In a recent post i talked about improving my comfort in the cockpit by having a longer tiller so that i can get forward a bit and not have my back resting awkwardly on the sloping pushpit rail, even with my padded bouyancy aid on protecting my back that position was really uncomfortable.   The simple solution is to take the long tiller from my failed dinghy project and modify that a bit.  The osprey dinghy tiller was easily a foot longer than the Liberty’s one.  So far i have carefully removed the remnants of the rudder cheeks (by hitting them with a club hammer) took the rotten end off then re-shaped the tenon end to fit the stainless steel cheek plates.   That left the new end a bit weak as the osprey owner cleverly bored a series of 1″ holes all the way along it to presumably lighten it.  My tenon cutting was close but a bit off on one side, that and the possibility of some short grain would have made the lever here very weak so i have plugged the holes with some dowel and epoxy (convenient scrap broom handle) and am halfway through laminating the new end with some GRP tape/bandage.  So far i have 4 layers over the vulnerable part and topside from one side, just waiting for the resin to cure then i can repeat from the opposite side.


Its worth noting that it was cold enough here to snow for a few minutes this morning and even though i had specifically cleaned the mancave out to do these jobs there is no way that i could do wood/epoxy laminating in there .  Instead i had the tiller indoors warming up over a radiator and the epoxy cans warming up in a bowl of hot water….then quickly took the whole lot out to do the job in the vice before bringing it back inside to cure.  Ok so i may have got the glue a bit too warm but at least its setting.  The next similar job is to fabricate and laminate a stern fairlead for the new anchor chain , similar in concept to the bow one but a much more difficult shape to develop and build. That one has been keeping the thought processes going at night.  This week the new 7mm chain arrived now that i finally sourced some in the Uk so the new anchoring system is one step closer to reality, this will be the best bower or primary anchor and will be based on the 7kg Rocna, 15 metres of 7mm chain and either the 30m weighted warp or in difficult conditions the 70 metres of octoplait.  The stern fairlead concept is to allow me to deploy the bower anchor from the stern but with the warp already rove via the bow fairlead and an extra line, maybe a lizard around the warp from aft so that i can pull the warp back aft when i want to retrieve the anchor.  The lizard/retrieval line might be something similar to what i had on the Frances as i often used to deploy a ‘chum’ or ‘angel’ down the warp to stop the boat wandering around so much.  The liberty does tend to shear around i think because of the effect of the main mast being forward so one more job will be to make or cast a chum to run down the warp.  Having tried all rope, all chain and half and half i am now happy to stick with my usual system of twice the boatlength in chain backed up by lots of warp….i do mainly anchor in much shallower water nowadays but just a couple of times i have needed to stop the dancing around with some extra weight right under the bow.  On the Frances i used a 16lb kettlebell as a chum but i have a neater idea for this one…maybe cold cast in a 500 ml nalgene bottle.

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