Petestack Blog

29 September 2019

Fly refit final index

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 4:36 pm

Having found myself frequently referring back to my own blog posts about Fly’s refit and knowing that many friends and fellow boat owners were following with interest, I saw an index of all the refit posts as a useful resource complementing the blog’s search function. So I made an interim version in April which I’m now replacing with this nominally final one when the refit never truly ends! For those unacquainted with the story, it’s been an initially sporadic but latterly concentrated total refit following the 2009 discovery of serious internal water damage while laid up ashore since late 2005, with things both within and without my control to blame for the obvious hiatuses but nothing ultimately stopping me…

  1. Getting back to Fly (26 September 2010)
    Alkathene tarpaulin frame.
  2. Undercover Fly (18 October 2010)
    First tarpaulin.
  3. Clearing the decks (27 February 2011)
    ‘removing just about everything that moves’
  4. Messing about in boat (5 March 2011)
    New forehatch in, lots more out.
  5. Gralloched Impala! (5 May 2011)
    ‘another day spent gutting the boat’
  6. Marine diesels and Munro tops (4 June 2011)
    ‘combining a trip to Dingwall to take Fly’s engine to Brae Classics for blasting and repainting with a run over Ben Wyvis’
  7. Back to Fly again (22 October 2015)
    Preparing for new windows.
  8. Fly has windows! (9 March 2016)
    New windows in.
  9. Stripping paint (2 August 2017)
    Serious refit starts at last with 100+ hours main cabin paint stripping a year after we finally get the boat dry but my June 2016 shed fire throws a very big spanner in the works.
  10. Stripping slime (3 August 2017)
    ‘took the pressure washer to her decks and topsides’
  11. Not well in the bow well (5 August 2017)
    ‘unwelcome discovery of rot in the floor and aft wall of the bow well’
  12. Destruction for construction (8 August 2017)
    Cutting out the remainder of the main bunk tops.
  13. Forecabin fun (12 August 2017)
    Stripping forecabin paint and testing water tank shapes.
  14. Good tarps and bad tarps (18 August 2017)
    ‘a proper little roof to allow work with the main hatch open any day and shed snow if I leave it up’
  15. Constructing again! (22 August 2017)
    New bunk tops in.
  16. More taking apart and putting together (20 October 2017)
    Starting to build an integral water tank, more rotting wood in the cockpit locker false floor and removing the companionway bulkhead facing.
  17. Bow well cover (29 October 2017)
    ‘so we’ve got shelter to get it dry and sort the problems’
  18. Constructive progress (21 November 2017)
    Water tank construction, epoxy coating main cabin hull surfaces and eliminating paths for water ingress to the bow well plywood.
  19. Easter Fly (9 April 2018)
    Bow well repairs and forecabin epoxy coating.
  20. Galley slaves (15 April 2018)
    Rebuilding the galley from old and new parts.
  21. Working after work (24 April 2018)
    More paint/varnish stripping and priming.
  22. Doing and undoing (30 April 2018)
    Varnishing, undercoating, new nav. station bulkhead and planning an integral cool box.
  23. Just doing (10 May 2018)
    More nav. station (including testing chart table fit), galley and varnishing.
  24. Two-man relay team? (15 May 2018)
    ‘nav. shelf fitting and cool box construction done by Twig mostly when I wasn’t here’
  25. The Cell of ‘Little Ease’ (27 May 2018)
    More painting and varnishing including the (awkward!) heads compartment.
  26. Sub-cockpit grovelling (10 June 2018)
    Stripping bunk-foot lockers for repainting and remaining galley paint/varnish stripping.
  27. Bunk-foot lockers (19 July 2018)
    Preparing and painting more awkward woodwork.
  28. Forecabin deckhead (29 July 2018)
    More paint and glue stripping…
  29. Main hatch (31 July 2018)
    And yet more!
  30. Cockpit locker false floor (1 August 2018)
    ‘cut out the starboard locker’s plywood false floor identified last October as rotten, non-structural and surplus to requirements’
  31. What I’ve learned about nylon brushes (2 August 2018)
    ‘Nylon brush summary [for paint stripping with electric drill] from one year and hundreds of hours use’
  32. Cavernous hellholes of peeling paint (8 August 2018)
