First I had to remove the plastic bag covering the hole which previously I had filled with expanding foam. That stuff is very useful but horrid to work with it sticks to everything and is impossible to get off one's skin once it has set which it does very quickly. It had continued to expand after taping on the plastic bag so there was a lot of excess to remove. Fortunately it is very easy to cut one dry and so that was achieved quickly.
Next I had to insert a a plastic gasket over the top of the foam because the resin that I would use to make good the bow would dissolve the foam. I used a section of a Jeckell's sail bag and stuck it in place with marine sealant. Then a few layers of fibre glass resin and matting until it looked like this:
The next day - once again with Alan's help I fitted the stern chain plate permanently and was then able to refit the backstay, forestay and furling gear. That took a few hours. Fitting roller furling gear is a fiddly job - at least I find it so. Despite re-reading the instructions a number of times I couldn't work out how to keep the foil in place in order to insert the various screws. I resorted to a bit of tape that just about did the job. Once I had finished I discovered the grub screw for that purpose! Anyway I got it all back together as you can see from the photo below and despite the boat still being stuck firmly on dry land, it started to feel a bit more like a boat again. I haven't transferred the shrouds to the new chain plates yet - that can wait until the boat is back in the water.
I took the week off after Easter and was back at the boat on the Tuesday and Wednesday.
First job with Chris's help was to remove the outer prop bearing casing. This we managed but instead of the expected cutless bearing Chris discovered it was a white metal bearing. This apparently is poured in place in liquid for (having previously ensured plenty of grease to prevent the white metal boding with the shaft. However Chris also diagnosed significant wear on the prop shaft and concluded there would be no point in replacing the bearing without also replacing the prop shaft! Happily because the stern gland did not leak significantly and he also concluded that it would be OK to refit the external bearing but be prepared to have to replace the whole shaft at some point in the future. No doubt the engine will have to come out too at some point so I'll probably do both together.
I had also previously noticed that one of the bolts holding the rudder shoe in place looked rusty and so needed to check that out. I consulted Chris once again and he recommended that I took the shoe right off to check it out thoroughly. The last thing I wanted was the rudder failing mid Atlantic!
Since the above works I have heard back from Mike the Foundry man that he can cast a new rudder shoe for £45 which is a bargain and I also tracked down Paul of 'OflandandSea' on ebay who can make me a new tiller for around £250 which considering the time involved is also a bargain.
Next job a return match with the propshaft stuffing box and refitting the external bearing on the propshaft and the prop itself. Then perhaps fitting the new transducers for the depth sounder and the speed log. That will require removing the flexible water tank which will be a chore, but it has a leak and needs a good clean so it needs to be done anyway. With luck I'll get that done this coming weekend and then it's 'just' the anode(s) to sort out before re anti-fouling with the replacement Verometal copper mix and then I can get her back in the water. Still loads to do afterwards of course but the prospect of getting some sailing in begins to feel less far fetched than it once did.