Page published 1 March 2021
On this page are posts originally found on "The Blog" that were made in February 2012. It's part of a sequence of pre-season boat preparation posts.
9 Feb 2012
I'd been meaning to get down to the boat in daylight for some time. I managed it last weekend at lunch time on Sunday, but lunch time meant there was no time for the list the tasks I had in mind at the end of my last post a month ago...
Retrieve the carpet tiles and give them a clean, oil the woodwork, purchase extra crockery and cutlery. I'm sure I'll think of more soon! Oh yes! I had told myself I should remove the cockpit locker lids for winter and give them another coat of "Five Year Wood Stain"!
Just 17 at lunch time on Sunday, when Diana and I called at the Pleasure Boat. There was a definite chill in the air!
I had done the easy bit a while ago. I'd got the additional cutlery from Roys, but I was to learn that they had stopped stocking the melamine crockery I needed to match the stuff I had already. The story of the cutlery was more complicated than it should be. It turned out the extra knives I had bought were bigger than the originals, so I ended up buying still more, so I have a matching set of four, plus two larger knives. As for the crockery, Amazon had come to the rescue. However, for the last fortnight, there had been a small pile of goods by the front door awaiting transfer to the various bags and boxes in the garage.
The pile of bowls, plates and knives still waiting to be taken to the garage to join the rest of the stuff from the boat.
You'll recall that a month ago there had been a problem with the neighbour's drains. On Monday there was news, but I need to fill in the back story. A month ago the insurance company had called in a firm of drain experts. Their diagnosis was that the communal overflow and soak away was blocked. They had been instructed to do the work and, eventually, the work was done. However, within 24 hours the drain running from Roger and Ruth's house was backing up once more. Another wait! Roger had spent almost a fortnight rodding his drains every 36 hours or so. "I had it down to a fine art", he said. Then back came the men from the drain company. A fresh diagnosis was made. This time a blockage was found and cleared. At last Roger felt confident the correct solution had been found and my Porta Potti was returned, unused.
So, with the Porta Potti back home, I felt I could wait no longer. In spite of the -1° temperature I set out for the Pleasure Boat, armed with screwdrivers and socket set, with the intention of clearing the rest of the gear from the boat and removing the cockpit locker lids from Just 17. On Tuesday night, when I had gone to retrieve a guitar stand I had only just realised I had left there a while ago, I was in for a shock. Arriving at the pub I found a string of huge fence panels had been erected outside the door. A Glenn-style notice warned customers not to feed the crocodiles. Inside he explained that it was the start of the work to install new quay heading along much of the dyke. Today, I was armed with my camera and was able to take some pictures.
Glenn's sense of humour is displayed on the fencing. The fencing will remain while the quay heading is renewed.
At the boat, the first thing to do was empty the lockers. This I did, piling the gear within into the supermarket carrier bags I always carry in the car.>
The plan was to remove the locker lids for the winter. The first thing I do on arrival was empty the cockpit lockers.
With the locker contents in the car, I started work on removing the hatches. Within minutes my fingers were so cold that I couldn't feel the washers between my fingers as I picked them from the wood. Some had partially embedded themselves within the wood of the hatch and with my frozen fingers I even found it impossible to remove them with the aid of a screwdriver blade.
Being as careful as I could not to lose the bolts, washers, and nuts, I slipped them all into an empty pocket in my jacket and carried the hatches to the car.
In the freezing temperatures I can't even feel the washers in my fingers after undoing the nuts.
Then I unlocked the cabin and retrieved the two large cushions that I acquired with the boat. They clearly had a previous life on a caravan and have cheap poorly fitting loose covers in a fabric that does, at least, tone with the red of Just 17's bunk cushions, but otherwise have little appeal. The carpet tiles came out next and were all carried to the car.
With the boat locked up once more I adjourned to the pub and ordered a large cup of coffee. At first it was too hot for my frozen hands to hold. I took to warming them by waving them a few feet in front of the log burner at the end of the bar, but that just made my hands ache as they begin to thaw, so I end up digging them deep into my jacket pocket.
