Its the shortest day of the year today, here in the southern hemisphere anyway. Its calm after the mayhem that yesterdays fast moving winter storm caused, and while there is some light cloud its mostly sunny.
The significance of the day though is that springtime, warm weather, boisterous early season breezes and the promise of summer is just a couple of flips of pages on the calendar away.
Maintenance, lots to do. Haul, antifoul and paint my ship. 40 ft. of motor cruiser is a lump of a thing to do, its three years since the last one, the first since I bought her, and she not only needs her bottom done but the topsides are looking tired as well so it’s a big job.
I do manage to keep the worst of the barnacles off her, have several times put her on a sandy beach an hour before low tide and walked around with a hard broom to scrub and scrape, an hour means the water goes down about a foot so she leans over just enough for me to get well under with the long handled broom, but she’s about through the soft antifouling paint under there so its up on the hard when I get back from the next trip.
Same with the little yacht “May” as well, living on a trailer she is not antifouled, but there is much maintenance to do there, even under her sheltering tarpaulin the varnish has peeled and some of the paint cracked, the interior is musty and there is a bit of mould, the rig needs attention and, well, more work. I want to cruise her this summer, so its time to make a plan.
Paint, paint rollers and brushes, thinners, scrapers, sandpapers and sanders, scrubbing brushes, all the tools and materials need to be assembled ready for the big days, the ship will be done in one intense weeks work up on the hard, two ladders, a scaffold plank, mask, tyvek suit, gloves etc. I’m not looking forward to that but little “May” can be done a bit at a time. Sanding, varnishing, and as the warmer weather dries out the lawn up where she is parked I can take the rig down, assemble it on the grass and make the changes I want.
So there is a shelf and a toolbox up there in the boatshed, devoted to the spring maintenance. The toolbox has all the sanding and painting gear plus protective clothing, one end of the shelf has the paint and varnish for the little yacht, the other for the ship. I’ve got quite a lot of it including $450 worth of antifouling, but there is more to get.
I’ll go and see my friend at Burnsco the boat chandlery about that, but am sorry that they don’t sell bulk elbow grease. I’m going to need some.
But today I’m going to fit the rowlock plates to SEI. Nothing fancy this time, she’s not a boat that I anticipate rowing for hours at a time, so I am not going to fit my “patent” tufnol lined sockets, just a bronze strap top and bottom of a hardwood block, drilled to suit the rowlocks, and through bolted.
The hardwood came from a shipping pallet, its oily wood, hard, I’ve no idea what species but it is very tough with interlocked grain that should wear well, and like everything else for a serial boatbuilder it was there when I needed something so that’s what got used.
I’ve oars to build for her as well, they’ll be long ones at 9 ft. Again they’ll be simple with narrow blades that wont need to be feathered when rowing to windward and be sturdy enough to push the boat off with.
Stowing a pair of 9 ft oars in SEI is going to be a pain, they'll be either in the way or hanging out the end of the boat, I'm thinking of getting myself a pair of Chuck Leinwebers clip together oar sleeves, this will allow me to make the oars at the correct length, then cut them in half and with these sleeves, clip them together when needed. I have been using a pair of his paddle ones, and they're very good, those allow me to use the paddle at my usual 45deg left handed configuration and my visitors can use them just straight which is easier than feathering, allows them to concentrate on no falling out.
The oar ones are shown "Here".
I've lots to do before springtime. Not a lot of time in which to do it! On the 14th of next month I’m on the plane again for what has become an annual pilgrimage to Port Townsend in the USA. It’s a long trip this time, so my spring will be spent travelling rather than doing all the work that’s stacked up at home.
All of the above adds up to the fact that its time I got out of my nice warm bunk and got on with it.