Friday, 8 June 2012

We are sailing!

We are Sailing
The Golden Cloud 8.6.12

Once again I've left you lovely people for too long. So much has happened in so little time with me and the boat, and now I type sitting onboard my boat as she sways in the Gales.... Maybe this wasn't the best week to give her some sea trials!

About 10 days ago I had a bit of an issue at Uni, and as a result I was frustrated with life. The result of this frustration was me deciding I should spend a week or so tending to my Boat.

As I started working me and Lloyd the boatyard manager, started talking and we decided that it was probably better for me to work on getting the boat to sea for a short period of time, to suss out any issues she had before I spent out on the interior. For all I know I could spend thousands making her gorgeous inside and then the engine might not work or the hull might have a massive leak!

First I repaired the mast, her spreaders (the arms that keep the mast upright) had snapped over winter. To save the extortionate cost of buying Yacht Spreaders, I went to a metal merchants, brought the tube raw and manufactured it myself!

Then I got to work on was sanding down the hull to check for any dodgy repairs... I found a few! 

Turns out at some time in the past her long keel had hit bottom and got damaged. Whoever owned her at the time did a quick repair job with car filler fibreglass, and never got round to going over the job properly.

Needless to say this area now leaked,and so needed a repair.

So I sanded the area down, chipped out the fibreglass, drilled it around the hole, and left it to dry.... Apparently 40 years of soaking water into a concrete cored keel meant it didn't dry, and as time past it kept seeping water.

In the end we decided to mark down the affected area, reseal it quickly and come back to it in the winter, put the boat in a barn and let her dry out.

Next on the list was getting the engine started. So we charged up the battery, put a hosepipe on the water intake, and next morning started her up.

Amazingly she started first time!!!! Turns out the engine name SABB (not SAAB like the planes and cars) which is Scandinavian for hard working and reliable, is quite fitting.

Then I unpacked the sails to check for damage, all sails were the original 1970 sails no damage, just a bit of oiling on the Hanks! This was too easy!

 Then the issues began....
1st I noticed that the prop shaft was disconnected with the engine. meaning although the engine worked it didn't turn the propeller!

And because of the engines age, the bolts were not modern metric dimensions! So out with the hack saw and manufactured some new bolts.

Then all bolted up. Me and the lads from the boatyard slowly hoisted the mast up by resting it on the roof of a shed! By the end of the beautiful evening, we sat around with Golden Clouds on the horizon, sharing a curry and a can of lager! Wonderful!

Then to make her ready for sea, I removed the infamous freezer, and put in a worktop to give me space for chart work. While a porta potty was installed in case I journeyed to Aberystwyth Marina, where the bucket and chuck it method isn't accepted.

Soon it was time to get her afloat, and after a day of cleaning her up and cleaning the area where she once sat, Lloyd picker her up in his tractors slings, and down to the water. Mick from the yard who also owns a Falmouth Gypsy, came on-board to help with proceedings. 

Down into the water, and away we went FANTASTIC! She sat beautifully in the water! And she reversed with ease out of the slings.



She could only reverse!


Mick ran to the front of the boat and prepared the Anchor!

OH NO!!!!

Luckily the beast of a rudder this fantastic boat has meant she steered OK in reverse. So we gently reversed her onto the mooring, with a bit of help from the nose of Lloyd's rib. 

When low tide game I got down underneath the prop, and saw that too big an    anode (piece of metal to stop the propeller deteriorating) had been installed. So I unscrewed it, put it onboard, and readjusted the bolts on the propshaft.

Tide returned. FORWARD Gear existed.

Since then, I've happily lived onboard, and every high tide myself and Mick have gone down the estuary to try and iron out any issues with the boat.

Yesterday we even got a jib sail up, and in the wind this was enough so we didn't need the engine.

Needless to say these sea trials are showing a few faults (3 a4 pages so far) but nothing that cannot be worked around.

This weekend when the weather dies down I'm going out without Mick for the first time, but with some friends out fishing. Safe Seas and Tight lines!


  1. Finally out at sea!- laughed when you said only the reverse gear worked- image of your boat zooming around backwards :D good writing :) love the sunset pics, haven't you had some really bad weather this week, I read that there's been major flooding around Aber...!

  2. Yeah there has been major flooding, and the river Leri (the one im moored on) was the worst hit! Luckly boats float, and so all it meant was that i couldnt get in land or to aber for a few hours, its all ok tho for me! fields are all still underwater and a dam had to be drained cos it was about to burst!!!

    I will do a blog shortly on flooding :D How's italy?