Sunday, 18 January 2015

Week 1 with the new boat.

When I was making coffee this morning the roof tops were covered in snow. It melted by sunrise, but there was still a freezing wind gusting in from the north.

I went out for a walk along the cliffs to the sound of a crashing sea and the sight of loads of birds sheltering from the inclement weather; I really should have taken a camera with a decent lens.  Fly was feeling the cold too. She normally charges through puddles but today she was a little more restrained.

So yet again I gave up on plans to go for a cycle but I did get a couple of jobs started on the new boat.

Stuart came along and the first task was to find the key which I had lost! Then I chiseled off a corroded old bolt to free the companionway steps which allowed me to re-fit the table. This gave me a work surface to start the more fiddly tasks. The lump of alloy in the above pic is the mast foot which tore out of the mast. The bolts and stud work show absolutely no sign of coming out without risking major damage to the alloy.

So my plan is to add an aluminium band around the bottom of the mast, drill new holes for the studs and then rivet the whole lot together (after re threading the halyards). I may be able to tap a new thread for the bolt at the back of the mast or I might look into fitting a riv-nut. First thing was to get the mast to where I can work on it, so up onto our shoulders and off we headed to the sailing club.

This is also where the outboard will need to undergo a rebuild. The cover looks a mess but inside was surprisingly clean and lubed.

Hopefully a decent service, carb clean, new impeller and gearbox oil, and it might be a runner. There seems plenty of compression but the tell tale looks a bit salted up.
I also checked out the gas stove on the Sona, but it was far too corroded for my liking. I'll give mechanics or low voltage electrics a shot, but I don't mess around with gas. So that's going to require a replacement before I can get the first coffee brewed on board.  All in all, it looks an achievable project, if I just didn't have the inconvenience of having to go to work during the week.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

So I bought another yacht.....

Well I've finally got around to the first post of the new year! I've not been out any distance on the LHT partly due to the poor weather, but mostly through apathy. During the working week I'm really busy, putting in extra hours at work in preparation for an audit and then studying at night. So what I probably need is a break at the weekend, de-stressing, getting some exercise. Instead I've just massively increased the stress and bought a bigger yacht.

Some may remember that I had been looking at another boat last summer. That was an E-Boat which unfortunately was bought before I was able to view it. I've kept looking and finally a friends Jaguar 23, Sona, came up for sale, and on Saturday morning we shook hands on the deal.

The Sona needs quite a bit of work; It was dismasted during a storm last year and some standing rigging needs replacing. The mast foot was also torn off, so I'll have some fun drilling, tapping, and riveting the alloy. The wiring seems shot and there is a lot of cleaning to be done. A rudder gudgeon needs some aluminium welding and the engine doesn't seem too keen on running..... I could go on.

 But it is a fast cruiser/racer with a lot of potential. There are a couple of suits of sails and the hull, deck and keel are in good shape.

The view from the deck is pretty good too.

I need to do some work on the Heron and then it will be up for sale at a cheap price! Meantime I'm goin to try to get some cycling in, but there are probably also going to be quite a few posts following the re-building and launch of the Sona. The target date is 4th of April, the Easter weekend!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A cold cycle back from Edinburgh

I've been away the last couple of weekends visiting family so haven't had anything to post. But on Saturday I had to go to Edinburgh to collect my first pair of reading glasses, age is catching up with me! So I took the chance to make an outing of the appointment by taking the Long Haul Trucker on the train and cycling back.


I was waiting on an empty platform at 09:50, although by the time the train arrived there were loads of folk heading to the city for Christmas shopping.

Twenty minutes of standing on the train and I was in the centre of Edinburgh where the build up to seasonal excess is in full swing.

The merry-go-round was suitably festive but the 'Star Flyer' looked frankly terrifying to me. I was also freezing so I didn't hang around too long and was soon cycling over to St Leonards.

At the back of the police station I took the little cycle path that snakes through a housing development, past some lock-ups and then disappears below ground through the innocent railway tunnel.

This is a well surfaced track and I quickly made my way out of the city, relaxing as the sun shone through the bare trees and birds flitted across the path.

This little dog also jumped out in front of me and tested the trucker's brakes. He looks suitably guilty.


From the peace of the old railway line I crossed through the edge of Magdalene Glen and up to Asda to collect my glasses from Specsavers.


The bicycle parking at the front of the store is pathetic with small row of old fashioned 'wheel benders'. I had to move abandoned shopping trolleys to create a space for the trucker.

