Not much progress but productive.

On Saturday I had a guest on board.My 30 yr old son was at a loose end and hadn’t seen the boat and asked to come with me.
We spent more time talking than working but it was refreshing to have company for a change. A second pair of eyes also gives a different perspective to things,and I value the ideas/opinions others may have.
Adam is quite handy with a saw so I got him cutting the ply to shape for the 12v switch panel,and a good job he made of it too!  
Then he suggested that he builds the panel up with all new switches/sockets/fuse holders etc as an early birthday present.Wow,result! Needless to say,a lot of time was then spent on the web looking for(and ordering) suitable components.
I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result,and will get a picture or two posted soon!
While Adam was busy making templates and shaping the ply,I carried on with the glue/masonry paint removal.
I think I’ve finally found a good method for removing the glue from the rough grp surfaces,without resorting to an angle grinder or c4!
I had tried white spirit/scotchbrite/wet and dry paper combinations which got some of it off,but the best(ok,easiest) way was white spirit and a stainless steel pan’s a bit rougher than the other scourers I had tried,but not as abrasive as the p80 wet and dry. It also gets into all the dimples and troughs. It should speed things up a bit.
I may even bite the bullet and get the v-berth area prepped and painted at the same time.
Now that would be progress.
I’ve also started to mentally plan the electrical circuits. Watch this space.


Good intentions gone bad!

I managed to get about 12 hours on board over the Easter break,but I my plan to get the main cabin fully prepped for paint didn’t go according to plan.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions,but in this case it’s painted!
I found a better way to remove the glue that once held the carpet was to use 80 grit wet and dry paper,soaked in white spirit. On the smooth gel coat,this worked a treat,but on the coachroof sides and ceiling,where it’s rough grp,it wasn’t so good. I’ve yet to find the answer to that one!
The biggest problem though,is the removal of the large quantities of masonry paint. Any area that couldn’t be easily covered in carpet is liberally coated with the bloody stuff.
Not only that but I think new, improved masonry paint with added titanium and kevlar was used,it’s that hard. 80 grit paper gets it off eventually,but only once i’ve lost all my fingerprints!
Even lubrication with large mugs of tea didn’t help much,but made me feel better. I only achieved about half of what i’d hoped for,so still nowhere near getting even the first coat of paint on.
There is a saying that the last 10% of a job takes 90% of the time. I think in this case that can be reversed.
I don’t want to risk not removing all the paint in case it reacts with the new,so perseverance is the key. I will get there in time,but oh for the luxury of mains electric and a sander!

Good Friday tomorrow…..

……..and the first of 4 days off!
Should get on the boat for two of them at least,and i’m hoping to make good progress. Then, in a couple of weeks,i’ve got another 9 days off,and weather gods permitting,i’m hoping to get the deck,coachroof and cockpit prepped and painted.That will be a real sign that my efforts aren’t in vain!
Anyway,back to this weekend…..
Other than tea drinking/sitting on deck acquring a tan(!),i’ll be making a good attempt at finishing the scraping,filling and sanding in the main cabin. If time permits I may even get some primer on.
Another item on my ‘to do’ list is making a panel to mount 12v switches,fuses,battery meter and 12v sockets.
In each aft corner of the galley area is a small recess,not really practical for storage. I’ll make a front up for at least one of these areas and use it for the switch panel.


Should be quite a neat solution,with the wiring all tucked away.

Clearing the decks….

Didn’t get as much time for “seal” as i’d hoped this weekend. Saturday was swallowed by family commitments(shopping) and the slight matter of an F.A cup semi final on t.v.
I did get to her for a few hours on Sunday though,and i’ve got 4 days off at Easter.At least 2 of those are pencilled in as boat days.Don’t tell my wife!
I fully intended getting the prep work in the main cabin finished but got distracted by glorious sunshine,and decided to get a bit of outside work done instead.