    ‘one week and approximately 41 hours of work’ stripping the cockpit lockers.
  33. Jigsaw pieces (12 August 2018)
    ‘progress with the chart table and forecabin bunk boards’
  34. Two-month summary (21 October 2018)
    Mast step rebuild, galley, water tank and seacock renovation.
  35. No-photo report (with photos) (25 November 2018)
    Quick summary of stuff you can’t see, with a few pics of stuff you can!
  36. Two months’ work in twenty photos (26 December 2018)
    New (Jabsco) marine toilet, water pump, filler, chart table support block, switch panels, wiring, heads window and teak rings for heads door handle, as well as chart table progress, starting internal hull lining and cleaning the engine bay.
  37. Flying into 2019 (1 January 2019)
    Engine back in, new Vetus mushroom vents, painting (priming) the areas of deckhead where light would otherwise bleed through lining carpet, new stereo, planning custom speaker enclosures, battery box restoration and cleaning/recoating exposed areas of keelbolts and plates.
  38. More bits and pieces (13 January 2019)
    Battery box back in, minor tiller repair, chart table body and lid back together, and preparing for new Treadmaster in forecabin and heads.
  39. Things right and not right (27 January 2019)
    Heads and forecabin linings, and companionway bulkhead facing back in.
  40. Two weekends, one photo (10 February 2019)
    Prototype speaker enclosures and other bits and pieces.
  41. Things to see or just talk about (10 March 2019)
    Headlining panels, new spacer disks for pilot berth hanger eyes, porthole liners for companionway bulkhead and building the final speaker enclosures.
  42. Tricky stuff (17 March 2019)
    New mount for top galley door track, chart table leg and trim for speaker enclosures.
  43. Trim on (24 March 2019)
    Refitting the galley doors and starting to tidy awkward edges of lining carpet.
  44. Four weeks solo (5 April 2019)
    Refitting the galley pole, lots more carpet trim and cleaning/oiling the washboard rails.
  45. Fly refit interim index (6 April 2019)
    (Now replaced by final version.)
  46. Speakers’ corner(s) (7 April 2019)
    Fitting my speaker boxes and test-fitting the porthole trim rings.
  47. Bumper Easter Fly blog (22 April 2019)
    Stripping and epoxying pilot berth components, making/fitting traveller support blocks and helmsman’s footrests, finishing and painting the mast step plinth, some nav. station work, chart table leg, companionway stainless strip, hatch rail repair and more.
  48. Taking the roof off (28 April 2019)
    Removing the temporary roof and cleaning the decks.
  49. Crocked for the long weekend! (6 May 2019)
    Chart table lid stay, more work on the pilot berths and fitting the new mast base to its plinth.
  50. Trolley jack attack! (20 May 2019)
    Wheels off the trailer for new tires and pilot berth bases fitted.
  51. A week from the water? (22 July 2019)
    Non-slip sand for engine box, chart table cushion, renovated hinges, porthole trim rings and instrument covers fitted, pilot berth flaps fitted, topsides/antifouling etc. largely done, cabin sole templated and made, heads door re-hung, forecabin Treadmaster edge protected, increased support for cabin sole and shaft anode fitted.
  52. Fly has left the garden! (27 July 2019)
    Fly at Creran Marine with an empty space beside the house, furler and masthead light, tiller refitted, wheels back on the trailer, boat tied down, fire extinguishers and blanket, heads door catch(es) and varnished cabin sole.
  53. Fly is afloat! (31 July 2019)
    Launched by travel hoist, laughing fly mascot, and home by sea.
  54. Working through the ‘later?’ list (11 August 2019)
    Mainsail up, test sail, new cabin sole fitted, winch handle pockets, VHF mic clip, heads/main bulkhead door catches, switch panel labels, pilot berth bolts, new lifelines, securing the folded chart table and commissioning the water tank.
  55. Flying to Fraochaidh (27 August 2019)
    Not refit as such, but an enjoyable sail reaping the benefits!
  56. The money pit of usability (29 September 2019)
    Why I’ve hardly sailed since launching, what I’m doing about it (spending yet more money!), and photos of the new washboards.

The money pit of usability

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 4:10 pm

For two months since Fly’s emotional relaunch I’ve been desperate to go sailing yet hardly used her. Why?

