New Season

Well, fingers cross, it looks as though the weather is beginning to improve. However, I say that after the torrential rain and howling wind in Largs last night when I stayed on board for the first time this season.

Jess is getting lifted out of the water in a couple of weeks (April 6th) for annual maintenance  and I  journey through to deliver a few things, collect a few things and make a list of maintenance jobs to be done.  I stopped off at Duncan’s Yacht Chandlers in Scotland Street, Glasgow. I use Duncan’s a lot, particularly at the beginning of the season for annual maintenance stuff. The guys are really helpful, they have a good range of products at reasonable prices and it’s on the way to Largs. I’ve used Gael Force Marine in Hillington in the past but I think they are a bit more expensive and don’t have the range of stuff that Duncan’s has.  I need around 3 litres of anti-fouling for one coat – i’ve been using just one coat since I got the boat and every time she has come out of the water she’s been clean – so I hate buying a 5 litre tin as it’s just a waste. Duncan’s offers 2.5l and 1l tins.. Three and half litres anti-antifouling, hull cleaner, hull wax, varnish and some other bits and pieces ordered on-line and picked up on the way to the boat.

It was fairly dull and overcast when I arrived in Largs. It was also rather cold and the rain didn’t look too far away. First job was to unpack the car and stow the chandlery stuff, a pressure washer and others things I need for maintenance. I then took a walk up to the Office where I handed in my latest electricity reading, apparently only 2 units used so no bill this time. Last season I had to carry out a couple of running repairs on the headsail’s sacrificial strip. Saturn Sails are conveniently based at Largs and I wandered up to their office to have a chat. The repair will take between 7 and 10 days so I am intending to go through to Largs on the Wednesday before she is lifted out, get the sail down and into their sail loft for repair. Hopefully they have it returned to me by Saturday 14th when there’s a Moody Meet and Greet at Largs and I’ll have plenty folk there to help me put it back up! My sprayhood and sail bag are also looking a bit tatty so I’ve asked them to quote me for renewal. I’m fully expecting the final bill to be in the region of £1.5K!

I went back to the boat to tidy it up and rationalise some of the lockers. I noticed that when I was emptying one of the forward lockers that some gloves and hats were a bit damp. There are no deck fittings anywhere near which could be weeping (it wasn’t much dampness) and the only thing through the hull in that area is the toerail.  I ran some Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack along the toerail. The wind was conveniently coming across the front of the boat causing her to list slightly to port so it ran down the entire length very neatly without flowing across the deck. I’ve used Creeping Crack for lots of wee leaks (windows, deck fitting, etc.) and always with great success, so here’s hoping this time.

I then turned my attention to the aft lockers that contains all sorts of stuff; spare filters, belts, nuts and bolts as well as maintenance cleaners, polishes, cloths and brushes. Annoyingly, I discovered that I could have saved myself around £30 at the chandlery as I already have hull cleaner and polish. I must remember next time to check what I have before buying duplicates! However, I don’t think it will go off so it won’t be wasted.

The covers on the saloon bench seats are looking a bit tired, in fact one has a hole that’s been darned. However, the back and side cushions are still looking pretty good. My sister is pretty nifty with a sewing machine and she has offered to make new ones for me. As I said, the other cushions don’t need replacing and as it will be impossible to colour match them to new seat covers I have decided to get them covered in a darker contrasting material. Hopefully, my sister will be able to salvage enough from the old covers to make some scatter cushions. I turned my attention to writing up a list of jobs to be done and as I did so my eye caught the curtains. The curtains have always irritated me. They are too long and when you sit down and they are closed, they annoyingly brush against your head.  I thought that since my sister had offered to rustle up a couple of covers then new curtains shouldn’t  be much of a problem as well.

A few things broke last year or need replacing this season. The tiller pilot gave up the ghost toward the end of the season after getting a soaking – I fail to understand why a piece of equipment which is to be used in a marine environment isn’t waterproof. The Raymarine ST 200 isn’t waterproof! It was going to cost nearly £250 to get it repaired and I found a new one on EBay for £360, I also found a waterproof cover for it! The fridge also packed in and a new one just arrived today, so that will need to be fitted.

My final task was to make up a list of all the things that still need to be done – it ran to an A4 page. Granted a lot of them are routine, anti-fouling, varnishing, cleaning, etc. But, with the things I have bought so far and the repair to the sails, new covers and so on, I think it’s going to be an expensive year.

I went to Scott’s in the marina for something to eat and a couple of pint to console myself.