The Eventider's News
Issue 13 Autumn/Winter 2009
Last Seasons sailing....
Welcome to the 13th Edition of the Newsletter.
We welcome articles, photos, logs, (in one of our designs!) and any other snippets of information you might like to send in.
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Last Seasons sailing....
The year started slowly for a few of us, some were repairing boats, others their health.
For me it was repairing a rough paint job.
'Fiddlers Green' is epoxy coated, from new, launched 1990, August. I have always painted the boat with 2 part poly paints, and the finish is so durable that we only need to repaint every 5 or 6 years or more. In fact the cabin top has never been repainted, since first painted sometime in early 1990.
However the hull and the green stripe take a little more wear, fenders etc and the green eventually chalks. Polishing has been the answer for the last 2 year, but this spring I was set to repaint.
Now a slight problem, the colour. Initially it was Wilkinsons paints, sadly however they were closing, so I bought enough for 1 repaint, then International matched it with one of their overseas colour charts, South African 'Cape Green' That was good for the last time. But sadly International had no more and the only company I found to match the colour was 'Awlgrip' 'Kelly Green'. Spot on for colour match, but at £150 for a litre, and it could only be sprayed, as an enormous cost, I gave up.
Then I found a company that offered to match the Kelly Green an a hand brush finish, £30.00. so I bought it and thus began a saga!
It was not brush finish, but spray. After all the work sanding and filling, by friends Brendan, Phil and myself, I was left with a terrible mess. We wet and dried it down and tried again, this time with the special brushing thinners. The result was a matt finish!
I was getting good at wet and dry work! And as a slight bonus there was another coat of undercoat I suppose! however I was getting through masking tape like there was no tomorrow, as after every coat it has to be removed.... and then re applied before the next coat....
After some more consultation I was sent by the paint company to a firm in Grays, where another batch was mixed up. They assured me this was the right hardener and the correct brushing thinners. Away we went again, I was getting quicker at this, with Darian putting on and me smoothing out with the pad it took less than an hour. however it was apparent that although we now had gloss, we also had more brush marks that I had ever seen and it was about as smooth as a Badgers behind!
In desperation I complained, but they insisted it was the best they could do, drying time from application to touch dry 20 seconds! Ridiculous.
I contacted International again, Did they possibly have any Cape Green anywhere? Sadly no, but... did I know Awlgrip was now part of the same paint group and they had developed a brushing thinner to match their perfection! Perfect, I'll have some.... 4 week order backlog..
OK, this year we will launch with it as it is, but for the future, I will use Awlgrip.
Here she is ready to be launched in the marina, look at that shiny paint... but not too closely!
At one stage on the way there I thought we were not going to make it, Tillingham's narrow street a and a daft lorry driver! He pulls out of a side turning without even looking at what was 50 yards away, could have been a fire engine, he did not care... Skilful driving by Keith and we got through, missing the swinging pub sign overhead by inches!
Here you can see the shiny polished prop, hours of fun, and the new zinc anode, they last about 6 years or so..
Marclear antifouling again of course.
Here my regular crew, Phil and Keith, helpers for the day as normal ready to raise the mast, or more probably resting after having done so.. but hang on I pull the rope!
Here she is ready to go, but look, no name! I was so appalled at the paint finish I did not want to fit it, in case I had to buff the paint up, to try and get a shine!
OK a week later I realised I was fussing too much and applied the name, only I know it's crooked though, OK you all know now too!
We had the name for the bow enlarged as some said they could not read the old letters, Mmmm maybe over done it...
As we had missed the May Bank holiday BBQ at Mundon Stone point on the Blackwater I readied the boat for the end of May weekend. only to lose both my crew and the weather!
Still we did manage to get out and do what our boats do so well, creek crawl.
So here we are with crew Darian demonstrating the round turn and two half hitches as the fenders come off, coming out of the creek.
We sail gently up the Blackwater then back round the back of Pewit island, a route only boats like ours can take, on a young flood. Today we put the fenders back out early, as we will be needing them maybe when back among the moored boats later, and in the marina. With less that 0.1 metre showing on the echo sounder most of the way we creep in with the genoa, touching bottom every now and again... it's soft mud here.
As we look astern often the wake is muddied from scraping the bottom, we slide to a gentle stop, time to put the kettle back on!
We gently sail on, it takes a time, but we are in no hurry. We have time to watch the countless birds who totally ignore us, several pairs of Avocet watch curiously as we glide past.
