Sunday, 4 December 2011

Finding old friends and new enthusiams

I recently re-met a wonderful lady writer, Morgen Bailey, who is prolific, helpful and talented. You can follow her work at It's well worth wandering over for a quick look - but be prepared to be lost in a web of advice, new writing talent and a huge expanse of blog posts.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Mystery secure in her new home

Mystery is secure in her new home, which is the same as her old home except the owners and operators have changed. New owners for the boat builders shed, hard standing and quay plus new operators in the shed. The new staff and operators know more about boat building than most so I remain convinced Mystery is in good hands. I will be talking to the new operators so we can get Mystery restored to sailing order ASAP.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Mystery will stay as Mystery .. for now

I think Mystery suits my little green yacht better than Gesine so have decided not to change her name back to Gesine, for now.
Restoration progress has slowed partly due to disruption around a change of ownership at Newson Boatbuilders: The new owners are getting things back into even better order so I remain comfortable that Mystery is in good hands.
Moonfleet, meanwhile, nestles snug in her moorings. I must find a quick way to clean some of the algae off soon.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Moonfleet is mine, all mine!

I now own all of Moonfleet, her trailer ( if I can find it! ) and assorted bits including a lovely wooden boathook and a bunch of old fenders.
I have the table / bed base so now have a double berth should I feel like a night on board with some wiggle room, rather than 2 single berths.
Now to think about how to re-build the cabin and steering position so the captains chair works better, get the outboard serviced and generally get the little boat sorted ready for next year.
Woohoo .. free to cruise whenever I want

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Gesine - cover delivered - never moved

I have supplied the boat cover. Newson boatbuilders will move Gesine into their yard 'when the tide goes down'. It is an unusually high tide so the route to his yard is tricky to navigate across the top of his slipway.

I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the rigging points - they are strong enough to lift the boat with! This was a surprise given their original appearance but they have cleaned up really well.

Keith Wood and I discussed what happens next:
- Move the boat into the yard
- Get the cabin roofs stripped, caulked and painted
- Template and make a floor ( temporary? )
- decide whether to re-canvas the roofs
- Decide whether to replace the fore-decks now or later.
- Get the cabin sides either varnished or oiled
- consider replacing one cracked plank ( it is already 'stitched' so I may leave it for now
- re-paint the hull
- Get the mast repaired, the mast-head sheave replaced and then re-step the mast
- fit an electric auxiliary engine for docking ( of get a quant pole )
- Fit a lot more fenders
- Find out if the sails still work

So .. will she be sailing this year? It's still a possibility!

... then there is the cabin fit-out to plan, all the interior to decorate and seating to plan in the main cockpit. === Edit 20120116 == Well, that was the plan that never happened ===. This is what happened next. Keith Wood left Newson. Newson Boat Builders closed. The site was taken over and the new owners wondered for around 6 weeks who owned the 'green boat in the corner' because there were no details available in the records they could access. I now have a quote for finishing the job which would make any sensible owner blanch especially as thousands must be spent to 'do right' the bits which were 'done wrong'.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Gesine was her name

One of Gesine's previous owners has confirmed the boat I own was called Gesine ( not Gisine as I first thought ) and that she did spend many years down on the Deben.
I have been told by the boat builder's that her rudder is finished and she is 'ready to go outside'. This means out of their ultra-secure workshops into a yard where I can finally get to her 'out of hours' and do some of the work myself.
Now all I need is to finish putting eyelets into her new boat cover then arrange to get the cover, lots of rope, Gesine and me into the new yard at around the same time. This is going to be a bit of a challenge as I am still working full time and the secure bit of the site is never open outside working hours.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gesine / Mystery deepens

The folks at Russell Marine ( Acle ) Ltd ta Marine Tech were helpful but had little further information: Russell Marine own Acle Marina which was built on the former Easticks Yacht Station site. Most of the Easticks records were believed destroyed in a fire.
I also got a reply from John White the - Deben and Orford Haven Honourary Port Pilot suggesting Gesine had been down at Felixstowe Ferry around 25 years ago. I am looking forward to receiving more information.
So .. was my yacht formerly called Gesine?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Finding out about my Meteor Yacht

I spent today driving round Norfolk trying to find the boatyard where Mystery, my Meteor yacht, was built.
I was around 7 years too late: The boatyard had been converted into Acle Marina though the folks there were friendly and pointed me to the owner who hangs out at Marine Tech. Both those are part of Russell Marine who apparently bought the boatyard at Acle and did the conversion to a lovely small marina.
The websites are a bit confusing because the folks at Marine Tech said they didn't do boat repair work any more but Russell Marine's websites mention 10 ton lift-outs and cruiser building.
Still I have a phone number to ring next week to speak to the father who may remember something of the old history.
Oh, and I managed to buy a couple of spark plugs for Moonfleet too :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hunter's Fleet, Mystery and Moonfleet

