Day One: The Reckoning

Looking aft. As we salty sailor boys have it. As it were.

I went down to see the boat today. My boat. The boat that is mine. I took some water and bread and cheese. I’m taking some apples tomorrow because frankly, that all got a bit unduly Spartan but never mind. I opened all the hatches and got some air running through the boat and got everything that was damp out in the wind where it could dry out while I took stock of things.

I was just working out the tasks, what’s going to need doing first. I’ve given myself ten days to get her clean and tidy and in the water, which should be a reasonable time-frame. Should be. Except no sooner had I sat down in the sun with the main hatch open, sitting on the step so I could see out but protected from the wind by the coachroof in a really nice, comfortable spot I can see myself using a lot, the phone rang. Of course I had my phone with me. Everyone does. Even around here, where phones don’t always work.

I’d thought the boat needed a cooker and a sink, but when I had a good look around there was already a sink there, under a chopping board that disguised it. There’s a twin-burner paraffin stove with an oven in the boatyard shop. I’ll measure the space tomorrow.

Urgent stuff to do? I need to make a little wooden box out of ply to cover an unsightly hole you can see on the right hand side of the top picture, where the depth gauge display has been cut into the wood not very neatly. Some bolts need trimming so they don’t stick out, because it’s ugly when they do. There’s a bit of wet rot that needs stopping before it goes any further, but that’s what wet rot glue is for. Mostly it just needs sanding, a new coat of anti-foul to keep the weeds off, new paint to cover the few scratches where someone got a bit too enthusiastic about mooring and varnish to replace the old varnish.

Yacht varnish is a total waste of time, in my experience, so I’m not going to do it. Instead, I’m going to use stuff called Tonkinoise which the French Navy used to use out east, as we say in Woodbridge. It’s not varnish. It goes deep into the wood rather than sitting on top of it, so it doesn’t flake off again every single year. Unlike varnish.

Mind your head. I think this is the reason these classic little yachts are out of fashion. They were designed for sailing, not an aerobics trampoline class.
Mind your head. I think this is the reason these classic little yachts are out of fashion. They were designed for sailing, not an aerobics trampoline class.

So sanding tomorrow, but I’d better order the anti-foul and the paint and the Tonkinoise first as that’s going to take a few days to arrive.

I can’t decide whether to use a power sander or not. Somehow it seems a bit like cheating, but there’s quite a bit of hull to sand so maybe I’ll do the decks and the exposed wood by hand and everything else with a sander.

Either way it’s going to be a long day and there’s some other stuff to do, because the phone ringing meant I have an interview for a big job in London on Tuesday and I’ll deal with how I’m going to get there and/or where I’m going to live when they offer it to me. Along with the big fat cheque every month that they’re talking about, which is why I’m talking to them.

But meanwhile, there’s this lovely little boat to fettle.

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