Sunday, 30 March 2014

Good painting weather

Another two days of wonderful weekend weather!

Alex and I went on Saturday and found that Paul had finished rebuilding the cockpit and stripped and refinished the mast. He'd given it one thinned coat of varnish and says he'll be back through the week to put on as many coats of varnish as he can. Julian put one on on Sunday too.

The rudder got its second coat of antifoul, so everything below the waterline is done. The foredeck got a coat of masonry paint on Saturday, then I painted inside the bulwarks and beneath them where Paul resealed the deck first thing on Sunday.

The cockpit fibreglass was under-coated on Saturday, and masonry painted on Sunday. All the woodwork in the cockpit is sanded down and waiting for varnish. I think we'll do that once we've launched and are away from the dust of the yard.

The anchor and chain are back on board, Julian greased the chain as we loaded it, and freed up any stuck links with a hammer. He wants to be reminded to grease the chain when we take it off next time...

The new diesel lift pump was fitted last week, and the engine de-winterised. There was a little diesel in the bilges when I checked them, so I moped them out. Hopefully that will be the last of it! I washed down the remaining cabin paint on Saturday (apart from a couple of bits I missed) and we took along the seat cushions on Sunday. The cabin is back in commission!

The galley adaptation is coming along well, but I'm running pretty short of formica since I need to cut a new piece for the side as well as beneath the hob. I think I'll end up piecing bits together...

Alex is varnishing the blocks for me, and he's nearly finished them. Just as well since we need to dress the mast next weekend. I'm really looking forward to getting Robinetta back in the water again. It's been ages since I went sailing!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Feels like progress

I finished rebuilding the heads over the weekend after Julian fettled up the sea-cocks, but most of my time was spent making a new infill for the galley work surface so we can fit the new hob. It's only 5mm outdoor ply, not 8mm marine quality like the rest of the galley, but its not going to be taking any of the weight of the hob and is only there to stop things falling down the gap. I want to cover the top with formica so it matches the rest though!

I put a second layer of Woodskin on the bits, but it was much too windy for varnishing the cap-rails. I did sand down the teak plugs that Julian fitted on the stern cap-rail though. It's looking good!

The foredeck bulwarks will get painted when the cockpit ones are done. I'll wait until Paul's finished to do that.
Alex came along on Sunday and repainted a smeary looking area of the topsides, then he moved inside and washed, rinsed, sanded, and painted the hull inside the cabin. It looks so much cleaner now!

We decided to leave the cabin ceiling another year, and the cupboards and benches will just get a scrub before the cushions get put on board. It feels like huge progress.

The last job of the weekend, just before it started to hail, was transferring on the vinyl lettering we bought at the ExCel Boatshow. The last set we bought survived without damage for 5 years, until we stripped all the paint off, so I was happy to used the system again.  Robinetta is now clearly identifiable! It makes going into strange ports easier if everyone can see who you are.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Feeling good

The first time I've been to Robinetta since the autumn to put something together rather than taking something apart. The port cockpit cap rail is now repaired and back in situ. With Paul's great work rebuilding the locker there is now some hope of getting back in the water. Less than three weeks now and after 4 years we will cease to be immigrants and become vagrants! I must say, the natives of Mersea are very kind to foreigners, it has been a real pleasure. Perhaps we will come back to stay one day. I'm sure we will visit often.

Sea cocks

Robinetta has three fine old bronze cone-style sea cocks. One in the galley to drain the sink, an inlet for the heads and the waste outlet for the heads. Compass Marine in Maine has a fine guide to servicing these and ours were in dire need.Not being any kind of a mechanic I needed some advice as to what to use and after looking at products on the web I emailed Chemico in Solihull. Kathy Escott at Chemico came back with a brilliantly complete answer to my questions and a very reasonable mail order price. She recommended either their fine or very fine grinding paste. I felt like a valued customer at Chemico, although I was only spending a few pounds.

The inlet sea cock for the heads was very corroded. Space is quite confined and I could only turn the cone 1/4 turn without replacing the spanner.

After some time following the instructions to make full turns I went for a 1/4 turn back and forwards motion which allowed a lot more force to be applied. I rotated by a 1/4 turn frequently to try to keep the overall process rotationally symmetric and not distort the cone or the cylinder.

It went rather well.

The outlet for the heads is much larger. When I was done, it didn't seem like the cone sat as deeply  in the cylinder as it used to. This means that it is easier to get a tight fit on the nut, but it doesn't turn as easily as the inlet valve.
All this nice patina has to go
Part-way through and there is still a lot of verdigris

The galley sea cock was out of use since we bought the boat until last summer. I tried to get it working then but not very successfully. The cone is too pitted really but the cylinder cleaned up lovely.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Another beautiful weekend

Another weekend working on the boat. Julian came with me on Saturday, and Alex on Sunday.

Julian ordered our new cooker last week, an Orego two burner spirit stove. It arrived on Thursday, so our first task was to have a look at how to fit it into the galley. We've worked out how to do it, but at some point I'll have to properly redesign the galley...

I spent most of my time rebuilding the anchor locker and sail locker in the forepeak, with occasional forays outside to help with bits of painting and varnishing.

Julian put the trim back round the bits and took apart the thru-hulls. He's going to try to get some polishing grit to make them work more smoothly. Bronze tapering cone thru-hulls need more maintenance that we've been giving them. He also took the trim off the top edge of the cabin facing into the foredeck. Alex stripped and varnished it the last year we were at Shotley, but the Epifanes has not fared well and had peeled off in many places.

When Julian was stripping the varnish he discovered that the trim was loose, so he took it off to check for rot. It  was sound, as was the wood beneath, so he cleaned it up, and screwed it back, bedded in new mastic. I put a fresh coat of epifanes on on Sunday, and will have to do the same every visit for the next five! I also started varnishing the cap rails in the foredeck.

I'm doing an experiment with Blakes Woodskin as a possible replacement for the varnol that I can't get any more, so I put a layer on the bits and their trim. I'll see how it looks next weekend.

Alex painted the topsides with a second layer of toplac, put Pre-Kote on the grey metallic primer on the bulwarks, and put a first layer of anti-foul on the rudder and a second on the hull. The weather was almost perfect for painting, just a touch too windy!

Paul has started rebuilding the cockpit, so everything looks on target thanks to the good weather. Only outstanding job that needs doing ASAP is the mast. I've got to get the yard to move it so we can fettle and dress it before launch date!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

A productive weekend

A great couple of days working on Robinetta. Alex and I went on Saturday, and he prepared the hull above the water line for a coat of Toplac, while I took the winter covers off, put a coat of undercoat on in the forepeak, and grey metallic on the caulking Paul did on the foredeck. Julian stayed home and took off Worm's gunwales in between doing stuff for his OU course.

On Sunday Alex painted the hull, so Robinetta is now a beautiful blue all over her topsides again. The weather was perfect for it, sunny and warm so the paint dried well, but not so hot that it went off too quickly. Julian fitted the repaired cap-rail back to the cockpit and fully disassembled the rotten cockpit locker so Paul will have an easier time when he rebuilds it. I finished painting the forepeak, so it bright and white above the shelves and clean grey beneath. I hope to be able to rebuild the anchor and sail lockers next weekend.

The main activity of the day, and the reason all three of us went, was to re-hang the rudder. It went back easily, so that is a milestone passed in the winter work!