Fitting some new wiring last week I lost count of the number of times I dropped a screw or a washer. With a couple of bounces the item disappeared down into the bilge, invariably inaccessible under the engine. Without my grabbit tool and my extensible magnetic wand I would have needed twice as many screws and washers.
The magnetic wand usually finds it’s target together with all manner of other metallic items you never knew were down in the murky waters of the bilge but of course if the screw or washer is stainless steel then it fails. It is however surprising how much steel is not as “stainless” as you might have believed.
It is then a task for the grabbit tool. Not so easy to handle as the magnetic wand, it tends to have a mind of its own. It is a bit like those old amusement arcade cranes that let go of the prized chocolate bar or cuddly toy just as it reached the drop point. With perseverance it works most times.
Corsair has been relaunched on the Firth of Forth. Owner Mark Arkless has clearly done an excellent and distinctive job on the restoration. The gunwhales have been increased in height to 5 inches from the usual 3 inches and there is some unique woodwork at the transom and around the cockpit.
I wish Corsair and its crew good sailing, the east coast is getting a fine new boat.
Crunluath is afloat but looking not nearly so fine as Corsair but we are fit and ready for sailing when the weather and other constraints permit. Its the Fife regatta this year so we will have to look a bit sharper than the present state of affairs although the fine job done by John Hill and his team on the hull means we look good from a distance.
A few warmer days are what is needed plus the will to get the jobs done.
A better day than many in summer, clear sky, sunshine and a gentle, if slightly gusty north-easterly breeze. Only a couple of hours going no where in particular but another of those precious days stolen from the grasp of winter.
I have had a frustrating time getting the engine to start. Last autumn’s flooding after being ashore in the shed took its tole on the starter which has ceased to work after a few weeks of rest. Some TLC by my local friendly engineer had it back in working condition and I spent an uncomfortable few hours getting it back in place. These engines are simply not designed for easy maintenance when in place on the boat. The narrow bilges of Crunluath do not help access but after removing the heat exchanger and alternator removal and replacement of the starter motor was possible.
Having bled the fuel after a filter change the motor started and ran smoothly… but then would not stop! More effects of the flooding I guess, it’s a wiring problem which I have still not solved but at least I now know where the stop solenoid is located, another piece of kit tucked a way in an awkward position under the air intake.
It didn’t stop me enjoying a few hours winter sunshine together with a few Guillemots, lots of cooing Eider Ducks, a Black Guillemot in the marina and a seal investigating the visitors pontoon!
Only me and a fellow wooden boat owner out sailing. everyone else too busy working I guess!
I sneaked another one in whilst winter wasn’t looking!
Penultimate week of October and a few days before the clocks went back plunging Scotland into darkness, I got out for a few hours under the excuse of airing the cabin by sailing with the hatches open. It blew a few cobwebs off the skipper as well, a nice force two to three north-easter pushed the clouds aside revealing glorious views of Argyll and Arran.
An early morning train trip had made me feel I might have chosen the wrong day with clouds obscuring the views when dawn broke and grey skies in evidence until the train ran along the shore at Saltcoats and the sun made an appearance.
The Cumbrae ferry made a gallant attempt to T-bone Crunluath but with the sheets hardened in a touch I managed to dodge it, probably the skipper was livening up his day by a bit of yottie scaring!
Rothesay was the early target but the wind didn’t back or strengthen so I cracked off the sheets and headed south down the Clyde channel. With the tide under us the GPS registered 6.5 knots. As the sun came dead ahead the temperature in the shadow of the sails was not much above frost level and I was thankful for the three layers of thermals I had struggled into before casting off. An unthought of bonus was the views from the tiller without the cockpit dodgers in place, a bit draughtier of course but a price worth paying, they will probably stay off next year.
My newly loosened rudder, attended to whilst the boat was ashore has some disadvantages, I can’t let go for as long without the boat changing course. There’s no tiller pilot wired up at present to it’s all hands on sailing for the moment.
I am giving some thought to weather protection for the coming winter afloat. I need to protect the varnished areas from the worst of the weather without compromising the flow of air through the ventilators and withoiut creating too much windage which might result in covers coming loose. After a few winters ashore in recent years I have not considered the problems for some time.
There is still hope for another short sail before shutting up shop for the winter.
A 3 minute video of Crunluath’s first sail for nearly a year after four months in repair and 11 months ashore. It may not be much but it felt pretty good!
Sailing again after twelve months.
There is something delicious about late season sailing, it’s like you have got something you love but don’t deserve. Another day stolen from winter.
