Honey i cleaned the boat !

This morning i am more than a bit fuzzy after the nearly 8 hour drive back from Ipswich overnight after a long woking day on the boat.   I hadn’t realised just how much major roadworks goes on at night and i must have passed more than 10 sections of road where there were lane closures and works going on.  Added to that what looked like a multiple accident and vehicle fire right above a junction of the M25 ,completely closed for a while….and it was an extremely tiring trip home.    The positive side is that i have just spent 4 days aboard Inanda getting some work done and at end of my 4 days over there she is just about ready to sail.  Had the weather played out slightly differently i might have had my first sail, as it was the last day over there really breezed up and i would much prefer some light weather with her first.

The chaos begins.


When i arrived down there after the long drive i didn’t really have a plan for what i was going to do that day so i just did a few minor jobs and moved a bit of my kit aboard.  The work really started at silly o-clock the next day when i moved her from her mud-berth over to the yacht-club’s deep water ‘waiting’ pontoon where i was told, it would be ok to use the pontoon for a couple of days.    Part of that wasthe tide times and that there would be nobody watching as i manouevered her for the first time with that long keel and long bowsprit. As it happens it was mirror-calm and it all went ok, she is just a lot heavier and slower to turn.  Its strange that i can manouevre anything yp to 80 feet but having that bowsprit is a whole new problem.   My first job was to take out everything loose and pile all of that on the pontoon and then later in the day that pile got bigger when Pete brought the sailbags over. Next i decided that the boat needed a total clean out of all her spaces so it would be worthwhile to remove everything that would come out easily.      I could see that there was a lot of mildew-black behind the lining slats for example and along every frame.    I knew that i wasn’t going to keep the galley as it is or the forepeak berths so i stripped out one side of the bow, took the ‘galley’ out, stripped out all of the mahogany slats from the hull sides and just started scrubbing.   It might seem a bit of an odd approach to the work of sorting out a new boat but by stripping her down that far i would get to see every frame and every previously hidden space.

Just as a side note, there isn’t a hose on the pontoon and i didn’t want to end up with lots of water in the boat so the tool i used a lot was a pressurised garden sprayer with a strong soogee mix for the wash.  That, a couple of different sponges and a soft sweeping brush got the job done but i spent most of 3 days just stripping-out and cleaning.

Port side of forepeak and port berth stripped out and ready to scrub.


One problem with the slatting, very difficult to clean behind and very prone to mildew.


Having a very good look at the cracked frames…..before cleaning commenced port side. The eventual colour scheme will be light grey up to the stringer and white above that, i am going to have as absolutely little varnish as i can get away with because i think it makes a small boat interior too dark.  As it is just removing the dark mahogany slats made the cabin feel wider.   Outside too i will re-finish her in ‘tropical’ trim which harks back to the practice of painting-over varnish work on wooden cruising boats that cruised over to the Carribbean.  I am getting a lot of practical inspiration from Pete’s own Smack ‘Transcur’ which i don’t think has any varnish aside from her spars.


Forepeak all washed out, port side is completely bare now except for a temporary rope-rail and i have left the starboard side structure intact as a sail bin.  I did later reduce the height of the part-bulkhead so that access forward is a bit easier.008

There is quite a lot of abrasion to the paint and woodwork far forward where the anchor chain has been stowed.  I did also notice that the samson post is only secured at deck level, i can’t see that is has any connection, a tenon for example, into the stem.  With the bowsprit in that shouldn’t be as much of a problem because the compression forces from the bobstay and bowsprit shrouds will push the bottom end forward but anchoring forces would try and pull it aft.  A soloution might be a small part bulkhead attached to that 3rd frame to brace in onto.


End of day 1 with the jibs, stays’l and spinnaker bags stowed to stbd and the anchor chain brought back to a bucket just forward of the mast.  The structure which supports the pansy stove will make a nice dry storage area in the future.  I might bring the hawse pipe back as well so that the chain-run is directly above its new stowage point.



