Monday 30 June 2014

The Great Escape ....

....from the Marina.

Finally got sailing. Joined by Mick and Alan. Frantic morning of jobs on Saturday 28/6. Out on the 1230 lock. Discovered tiller not straight but off to port by about 20°. Embarrassing but not a show stopper. Will probably leave as is for now. Motored as far as Stangate into light headwind. Then just enough to sail. After a slow start a good sail round Sheppy to Faversham Creek. Aries a great success and admired by all. Christened "Mildred" in honour of now retired George. Got hit by a few showers but otherwise pleasant.

Picked up buoy in Swale around 2000. Dinner on board. Dropped buoy around 1000 on Sunday and motored up Swale. Ran aground twice and foul of shipping regulations. Discovered anchor not bent on! Crew contemplated Court Martial but left me off with a piece of cake.

Wind picked up to 20+ k by Queenborough and storming close hauled sail up the river. Locked in at 1530.

A successful first outing of the year. Still lots of jobs to do including shortening Mildred's mounting tubes which are currently preventing the lift up mechanism from working. Also air leeks in water system after reinstalling water tank and installing new GPS/AIS transponder.A major tidy up and clean up also required.

Looking West up The Swale
Mildred in action

Monday 23 June 2014

Tiller installed but still not ready for sailing

That's the good news. And it is a beautiful piece of sculpture - thanks Paul. Also on the positive side Mick finished wiring up the new instruments and rationalised the engine wiring. However, the water tank has not yet been reinstalled and the Genoa not yet bent on. I did manage to get up the mast to check out the cause of the frayed genoa halyard. Possibly a routing issue but will have to get back up there once the Genoa bent on to be sure.

Oh and I almost forgot - Ian brought the new sail cover over which just fits and looks very smart and the spray hood which did not and will have to be adjusted. Sorry Ian!

Still loads of less major jobs to do (including adjustments to the Aries which may require use of a hacksaw) but the plan for next weekend is to get the genoa on and the water tank installed and then catch the lunch time ebb for and a short sail to the Swale. We'll see!

Monday 16 June 2014

Update in pictures and few words!

Also attached rigging to new chainplates after more drilling cos pins different sizes!

Monday 2 June 2014


Lift in was booked for 1330. I spent the first part of the morning tidying up and stowing tools. Unfortunately I still need the ever growing collection of them which now includes Chris's new Dremel that Alan and I bought for him for his birthday. I did manage to transfer some stuff to the Car but the boat is still more like a floating workshop than a sailing boat.

I then washed down the deck and topsides. With everything ready I then relaxed for the first time over the weekend. After an hour or so I suddenly remembered that I ought to check that everything was ready to start the engine. That was the point when the day took a downhill trend.

The previous weekend I took all the things off the hooks by the companion way steps (keys, small torches etc) and put them on the chart table to avoid knocking them off into the bilges whilst laying the new instrument cables. One of those things was the key for the battery isolator switch. Off course the bloody thing had vanished. I turned the reasonably tidy boat upside down looking for it to no avail. Howard had volunteered to come over and so I rang him on the off-chance he might have a spare. He did as it happens but I rang too late - he was just pulling up at the marina! However, he did have jump leads in the car and was confident that he could rig up a hot wire start.

Once lifted in and we'd had a cup of tea with Tony who had also turned up we tried the engine. Nothing completely dead. Howard eventually found that the end of the wire from the starter switch was not connected and try as he did over the next hour or so he could not work out where the dam thing was supposed to be connected. He then checked the solenoid which worked but did not operate the starter motor and therefore bypassing the switch did not appear to be an option either. He had already stayed out too long and so eventually we had to accept defeat and I had to accept the need for some serious electrical analysis to work out what was going on. Howard returned to work and I arranged for the boat to be towed to her berth the next day.

I starting tidying up and Tony got ready to leave too when the phone rang. It was Howard. "Check the back of the starter motor solenoid he said, there  must be a connector there that I missed and if so that's where the wire should go." Fortunately I had a small mirror for just this purpose and there indeed was the connector hiding away right at the back and impossible to see without a mirror. Once connected the starter motor sprang into life and after a short while the engine started and was running smoothly. [I had previously tried to start it by hand but just did not have the muscle. I must get some easy start.]

I fitted the emergency tiller and off we chugged. I was a bit concerned about being able to manoeuvre with the emergency tiller because it provided very little leverage but it was fine. After a few trial manoeuvres we were moored up in Arctic Smoke's berth.

I tided up a bit, re-fitted the isolator switch (but could only fit one of the two bolts properly because there was just not enough room behind the panel to hold a nut between my fingers and get it into position. Looks like significant dismantling will be required. Howard had early given me very poor marks for the state of the electrical connections so those will need seeing to too!

Next weekend with Chris's help again, we'll try and finish off the tiller fitting which still requires a lot of work. Hopefully the new tiller will arrive shortly after!

Maybe one day I'll be able to go sailing!

Sunday 1 June 2014

Ready for launch

The last few weekends have been full on trying to ensure we're ready for the launch date which at time of writing is tomorrow!
After many delays I was finally able to pick up the castings for the rudder shoe and tiller fitting on Friday.

I knew there would still be a lot of work to do but it was a real marathon and without Chris leading the work for most of Saturday and Sunday it would never have happened. Also many thanks to Johnny, Alan and Howard who both helped out. It took 5 hours to drill the 20 x15 mm hole for the rudder shaft and we had to finish off at Howard's workshop because my drill press ran out of puff. So to did the 20 mm drill bit i had bought but a minor miracle the tool shop in Rochester had one which I purchased just before it closed on Saturday afternoon.

In between attacking the rudder shoe Chris started work on the tiller fitting. The hole for the shaft was out of alignment and needed reeming out on two sides. I had spent 5 hours on Friday afternoon with a file and made some progress. Chris brought his electric saw over and with a hacksaw attachment we managed to butcher it sufficiently to sit square on the shaft. I spent a few hours today making bronze shims to fit inside to take up the gaps. Still not finished though.

Last weekend i painted a new go faster stripe and fitted the new echo sounder transducer and the log impeller. An absolute nightmare getting the cables from one end of the boat to the other but finally did it.

Tomorrow will clean the coachroof side decks before launch at 1330. Oh and hope the engine works!