        Old and New,side by side

I had laminated the first companionway runner last weekend so I got that roughly to shape and the second one glued and clamped.
I then turned my attention to the foredeck/starboard side deck.
One of the problems I have to resolve is rainwater getting into the interior.I originally thought the window rubbers were the main culprit,but after a rainy afternoon previously,I knew it was the stanchion bases.
I don’t think they were fitted from new,the ones on “seal” definitely weren’t fitted professionally.
There was nothing to seal them other than perished rubber gaskets and a large amount of silicon was smeared over the bases to try and stop the leaks.They were also fitted in such a way that the guardwires interfered with the shrouds.
I’ve made the decision to remove them all and will rely on a harness and jackstay combination instead.
I knew one of the bases was broken and the remaining two on that side broke on removal!
I shall try and sell the stanchions/guardwires and put any cash into the project. Hopefully once the holes are sealed i’ll have a dry boat. I’ll let you know……


       Stanchions/ wires removed


           .Remains of a base.


           Portside still to remove.

Once again,masonry paint rears its ugly head! This time on all the textured non slip areas.These are a fairly small ( 4mm?) diamond pattern. In some places the paint is flaking off in big lumps,in others it’s stuck like the proverbial s**t to a blanket. The non slip appears to be in good condition under the paint. If it cleans ok I shall leave it uncovered,otherwise I shall give it a couple of light coats of paint.Not masonry paint and not laid on with a trowel!
The chap on the neighbouring boat has given me a gallon of non slip deck paint,grey in colour,and I will use that. My scrounging talent again!
I’ve also acquired a solar panel and a couple of good used leisure batteries amongst other things.A big Thankyou to all donors!

What’s in a name?(updated)

Ever since buying “seal” i’ve had the urge to re-christen her. I believe boat names to be a very personal thing,and that they should mean something to the owner/skipper.
There is a superstition that changing a boats name is bad luck,but i’m not at all superstitious and logic tells me that changing names can’t possibly result in misfortune.
And,touch wood,i’ve got a 4 leaf clover and a rabbits foot on my side!
Anyway,my biggest problem is what to rename her.
Some go down the witty route,some name their boat after a loved one,some like to create an air of mystery with a foreign word or phrase,some are just totally unimaginitive,I saw one called ‘The Boat’.Really?
I have a few choices at the moment,and i’m open to suggestions for more!
My shortlist,and reasons for them:

1: Grounds For Divorce. My wife isn’t a boat lover,and there is a little resentment at my choice of hobby. The Elbow song lyrics!
2: Mild Horses. I’m a Stones fan,and Wild Horses is one of my favourites. Wild can’t really be applied to a Kingfisher 20,Mild however……
3: Pigs Ear. As in “you can’t make a silk purse etc.” I’m trying to!
4: Watershed. It’s a bloke thing to have a shed as a refuge from the daily grind. Mine just happens to be afloat.
5: Lay lady j. Another adapted song title,Dylan this time. J is my wifes initial,you can guess the rest.

I’m sure i’ll have other ideas before I finally make a decision,and as mentioned,i’m open to suggestions.
2 more ideas i’ve had,I really am spoilt for choice.
6: Swansong. This will be the last major project I take on due to health issues,I think by the time she is finished i’ll barely have the energy for sailing!
7: Phoque. French for Seal. Must be the rebel in me,pronounced as f… Well, it’s rude. Imagine calling the coastguard on the radio…….. The more I think about it,the more I like it!

Finances and philosophy

Out of necessity,this project of mine is on a tight budget. I work full time hours but don’t earn much more than minimum wage rates.
I will be cutting costs wherever it is practical to do so,while still striving to do things to a good overall standard. Obviously I won’t compromise on safety aspects.
“Seal” will never be worth a huge amount of cash,but then,I hope I never have to sell her!
If I can find and use alternatives to marine spec items,I will.There’s good savings to be made on paints, for instance. They may not be quite as durable/long lasting as marine spec,but good results are still achievable.
I’m not averse to using good reclaimed or second hand items either. Already,a bit of the interior woodwork I stripped out( a nice piece of mahogany) has been cut and shaped ready as a new plinth for the stainless steel samson post.