Eventually, my hands are thawed enough to be able to drink the coffee. My brain thaws out too and I engaged in conversation with the barmaid who, with only one other customer in the place, was busy reading the "Ring of Bright Water" trilogy. She talked of how she'd like to visit the place where the book is set and explained her only experience of Scotland was a short break spent on holiday in Edinburgh. I regale her with the tale of my VW Camper Van trip to Scotland between Christmas and New Year 1970.
Stirred by our conversation, the other customer, who I took to be a travelling rep for some company, as he seemed deep in some paperwork spread out on the table at which he sat, interjected, commenting that it's the best music he's ever heard in a pub. I must admit, I find the music on Glenn's iPod a good mix too.
The photograph reveals I've left the rubber mats on board that should have come home with the rest of the galley kit.
Once home it's time to unpack everything. The cushions will have a place upstairs in the box room. I will, at least, hover and plan to shampoo the carpet tiles, which will then find their way to the garage, stowed with the rest of my boat gear.
The Porta Potti, the locker hatches, cushions and carpet, all now at home and ready to be stored for the rest of winter.
It is only as I look at the photo I took of the cleared cabin that I realise I left behind the rubber mats intended to protect the Formica from hot pots lifted straight from the cooker. They should have been removed in my last visit with the rest of the stuff from the galley. However, it won't matter if they stay their till the start of the next season.
Of course, I still have to give the hatches that coat of wood stain and I have yet to take the steel wool, rag and oil that I'll need to clean up and oil the wood of the jib cleat mounting blocks and outboard motor bracket, but at least it is a start.
13 Feb 2012
After the big freeze last week, the weather is warming up again. This afternoon my thermometer said it was over 5° outside. It started me thinking of boating again.
I lie! In fact I'd been thinking boating over much of the weekend. It started with a post I made last Thursday on the Norfolk Broads Forum in the topic about Anglia Afloat. Then, on Friday, the Editor made his first post on the forum, in response to the stream of posts about the magazine. He had invited people to get in contact with him. As my own message had finished with the words, "I haven't felt inclined to approach Steve with any of my ideas. Perhaps I should!" I thought it was only polite to take him up on his invitation, so I texted him and arranged to make a call some time today.
We had a worthwhile conversation and although no promises were made, I was asked to send him a schedule of articles the magazine had published in John Lawson's time as editor and a one sentence description of some of my ideas for future articles. Although he reckons to have sufficient material in hand to fill a couple of issues of the magazine, I am optimistic that he may ask me to write something at some point in the future. It's something I would enjoy doing.
With the phone call out of the way it really was time to think boating. No! I lie again! It was really the time to start thinking about clearing up the house. I still had the Porta Potti, which I had retrieved from my neighbours, sitting at the bottom of the stairs, along with the cockpit locker hatches and carpet tiles from the boat. It really was time to move them all out to the garage, along with the new crockery, which was still sitting beside the front door after over a fortnight.
My excuse for not doing anything last week had been it was too cold to put the toilet in the garage when the water inside it could freeze. The trouble was that I had charged the holding tank before handing the toilet over to my neighbours and, as it hadn't been used, I didn't really want to waste the fluid in the tank. Now it was warmer I hoped it would not matter if I did not empty it.
The carpet tiles after I had used my carpet shampooer on them.
The carpet tiles were a different matter. They needed cleaning before going into storage in the garage. I now had the time to do the job. First, I turned them upside down and slapped them hard on the quarry tiled floor. That produced enough grit to fill a small pepper pot. I had been worried that my carpet shampooer was playing up. I had even been thinking of buying a replacement. However, once I had charged it with shampoo and some warm water, it suddenly started to work as it should. I soon had the job done and left the slightly damp tiles propped up against a couple of radiators for a couple of hours to dry off.
To complete clearing out the house, I found a self-sealing polythene bag, added the caption, with indelible marker, "Cockpit Locker Hatches" and put in all the washers, nuts and bolts that had been in danger of getting lost. Finally, I picked up the crockery by the front door and took everything to the garage. All that remains to be done to tidy up the house is give the quarry tiles a mop over.
As the forecast is for the driest day this week to be tomorrow, I may even find time to pop to the boat and do that oiling of the jib cleat mounts and motor bracket. With that job out of the way I think I'll feel that I have completed my winter maintenance tasks. Perhaps not! There is the strake on the gunwales to consider.
