Sunday, 21 October 2012

It was still raining on Sunday morning, rather than the mist promised by the forecast, and there was a little wind, which increased through the morning so we could have gone sailing. The weather discouraged us though, sailing in the rain is rarely enjoyable, so we decided to tackle some maintenance instead.

The work surface beside the cooker feels really wobbly at the back, and we can not access the sink through hull easily to turn it on or off. Because of that we have never used the sink. We decided to remove the work surface to check its condition, and that meant taking out the plate rack to make it easier to get at. I had done this before, the first winter we owned Robinetta, and knew it was not that difficult.

All the pans, crockery and glasses got put away in the cupboard over the port berth, then we got the plate/glass rack out. I had forgotten that the wiring for the galley and compass lights ran through the work surface, so we had to undo then re-run them, and then we prised out the tacked in beading that held the work surface down. It was nice and solid, but came off cleanly once I had unscrewed the tap surround that held it in place.

The formica that forms the actual work surface was not in too bad a state, but it was not glued to anything by the hull; Julian pulled it off the ply, and then pulled off a layer of ply, then some fragments of ply, then a layer of ply... Each layer of wood that went to form the ply came up separately, the glue had failed all the way through.

At one point we had the sink held up by its pipe work, with no wood around it. The nut holding the sink in place was too large for any of our spanners to move. Trying to access a screw half hidden behind the sink meant wriggling the pipe work enough to loosen the nut though, and Julian managed to get the nut undone so we could remove the sink. Unfortunately the nut that loosened up was the one holding the pipe to the thru-hull, and shortly after Julian lifted the sink away I had a look and realised that the thru-hull was slightly open.

The toilet thru-hull spanner fitted, but we could not get the thru hull to close even after encouraging it with a hammer. It was not a dangerous situation, the thru-hull is just on the water line and it was only slightly open, but we could not leave the boat unoccupied with it like that.

We have a set of wooden bungs on board, so after we found them where they were hiding we hammered in the one that fitted best, then sealed around it with mastic, aluminium foil, hose clips and electric tape. It sounds like over kill, but we really don't want the bung working loose if there's a storm! At the top of the tide even our sheltered mooring up the Ray can get quite rough, and we're not sure when we'll next get back to Robinetta.

We left just after lunch, with a bucket full of bits of rotten ply and formica to throw away. We've also brought the anchor winch home. There's not much point giving it room on the boat if its going to fall apart when we need it!

Next task is thinking how to replace the galley area we've just destroyed! The racks above will go back without problem, but first we have to service the thru-hull (when we are not in the water!). We want some way of accessing it, and using the dead space beside it. We'll have to re-site the tap and sink too...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

A quiet evening

It was my birthday on Friday, and when Julian asked what I wanted to do for a birthday treat I decided to go to lunch at the Company Shed, then spend the night on Robinetta so we could get a full days sailing on Sunday.

The plan was always weather dependant, and the forecast was for not much wind, so we did not have great expectations. The lunch was excellent, and then we dropped by Keith and Julie's to give back the clothes we borrowed. After a cup of tea or two and a natter I suddenly realised it was getting dark! We rushed back to the pontoon and jumped into Worm, which we had launched while waiting for our space in the lunch queue (even on a dank Saturday on October the Company Shed was full up!).

Rowing out to Robinetta in the gloaming on a very still evening was relaxing, but quite slow as the tide was against us and I was full of lunch. By the time we reached the mooring it was nearly full dark, and it was only after I boarded Robinetta and found a bundle of cloth in the cockpit that I realised that the sail cover was there, rather than over the sail. Ii must have come off and been put on board for us, but I don't know who by. Whoever it was, thanks! (turns out Rob Williamson saw the problem when he was checking Maid of Tesa. It was high tide, so he rowed straight across the Ray spit and rescued the cover for us.)

It began to spit with rain, so I got the sail cover back on, and then Julian and I spent a quiet night on the boat, listening to the rain. It's strange how enjoyable just being on the boat can be!