Petestack Blog

31 July 2019

Fly is afloat!

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 10:33 pm

It’s not quite the end of the saga yet, but surely now into ‘endgame’ as far as the refit’s concerned…

Yesterday, Fly was launched at Creran Marine, taking to the water for the first time in 14 years! John Grant from Owen Sails was round to measure up for new lifelines (guard rails) while Peter Watt and I worked through the conundrum of new Harken foiler furl and inadequate clearance through the deck at the front of the bow well (solved with joint ingenuity and the tools Peter had in his containers), and then she was into the travel hoist and away when the tide was up far enough:

To say that I was close to tears as the hoist approached the water, the keel and the rudder touched it and then she was fully afloat would be, well, true! I’m always struck by how Fly turns from being quite a ‘big’ boat in the garden or on the road to a comparatively ‘wee’ one when the bits necessitating a ladder ashore drop nearly six feet into the sea, but that’s by the by; she’s perfectly formed as she is, I don’t want a bigger boat, a smaller one or a different one, and we’re talking years when perhaps nobody but me (or even me?) truly believed she’d ever sail again. If some emotion was involved, and still is, it feels good and perhaps I’ve earned that particular kind of feel-good…

Time for some levity, perhaps, so here’s the laughing fly brought to the boat so many years ago by regular crew and dear friend Gill Reavley, still laughing (amazed the battery hasn’t run out!) and now back onboard today:

And here’s Fly today on her way back from Loch Creran, this time by sea rather than by road. Peter and I had a tidal deadline at Ballachulish narrows (aka Peter Straits and, no, I didn’t make that up!) with little wind and some rain, so done mainly by engine with no mainsail, but we did get to try the old No.2 on the new foil. Fly will be moving to a mooring at Glencoe Boat Club in due course, but happy to have step-on access from the pontoon for a bit while I finish sorting her out:

And that’s (not quite) that. There will be further blogs with some refit content as I fit the new cabin sole, washboards, guard rails and stuff like that, but hopefully also some actual sailing this year because it’s been long enough coming! :-)

27 July 2019

Fly has left the garden!

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:12 pm

Let’s do this blog backwards for a change and start with today’s pics before continuing to the ones I took yesterday:

Notice something? That’s Fly at Creran Marine (where she’ll be launched on Tuesday) in the first pic with Peter Watt and David Southcott (who came to do what I can’t do on my own, which is get her there!). The eagle-eyed might also spot the grotty old washboards I haven’t replaced yet, but they’re temporarily serviceable if incompatible with my pride in my otherwise-reborn boat. And that’s, well, a great big empty space beside the house in the second pic where she’s sat for so many years!

Continuing to work backwards, Peter came up yesterday with Jill Mills to help put together the new Harken twin-groove furler and fit the new masthead light (replacing one that I stupidly broke the other day), but I have no photos of that because we were Busy with a capital B. But here are a few I took earlier…

While Deks Olje D.1 doesn’t last forever, the tiller’s never looked this good! And we have the wheels back on (thanks to Alan Morrison for help with that!), tires up to pressure and boat tied down just pending mast etc. lifting up to be ready to go:

The fire extinguishers are both new but the (obviously unused!) blanket is not. The second extinguisher used to be mounted higher (where the heater outlet is now), but I’ve tried the bunk and don’t think it’s in the way here:

There used to be bolts inside and out on this door, but they’re just not necessary. I have a second stainless ball catch but think I can mount just the small part on the main (white) bulkhead and use the same main part. But seem to recall this one’s best positioned with the boat afloat and the rig tensioned?

And here’s the new cabin sole after six coats of Epifanes gloss varnish. It’s had a seventh today and might get an eighth tomorrow because it gets walked on and wants to be tough, but is looking so good I’ve abandoned my original plan to matt off the shine with the softer satin interior varnish used everywhere else. I only put the hatch in for the photo; it’s otherwise back out again while I’m finishing it off:

22 July 2019

A week from the water?

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 10:13 pm

As explained last week, it’s been a while (too long!) since I’ve posted a ‘boat’ blog, but here’s a quick update based largely on available photos to show how close Fly’s got to an expected launch a week tomorrow…

So here’s the engine box on 31 May with renewed anti-slip sand on top. For various reasons, I had three goes at this, of which this is the first (subsequently spoiled along with the second!), but the principle is the same, with the sand sprinkled on varnish and then (not yet done here) varnished over:

And here’s the chart table cushion refitted on 2 June:

Here you see a selection of renovated brass hinges and bits on 16 June, cleaned with a nylon brush on electric drill and varnished, and some miscellaneous new bits and pieces exactly a month later on 16 July:

Porthole trim rings in, instrument covers back and folding pilot berth fronts (aka settee backs) partially hung (needing the stainless hooks from the previous photo to finish):

Topsides, coachroof etc. cleaned and T-Cut but not yet waxed (they are now!), boot topping and antifouling done, and top brown stripe restored:

Not yet Fly’s actual new cabin sole, but a template to test the changes from the old one (which was overweight, damaged and didn’t fit) before cutting into the priceless new striped plywood:

So I tested and retested the fit, revising my annotations more than once (but subsequently still chose to build it differently yet!):

Was I nervous about this sheet of plywood? If you know what it cost, you’ll know the answer!

