Sunday, 22 March 2015

Still going, still busy.

Life seems to have been conspiring against my blog over the last month. First I lost my wallet and when I cancelled my cards, I missed a payment on my Blogger wallet for media storage. The new cards didn't turn up for twelve days, and so everything was shut down. Once I got everything sorted my computer decided to go into retirement and now I have intermittent router problems.

But despite all this, work continues toward launch day for the Sona. Progress has been made and the 'mighty' Heron was sold a couple of weeks ago. It's going to remain in Dunbar which is good news and hopefully the new owner, Alan, will get as much enjoyment from it as I did over the last nine! years.

On the Sona I've been doing some major cleaning which can be seen in the above picture of the cabin sole ( halfway done). After a lot of experimenting, the cleaning product of choice is Dettol Mould and Mildew Remover, a stiff scrubbing brush, lots of elbow grease then Flash wipes to clean up.

I've also turned my hand to minor carpentry to extend the bulkhead to the keel box. I made up the lower part today and have stained it to match. I know that the grain is running in different directions, but that was the way the ply was on both sides. The fake brass clock and barometer will be fixed to it along with a couple of shelves for mugs, books etc.

The re-wire is also coming on, although every now and then I find new mysteries to confound me. Above is the supply and return for the VHF with fuses on both sides? I've also managed to get the Mariner 6hp going again. There was a fuelling problem at the remote side which was fixed easily enough by cutting away de-laminated hose and cleaning up the breather on the tank. I've also ordered new cap-shrouds from Jimmy Green Marine.

And speaking of engines. I yet again got roped into the annual task of putting the saab diesel back into the yacht Carioca. It was out for new engine mounts this year.

It is a cramped engine compartment and the only way to access it is to hang upside. Long arms and a lot of patience is required! Outboards definitely have advantages.

So just a couple of weeks to go. I still need to get the mast put together and a test raising to see how the new rigging will work out. I also have to make up various new bolts and pads for the outboard mount, and the rudder box is still awaiting welding. The sea also needs to be reminded that the sailing season is about to start!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Sunny Saturday and a grim Sunday.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny and I got some tidying done on the Heron as I continue to hope to sell her. I also took the chance to take some photos of the locker lids for the benefit of Steve on his blog, 'Yacht Sparrow'

I hope the pictures are pretty self explanatory, the wooden tongues go in under the back of the locker moulding so there is no need for hinges.


Fly was enjoying the sunshine too and we had a good wander along the shore seeing what the spring tides had washed up. I should really have taken advantage of the weather and got the LHT out for a cycle but I was in no rush as I had a plan for Sunday when using the bike would work out perfectly. Unfortunately the weather changed and by Sunday afternoon it was snowing and as the day wore on the rain hammered down.

Bit of a disappointment, but there's always next weekend.

Monday, 16 February 2015

More progress on the Sona - Jaguar 23

It's about time I did a cycling post..., but not this week. I'm still busy with the Sona and as always seems to  happen, the more I do, the more jobs I find to do. 

First a quick diversion.  The above pic is of the remains of Dunbar Castle which is looking even further undercut by the winter storms. There could be some homeless Kittiwakes when they come back to nest this year.
But back to the Sona. Last weekend was a little warmer so I gathered some useful tools together (see below) and got started on the the ever growing list of jobs.

 I removed the forward bulkhead to check the anchor-well drains. I was pleased to see decent hose and stainless hose clamps, and also that they were crossed to allow the drain to work when healed.

But then the bad news when I gave the hoses a tug and the drains sheared off. Still, they're not too expensive to replace and it's better they fail on dry land.


Another task was to replace an area of the sole (technically, a floor in a boat is a rib). This had been removed years ago to re-glass an area around the keel box and never replaced.

The woodwork had to be removed, the mould treated, and then I stuck the section back down with big blobs of silicone. I'll fill the cuts with silicone too. Only problem is that it shows how dirty the rest of the sole is.

Up at the bows, and I've noticed that the fore-stay fitting seems pretty loose. It is near impossible to access but I managed to fit a camera into the void behind the water tank and this is what the camera saw. 

The long stainless eye bolt is the one causing the worry, but after seeing this picture, it looks like there is some resin to stop it coming undone and there is a reasonable backing plate. A Jaguar 23 is supposed to have a fixed fore-stay with no bottle screw, so perhaps it is intentional to have a bit of movement in the fitting. I'll ask about.

Whilst I had the camera handy I opened the access hatch on the water tank and took a picture of the inside. Oh dear. It looks like its going to need a lot of scrubbing with Milton fluid and even then I think it will just be for washing water rather than drinking.

On deck I've resealed the eye bolts the the chain plates and tightened them up against each other.

I also opened up the keel box to check the lifting mechanism which, although it looks dirty, is actually quite well lubed and seems good for another season.  So that at least was put back together and left alone.

I also fitted a new battery but this just highlighted that a complete re-wire is needed. So things are slowly getting there and the cabin is slowly filling up with odd tools and cleaning materials and I am quickly running out of time.

 Good thing I have plenty of willing helpers!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Some progress with Sona

For the last couple of weeks I've been stressing over a piece of formal coursework and wondering what on earth I was doing studying again.  It was finally submitted on Wednesday and I had booked a couple of days off work to relax but frustratingly got called in on the mornings. So here's a quick summary of what I did manage to get done.

One of the first jobs was to give the Sona a good scrub. There was a lot of grime and a worrying amount of mould and mildew which can be tough to shift. Stuart was happy to lend a hand and the first scrub was with Bilgex and some sort of liquid detergent we found in a locker. 

It was freezing with the occasional flurry of snow and, despite some good progress, we didn't stick at it for long.

So it was back into the cabin where I ripped out the corroded gas stove and temporarily fitted the stove from the Heron.

Ahh, heat! and a working kettle!

Inside is also needing a bit of a clean where some standing water must have collected. This was sprayed with some mildew remover from the local pound-shop with little effect. I'll need to get something a bit stronger for cleaning (bleach and oxalic acid) and I also need to get the sails out of the boat and properly folded.

And whilst I am on the subject of sails, we opened up the spinnaker bag to find this. can make up your own mind about the colour scheme.

Back in the workshop, and I have cleaned up the mast foot and freed off the halyard blocks. I reset the m6  stainless studs but the aft stud had stripped so I tapped an m8 thread into the back of the alloy casting.

After re-threading the halyards, the whole assembly fitted back into the mast. The 50mm sq plates that I'd carefully engineered (bent in the vice with an m10 bolt for a former) look like they will be just the right size and I now have to make the decision to rivet it all together or to use screws.

 If I rivet it and something doesn't work, then it will be a real pain to strip down. However if I use screws, there is a risk of them catching the halyards inside the mast. I still have to fit the narrower alloy plates fore and aft on the mast so there is no rush.

Busy busy, but the sun is getting a little higher in the sky each day which means longer daylight hours and hopefully some warmth, but also means that I'm another week closer to launch!

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!