Page published 1 March 2021

On this page are posts originally found on "The Blog" that were made in March 2012. It's part of a sequence of pre-season boat preparation posts.

Go to Top Measuring Up

1 Mar 2012

After my foray to Just 17 almost a fortnight ago I had left things slip again. At last, today, I was tempted down to the Pleasure Boat, but it was really web site duties that called, not the boat. This was opening day the pub's new venture, a shop, selling newspapers, bread and dairy products, local ham, bacon, eggs, tinned goods, tea, coffee, sugar, sweets, ice creams and everything else you might expect from a village store, including local crafts and souvenirs. As I put it in a caption to one of the photographs I've just uploaded:

You'd like a table for four in the restaurant this evening, a mooring overnight, your paper in the morning and you forgot to pack your toothbrush? No problem, Sir!
Keel Handle with Measure

The first of two photographs destined for the SeaHawk site, in due course!

Having got the business out of the way, I did pop aboard Just 17 with the measure, that this time I'd remembered to take. I managed to get the two photographs I planned to send to Ian. He rang last weekend, while I was in Kenilworth, and then emailed me two days ago with an offer to put a piece of his butyl rubber in the post. I replied to his question yesterday, saying:

> how big is the piece of material for the seal?

Off the top of my head I'd say something about 8" by 3.5" will certainly do it. I'm probably being very generous. I'll go take a look with a measure later today.

Keel Handle with Measure

The second of the two photographs due to be sent to Ian and uploaded to the SeaHawk site.

But, of course, I had not got down to the boat. In part, this was because I knew I had to be down at the Pleasure Boat today, and making two journeys didn't seem worth it.

Two Swans by Just 17

A pair of swans stooge about the dyke, apparently expecting to be fed, though they soon give up on me. There would have been a good reflection of the pub, but for their presence.

Luckily, the weather was much improved, compared with my last trip to Just 17 on the 18th. Indeed, it was quite spring-like, with a pair of swans fussing around my boat, apparently expecting me to be a holiday-maker, ready to toss bread at any passing water fowl.

Quay Heading under Construction

Little progress has been made on the new quay heading since the middle of last month. The swans, having made a full tour of all occupied boats in the dyke, give up and head for open water.

With the weather so good, and me in photographer mode, for the Pleasure Boat site, I couldn't help taking some photographs showing how the quay heading work was coming along. When I got home and compared the photographs with those taken a fortnight ago, I was surprised to find that almost no progress had been made at all in the last two weeks. That seemed strange when they had kept going during most of the really bad weather.

Now I have to wonder how long it will be before I get round to making progress on the jobs I should be doing.

Go to Top Sealing the Keel

22 Mar 2012

You'll remember that Ian had offered to send me an off-cut from his pond liner that I could use to replace the worn out seal on Just 17's keel handle. I had got round to Measuring Up a fortnight ago. In fact, Ian had sent a small sheet that neatly filled a C5 envelope - more than I would need. Today, the weather turned out to be the best it had been in a while and I was planning to fit the seal.

However, on getting to the boat I could help but notice that the specks of orange stain I had first noticed on the boat a while ago were spreading. Initially, I assumed they were rusting iron filings from the work being done on the quay heading. But that work was now going on well up the dyke. Whatever the cause, it seemed to be wind blown. I looked on neighbouring boats and they didn't seem to be suffering in the same way, so I have no idea what the cause is. There were small specks all over the place but it was settling most in the corners and crevices of the boat. A bit of test rubbing showed that it really was beginning to stain the wonderful paintwork that I had spent so much money and effort on last year and it was going to have to be tackled as soon as possible. That meant today!

Rust Marks in the Cockpit

I had first noticed the rusty stain a month ago which had accumulated in various corners of Just 17. Then I assumed it was caused by iron filings blown across the dyke from the quay heading work.