It’s simple usability. While so many positive changes made during the refit promise so much for the future, I’m still stuck short-crewed or singlehanded with a boat intended to be raced by six and hampered for now by two crucial factors:

  1. Sitting on an exposed pontoon with a tight approach while I wait to get my own swinging mooring relaid.
  2. Struggling with slippery racing sails that really need crew to hoist and stow.

So let’s look at the problems here and see what’s happening to solve them…

While the pontoon berth was initially welcome for its walk-on access with tools etc., it was only intended as a short-term substitute for the mooring. But sourcing suitable ground tackle to relay the mooring has taken much longer than expected with what I was initially promised for mid-August only becoming available now in late September. So it looks like I’m on the pontoon for the short time left of this ‘season’, though I still hope to get the mooring laid soon in readiness for next spring. Might add that observation suggests more significant fouling (weed/slime?) to the bottom of the boat in two months’ pontoon berthing than I recall from a season’s swinging to a mooring, so guessing that’s due to some combination of static berth, static boat and water conditions.

As for the sails, the main problems have been remote hoisting of headsails (i.e. with no-one at the pre-feeder) and stowing the main after use. I managed one night’s successful singlehanded racing with main and No.3, then tore the No.3 through a pre-feeder jam when I tried to repeat the trick the following week! I also needed help to fully stow the mainsail since I can only get it all flaked down on the boom myself in flat calm conditions, and even then only with time, temporary ties and false starts. So the sails just won’t do for current purposes and I’m splashing out again (hence ‘the money pit of usability’) when I’ve probably already spent more on the refit than the boat’s worth (to anyone else)…

While a new furling genoa to fit the new furling gear was always on the agenda for next year, a new main wasn’t. But usability demands both because there’s otherwise no point to having got this far with a boat I want to sail but am currently finding (almost) unusable. Since my racing No.1, No.3 and kites are all in good order (despite the recent minor and now repaired tear to the No.3), my previous wish list might have prioritised full hoist No.2 and new racing main, with the current Pentex main relegated to cruising/backup in preference to the two much older Dacron mains that came with the boat. But that’s just not a practical plan for short-handed sailing, so I’ve now discussed and ordered tri-radial cruise laminate furling genoa, main and stackpack. The sails were the most expensive of four options (the others being cross-cut Dacron or Vectran), but some mixture of shape-retention logic and vanity still compels me to go tri-radial even after abandoning racing laminates this time round; while my plans for the next couple of years are centred on fast cruising, passage making and longer trips, I still have at least some club racing in mind and know what I like! The furling genoa will probably replace the dedicated racing headsails for typical club races as well as covering the gap between No.1 and No.3 when they’re used, and the new main (with luff slides and stackpack) should be not only more practical for cruising and short-handed outings but probably also as fast or faster than a Pentex main that’s already done the most work of my first-choice inventory.

So that’s it; the sails and stackpack are ordered and deposit paid despite a sobering total cost I’m not going to state here. While I do question the justification for such continued copious expense when I still have yet more needs/wants in mind (e.g. upgraded anchor gear, new lifejackets, flares etc.), the choice here was ultimately between a boat I can use and one I can’t. For sure I didn’t need to choose the most expensive sailcloth and construction options, but I was never going for the cheapest and the difference between each successive specification quoted wasn’t really so very much. You might reasonably ask (re. usability) if Fly’s still the most suitable boat for me, but that’s not even up for debate! She might be designed for racing, but is also just a delightful, thoroughbred, seaworthy, true sailing boat with good accommodation for her size and weight. And, since I’ve had her for nearly 21 years and already been through the protracted pain and expense of a refit that’s cost more than any complete Impala I’ve seen for sale recently, the only excuse for either having got this far or spending yet more I’ll never get back has to be knowing she’s my ‘forever’ boat and the main beneficiary is me. I might question the (financial) cost of it all, but fear the (life) cost of not doing it more!

Time to lighten up with some photos of the new washboards:

These are tinted acrylic from QD Plastics in Dumbarton, and so much smarter than the old disintegrating plywood. Because they’re also thinner and their angled common edges sit over-overlapped (if you see what I mean) in slots that were already over-wide, I had to wedge them in place with some cord behind the teak rails to get tidy photos. Easily sorted by fitting spacers to the backs of the rails for next year, but not right now. So does the refit ever end? Probably not, but another year’s another time after the ‘interruption’ of this year’s launch and perhaps it’s time to replace the ‘Fly refit interim index’ with a final version!

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