This has been a year of minimal sailing and precious little improvement work on poor old Idris. In fact, she has been almost comprehensively ignored, abandoned under a pile of tarpaulins in the corner of my yard. She deserves better, it’s not her fault, she’s still beautiful and exciting, her mum probably warned her about men like me. I am a heartless cad.
Truth be told, I simply couldn’t raise the funds nor the time to put her in the water this year. A combination of commitments to a new venture and recovery from the hell of 2017. The funds required to put a 27 foot boat into the Exe, use it or not, then haul it out again before the Winter storms wreak havok on our fair river, amount to around £1000. This includes two lots of crane fees, insurance for the year, mooring fees for the year, antifouling, club membership, dinghy storage and diesel (I hardly ever motor anywhere). This is quite obviously still a bargain, barely amounting to a weeks holiday abroad somewhere for us both. I don’t mind spending this on my sailing on a yearly basis as I rekon to get several weeks worth of total enjoyment out of Idris every summer and could in theory put her on a safe winter mooring in the Dart or in Poole and use her through the winter too for a few quid extra. Also, we don’t go on holiday these days anyway. The thing is, this year it would have been completely wasted money as I simply couldn’t see myself having any spare time to go sailing.
Once again the practicality of having a boat small enough (just) to get onto a road trailer meant that I didn’t have to suffer the all too common problem of having to pay yard storage fees for a summer, compounding the agony further. I’ve spoken to a number of poor, miserable looking people in boatyards over the years who’ve had to face hard financial facts and sell their boats for this very reason. It’s a tragedy.
Anyhow, things are looking up. Our first year with the farm is drawing to an end and we have not yet lost the house or our minds. Hell I’ve even had the tarps off of old Idris this past couple of weeks to begin rebuilding the interior after last winters strip down. To recap, there were some unresolved issues with Idris that were present when I bought her and that I hadn’t tackled because they were going to be a massive pain in the arse and I wanted to be sure she was a “keeper” before I started on them.
The plywood bulkheads (longitudinal and transverse) under the cockpit that make up the engine bay, the cockpit lockers and form the back of the cooker units had all become detached from their fibreglass hull fixing/tabbings. On top of this, the lower section of the main companionway bulkhead appeared to have been constructed from some sort of awful, thin, pathetic sort of ply that had delaminated and disintegrated many years ago. I had tackled the starboard side one in the winter of 2016 with great success but had stalled at the portside one because of the amount of dismantling required to access it. Having decided in the winter that I couldn’t put her into the Exe this year, I’d gone crazy with the power tools in a rampage of sawdust and stripped out everything remotely in the way. Fuel tank, gas locker, plate cupboard, mug rack, cooker, sink, associated shelves and ply bits, even the radio for some reason.
Now, at last, some dry Autumn weather gave me the prime opportunity to mix up a few buckets of epoxy, cut out some fresh bulkheads and bloody well get stuck in…..which I did.
As you can see, it’s all gone rather well. Good solid marine ply repair pieces have been lovingly glued, screwed and glassed into place. The old dead tabbing has been trimmed off with the trusty multitool (a most indispensible machine). New tabbing has been rolled into place on both sides of all the joints to give a much stronger bond, and the whole lot has been sanded back to remove those nasty, sharp fibres before a good couple of coats of danboline bilge paint. On top of this, I’ve taken the chance to sand back and varnish all of the main cabin woodwork, of which there is a great deal.
The one job I think I might have left a little too late is to glass in the craters left from my attack on the starboard side osmosis blisters. Not too many, but I feel the weather is a bit too damp and cold for this at the moment. Maybe if we get a good hot spell later on, we shall see.