Petestack Blog

9 March 2016

Fly has windows!

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:53 pm

Twig came up today to fit Fly’s new windows. So my once-beautiful boat’s looking that bit more wholesome again and, while we’ve still got a troublesome cockpit leak to pinpoint (mainsheet track?) and stop before we can start working seriously in the cabin, the hated tarp’s off and I can see a recognisable (if still somewhat filthy) Impala almost smiling back! :-)

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2016-03-09port-2 2016-03-09starboard-2

22 October 2015

Back to Fly again

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 1:03 pm

It’s been too long (ten years ashore, five since we got the boat under cover and four since serious restoration work started and stalled again), but I’m back at work on Fly at last! No doubt I’d have got going on all those old screw holes round the window apertures sooner had I known that Blakes Finefill (still my filler of choice) was not discontinued per se but now sold as Hempel Epoxy Filler, but better late than never. So last week I took advantage of the continuing (now discontinued!) fine weather to get this double set of redundant holes cleaned out with the drill and filled, and now we’re ready for Twig to come up with the new windows (a little bigger all round so we can drill new holes in solid material) and be able to discard that hated mixed blessing of a tarp for good…

So here you see too many poorly-placed holes (an inherited problem not of our making!) now cleaned through with a 5mm drill and gently countersunk both sides, with any obviously loose surrounding gelcoat also chipped off:

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2015-10-13port-2 2015-10-13starboard-2

And here a good (200g?) helping of Hempel Epoxy Filler after my first big plateful only did about 1.5 windows and I had to mix up some more:

2015-10-13port-3 2015-10-13starboard-3

And here the surfaces now ready for the new windows, with the internal shots also showing the remaining liner stripped from the main cabin if not yet ready for new linings, which will still require the removal of further old glue and paint:

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Might just add (copying this paragraph verbatim from a Facebook post) that I’m so ashamed and sorry for the way I’ve neglected this boat over the past ten years! No doubt I’ve done much to improve my life in other ways including achieving some respectable ‘athletic’ and mountaineering goals, rediscovering my love of whistle and flute playing, taking up (cauld wind) piping, sorting the garden, learning to live with depressive episodes etc. But all that time poor old Fly’s been sitting there with building problems till we’re renovating a virtual wreck, and I can never be proud of that!

However things are looking better now even if we’ve got yet more to rip out of her before we can start fixing stuff back, and what I’ve just got done has at least reduced the obvious stumbling block to a (hopefully) straightforward refitting job. :-)

17 May 2015

Balancing act

Filed under: Climbing,Cycling,Music,Running,Sailing,Walking,Work — admin @ 5:32 pm

Something I posted to Facebook a few hours ago that really deserves a more ‘permanent’ place here where anyone can read it. Facebook ‘friends’ can also read some nice responses over there. :-)

A strange tale of work/life balance, life/life balance, running, racing and depression…

As many of you know, 2015 was to be my last West Highland Way Race (with all the commitment that entails) before getting back to other things like fixing up the boat and doing more climbing. So I wanted to do well with 2014’s PW (personal worst) my main motivation for this final, final go. And my usual, slow-burning training build-up was starting to work with 22 modest running days on the trot through late January and early February before breaking the cycle for a windswept walking traverse of the Maoile Lunndaidh group and continuing more sporadically into March as frequently staying late to work with hitherto over-casual pupils started to mess with my routine and mind. At which point I found myself in the grip of a proper depressive episode (remember that ‘breaking point’ post?) as I saw no way of reconciling my work and play needs to provide the necessary platform for that satisfying final race and became angry knowing that the ‘prior’ claims of work would leave me forever feeling cheated here. But then my new boss told me I must run, to get home prompt one day and get straight out running, and we both agreed that running is the solution, not the problem (for which thank you, Rebecca!). After which I ran 40 from 46 days (proper runs!) through to that walking accident on the path to Carnmore and could have been looking at a respectable performance after all with a ‘big May’ to come. But now it’s all gone without killing off the Munros/Tops completion, I’ve been ambushed by a surprising sense of peace. In simultaneously really wanting and really not wanting to do that race again, it had *still* been getting me down, and it’s only now it’s gone *with work absolved from the blame* that something’s become clear; while running is still the solution (and will be again when the injury’s had some more recovery time), racing is part of the problem. Which is why there’s no going back on that ‘last year of running races’ thing despite the loss of the race that’s probably meant more to me than any other, and why you’ll *never* see me grace the starting line of that race again. It wasn’t just my work/life balance that was wrong but my life/life balance too, and the inexplicable accident that had me reduced to despair the night I did it has now proved to be the most effective depression cure yet!