We even fail to disturb the local seal as he does his banana impression to disguise himself. We run aground alongside him, he turns away as if we are not there, and like us, waits for the tide.
This is so typical of the day sailing we do, very gentle and relaxed. As it should be! What all those hours of building were all about.
First cruise for the Grandson!
In high summer 2009, it was time to take the grandson, Brandon, out on the boat for an over night stop over. So it was that Brandon and myself loaded up the van and hitched on his dinghy. I had been doing this little Mayland 9ft dinghy up for some time now, as a present for him. He was so exited. at 9 years old, going on 19, he was going to have fun.
With little fuss we launched at Bradwell, making a note not to launch at LW again and to add another roller to the trailer!
Brandon soon slotted into the scheme of things aboard, we eat in the marina Friday evening and a very tired lad bedded down in the foc's'l for his first night aboard. Next day we left the marina and gently sailed and motored out, Brandon paced the deck like an old hand. we were bound for one of the tiny creeks behind Mersea, Salcott. I will often creep up there, beyond the moorings and beyond the oyster layings. there is just enough room for a couple of shoal draft boats to swing to anchor there. After sorting out a few bits gear to take with us, VHF etc, Brandon and I set off to see if we could row this new dinghy!
After a few false starts and a few crabs, we got into the swing of it. The tide was nearly full and the idea was just to venture out for an hour or two, drifting back on the ebb.
Took a little while to get the hang of it and we soon found the rowlocks were not high enough so they are to be replaced for next season... We then set off across the now covering salt marsh, looking down into another world. He was hooked. So we set off for a shore landing on the sea wall, the tide now being right up to it.
Time for a reconnoitre ashore!
We could just about see our mother ship in the distance!
I rowed the dinghy back and realised the rowlocks were very wrong! surprised he managed to row it at all! He sat in the cockpit for ages with the binoculars and watched the world go by, another boat, a wooden smack yacht, very old and sailed single-handedly, anchored nearby. suddenly there was a shout, 'there's an Otter!'. We watched as a seal swam round us eyeing Brandon up! Eventually the seal decided the Oyster layings barge would be a good place to play and amused us for aged, shooting out of the water to land on the deck of the barge, before wobbling off into the water to do it all again, hours of fun!
The next morning Brandon had his first Seagull lessons! We loaded up the dinghy with provisions, hardtack, grog etc and set off about half tide to see if we could get to the head of the creek. After a quick demonstration, I handed the Seagull over. Well you can see the grin! We puttered off, the first obstacle was the huge sand and mud bank created by the managed retreat nearby. we ended up poling ourselves over it with the oars!
As the creek got narrower and narrower we needed a pilot. a swan graciously agreed to show us the way, much to Brandon's amusement. In the bow you can see the spare can of 2 stroke, the old flares container with flare, anchor, tools, boy scout for removing stones from horses hooves, etc etc.
Also sweaters, suntan cream, cans of drink, radio, spare warp for towing in heavy seas, paddles, bailer cork in case bung falls out, etc etc..
Eventually we reach the uninspiring head of the creek, a pair of cast iron sluices! Brandon loved it up here, the air was full of swallows, diving down to the water right alongside us, the high banks hid all but the roofs of local buildings, a barn and the church. We sat and drifted. It was not quiet, the air was filled with the calls of the swallows. But it was sort of peaceful.. Eventually we set off back, with me rowing as I had done for the last 200 yard on the way up, the keel grounding gently and the oars not in the water, but on the mud!
As we turned bend after bend the tiny channel disappeared as the rising water covered and obscured it. Time and time again I managed to ground in what appeared to be the centre of the channel, due to the silty water, you could not see it was only 6" deep.... No one passed us, one or two walkers waved, but for the most we were alone, with just the occasional gurgle of the water in the creek.
Brandon had the hang of it now and as we got further down the creek the throttle crept open, we went not a lot faster but the grin got wider!
Later Sunday afternoon on the first of the ebb we unrolled the genoa and sailed out of the creek. We were towing not only Brandon's dinghy but our tender as well for I had it inflated as safety boat, just in case! We passed several boats with owners on board, that we had seen the day before, some were surprised that we had managed to get up the creek, other knowingly asked Brandon if he had enjoyed himself. Think I have found a new crew! We sailed for miles up river before reluctantly heading our bowsprit back towards the sea and Bradwell. We recovered dinghy back onto trailer, scrubbed decks and inflatable and then enjoyed another great meal over looking the marina at the club, before we returned a very tired and happy youngster to his parents.
A good weekend!
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