Tag Archives: Rot

The Year of the Flamingo

It scarcely seems possible that it’s been nearly two years since Flamingo last felt the tread of my work boots on her swept teak deck. A quick glance at previous posts sadly reveals this to be true and I’m slightly ashamed of her abandonment. She has waited patiently in the orchard, her tarp frayed at the edges, hull and deck gently greening as the weeks, months and years go by. Of course there are myriad excuses that I won’t bore you with but the chief drain on my time these days is our new home, a 1960’s gem of a house on the edge of the Ashdown Forest. It needs a lot of work, inside and out, hence the time drain.

But now the old tarp is off and the new Bowshed shelter is well under way with help from Toby and Luke. We camped out for a weekend and, alongside lots of campfire chatting, cooking and star gazing we got quite a lot done.

Triangulation in progress

The following weekend saw another camp out, this time with an old college buddy too, slightly more fuel was needed in the form of pale ale, and the mornings hangover meant Sunday sloe picking (and boy was it slow picking) was about as strenuous an activity as we could deal with. Despite this slight handicap the three of us managed to get half the tarp cover on and battened down. I say tarp, in reality it’s a large graphic banner that was about to be thrown away from work. I have taken pity on my neighbours and put the vivid blue and green Ashes Cricket graphics on the inside. Recycling an old set made me wonder if it’s possible to link work and boat restoration….

Client: “So, tell me again why we’re using teak gratings as a background for the new Sports News Studio?”

Me: “Well………”

Client: “and lovely though they are, I’m wondering if the shiny bronze cleats and natural hemp rope are quite the thing for holding up our new Touch screen?”

Perhaps not… if only we still had the rights to The America’s Cup…. that would be a far easier sell!

Our lovely house came with a car port that has now been transformed into my first ever actual workshop! This necessitated the building of a workbench which was very satisfying, and prompted Rupert (aforementioned college buddy) to pass on a little lathe that he got for free but never used. With a shiny new Record chuck I tried my hand a wood turning for the first time in many years. Quite pleased with the result! A small Yew bowl and a knock down caulking mallet.

The drawback of boat building in an orchard is any piece of scrap wood left on the ground for more than a week seems to become a home for wildlife.

hopefully the owner of this sweet little nest (Field mouse?) will be able to cunningly fashion another one after I cleared away the scrap bit of wood that was the roof.

Stoic on her stands, starved of affection, attention and not to mention, a diet high in alpha and beta carotenoid pigments, including canthaxanthin, (huh?) Flamingo has sadly suffered from the neglect of the last couple of years. I was shocked last weekend, to see a new patch of rot on her rubbing strake, nothing that can’t be remedied but it did make me realise how important this new shelter is. So, before the winter sets in and in between apple pressing, meadow mowing, and landscape gardening (oh and holding down a job) I need to carve out some more time to get on with some actual boat renovation and make this the Year of the Flamingo!

Yummy Shrimpy type thing rich in carotty whatsits

One Step at a Time

I love internet shopping! Lunch time on Thursday I remembered I really did need that extra large adjustable spanner if I was going to undo the huge nuts holding the mast step in place, so I ordered it…. Saturday morning it arrived! By Saturday lunch the reluctant mast step was removed along with a very badly corroded steel floor. £17 well spent! The massive lump of oak reminded me of a piece of timber we once dug out of the foundations of the house, a  relic of the old mill that used to stand here. It had lain under the ground so long it had turned to a dark ebony like material that was so brittle and crystalline  it fractured across the grain and blunted tools very quickly.

Showing signs of nail sickness ?
The mast step showing signs of nail sickness or turned to bog oak ?

Removal came with a lot of sweat and swearing and at one point I considered just leaving it. Once removed though I was glad I persevered, given the rot that was revealed in the frame and the level of corrosion of the steel. The base of the mast is such a high stress area I’ll be much happier with a new step, and repaired frames.

This frame has a large spongy area of rot where the floor bolts through.
This frame has a large spongy area of rot where the floor bolts through.

The picture doesn’t really do justice to the extent of the rot, but when one of the bronze bolts just fell out and my probing screwdriver sank an inch into the soft pulp, I realised something was amiss.

The heads are looking a little public but I think clearing out all the furniture and bulkheads, though time consuming, will be worth it just to get a really good look at all the frames and sort out any sistering or repairs that need doing…

Public Toilet!
Public Toilet!

I am wondering whether to keep the Baby Blake at all or whether a modern cassette type toilet might be better, less holes through the hull, less mechanics to go wrong.

The weekend wasn’t all about Flamingo (Tracy may beg to differ) There was apple pruning, whittling, and archery too!

Luke testing one of the longbows.... turns out its not as easy as Legolas makes it look
Luke testing one of the longbows…. turns out its not as easy as Legolas makes it look

Apparently, come the apocalypse, we will be hunting for our food. After half an hour of practice Luke commented that perhaps broccoli might be easier to catch…

Tracy getting to grips with the winter pruning, and Tilly Whittling marshmallow toasting sticks
Tracy getting to grips with the winter pruning, and Tilly Whittling marshmallow toasting sticks

And finally. The Old Man has hung up his ditty bag…. or at least passed it down to me. Its a treasure trove of well used, much loved sailing paraphernalia, whipping thread, fids, shackles and needles and more, all in a canvas bag he has had since sailing Dulcimer, a 1973 Bowman 46.

Dulcimer's Ditty Bag and a well used heaving line
Dulcimer’s Ditty Bag and a well used heaving line

The heaving line with Monkey’s Fist is the same vintage and similarly well used over the years.