Nevertheless, I started on the job that I'd come to do. Ripping off the last remnant of the original seal on the handle base plate was easy. It left a white powdery residue in the depression that holds the handle in place. I presume that this was the dried out traces of the original glue used, but I've no idea what it might have been. I set to work with the abrasives I had brought cleaning up the the mess left. One thing I had not realised until this moment was, over the years, how much the cable had gouged out a grove in the base plate. I guess it is only natural that it should as the tendency is to raise the keel from the cockpit, and that means you do pull backwards as you lift the keel.

The Old Seal Removed

It was easy enough to rip off the last remnant of the original rubber seal.

The warm weather was obviously encouraging the local wildlife into mating rituals. I became aware of a great commotion beside the boat. Three ducks were after a female. By the time I pointed my camera at them the female was completely sunk under a melee of mallards. In a few seconds it seemed to be over. One of the males disappeared, while the other two shook themselves down and arranged their feathers.

Ducks in a Mating Frenzy

Gang rape? Somewhere under this lot is a poor female.

Ducks After The Escapade

One of the boys has already left and another shakes himself down after all the excitement.

After the interruption I continued with my work. For some reason it never occurred to me to attempt to remove the screw at the tip of the keel plate. That was because, after some forty years, I expected to find it "welded" into place in the way the the tips of the spreaders on the mast were, when I came to replace the standing rigging shortly after I bought the boat in 2004. I was afraid that I'd only wreck the screw head if I tried to turn it. But as I write this, I wonder if the next time I have a few minutes spare and a screw driver and can of WD40 with me, I shouldn't see if I can get the screw to turn. After all, the problem with the spreaders was the interface between two metals. At least with the keel both components are ferrous based.

As it was, I made a bit of a mess of my first attempt at cutting a seal to shape. The trouble was, with the tip of the keel sticking through it, I couldn't lay the rubber flat over the base plate. In any case, the grove cut by the wire meant a rather irregular shape had been formed. I wasn't convinced that my measurements alone would get a tight fit and I suspected that I would fail to make a clean second cut if I only needed to take off the thinnest sliver.

The New Keel Seal

My first attempt at cutting a seal is fitted to the handle. The second is ready to replace it.

In the end I decided that rather than try to fit the rubber in the base plate, I would fit it to the underside of the handle itself. Not only could the shape be measured more accurately, but if the rubber came away with the handle there was no risk of the cable interfering with the rubber seal. The only potential disadvantage being that the glue would really need to hold. In the base plate, in all normal circumstances gravity alone ought to do 99% of the job.

The one trouble with not removing the cable from the handle is that I needed to cut a slit in the seal in order to get the seal over the handle. I tried to stretch it, but there was too much risk of tearing the sheet. On my first attempt, I cut the sheet on the forward, narrower, end. Then I realised that, as it was going to have to be glued anyway, there would be more surface for the glue to hold on if I made the cut on the aft end. So that's what I did for my second attempt.

Just 17 - The Cockpit Cleaned

After a couple of hours working on the rust stains, the boat looks a lot tidier.

Once I had a piece I was happy with I glued it in place. I am still not sure that I have the job done as well as I would like. As I lowered the handle I was expecting to feel the handle make a "soft landing" into the base plate, as the rubber compressed. However, it didn't happen that way. So when I get round to remembering the screw driver and WD40, I'll also make sure I have some rubber solution and cut a second copy of the seal and glue it to the first.

Just 17 - The Bows Cleaned

I've yet to fit the new Toll Plaques. The purple version is due to expire at the end of the month.

With all that I could do on the seal done, it was time to tackle the "rust" stains.It took a couple of hours before I was happy that I had achieved all that was practical. The job isn't perfect, but I think you'd have to know that there was a problem to know where to look and notice the slight trace of orange stain left in certain areas of the boat.

Of course, she's not ready for the new season yet. You'll have noticed fro the photos of the boat on her mooring that the cockpit locker hatches are not yet back in place and, on the bow, there are still the toll plaques that expire in a week's time.

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