Saturday, 16 June 2012

Getting a bit choppy

Getting a Bit Choppy
The Golden Cloud 16/6/12

As You may have heard on the national and international news, over the last week or so, the river I call home (the River Leri) has has some serious flooding. Luckily like Noah, I got myself an arc before these floods arrived, and so unlike the villages of Tal-y-bont, Dol-y-bont, Borth and Llandre, as well as the countless caravans who I share the valley with, when the floods came, the water just passed peacefully under my keels!


The event was quite exciting and kept me onboard for a few extra hours but other than that was just another adventure!!! 

The day when the floods came started like any other at Ynyslas... Windy.
But that day the wind was different, it blew hard and strong, and for once being on the water was quite different to land. Every gust changed my perspective on life, from sea, to sky, to sea, to sky! It was getting a bit choppy.

As I knew I had no chance of paddling ashore as per usual, I decided at that point to row an anchor chain from my boat to shore, that way at least I knew there would be a way out if things went wrong!

In the process of putting in the anchor, I had a bit of a bear grylls style manly moment. A gust of wind (on that day we had gusts up to Force 10!) blew me back on the bank, and as a result I slipped and gashed a hole in my foot. Needless to say in the moment I didn't even notice, but by the time I returned to the boat, it was starting to hurt. So I decided to reduce the gangreen risk, and boiled up some water, put in a dab of flash, and with a scouring pad brushed out all the mud from the river... I must admit it kinda hurt!
The cut post cleaning up, was alot more impressive when my foot was covered in mud and blood with the cut open wide!

Then I settled down with a mug of hot cuppa soup, and got ready to sleep through the storm.

As the night went on, the waters only rose, the tide never went out, Lloyd of the boatyard tried to wake me up by beeping his horn and flashing his lights at me from the bank. He'd been told of what was to come and wanted me to get away to saftey! (although in all honesty I was probably in the safest place!) Needless to say, I slept through it like a baby!

I woke in the morning to the sound of police sirens, then Lloyd tried again, and this time I woke up! He took me to shore, for me to find the area a police cordon and was being evacuated! The flood waters rose all around. We sat on the bank watching it all, as the land around us flooded the boatyard was fine! Maybe I shouldn't be supprised, as Ynys is Welsh for Island, and Ynyslas boatyard was the only land for miles around!

As the morning became evening, and the weather settled, I hoisted my bedding up the mast to dry it out. Tomorrow was another day, and this was just another adventure!

The flood was just another story for the boatyard, but it also brought with it free gas bottles, and firewood, we even saw bikes and tables float by!

Since the floods have receeded, and I've been back to the usual ways, with the exception of the extra fun of collecting tree's from the river and sand bars for firewood!

During my search for firewood yesterday, I also harvested a bucket of Samphire, a small succulent plant highly prized in culanary circles, should go nicely with my dinner!

Onboard the flood showed up a few leaks and a few worries, so I've now wired up the VHF so I can call for help if the worst happens, practised crank starting the engine and rigged up an interior tent so I'm dry from the leaks.

This evening the rains are falling again, and the wind is howling too. Who knows what will float down the river tomorrow!

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!