Touches of luxury.

I’m quite lucky to have the job I do. The money isn’t brilliant,well,put it this way,I’ve just had first pay rise in 3 or 4 years,and only because the minimum wage has gone up. I’m bottom of the heap when it comes to earnings,but I’ve got a job at least,and it seems fairly secure. Famous last words.
Anyway,the perks make up for it a little bit,in the past week I’ve acquired a 12/240v TV/DVD combo,and better still,a top loading 3 way fridge. Didn’t intend having TV on boat,but never look a gift horse in the mouth,eh? And I was expecting to have to make do with a 12v coolbox,so the fridge is a real bonus! Mind you,it means I’ll probably have to increase the battery bank up to 4x 110ah leisure batteries on the house side to make sure of having enough capacity. Good job they’re in reasonably plentiful supply too!
Other good news, when I bought the boat,a lot of the equipment for it was in storage a fair distance away. As yet I’ve not had the means or opportunity to collect it. The previous owner is going to arrange for a pal of his to deliver it all to me,so that’s another problem solved.
I think I’ll be like a kid at Christmas come delivery day. Amongst other things,there’s a Hasler Gibb wind vane self steering,a dinghy,lots of charts,books and magazines,various electronic kit and sundry other boat-related gear. Obviously the charts will be out of date and some of the electronics obsolete,but even so,I’m quite keen to dive in and see exactly what I’ve got!


A little history

I bought this boat from the original builder and owner who now lives ‘down under’. She has sat almost untouched for the last 12 years,and he has continued to pay the yard fees for all of that time! Keith,the builder,spent 7 years in 1970’s building her,and despite the attempts of certain car manufacturers of the time to prove differently,the steel was of good quality back then!
The construction was inspired by the exploits of a certain Dr David Lewis,the first man to circumnavigate Antarctica in his boat,Ice Bird.
Prior to that he competed in the first solo Transatlantic race in 1960.
Other competitors included Sir Francis Chichester(who came first) and ‘Blondie’ Hasler. Lewis finished third,despite breaking his mast not long after the start.
Later he became the first to circumnavigate the globe in a catamaran.
There is lot more about his life and adventures online,well worth a read.
Anyway,I digress.
As already mentioned,my boat was inspired by ‘ice bird’ and is based upon the design of it. Lewis bought ‘ice bird’ second-hand in Australia,where she was designed by a Dick Taylor. The best information I’ve managed to find describes her as a Sydney Harbour sloop.. She now resides in the Powerhouse Museum.
My boat isn’t, nor was ever meant to be, an exact copy or replica of ‘ice bird’ but was one man’s own interpretation of the design.
I hope to meet Keith later in the year and I hope he’s pleased with the care and effort I’m putting into ‘his’ boat. I’m sure he’ll have a lot to tell me,and I believe he’s got some old photos of her construction and the times he sailed her.
One change I’ve made is her name,originally she was ‘Devonian Explorer’, soon to be Vagabond 2. Everybody that knows me thought that Vagabond was a brilliant name for a boat I owned,(not sure what they’re trying to say!)and my daughter had some vinyls made for my birthday last year which didn’t get used on the original Vagabond, so…….

Easter weekend

After my failure to get any painting done on the Thursday and Good Friday, the weather turned on Saturday so I was confined to the interior jobs. Out with the saw and the tongue and groove then!





Another 2 half bulkheads sorted and galley worktop trial fitted. Hardest part of all is getting everything true and level, lots of measuring and transferring measurements from parts of the boat that should be plumb/level….. 
Time will tell if I’ve got it right or not.

Update: The micro wood burner I installed has been a godsend, fuelled with scrap wood,its done a good job of taking the chill off and keeping condensation at bay. But keeping it going any length of time can be a chore. I tried coal and it didn’t really make much difference.
Then a ‘eureka’ moment! I had a disposable BBQ kicking around. I used the charcoal from that in the stove,what a difference! Once alight,you can fill it to flue level,shut the air intake to just a crack and it burns nicely,slowly, and a lot lot hotter. At one point the body of the stove was glowing in the dark!
Now the bulkhead is installed between the stove area and the galley,I’m going to fit a couple of 12v computer fans to draw the warm air from around the stove into the main cabin. Will also re-mount the stove nearer the cabin sole so more flue length is inside the boat. That should also increase the heat output. All in time for spring,hey-ho!

Update no 2: The cheap McAllister angle grinder from B and Q is a good value bit of kit. It has taken all the use and abuse i can throw at it without a murmur of complaint. Seems to be £20 well spent.