As can be seen the the original has totally disintegrated
I’m also a talented scrounger,so that should save a quid or two!
Tbe purists may shudder at the prospect,but i’m going to reduce the amount of varnished timber to the bare minimum and paint instead.image
The sliding hatch runners.
for instance need replacing.These wii constructed by laminating 3 layers of exterior ply(thus forming the recess for the hatch),before several coats of paint.
Varnish ideally needs recoating every year or so,and i’d rather spend the time saved on more important things,like sailing and drinking tea!
As previously mentioned,i’m working to a budget of around£1000,if I end up with a boat better than I could have bought for that money,i’ll be happy. Plus,i’ll have the satisfaction of being able to say “I did that!”.
The type of sailing i’m intending to do means I can keep electronic gizmos to a minimum,instead i’ll be relying on paper charts,pilotage books and compass etc. The old fashioned ways work for me!
Another way I can save money is by adapting what I already have.”seal” is fitted with 6 interior lights,quite nice fittings but with battery draining filament type bulbs. I will replace just the bulbs with led equivalents rather than changing the whole fitting.
I will trim the interior foam cushions to be a better fit and attempt to make covers for them.
I don’t intend having a fully plumbed in gas cooker,i’n not a great fan of gas on boats. Ideally i’d like a two burner spirit stove,if I can find one at the right price. For now i’m using a self contained picnic stove for the all important kettle!

Somebody’s new project?

Just along the staging from ‘seal’


Think she’s a hunter? Gradually filling with mud,looks to be a good cheap project.


I think she’s probably been abandoned with outstanding mooring fees owing.
She was for sale on ebay last year.
Somebody save her!
I find it incredibly walking around boatyards/marinas and seeing so many unloved and uncared for yachts.
They were all new once and all somebody’s pride and joy. The miles they may have covered,the storms they’ve survived and the pleasure they’ve given. Do they really deserve to be treated so shabbily?
I feel myself wanting to save them all but obviously can’t.
They’re must be others out there, like myself,with not a lot of spare cash,who would be prepared to take one on and lavish time and tlc on an unloved boat?

Work begins…..

Now ‘seal’ is safe and sound on her mooring,the hard work can begin!
I’ve started on the main cabin for now,it was plain to see what needed doing and i’ve got a clear mental picture of how I want it to look and how to achieve it.
I probably should concentrate all my efforts on the hull,deck and cockpit area,but I knew I could get the bulk of the cabin prepped and painted fairly quickly and the work isn’t weather dependant.
Besides which I want somewhere clean and comfortable for tea drinking!
I removed all the carpet lining and headlinings easily enough,4 dustbin sacks full.
The added woodwork was a bit more challenging,lots of rusty screws holding wardrobe offcuts. I think so much money had been spent on evostik and masonry paint,there was nothing left to spend on decent timber or stainless steel fixings!


Port galley area as was.


Wood and carpet removed


Cleaned up and lightly sanded.


Starboard bulkhead,cleaned and sanded


Starboard quarter berth sanded.


Even locker lids didn’t escape the evostik monster,note the ring of sandtex around the aperture!
I feel i’m making good progress,another good day of scraping,filling and sanding(all by hand!) should see the cabin ready for undercoat.
The glue was removed by soaking with white spirit and then scraping. Once the bulk of it was gone,scotchbrite soaked in white spirit removed the rest. Any bits missed,the sandpaper took care of.
Tbe underside of the coachroof will be undercoated and then 2 or 3 coats of oilbased eggshell( white) will be applied.
The side linings,furniture mouldings etc will be done the same,but coloured. The colour has yet to be decided,but possibly cream.
Eventually( I.e if and when budget allows) i’d like to use van lining carpet on underside of coachroof and cabin sides,but that’s a long way off!