If you got this far, well done, and thanks! :-)

13 December 2014

eTrex 20

Filed under: Climbing,Cycling,Running,Sailing,Walking — admin @ 8:36 pm

It’s not my first GPS device. I’ve got half a dozen now counting this new eTrex, two running watches (Forerunner 305 and 310XT), a nüvi 1390T for driving, a chart plotter on the boat and an old 8-channel GPS 45XL (which was my first), but most were bought for different purposes and only that old 45XL is truly superfluous now.

So why another GPS for the hill when map and compass works? And map and compass backed up by GPS grid refs (which I can get from the Forerunner 310XT) also works? Because map and compass backed up by mapping GPS or mapping GPS backed up by map and compass are quite simply slicker options. Until just under four years ago, I navigated the hills almost exclusively by map and (when necessary) compass. Then, after moving from a non-OS-grid-enabled GPS watch (Forerunner 305) to one that could give an OS grid ref (Forerunner 310XT), I added that to my armoury. But the 310XT’s still not primarily a navigating device, I like to keep moving in the hills (especially when dressed/equipped for running rather than walking/climbing) and find that stopping to transfer grid refs to map tends to interrupt my flow when doing so. So, just as I’ve moved from 1. just compasses, Breton plotters and paper charts for coastal navigation through 2. transferring lat and long from simple GPS to paper chart to 3. GPS chart plotter, I’ve found myself wanting a mapping GPS for the hill. And this new eTrex is light, compact, map-capable and relatively inexpensive with excellent battery life to boot. Not, retrospectively, the very ‘best’ deal on offer when I’ve since seen the likes of the GPSMAP 62s with complete GB Discoverer 1:50K (almost map + free GPS!) for what I paid for eTrex 20 and downloadable 1:50K Scotland, but then I didn’t want a GPSMAP 62s anyway (bigger, heavier) even if it might be ‘better’ in some ways!

So how does it perform? Judging from one local test run today, absolutely fine. It sits comfortably in the hand with accessible, glove-operable controls and the transreflective screen, while possibly brighter in summer conditions, is still adequately readable in December ‘daylight’. It can also be squeezed into the lower front pockets of my UD Fastpack 20 (which just wouldn’t take a beefier model), though I’m not sure they’d be my first choice storage when I’ve been using one for my keys and the other for my thumb compass so far. And I managed to fit a lanyard of decent weight (trainer shoelace) to the built-in lanyard eye though it took some considerable fiddling to get it through. My only real gripe concerns my downloadable map from Garmin at £119.99, which turns out to be tied to the device when a pre-programmed Micro SD at the same £119.99 wouldn’t be. But what’s done is done, and it’s probably a largely academic distinction when you’d lose your non-tied card anyway if you lost the device and I’ve no plans to purchase any more compatible devices in the near future…

2014-12-13etrex

4 June 2011

Marine diesels and Munro tops

Filed under: Running,Sailing — admin @ 10:23 pm

A carefully planned double act today, combining a trip to Dingwall to take Fly’s engine to Brae Classics for blasting and repainting with a run over Ben Wyvis, and everything going like clockwork till my five-week-old windscreen got chipped (fortunately nothing like as badly or conspicuously as the one it replaced) by a flying stone somewhere down Loch Lochyside on the way home!

Not much to say about the engine here except that the original paintwork’s not very robust (repaint should be better), with the photos not surprisingly saying more about a unit that sat in a laid-up yacht with broken dehumifier for several years than one that’s only done three seasons (2002, 03 and 05) afloat…

And so to the run, with Ben Wyvis proving ideal at this stage of my WHW Race preparation not just for its proximity to Dingwall but for being the sprawling mass of clean, springy ridge terrain and gentle gradients (giving me 18.2 miles of delightfully easy going for only 4,800 ft of ascent) that possibly makes it the best summer running hill I’ve tried yet. So of course I’m ‘tapering’ now but, having already cut this week’s Tuesday to Thursday mileage and taken Friday evening off to try the new mower that brought the curse of the rain with its order and delivery several weeks ago, today’s run was both planned and needed. Some indecision on the descent, perhaps, with my instinct that straight off Tom a’ Choinnich looked the way to go fighting my curiosity to see why Irvine Butterfield’s book gives the more roundabout route off Carn Gorm (you can even see the wiggle in my track as I wavered on Carn Gorm itself)… to which I can only add that instinct seems right in this case with the ‘Butterfield’ route adding nothing but the only boulder field on the mountain, a path that’s taking you further and further in the wrong direction and a longer bog-trot to get back to your starting point. But not to worry when that bonus boulder-hopping practice and boggy mileage could yet prove crucial in realising my big race aspirations (yes, I’m joking) and, notwithstanding the unforeseen, unwanted and unavoidably unlucky sting-in-the-tail glass chip, it was still a great day out!

