January sunshine

19 Jan 2014

Lovely sunny day here today which makes a change after the recent storms and rain.

In December I had a bloke build a new rudder blade for me at vast expense, to replace the one that snapped in half and got welded back together. Marine grade aluminium cut and shaped to the same size and thickness as the old one. I’d painted the old one with Trilux antifouling and it had gone brown very quickly but the man in the chandler said that Trilux was the only thing really suitable for aluminium. I decided perhaps the undercoat was the problem, as with the old one (once welded back together) I had just sprayed it with a can of primer from Halfords before applying the Trilux. So I have spent the first week of Jan in my garage painting my new rudder with several layers – a two-pack of epoxy primer, you have to mix a bit of each can into a container and stir it together and get it applied quick before it goes off, two coats each side of the blade. Horrible smelly stuff and Catherine now thinks I am a solvent abuser ... Followed by two coats of primer undercoat followed by two coats of a fresh can of Trilux. Each coat cost me a paintbrush as it went rock hard straight away.

Anyway, all finished, and I took the whole lot down to the boat today and reassembled the blade into the stock. Very heavy but I found a helpful person to assist me to lift it across the transom and down onto the pintles. Looks very smart and I reattached the uphaul string etc. Excited at having a serviceable boat again I decided to move her from the lonely corner of the pontoons back round to her proper berth. I have been nervous of this manoeuvre, since the dredging finished we’ve got a lot more depth, which seems to mean a lot more current passing through the pontoons. And there’s tons and tons of water in the river at the moment after all the rain on the Downs. Anyway, high tide and slack water at lunchtime, the engine started and ran happily, so I untied myself and backed out into the river. I did a few pirouettes just to get the feel of the rudder (it was fine) then dead slow and ran my usual approach to the berth and arrived safely.

Camera-phone photos hoping to show the new rudder:





Great to be back in my proper berth and I sat in the sunshine feeling pleased with myself. There was dinghy racing going on in the river with the usual shouts of ‘starboard’ and the committee boat blowing its hooter, lots of people around the clubhouse, a smashing day. We’ve got new caterers again, I think they are students from Worthing, so I ordered up a lunch and a pint of shandy and sat enjoying the spectacle.

After an agreeable lunch I went back to the boat to play about for a couple of hours. I wanted to unfurl / hoist the sails to get some sunshine and air into them after several weeks rolled up in the cold rain – something was pupating inside the genoa but apart from that they look fine and went up and down ok. I found a loose shackle pin on the deck, this is always a worry, as you don’t know where it came from. As I hoisted the main though I noticed that the shackle attaching it at the foot next to the gooseneck was undone so that solved the mystery and I got it back together. A few puddles of rainwater had accumulated in the cockpit cubbyholes and the stern locker which I baled out with my sponge. I’ve got a new gas canister on the cooker so I made some coffee and went back to sitting and enjoying the sunshine.

I could almost have been a summers day apart from the fact that by 3.30 the sun was setting and it was getting cold so I took all my tools and stuff back to the car. Fantastic day and it just proves how much fun you can have doing practically nothing on a boat!



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