Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I ordered the paint for the hull from Marine Store Wyatt, and got a 10% discount for a bulk order. I've gone with all International paint above the water line, since I want to stick with the Lauderdale Blue toplac, but beneath the water line Robinetta will be Blakes like before; I bought the anti-foul last summer when I saw it on special at £50. Even with the discount, and without the anti-foul, I still spent over £200 on paint....

Paul asked me not to paint the undersides until he had finished re-fixing the plank ends there. He's done the top sides, but had to order in the correct size silica bronze screws, and they're only due to arrive today. It was a good day for painting though, so I gave the top sides their first coat of paint, and put the wet-on-wet initial layers of varnol on the cabin sides.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Keel stripping

It's impossible to take paint/ antifoul off a metal keel with a heat gun, and sanding more that one layer of paint takes a long time. I had some nitromors at home, so I took that along and finished off the tin on the keel. It's still not down to bare metal, but it's not nearly as lumpy as it was!

The varnol I put on on Friday looks good, so I finished preparing the cabin sides. The day is too damp to put any more varnol on though, so I came home early.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Caulking starts

Paul was there all day, caulking above the water line on the starboard side. It was amazing watching the caulking cotton disappear between the planks. I know it's there, because I saw him stretching it along the planking line, but once in place it's almost invisible.

I used the heat gun on the Sadolin today, then took the last of it off with the mouse sander. The white paint on the bulwarks beneath the Sadolin was only painted last year, and I was going to leave it alone, but some of it blistered a bit with the heat gun, so I took that off, then found that whole strips of it, untouched by the heat gun, flaked off. I'm going to have to do some remedial work on that too...

I put varnol on the port side cabin side, just forward of the chain plate, to see what it looked like. If the colour and finish are good I'll do the rest, otherwise I'll strip it off and use varnish.

Julie and Keith turned up to have a chat with Paul about work on Maryll, and admired Robinetta's unpainted look.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Work progress

I finished sanding the paint off Robinetta's hull on Monday but the big sander broke just before I got all the paint off the stern... Luckily I was going to use the mouse sander for stripping the Sadolin off the cabin sides anyway, so that's what I worked on today.

Before I started I took some pictures of Robinetta's "naked" hull.

I had been meaning to take photos for a while, to show the state of some of the plank ends that were going to be repaired with epoxy, but I was slightly too late; Paul must have gone along last Friday, and epoxied them.

He turned up while I was there, for a short visit, and sanded the epoxy down. The repair will be invisible once its painted.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The next stage

I went to Robinetta on Tuesday, to pump out the bilges and burn off the last of the paint. It was pretty cold, with some snow still unmelted on the cover, and a big lump of ice where water gathers on the foredeck cover.

It warmed up a little through the day, and after I'd burnt off the paint I had a go with the sander. It worked much better than I remembered from when I tried using it the first winter we owned Robinetta.

I went back today to do more sanding, and got on surprisingly fast. I've taken off more than half the blue remnants left behind by the heat gun, and smoothed down all the anti-foul on the starboard side. It's a filthy job though and wearing a breathing mask and protective goggles is absolutely essential.

I had a look at the bolt that the bob-stay attaches to at the bow and decided we have to do something about the obvious wear. Paul suggested welding in a ring to re-enforce it, so I'll have a word with the yard and see that they think.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Recession Blues and Browns

Mark Butler rang yesterday. The sail cloth industry is suffering significantly from the downturn and the light tan cloth we chose is unlikely to be available. So its a choice of dark tan or cream. The dark tan looks good on Plum, but its a bit plum coloured. I hacked the photo of the new sail size. Maybe you can help us choose.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


I took a day's holiday today to work on the Gaff. Last Saturday we bought enough sawn pine to make a full size gaff. Ordinary building pine isn't good enough really, but it is cheap and we sorted enough staves with few knots to be worth a try. I don't feel confidant enough to try it with expensive wood such as Douglas fir without more practice.

I started by using the power planer on groups of three staves to put a taper on one narrow edge. Skene says taper to 93% at the throat and 72% at the peak. Iain Oughtred says 82% and 62%. Neither say where to start the taper. I more or less arbitrarily divided the 4.5 m length in three with the middle kept at 100% and went with about 85% at the throat and 70% at the peak.

Then we put the grooves in. This didn't go too badly but its really hard to get it smooth at the tapers. It would be easier to put the taper in after, but that would risk damaging the edges of the grooves.

I did a trial dry fit of the complete spar. I used the test piece I made last week as a former and assembled one end inside it. This worked a treat. Then Alison was able to put the rest together and I clamped the whole thing losely with cable ties. This proved that narrow cable ties are not enough on their own as clamps, which is what everyone says.

The resultant spar is too thick. I need to trim each stave on the taper side to slim down the whole thing. I also need to improve the groove. Whether I can do this with the router I'm not sure. Its hard with the table but maybe impossible without.

If I can make the pine spar good enough, I might use it for a season. Or I might get the Douglas fir now.

Diamond Jubilee Pageant

We heard in December that Robinetta won't be in the Avenue of Sail. I just found the list of vessels taking part and there are only about 40 in the Avenue of Sail and only 7 sailing yachts. They all deserve their places.