Spring at last

8th March 2014

I often take a week off work at the beginning of March and happily that’s coincided this time with some nice weather, after weeks of storms. Spring sunshine and light winds.

I got the engine off the boat last Saturday. What that actually means is that I walked the boat around by her mooring lines so she was stern-to the pontoon, unclamped the engine and lifted it off (lying it the correct side down), moved the boat back to her berth, then lugged the engine up the ramp and into the boot of the car. Quite heavy. I took it round to the servicing man nearby for a full annual service and re-test etc.

I have spent the week on varnishing. Elsa is mostly plastic but there is a wooden rubbing strip all the way round and a pair of wooden holds on the roof. I have had the pot of varnish ready all winter but not enough dry days to get it done. The man in the berth next to mine has taken his boat up river for repairs so his berth was vacant – that one has pontoon fingers each side so I moved mine into his space enabling me to get all around the boat with my sandpaper and paintbrush. It said 24hrs between coats and each coat only took an hour or so which meant I had plenty of time to sit and wait for the varnish to dry!

So, three mornings this week, a coat of varnish followed by cup a soup and sandwich sitting on the back of the boat enjoying the day. Lots of activity around me as other owners took advantage of the nice weather to work on their boats. The big crane-in event, where all the boats currently in the car park get lifted back in, is at the end of March.

The engine man had it ready by Friday so I collected it and refitted it to the boat, same procedure as when I took it off. Another fine afternoon so I took the opportunity to run the engine for a while. I cast myself off and motored up and down inside the harbour for 45 minutes or so, then found a quiet spot upriver and practiced shunting the engine into neutral and reverse and forward again. Seems fine though it does still cut out after running on idle for a while, the man said to adjust the idle screw if that happened so I may do that.

Returning to my proper berth, I put the kettle on and made some hot chocolate then collected up my varnish and spare sandpaper and tidied her up. I think the boat is ready for sea though she does need a bit of a wipe round inside as she’s got a bit mildewy in places in the cold damp winter period. One thing left to do is probably work on the genoa furler as it’s always stiff to unroll and roll back up, I got the sail down and checked the swivels top and bottom but no clues yet.

I’ve enjoyed the week very much. The boat looks smart and I’m refreshed as well. Looking forward to the coming season.

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