Monday was just such a day, glorious sunshine, a cool north westerly zephyr of a breeze, Arran glowing shades of blue to the west and the trees of Kelburn just starting to show their autumn colours to the east.
It was the first time Crunluath had been sailing for more than twelve months but it was a perfect day for a shake down cruise. I had no depth sounder, few electrics and no navigation tools to speak of, except for a few charts, an ipad and phone. It’s suprising what you can manage without, it was just a case of going where you knew and not cutting any corners.
The handheld radio picked up a distress call, someone drifting off Troon with little idea where he was or why his engine didn’t work. Someone’s quiet Monday morning was rudely interrupted when the bleep went off but it was a great day to thrash across a calm sea at 20 knots in the RNLI’s finest. It certainly beats slogging away in the office even if he did have to work overtime later to get his job done.
I dropped into Millport for a lunchtime rest on my laurels and amazed myself by picking up a mooring at the first attempt. A group practising this manouever at a nearby bouy showed just ho tricky this can be on a modern high freeboard yacht but perseverance paid off and they all disappeared below for lunch.
Continuing around Cumbrae Island the weather closed in but the wind picked up a little. Guillimots and Eiders squealed and cooed as I disturbed their afternoon nap and a few seals nosed about lazily.
No lazy jacks meant a bit of a struggle to contain the mainsail when I dropped it off the marina entrance. I slipped into the berth without scratching the new paintwork and retired below for coffee and a biscuit treat feeling mighty smug. It’s going to be a long winter of rebuilding the interior, putting back wiring and fittings but there should be a few more days like this to sweeten the pill.
Sailing is within sight, the repairs are complete, now it is down to rehanging the rudder, painting and varnishing. I am leaving most of the painting to the professionals, they deserve a perfect finish after the immaculate work they have done on the planking. I’ll work on the cabin top and cockpit.
With only an undercoat on the topsides already the perfectly seamless repair cannot be seen, only photographs remain as a reminder of the extent of the work. Just as it should be but a bit of a rarity in this age of the quick fix.
With the rudder removed for painting the transom opportunity has been taken to loosen up the pintles which have been a bit tight in recent years, it should make life easier for the tiller pilot and for the helmsman.
I cleaned up the mast and checked out the rigging. “This looks serious”, joked one of the marina staff as I polished off several months of dust and seagull droppings. I feel at last we are getting there.
I might need to polish up my boat handling skills if I am to avoid dinging my newly painted hull. It will feel good to get afloat after ten months ashore, the sea legs are growing moss.
A Honeybee is for sale click this link for details.
Honey bee Rose of Mearns built 1969 by Marine Services Aberdour Scotland. Mahogany on local oak 5ft 6 draft 5 berth with 6ft + headroom New engine commisioned May 2011 Beta 25 horse replacing old volvo penta 13 horse. Three year warranty on engine that has at present 88 nauticle miles on it.
Extensive inventory including tiller pilot,GPS,VHF, log and depth. Sails in as new condition, sprayhood and dodgers. Recent survey 2008 and previous surveys available. She is a very sea kindly yacht and is easy to sail single handed and has been cruised extensively Scotland and Ireland. She has been stored inside each winter since new and has been well looked after to which new bilge piping and new toilet were added at the end of last year. She is at present in her winter storage Port Bannatyne Marina Isle of Bute Scotland. Avon tender with 2hp (2 stroke) Yamaha outboard engine included with sale.
Telephone owner Dennis Heaton 01369 860034 or email email@example.com for more details
To spline, to epoxy or to caulk, that was the question. When you have done this much work it would be foolish to start cutting corners so splining it was.
For the uninitiated this is the insertion of a thin triangular length of wood between the planks which when glued and planed flush will leave a perfectly smooth hull. As Crunluath is fully splined this was really a no-brainer. The splines are held temporarily in place whilst the glue dries. Inside the roves are clenched in place and nipped flush and a coat of paint makes it look like the end is in sight.
The deck beams have been replaced where necessary and the side deck is cut ready for fitting, whoopee I’ll soon have a watertight boat again! It’s been a long hard summer.
There is always someone worse off than you are; last visit it was a boat in the shed, this time it’s outside and a lot bigger. Drum is in for a major refit which seems to be getting more major every week, having removed the ballast keel they have now removed the entire fin keel., making Drum the largest dinghy ever seen…and I thought I had problems! Mind you if John and Hugh have the keel off when I next visit I will be really worried, I don’t have Arnold Clark’s millions!