With my glasses collected I quickly picked up the trail again and headed along muddy lanes and cycle paths to the shore at Fisherrow.


The wind was biting at the coast and I didn't spend long looking around. It was a quick pedal along to the river Esk where I decided to cut back inland and and start the climb up to Tranent.

The view back to the coast with Fife in the distance. The demolition of Cockenzie Power station continues and it was only when I had climbed up to this point that I relised that I should have stuck to the coast and taken the chance to have a look at the chimneys as apparently, now that the metal work has been removed, you can see inside them.

At Haddington I found a suitably sheltered bench and stopped for coffee and a roll. It didn't take long before I started to feel cold and although it was the middle of the day, the sun was low in the sky and not providing much warmth.


A quick climb up over Pencraig and the the last six miles to home where El was excitedly waiting to make fun of me wearing my specs. 


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Long Haul Trucker along the coast

The days seem to be flying by recently. It's Tuesday evening already and I still haven't got around to posting Sunday's cycle. So here goes.

I headed east in bright midday sunshine out of Dunbar with the vague notion of going to Cockburnspath. The Long Haul Trucker just keeps on doing the job and although it is not the most exciting of bikes, it is comfy.

At the end of the cycle path I passed a large group of travelling people with their assorted 4x4s and caravans. They seemed to be entertaining their hordes of noisy offspring by setting off fire extinguishers. Perhaps they were training for when they are burning the insulation off the copper cable that they "recycle" from the quarry.

I gave them a wide berth and continued on by the fields at Torness. I couldn't resist this shot of the farmers scarecrows.

Further along and I've posted pictures of the bridges at Bilsdean before, but these have usually been during the summer when there is a lot more greenery. When the leaves are gone, the drop is all the more impressive. Unfortunately cloud was gathering and the pictures were quite dull without pushing the exposure a bit.

There wasn't much happening in Cockburnspath. I spent a week there one afternoon! It's an old one but it does sum the village up. I know a few folk who live there and they tend to agree that nothing happens.

Then it was back to Dunbar, a quick loop of town and spin through the woods to round the mileage up to a relatively easy 20 miles. I kept up a good pace and there was no coffee stop this week.

 It's been a mild winter so far but the forecast is suggesting some weather coming from the north. These woodland trails would be pretty special in the snow with fat tyres. Here's hoping.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Winter colours

I couldn't think of any particular route for a cycle today, so I put the LHT in the back of the car and headed to the hills.

I had a few ideas for short loops so I just unloaded the bike and cycled around a couple of miles before loading it up again and heading off to another spot. It seems a bit lazy but it suited me.

When I was cycling along by Garvald the highland cows were over near the fence. I have been meaning to get a picture of them since Pondero posted a pic of a Texas Longhorn.

Their shaggy coats were ruffled in the wind and the low winter light made their colours really stand out.

Back on the bike and I slowly spun away in low gears up the steep hills to get some shelter in the woods for my coffee. The autumn colours continued with various fungi. I have tried to learn some basics about which mushrooms are edible but if you get it wrong, the risks are a bit high for my liking.

Back in a loop to the car, then I drove over to the Whiteadder Reservoir and had a cycle around there.

The light was getting low so back to the car again, finish the flask of coffee and home. Not the most exciting of cycles but I got out there and enjoyed it all the same.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cycling, woods, horses, surf, breakfast.

 A wintery sun was doing it's best to provide some watery light on my cycle this morning; it wasn't, however, having much effect on the temperature. There was the occasional patch of frost and for the first time this year I felt the need for proper gloves. Unfortunately I couldn't find them, so I made do with my short fingered ones and worked a bit harder.

The woods provided a sheltered cycle with loads of birdlife and everchanging colours. The single track is great too, with fast sweeping bends through the trees.


Once I'd had enough fun linking up all the tracks in the shelter of the woods, I looped back around town to Eweford. There was new Heras fencing along the track and it looks as though that tree line of old Scots pine will soon be replaced by a new housing development. It's a shame, but so far the developments have probably resulted in more paths and cycle routes than were there previously so I can't complain too much.

Along by the farm and the horses came across to say their good morning.

I scratched their noses then pedaled back down to the coast to have a look at the sea that I had heard crashing in during the night.

It was all quiet at the Biel Burn, but just offshore the surf was up.

 Which of course brings surfers and..

 kayakers and..

 ...happy dogs!

 Then back home for breakfast.