the the main job of varnishing, I also came prepared to re-wire the charge controller. I failed to mention it in last night's report, but as I closed up the boat, I had noticed that the green LED that indicates that the solar panel is producing current to charge the battery was not lit, in spite of it still being light enough to produce power. However, on opening the cabin today, I was surprised to see it lit, so that was a job I could check off without having to do anything.

However, I did manage to forget to do the other job I had come prepared for. I want to make a note of the internal dimensions of the battery box. I am coming to accept that I do need a new battery. Ian is encouraging me to buy at least one 110a/h unit, but I fear that would mean I'd need to build a new battery box. I need to check if that would be the case. At the moment I'm still inclined to believe that 85a/h is enough, as it has served me well over the last seven years. I think I'd rather put the money I would save in buying a smaller battery into a petrol engine - not for use on the Broads, but in case I should ever get round to visiting Carrie, my brother's daughter, who lives in Falmouth or, indeed, should I ever do some sea sailing around Norfolk.

Go to Top Just 17 - The Cabin Completed

15 Sep 2011

I made a couple of trips to Just 17 today. Somehow I managed to forget various things on both the first and second time around. So the one thing I had on my list and still have to do is set, in epoxy resin, the support beam for the floorboard in the front of the cabin.

The Galley Complete

The galley is now complete with the camping saucepans, crockery and cutlery neatly stowed on shelves.

One of my concerns had been whether I could fit a larger capacity battery in the battery box. On that first trip I forgot to take my measure. It turns out that the internal dimensions are 320mm long, 220mm wide and 240mm high. A quick perusal of eBay suggests that some 110a/h batteries should fit, although I would have to make changes in my method of holding the battery in place, inside the box. Now it's just a question of making up my mind whether it is worth paying the extra for a deep discharge, "leisure" battery. Given my kind of usage, I doubt that it is.

The Cabin Complete

Added since yesterday are the back rest cushions, which now make the cabin complete and ready to day sail.

There's a few other things I still have on my "To Do" list. Internally, I want to fit a strip of metal on the cabin threshold. Most SeaHawks have a capping of angled aluminium on the outer edge of the threshold to cover the gap where it meets the superstructure moulding. There's no evidence that Just 17 ever had such a strip, but it would add a little neatness to that join. I also want to obtain a small piece of rubber to act as seal for the keel handle. (I must take a photo. I'll update this entry later!) Then there's some cup holders for the cockpit! The other day Ian reminded me that having some device to keep coffee mugs or beer cans upright would be a worthwhile improvement.

The Electrics Control Panel

Even the electrics control panel is properly labelled, which should keep it acceptable for the next BSS inspection.

Externally, I really should have re-varnished the rudder and tiller. That's an easy task as they can be taken home in between trips. However, I want to consult with others before I do that. I have read one report that suggests there would be some benefit from making the rudder deeper and, perhaps, I should consider a whole new rudder?

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