I recently bought Hunter's Fleet, by Richard Johnstone-Bryden, the history of one of the few remaining traditional sailing hire fleets: This fleet is special because the boats have no engines. I bought the book to get some ideas for finishing Mystery.
My passion for owning my wooden yacht is being tested by it's continued presence in a boatyard rather than on the water.
I am having some success finding out about Mystery's history: Jeckells still have the original sail plan, dating back to 1949. I am still struggling to find out about Mystery's history from the decades she spent down on the Deben.
Moonfleet, my trusty little Broads Cruiser, has had the engine problem confirmed: She miss-fires when hot and stalls when put into idle. As you can only go from Forward to Reverse in idle it proves a challenge when attempting to moor her, even for my co-skipper.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Mystery Yacht - why the keel was removed

Mystery had her keel removed to check the keel bolts as the keel was visibly 'skewed'. Extraction showed every bolt was wasted to perhaps 50% of it's original size so would not have held Mystery's keel on reliably.
So much for 'a lick of paint is all she needs'

Mystery Yacht - without her keel

Where Mystery's keel should be fitted

Mystery's keel - 750 Lb of stubborn iron

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Meteor Mystery - delivered and dismantled

It took some shuffling but eventually a nice man with a big crane on a lorry picked Mystery up and delivered her to Newson Boatbuilders in Lowestoft.
Their 1st task, after propping the old lady up, is to remove, repair and refit her keel.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Meteor Mystery - paid for and waiting for a new home

Today I have paid for Mystery and taken a few photo's of her to show everyone she is real, tired and in need of some TLC.
I have also been in touch with a boatyard who are entirely comfortable working on wooden boats and have a couple of other yard options if this 1st one doesn't work out.
For my next trick I have asked the yard to go collect her and see what she needs.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Mystery the Meteor Yacht

Well, i've gone and done it! I have agreed to buy Mystery; A 21ft classic Meteor yacht dating from 1956. It is in unappealing condition, currently stood on a trailer in a field and has been described by the wife as 'firewood'.
The current owner suggests paint and a bit of TLC is all that is required. We shall have to see whose assessment is more accurate.
I have a couple of friends who have agreed to help with the sanding and painting so may get to sail her this year.
Now i'm off to find a friendly boatyard where I can get the boat fettled into sailing order.

Oh, and i've just found a boatbuilding ruler for converting imperial to metric, in order to fit imperial designs onto metric-sized sheets of plywood. It is a simple idea - the kind I like best!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Following my Wooden Dreams

Moonfleet isn't enough. She's a lovely little cruiser but not the 'wooden boat' I first wanted to build 40 years ago.
My lack of woodworking skills, energy and time mean I will never build my own wooden yacht but I hope to buy and sail a classic wooden cruiser some-time soon.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Cruising, drifting and contentment

I've taken Moonfleet out for our 1st cruise of 2011. We had a lovely time pottering up to the Waveney River Centre with a couple of friends on board.
We did have 1 small problem though: Our lovely little outboard decided to either run or go into gear so we ended up drifting into the mooring. It's a good job the mooring was not very busy so we had plenty of time to drift.
Anyone know a good way to debug intermittent miss-fires on an outboard?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Cruising in winter - getting keen

I am getting keen to re-visit Moonfleet. She's had a winter iced in on her moorings and slept through snow and storms. It seems like time to re-visit her, scrub the winter crud from her decks and get the kettle on :)
My question is though: What present shall I buy her for providing another years cruising fun for me?
Maybe I should visit and check what she needs before I get too spend-happy :)
I have already been lent a VHF radio .. provided it works once I manage to charge it up.
I also have bought an old hand-held VHF off eBay ... we'll see whether that works too :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 already

Well 2010 was mostly fun and 2011 looks like being more exciting. I have a couple of projects on my 'to do' list so will not be idle.
One fun purchase in 2010 was a portable disco setup which the wife intends to use when her band needs a bit of amplification.
I have made some friends in America and Canada whom i'd like to visit one day but not during winter: We measure snowfall in inches, they measure it in feet.
Moonfleet has been the host of some lovely quiet cruises but I am still looking for a yacht or maybe a dinghy so we can cruise without a motor rattling away.
So .. a yacht in 2011? We'll see.