I considered whether to move everything half a pattern to the side and make two cuts to get the stripes away from the edges where they’ll show against not-perfectly-straight bunk fronts, but decided finding them fortuitously symmetrical with no further waste of timber was more pragmatic! The piece on the right is the one for the cabin sole:

Hoping I know what I’m doing here:

Is it perfect? No. Is it the best I can do? Yes. Is it better than the old one? Yes. Is it good enough? Yes. There are gaps where I’ve trimmed down from the template, but you’ve also got to be able to get it in and out, and there are skirtings to cover the two main edges (note that it’s not varnished here, but that’s currently happening):

The final act of a testing day was making and fitting these battens. The screws were really just to stop the battens sliding about while clamping up (strength’s in the epoxy) and didn’t go in very far, so I took them back out the next day before epoxy-coating the back and edges:

I’m pleased with the teak rings I fitted to the heads door in lieu of the ugly old alloy handles, but did have to re-hang the door on filled and redrilled screwholes to get the fit I wanted:

You can see how the pilot berths work now; front halves double as settee backs and back halves as useful gear racks. The folding parts were built as continuous long sections, but we split them years ago because they’re far more practical like this. There are lee cloths somewhere to stop you falling out of pilot berths or main berths at sea, but not a priority to refit those right now:

The front edge of the forecabin Treadmaster needed protecting because I’d already kicked a couple of small chunks out of it which I’d had to stick back. So my first thought was some kind of solid edge trim, but I decided to try layered Gorilla Tape first as a less committing option. It doesn’t actually overlap the Treadmaster, but is built up half-width against its edge with a full-width piece over the top:

Because of repairs/modifications over the years (doubled starboard bunk front and inboard installation), the cabin sole didn’t have a lot to sit on in places. So I’ve added some more, screwed and Sikaflexed in place:

New shaft anode fitted:

And there’s lots more not even mentioned here as I continue to work through a diminishing, but by no means empty, list of ‘pre-launch’ and ‘later?’ jobs. Some small, less essential, things have inevitably migrated to ‘later?’ and I’ve somewhat stoically accepted that the boat will initially be launching with scruffy old washboards instead of shiny new ones, but, in terms of substantive work, she’s really nearly there now!

15 July 2019

More van-at-the-garage hills

Filed under: Sailing,Walking — admin @ 9:52 pm

While I’d been up Sgorr a’ Choise and Fraochaidh before, I hadn’t combined them into the single ridge traverse so obvious from the map, so took advantage of this year’s van-service-and-MOT day to get away from the boat refit and do exactly that. And it started, after a detour to the Ballachulish Co-op to augment my meagre scrabbled-together rations, with a full-on bash up the north side of Sgorr a’ Choise to leave a ‘pure’ traverse avoiding too much ‘out and back’ from the central bealach:

From Sgorr a’ Choise’s summit, and increasingly on the descent to the bealach and beyond, it was impossible to miss the proliferation of freshly-bulldozed forestry (?) tracks since I’d been up here before even if my photo selection’s spared you the worst of the scars up Glen Creran:

It feels like a long way to Fraochaidh, but the views from both undulating ridge and summit are excellent with familiar peaks and islands to admire in every direction:

And the return by the Duror–Ballachulish through-route maintains interest with attractive late prospects of Sgorr a’ Choise and the Pap of Glencoe amongst others:

It was a hot, dry day so I took two bottles of water and drank seven (!), but still suffered from the lack of ready supply on the long, central section of ridge.

Now perhaps you’re wondering why I’ve also filed this under ‘sailing’, so let me explain… it’s been nearly two months since I’ve posted a ‘boat’ blog, but work has continued unreported through a frenetic end to school term and the first week of my summer holiday. That long-anticipated, so-belated launch should be just a couple of weeks away, but I’m still working hard at it and just haven’t felt like blogging the minutiae as well (some ‘broader brush’ updates to come, I promise!). But what I did find on this very welcome boat-free day was quality time to mull over how and when to deal with some of the stuff I still want to get done, and was seeing how to get some consequential jobs (e.g. finishing templating and cutting Fly’s new cabin sole from the most expensive sheet of plywood I’ve ever bought) done right even as I walked. And you just can’t over-stress the importance of the right time away to work through this in your head!

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