I still have to make up my mind whether to slap on some more of the Mahogany wood stain I used last year, or whether to buy a small can of Ebony wood stain. The thought, at the end of the season last year, was that the boat might look better if the gunwales matched the window framing and name, which are all in black. Maybe it would. that would still leave the bits I plan to oil left a natural wood colour, but somehow that seems acceptable to me.
The Keel handle seal originally appears to have been a simple rubber sheet reinforced with netting and cut to size.
Oh, yes! There's one other thing I mean to put right before the spring. I really should think of getting a proper seal on the keel handle. Someone on the SeaHawk Forum has talked of using closed cell foam to make the seal. I had been thinking of trying to replace the worn rubber with something similar. There is supposed to be a place in Norwich that sells all sorts of rubber mouldings. I intend to see if they can supply a small piece of some net-reinforced rubber sheet that appears to have been the original seal material.
18 Feb 2012
The snow is gone and I had been beginning to think that it was time to move the stuff back to the boat that, last week, I put in the garage. I thought of it as the start of re-fitting her for the coming season. That's putting it a bit strong! However, there was certainly no reason for not getting the freshly shampooed carpet tiles back on board. So, today, I went down at the boat, partly to return and fit the carpet tiles and partly to see how the work on the quay heading was going. I wanted to take a couple of photos to use on the Pleasure Boat web site.
Arriving at the Pleasure Boat, the dyke still looks very wintery as work on the quay heading progresses.
Last week, talking about the strakes on the gunwales, I said:
I still have to make up my mind whether to slap on some more of the Mahogany wood stain I used last year, or whether to buy a small can of Ebony wood stain.
In the end I have decided that having the gunwales black would leave too few bits forward of the cockpit in a traditional wood colour. They would all be in the cockpit, the lockers in the mahogany stain and the motor bracket and jib cleat mounts oiled. Having the gunwales black as well, I felt, would leave the boat with not enough matching bits of wood, leaving it looking a bit of an unfinished hotch potch.
The motor bracket, with an even sheen, after being given an oiling today.
While the snow may have gone, it still was not warm or dry enough to consider doing any staining. You could say it was just another excuse to put off the work. However, I did manage to apply a some oil to the motor bracket and jib cleat mounts, the three bits of wood that suffer scrapes regularly, either from rubbing ropes or the business of fitting the motor on each trip.
You'll recall that my plan is to make it an experiment for this season. Regular oiling should be no chore. It should take only minutes to rub over the wood with an oiled rag, and if I visit the boat regularly enough, as is the plan, then it will retain reasonable colour, even if it never is as glossy as it would be if varnished. The trouble with varish being that it looses its protective qualities when scrapped away by the knocks and scuffs. We shall see how it works in practice...
After oiling, the mounts for the cleats show signs that I could
have made a better job of
rubbing them down but, for the moment, the concern is only to ensure they are protected.
With the few bits of wood oiled and the carpet tiles fitted, really it was only a few minutes work, it was time for the photographs to be used on the Pleasure Boat web site. Just a couple of snaps were all that was needed, and I was soon back at home - glad to be in the warm.
Sometimes I wonder if I should get some carpet tiles that tone better with the red of the bunks.
You may remember that in my last blog post I concluded:
There's one other thing I mean to put right before the spring. I really should think of getting a proper seal on the keel handle. Someone on the SeaHawk Forum has talked of using closed cell foam to make the seal. I had been thinking of trying to replace the worn rubber with something similar.
It was only when I was home that I cursed myself for forgetting to take my measure. On seeing my last blog post friend, Ian, had emailed saying:
I have some bits of butyl rubber sheet that is used for lining ponds - it is reinforced and perfect for seals of the type you want.
I responded instantly, with offers of cake to tempt him to deliver it. That wasn't sufficient, it seems. I don't blame him. Often, when he and Jan drop by they bring some very splendid cake baked by a local shop in his home village of Briston, or is it Melton Constable? I'm a bit hazy about where the join is, Unlike Coltishall and Horstead, Wroxham and Hoveton, or Lammas, home village of my parents for a number of years, and Buxton, Briston and Melton Constable have no river neatly dividing them.
To be fair, I had only the roughest of ideas how big a piece of rubber I needed, and I guess he was really awaiting measurements - and I still hadn't managed to get them to him.