She rides! (almost)

Yesterday I spent a mammoth 10 hour stint on my pet project – the old sailing boat. I’m really proud of her (as you can probably tell) because unlike the other three boats I’ve been working on, she is the result of all my labours and no-one else’s. When I started, she was abandoned under a derelict tent structure that leaked badly, with bilges full of muck, water and even plants. For a number of years there had even been the slow dumping of rubbish into her as other people saw it little more than an abandoned boat hull useful only as a convenient skip.

Progress has been slow up until now, mostly because the more I do the more I find that needs doing. But last week I reached the bare hull inside and finally there was nothing else left that could possibly need work doing except to shovel out a heck of a lot of silt, dead leaves, flakes of rotten wood and flaking paint and start the grand task of reconstruction proper. After ten hours yesterday, the hull now is painted insi9de and out and the internal ribs have been refurbished and refitted. I manufactured new bottomboards to replace the rotted ones, and rebuilt the rest with boards that could be salvaged. I’m sick of painting, but at least now most of the painting is now done. I even repainted the boat’s number on the bows and the transom (necesary because she is painted to match a sister boat which was one of the more modest rebuilds carried out earlier this year) – number 3 is looking like she could almost rejoin the fleet for the first time in years up at the lake!

There’s still the achilles heel of the rotten bouyancy tank covers, but they have become a minor task compared to everything I’ve already done. Of course there is then also the massive task of finding all the sails, the boom and the mast and renovating them where necessary. As far as I can tell, the boat was last rigged to sail some time between 1990 and 1994, so there’s a little work to do here. I did get the sailing horse found, fitted and varnished though, so that’s the first sign that this hull really is a sailing boat and not just a glorified ship’s boat.

I’m throughly enjoying taking the time out to rebuild these boats on a shoestring budget, even if id did leave me aching all over and lamenting the hot and humid weather we’ve been having.