When i bought WABI (she wasn’t called that) she hadn’t been sailed for much of the previous year so she was dragging a veritable garden around underneath and there were a lot of things just not right about her : she didn’t want to sail well at all, it was very difficult to get the sails up or down and in the rig just about everything seemed to be tied to something else in a cats cradle of lashings and small useless tackles.
We (girlfriend and me) spent a very cold and wet week aboard just sorting out the basics : first night aboard in Wootton creek was cold enough to have ice forming inside the hatch and frost on the decks. I had hoped to sail her along the south coast all the way back to Plymouth over a few days but to be honest it would have been a dubious prospect in such an ill-prepared boat so instead we had a few days messing about in the solent and then had her lifted out at Emsworth marina where a very nice bloke put her on a car trailer and towed her down to Cornwall for me.
Re-launch at Calstock.
Back in Cornwall the very excellent Chris at Calstock boatyard made room for her by getting her into his much smaller travel hoist and parking her on his slipway where i would have just a few days to sort her out a bit before going back in the water. The first priorities were getting the bottom clean and smooth after years of careless antifoul application : ok i am a stickler for a clean and smooth bum but its the one thing that help not exactly by making a boat faster but by reducing one thing that slows them down ie drag. After that i sorted the rigs as best i could at least to the point where i could get the sails going up and down…old blocks and old halyards all needing replacing later when funds would allow.
Just about the only other thing i did was to move the galley and remove the sea-toilet (i favour a bucket) and then start sailing her locally to find out ‘what she wanted to do’. Most spare days i would be out somewhere in the rivers above Plymouth sound, sailing and anchoring out overnight. In June a sudden confluence of circumstances had me sailing WABI”’ over to Roscoff solo and cruising the north Brittanny coast with my partner and then sailing her home via the channel islands.
After that i had a brief period of local sailing in between urgent work at home and then in the autumn started on the major refit she needs with the benefit of a few miles sailing around the rivers and the one offshore passage. For now here is a quick list of things that i have been working on or are work in progress right now :
Both rigs out, made a mast head plate for the main-mast, ran new cables through the mast and fitted both a masthead navigation light and a VHF arial. Both rigs then back in but i also made new lazy jacks for both rigs, a vang for the main and gradually started replacing all the nasty old blocks with super-slick new harken ones.
Inside : built and fitted a new galley, fitted a new storage system for under the bunks to enable me to carry more stores and in the right places (low and centre), fitted the new combined GPS/VHF and right now am trying to sort out the non-functioning electrics. this weekend i finally worked out that the battery selector switch was broken so i am going to do a partial re-wire including a new battery, new PV panel and new switch panel.
The new galley unit and galley storage box on first fitting, the galley ‘deck’ also includes a step for the companionway.
Update January 2017.
The rigs are back in with new navigation lights and new wiring/new vhf cable, i have re-wired the whole boat and fitted a new battery, new fixed vhf/gps and am working on the lines aft project.
Update : March.
The refit continues with some fine detail being added : i have worked on the ‘lines-aft’ systems more and can now either deploy an anchor from the stern and/or alter bow rode length from the cockpit. First reef can now go in and out from the cockpit. I have 2 compass options with a demountable cockpit compass and a half-board compass with plug-in lighting. Mizzen boom vang now works. The cockpit bulkhead is now free of most extraneous kit. The longer tiller is finished and fitted.