Bay Leaf

23 June 2019

I completed my purchase of Bay Leaf on 11 June. She is a Westerly Centaur with a bronze green hull, Watermota 4 cyl diesel engine and red sail covers and dodgers. I have often admired her on the moorings at the club so when the owners, who now mostly live in Spain, advertised her for sale I was quick to make an offer. Eric and Angie didn't sail her much the last few years but he has rebuilt the engine and rewired the electrics, and I took advice from other Westerly owners on how to check the keel stubs and bolts. Knowing the hull and engine were good I decided to just go ahead and buy her knowing there might be more work to do on the sails and rig.

Eric and Angie spent the best part of an evening showing me all the various bits and demonstrating how to run the engine and they handed me a whole load of paperwork going right back to her original build in 1976. There's also some useful equipment aboard including a new tillerpilot and boxes of engine spares.

Looking a bit grubby and in need of a jetwash, her mooring at the club was included in the sale so there's no hurry.

By Wednesday 19th the weather was calm and the club slipway was free so I motored her out for the first time and bumped her aground on the slip with help from Will and Karl. Once the tide was out I could see she was fine sitting there on her keels so I got under her with a scraper to remove loads of barnacles, used a bucket of detergent on the topsides then a blast with my jetwasher. Needs a proper scrub over winter and fresh antifoul but ready to sail now!

Next day James came down and with more help from Karl we got aboard and drove her back to the berth. We spent a happy afternoon sitting on the boat and James was particularly taken with the 1970s melamine cups and saucers he found in the galley.

The best day was yesterday Saturday 22nd. James and Morgan came down and we went sailing! Light winds and bright sunshine. We hoisted the main for the first time and it went up very easily, the sail is creased after a couple of years sitting with elastic cord round it but once up it set fine, there's nothing on the mainsail that needs urgent attention which is a relief. The sail has the correct markings CR1499 and they look sharp and new. So, the main's good. We motored out running the engine at full power for the first time and it got a bit hot so once outside the harbour I shut it down to let it cool. 

We unrolled the huge genoa, it's a bit grubby and needs a new UV strip but again it's not damaged or anything. We noted the starboard jibsheet is too short but apart from that we got her nicely set up for a quiet sail along the coast. Didn't get much speed up in the light winds but we did manage to tack her around and generally sail about for an hour or more. Not enough wind to come back into harbour under sail alone - though a lighter boat like Elsa might have managed it - so back to the engine and a slow trip up the river on low revs. We ended up stopped on a pontoon hammerhead and sat for a bit enjoying the river. We flaked the main away nicely and used sail ties instead of that tight elastic stuff so the main is resting properly now. The halyards are old and rough and a bit green but they worked fine as did the kicker and the main sheet so I've got less work to do than I thought.

So, jobs to do - work out why the engine got hot, check the cooling system. Get new genoa sheets. Fit a masthead antenna and a fixed VHF radio. And more practice at berthing and handling under motor!

Smashing boat and I am most pleased with her. 


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