Original (modified) galley.  As built the galley space on the original boat will only have been the small counter-top just inside the hatch.  It will go back to being that again for a while when i put the single burner stove in there.  Just for a giggle i gave the drinking water pump a couple of tries….the original water tank is a galvanised metal one under a cockpit seat.  What came out was brown-soup garnished with rust-flakes !    That tank is probably long past it’s useful working life so it will be coming out and i will probably have a soft bladder tank under the port berth.  For now my water storage is in cans just as it is aboard WABI”’.  There is an advantage with that in small boats in that the water containers can be easily taken ashore and filled so part of my water stowage will always be in small plastic jerry-cans.


The 2 burner Origo is out and it’s supporting structure taken apart.  I should have had my new (secondhand) single burner Origo but the postie-muppett ignored the instructions to leave it in the porch at home so i had to make the trip without it.  Temporarily i used a cheapo ‘suitcase’ type camping stove which i really dislike but it worked while i camped aboard this time.  I don’t like the under-deck locker structure that side which is a definite later add-on.  For now i have just taken the lids off and washed the whole area. In time i may do a completely new version with specific bins and cut-outs for our kit.


After the scrub.


Temporary ‘home’ after cleaning the other side as well.  I lit the pansy stove one night just to see how it works : it gets damn hot especially with my shoulder right next to it !


Best until last….after lots of cleaning.  The way i handled the cleaning was from the bow back and the top down. That put lots of muck, mud, sand, grit, paint flakes and ‘gunge’ into the bilge.  There is an automatic bilge pump that for a while was sucking out a mixture of all the above washed through with lots of seawater until i got some blockages upstream and had to spend a couple of hours finding and clearing out all the limber holes.   I didn’t get to take all of the ballast pigs out, scrub them and completely clean the bilge out so that’s a sometime job.  As is the whole boat is a lot fresher and cleaner inside but heaving those lead pigs out is more than my back could deal with at that point.

Notably the loose ballast isn’t really secured in the bilge properly, just wedged here and there and not held down at all.  One crucial job before going offshore will be to secure the ballast even if that is just a matter of screwing down the sole boards.  There is clearly quite a lot of weight in loose ballast : Pete says several hundred pounds of lead !


Day 3.

Somewhere along the line i met the membership secretary (also the vice-commode) and got officially signed-in as a temporary member.  Although i joke about yacht clubs and chin-less but blazer-clad committee members this doesn’t seem to be that kind of yacht club…..the commodore when i was introduced was in overalls and helping launch some boats.  It seems to be a very hands-on kind of club with members taking turns in work parties to get boats in and out.

So : onwards, downwards and upwards.  The worst of the bilge was inevitably the awkward bit under the engine where the essentially open cockpit drains into the engine bilge and adds to it’s engine muck as well.  At some time there has been a problem with the sump pan so there was some remnants of old tarry sump-muck as well so i came way from that job like the thing from the black lagoon.  I think i spent most of 2 very long working days just stripping out and cleaning and then doing a basic re-stow.  I had hoped then to bend-on the sails and take her out for a first sail but a problem with just one lashing strongly suggested that i needed to replace many of her shroud lashings first. I did mostly get that big gaff mains’l on i think the right way round but it was too windy by then to hoist it and check the work.

Upwards and time to work on the rig.


Until next time……



  1. Looks fun Steve, still the end result is a great improvement Those ballast pigs definitely need fixing the thought of one of those doing a ‘free surface effect’ type move does not bear thinking about even side to side is not a good look, I assume she does have an external ballast keel? best draw the bolts at some stage if they have not been looked at since new.

    The engine sump probably rusted through at some point, the paint on engines is only a token gesture at the best of times, even my new engine will be getting a repaint properly before it goes in the boat.


    1. Yes there is an external ballast keel and i definitely need to draw a couple of the bolts this year and replace. Been doing a lot of head-scratching about the best way of securing the ballast pigs. There is several hundred pounds in there and all in blocks and plates.


      1. Is it worth recasting the lead in custom shapes to fit the bilge, you can make MDF patterns and then concrete or plaster (backed up with sand) moulds just make sure they are dry before poring them you can melt the lead over a hot fire.


      2. I have thought about that, it would mean ending up with a very heavy chunk of lead for 2 spaces and wouldn’t work for the partial space under the mast step….looking into it though,


  2. A productive few days for sure Steve and great photos. A real trip back in time to simpler days — cheers.


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