Thursday, 25 June 2020

Rudder update

decayed rudder fitting
Paul Drake let me know that while working on the rudder he found that all the fittings on it have decayed too much for reuse (although the ones on the boat itself are mostly okay). He will be getting new ones cast, but of course, that all adds to the time it will take.

It's looking like an autumn relaunch for Robinetta!

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Work begins

Now Robinetta is out of the water the "winter work" can begin. My first step was to remove any raised areas of paint, and there was a large bubble on the bulwarks, just where they become the cabin sides. This area is actually inside the hanging locker, and I have made no attempt to paint the hull inside that locker since we bought the boat as access is incredibly difficult. On removing the exterior paint I found an area of very soft wet wood, and after it dried out overnight it crumbled, rather than hardening up.

Julian likes doing bulwark replacement, but he is snowed under at work, so I called Paul Drake and asked his opinion. He came to have a look, and thinks that the rot was caused by this area being  regularly doused in fresh water as the run off from the cabin top flows down here. He will remove the rotten section and put in a new piece. He is also going to re-caulk and redo the stopping of the opened up hull planking, so there is no point even thinking about painting the exterior hull until that is done.

There was some damage on the foredeck where we did not lash the anchor down securely, and I have patched it with plastic padding before giving all the decks a fresh coat of masonry paint.

Cap rails in both foredeck and cockpit have been stripped back to bare wood and given coatings of Deks no.1, as has the new cockpit pin rail Julian made over the winter. The varnish on the cabin sides needs renewing, and I stripped off the loose stuff, but so far have only managed 1 coat of new, so there is still a lot to do on that.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Covid clear out treasure

Back in mid- April I read a comment on the blog from a gentleman who knew someone who had some Robinetta memorabilia. Today I got to collect it from Peter and Mary Young, a lovely couple in Chelmsford who had been looking after it since they helped clear Mr and Mrs Herriott's house after their deaths.

As well as the china they had some papers from when Nigel Heriott owned Robinetta, including her pre-sale survey from 1949. This includes a listing of her equipment, which seems to have included this china. The dinner plates have gone missing, but the rest of the china from that contents list are here. Oddly enough the survey mentions there was no cutlery on board....

I now feel a strong desire to have a boiled egg for breakfast, just so I can use an egg cup.

Any doubts about Robinetta's original sail colour can be laid to rest too. In 1949 they were tan, (except the trysail) and not new.

I will be updating the history page soon, to include dates when Robinetta was surveyed for a RORC rating. Not something I had ever thought our tubby little boat would possess!

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Finally out of the water

Our next attempt at getting Robinetta out of the water was booked for Saturday 23rd May. Weather looked okay, although with a force 5 gusting 6 slightly on the high side. Then that morning we got a call. It was actually gusting 7, much too high for a tow through a narrow channel BUT the weather on the next Monday was much calmer, with forecast wind speeds on 2-4 knots.

Now the yard does not normally work on a Monday, let alone a bank holiday one, but this was an exceptional year. Julian and I went along on the Monday, and with the aid of two inflatables Robinetta finally left her berth. Julian stayed aboard for the tow while I retrieved the ropes and brought them round to the dock.

Unfortunately I left my camera on Robinetta so have no pictures, but she made an amazing sight coming toward the dock, with one inflatable lashed alongside, and a second on a longer line behind to act as a brake. I was reminded of a liner with an entourage of tugs.

The weather this March, April, and May has been incredibly warm and dry for the time of year, and her starboard sides which were exposed to the sun have dried out a lot, with cracks along the plank lines. The port planking is in much better condition, and there is no sign of the open planking that caused the problems last summer. The garboards, that have caused problems in the past, are also water tight.

Most of the problems are cosmetic, and I shall ask Paul Drake to recaulk/restop the opened seams as appropriate. He has already removed the rudder to start the rebuild, which leaves the rudder fixings on Robinetta's stern exposed. Replacing/repairing these is also on this list....

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Lockdown eased

With lockdown in England eased yesterday I decided that I should check on Robinetta. In the expectation that she would be coming out of the water I had partially removed her covers, and at the very least they should be put on more securely.

On first approach she looked fine, but her stern was well out. I did not have to look far to see why she was lying so strangely. The bow spring line was lying on the mud, while the stake it had been attached to had snapped. There was a lot of strain on the stern line. I had to get a "gangplank" so I could get aboard Robinetta from the staging to retrieve the bow line.

A chat with a live aboard neighbour revealed the problem must have happened during the last high tide as he goes past every day and had not noticed the broken stake before. Not long after I had retrieved the line one of the Salting's staff turned up with a new stake, and I was able to moor up properly again.

I checked the bilges and they were good and dry. The covers had been on well enough for the small amount of rain in the weeks since my last visit. I also greased some of the shackles.

We still plan to get her rudder fixed and get some sailing this season, so she needs to come out ASAP. The first high enough tide is not until the end of the month, and hopefully the yard will be back in full activity. Paul the yard manager has been furloughed, so there is no launching going on until next week at the earliest. I am conflicted about my decision to leave her in the mud berth during lockdown, since Paul Drake might have been able to get on with the work. It was the warmest April on record though, so I probably made the right choice.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

And then there was Covid 19

With the UK government ordering every one to stay at home we have decided not to get Robinetta out of the water this spring tide. Why not? Because there is no way to know when she would be ready to go back in. Hopefully it will "all be over by Easter", but realistically it might be a lot longer than that before we can get the work done. The last thing I want is for her to be on the hard and drying out, with no way to put her back in, so for now she is staying in the mud....

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Unluckiest Boat in the Saltings

Went to Robinetta today, hoping she would be coming out. Paul did manage to get the boat that came out yesterday and was blocking the slipway out of the way. Unfortunately in the process he discovered a couple of problems with his tractor and trailer that need major welding. This will happen tomorrow, but by the time the essential repairs are done the springs tides will be over.

It will be nearly a fortnight before he can try again.

The only good thing is that there are no other boats left to come out, so Robinetta has priority, but who knows what the weather will be doing then? The way things have been going there will be another gale!