5 May 2011

Gralloched Impala!

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:39 pm

Some photos taken after another day spent gutting the boat this Monday, with Fly’s main cabin now stripped of pilot berths, galley, partial bulkheads and (our main target) most of the delaminated cream-cracker plywood of the original bunk tops. Quite a sight if you know what Hunter Impalas should look like inside, but Twig’s already working on the new bunk tops (talking proper marine ply and epoxy coating here) and this one will be going back together better than new after we’ve taken this unique opportunity to get all the normally inaccessible bits cleaned up and properly finished for the first time in her life.

5 March 2011

Messing about in boat

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:29 pm

Now, I know that’s (slightly) misquoting Kenneth Grahame, but there’s no doubt we’re making a mess in the boat! New forehatch went in today, but windows, pilot berth backs and acres of internal lining all came out. So Twig’s away with the windows (to make new ones) and one of the pilot berths (to study before replacing the tops) and it looks like I get to keep ripping out the linings (now planning to replace the whole lot), which at least has the beneficial side effect of removing some of the mankiest stuff instead of having to clean it! Not a pretty sight in the photos (remember the previous dehumidifier broke down, the hatch and windows leaked and things got/stayed wet), but no time for half measures when it’s worth making a real mess now to put a better boat (and there’s still a great boat here) back together in the end…

27 February 2011

Clearing the decks

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 8:09 pm

So perhaps this post’s something of a misnomer when it’s not so much about clearing the decks (done last October?) as turning the boat inside out, but it’s a catchy title and surely removing just about everything that moves to facilitate the planned repairs and renovation still counts as clearing the decks for action…

Whatever, Twig came up this morning to get the engine out and then (motivated by that little nudge in the right direction) I set to on the removable head-lining panels and bunk tops, hinged pilot berth sections, heads door, chart table, cooker, engine box, cabin sole and that kind of thing. Meaning that I finished with a great pile of stuff under the boat needing storage elsewhere, but it’s going to be so much easier to get at what’s left. And we’re working for 2012 now, because that little white lie (which I believed at the time) from last May about having Twig ‘lined up to help get her sorted for 2011 (when I’m not going to be training obsessively for running ultras!)’ has been retrospectively awarded joke status with another sub-20 West Highland Way Race attempt driving some further, ahem, obsessive training this year. Speaking of which, I still had time to get out for a hard hour’s trail running when done this afternoon!

18 October 2010

Undercover Fly

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 3:06 pm

Not exactly rapid progress with so much else going on but, three weeks after building the tarpaulin frame for Fly, the decks are 95% clean (approx. six hours of hard scrubbing to test my ‘recovered’ ribs yesterday) and the cover fitted (another cold, wet job today). Have to say I’ve got mixed feelings about this particular tarpaulin (chosen for its combination of 5m x 4m size, decent weight and transparency) since it turned out to have reinforced strips rather than eyelets for the tie-down points and a couple of the holes I put through these have torn/distorted noticeably on first use. So naturally hoping it’ll last the winter without constant attention, but half expecting trouble with the next strong winds! :-/

26 September 2010

Getting back to Fly

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 12:59 pm

Can’t say that Fly’s been a pretty sight sitting neglected for too long, but Twig came up yesterday morning and we made a start to putting her right. So we built a tarpaulin frame from Alkathene water pipe, then I finished it off with some smaller white overflow pipe and guy lines before taking the pressure washer to the worst of the grime on topsides and deck. Still want to get the deck properly scrubbed before fitting the cover, after which we need to lift out the engine for blasting/repainting, clean the insides (never my favourite job, and least of all now!), fit the new forehatch, replace the leaking windows and get to work on the delaminated bunk tops. But at least it’s a start, she’s looking better already and that’s something to feel good about…

Still not recovered enough from the rib injury to think running or climbing a good idea, but hoping to take my camera for a walk somewhere this afternoon (a cracking day, as shown by the photos of Fly) to get my first real exercise for three weeks. So it’s a fair road back for Fly and a bit yet for me, but we’ll both get there! :-)

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