Title photograph : WABI”‘ (Hunter Liberty) Calstock boatyard UK.

Not good…….not good at all”  (Radagast)

A month ago i motored up the Tamar river in torrential rain ; so heavy at times that it was bouncing off the water and forming a surface layer of spray….we get lets of rain in this part of the country but that was more like a tropical monsoon.    You can imagine that i was soaked by the time i got up to my mooring at the yard and that once i was secure i dived inside the boat and lit the charcoal stove : only much later did i get ashore with my laptop and everyday camera.      The combination of lots of work to get through at home, continuous bad weather and other things going on, meant that i didn’t get back to WABI”’ for another 4 weeks…..and i’d had to shut her down while she was still damp inside !

I think you can all imagine what she was like when i did get aboard just after Chris the boss hauled her out for me !….sour is the word.   The delay in lifting her out was nobodies fault particularly as the heavy rain and wind here came in day after day and Chris at the yard had genuine problems to deal with on the river : trees coming down the river and taking boats moorings out just one.   I was very grateful when Chris did lift her out because it was due to blow 70 mph the next day and rain all day again.  Much as i love being in a wooded west country river they can be a PITA for debris being swept downriver during the autumn and winter.    One of my friends here regularly goes out on the river with his workboat and retrieves floating logs…..that’s well downstream of the yard though so they have already swept past the yard and it’s moorings.          Thinking back a year to when i over-wintered at Trouts on the Exe the boss there insisted on me being right on the inside of his little marina hard up by his barge because of the same problem there.

Even a few cup-fulls of water in a boat that is completely closed down will make them damp, moldy and ‘sour’ inside ; especially when there are damp foulies and remnants of fresh food in the fridge box and larder crate.  They were all there because i’d intended to be going back to the boat within a couple of days and it just didn’t happen….my bad, as they say !.  One small problem i had the end of the year, the plastic dome ventilator on the cabin top above the heads broke, meant that a small amount of rain was getting in there every time it rained ; and it did that every day !.  The heads compartment is the one space on the boat that’s very difficult to get into and the worst to keep clean and aired….so many planes, angles and odd corners that mildew starts in there first.  The other really awkward section of the boat is right aft, both in the cockpit locker and aft of the coffin berth.

The last time i cleaned it out properly was on ‘wash’ day in the Odet Fleuve where i took the simple approach of taking everything out, taking everything off and getting in there naked with a bucket of soogee and a sponge !….the best useful tool is a hand-sprayer or my hand pressurised garden spray and a dilute solution of bleach after the detergent wash down.     At the yard i had the luxury of being right next to the honesty cafe so i could slip in there and use their kettle to heat up some wash water and no ; nudity was not involved this time….too cold on a breeze-y day in autumn !.    I still need to go back and spray some very dilute bleach around in there but the worst is done.  One of my first jobs this winter is to find and fit a new vent and what it really needs in that position is a stainless steel one with a solar fan and of very low profile so it doesn’t catch the lines at the ‘keyboards’.  While i think about it i can’t help but think that the boat would benefit from a couple of fans that were set up to blow stale air into the heads compartment and so out of the new vent when i get one.

For those visitors that are new to the site the heads compartment on the Liberty is one of it’s worst design failures : it’s almost too large for the size of boat but still very awkward to get into with a narrow and low entrance and to get in there i also have to step over the centerboard case.  On WABI”’ the compartment isn’t a heads compartment any more as i took the sea toilet out within a week of buying the boat : now, it’s my water storage, larder, foulies locker and general glory-hole.  I did find a super-neat trick yesterday though and that was when i discovered that my 20 litre main water canister will turn around and fit exactly in the foot well in that compartment.  That means that i can easily have 3 or 4 of them in there and easily go up to 60-80 litres of stored water and therefore 80 kg of useful ballast low down and right up against the centerboard case….ballast problem partially sorted as well.

For now i’m going to put my dehumidifier on board and see if i can get the inside of the boat completely dried out using that ; it looks as though we are in for weeks and weeks of wet weather as i write and because of WABI’s position, stern on to the prevailing weather i’ll have to keep the hatch boards in.  Any chance i get i’ll go and open her up and get some air blowing through but for now my main focus has to be at home and getting some heavy jobs done.

WABI”’ sat in her own puddle of suds while i hang out her gear to air and dry.



  1. You must be the last person on earth that does not know BLEACH does not work, is the wrong cleaner. Use VINEGAR. It kills the mold, and spores, and does not reek like bleach. It stops the growth for a long time too. I use it on my 37’er and it lasts for up to a year.


      1. WABI and chips please, we use Mould Away here in Ontario and the vinegar wash. Works well my wife tells me. I have a religious objection to using it, it makes me blaspheme as l do a crap job .
        Always looking on the bright side of life, my open wood skiff did not get moved in to the shop until after a few days of heavy rain. Then the temps went to 15F, so will have to put the heat on today to thaw and start the drying process. Electric heat, ouch.


  2. Good morning and best seasonal wishes especially for the 2020 season. As I am thinking of buying a ‘Liberty’ I have found your blog very informative and interesting especially regarding the modifications to the mizzen. So I can draw a comparison especially as I am 6’0″ tall, please can you let me know your height.
    Many thanks.
    Dick Hannaford


    1. I’m 6′ 1′ and obviously i can’t stand up in the boat anywhere so don’t expect to be able to do that. My watchkeeping station offshore is standing in the companionway at which place i can see above the cabin top. I was thinking that you might want to have a chat with the HLMOA and find a boat and owner near to you so that you can o and look over a boat and decide if it would fit. Where are you based by the way ?


      1. Thank you for your prompt reply, regarding your questions I am based in Portishead near Bristol and, although it is not for sale, I am hoping to look at a Liberty moored near Watchet.


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