Summer is definitely over although i don’t remember having one here, Autumn is certainly already here which i guess means that ‘winter is coming’…..ok sorry about that one !
This morning i woke up just at first light shiveringly cold in the boat, i had a look outside and the whole river was covered in a thick and cold surface mist. I tried to get a photograph but my camera instantly fogged-up so i gave up on that , put a load of clothes on, got the coffe on and got back under my sleeping bag until the sun popped up over the town. The first thing that i thought about today was having another go at working out a way of fitting a heater on the boat as so much of my sailing is done outside the conventional season. I can make myself comfortable just about anywhere but aboard the boat it means having the boards in and living under a thick sleeping bag which i don’t always want to do. I am also quite unusually prone to hypothermia which is something i once got to discuss with none other than Ray Mears (bushcraft) who says that in his experience some people just are more cold-prone.
In the river here it looks as though boating season is over as the yard was busy lifting boats out onto trailers on each high tide that i was there. The yard has very little actual storage space but just lifts the boats and takes them around to the town quay car park which seems to turn into a boat park over the winter. When a finger berth comes free the boss is going to let me move so that i can get in and out on a wider tidal range : at the moment i can only get in and out of my inside berth for about 5 or 6 days per tidal cycle.
The marina and little boatyard is mainly used by small powerboats and some of the larger RIB’s, at the moment i am the only sailing resident although i had a quick look at this visitor to the yard today. The new boat seems like a brand new arrival straight from fitting out. I think its one of Swallow-boats offerings which although i like several of the smaller ones such as the 23′ cruiser i think this one looks like a complete ‘boat-soup’ of odd styling and conflicting ideas : bit of a ‘bitsa’. When i can get some better pictures i will try and explain that a little further : for now i tink that its a boat that doesn’t quite know what its trying to be. It might be a good boat for the area as i understand that it has a raising keel (electric) , lifting rudder and outboard but the rest of it seems to be a mish-mash of details taken from other boats and all thrown into this one.
As you can see from the photographs i climbed up the long flight of steps up the quay wall just opposite the boat to take some photographs looking down on the boatyard. The steps actually go up to the church grounds : the one that makes all the noise. I must say that this was a bit of an odd thing to find in the churchyard : definitely a mast, boom and gaff off a dinghy ! Maybe the vicar has to make regular burnt offerings !
Today i also had a first look on foot further up and down the river, it seems possible to walk up the Exeter from here and/or walk around much more of the estuary. I did also make a quick trip to Exemouth to have a look at the waterfront and the bar : i will be posting on that in due course.
I have started the autumn jobs list with a thorough wash-down and cleaned out the heads compartment, scrubbed the sail covers and the dodgers. What i will try and do is tackle jobs in such a way as to let me keep the boat in sailing condition when i am actually there : for this first session i have brought the new tiller home for a re-shape of the end to make it more comfortable, epoxy coat and varnish it and remount it in a slightly raised position. The first major job that i might do is either do the prep for a tillerpilot or do the pilot-boat style grabrails on the cabin roof that i talked about earlier in the year.
First clear night for weeks……definitely time for the sleeping bag and the duvet.