Wednesday, 8 March 2017

First visit of the year

Needing to driving 260 miles to Holyhead when I know I won't be able to do much work due to the weather means I have not been to check on Robinetta in much too long. The yard would have told me if there had been any major problems, so I just ignored Robinetta. This is never a good idea.

Floorboards awash
The yard serviced the engine and got it ready for winter after my last visit, and they switched both batteries to "off" as they left, in the standard way. Unfortunately this meant that the float switch that runs the bilge pump had no power. Robinetta's winter covers are in sections, letting the rain through in places, and her decks leak, letting the rain through in places; when I arrived on board on Monday morning the floors were awash.

It took the bilge pump about twenty minutes to empty the bilges, then I had to take up all the floor boards and rinse them off before putting them in the cockpit to dry. Luckily it was a sunny day with a breeze to speed up the drying process.

Drying out the bilges
Another half hour saw the final gallon of fresh water mopped up, and the electric heater directed at the soaking bilges. All the interior wood was damp and the heater stayed on all day.

I had come to Holyhead with the intention of washing down the cabin, and painting the cabin ceiling. Clambering about the cabin with the floor boards up slowed the process down a bit, but it was essential to air the bilges as much as possible.

The wood in the rest of the cabin had suffered from the damp atmosphere too. We have been thinking about getting the deck redone to fix the leaks, and this winter has moved it up the list of essential repairs. The deck beam under the forward bulkhead has suffered.

Paint flaking off the cabin sides is a lot less traumatic though, and quite easy to tidy up once the wood beneath is dry. It does mean at least three days at the boat though, to get even a minimum set of coatings on.... There were no significant flaking areas on the ceiling though, so that job got done.

This year we have decided to try different anti-foul. We have been using Tiger Xtra, but the chandlers at Holyhead do not stock it, and told us this was because it does not work well under local conditions. We have gone for Teamac this time, and one of my jobs was to check it would go on over the Tiger without problems. I did a few test patches, and it seems fine, so next time I go it will be to get the anti-foul on.

Robinetta is booked to launch on 11th April, so I suspect I will get to know the road to Holyhead rather well over the next month.