Pathfinder project blog post June 2022.
It sometimes seems to me that my sailing life kind-of ended with the 110 day cruise that I did in 2019 – living aboard and sailing the little (22 feet) Hunter Liberty across the English channel and around western and southern Brittany. We all know what happened next and I wonder if the attitude and atmosphere of those coasts and harbors has been changed by the pandemic – my impression is that cruising around the British coast was radically different in the before , during and after with the middle period being dominated by self important rule makers ; in a way , harbormasters as council traffic wardens and young arrogant RNLI lifeguards as self appointed rule police.
On the project, which I started as a personal response to dealing with the pandemic ‘rules’ I’m now winding down towards a much needed early summer break and we’re heading off to the Norfolk coast any day now – I’m really going to have to take a boat there sometime and I’m really tempted to take this one over there when it comes to launching it and wetting it’s bum. This week iv’e completely changed the structure of my working days and this blog’s title relates to what iv’e been doing…..that and that it also refers back to the horrible outward passage from Fowey to L.Aber-Wrach where a combination of maximum tides and a brisk easterly gave me horrible wind against tide for the second half of that passage.
The odd link between the the then and now is that iv’e got the same sick feeling headache as I had later on during that passage except today it’s not seasickness and dehydration but antihistamines and possibly paint fumes. The weird thing that happened during the second half of that difficult passage was that alongside feeling cold and sick I also got a song stuck in my head – at least a few lines of a song and one from a band I don’t even like ; it was something by ‘Oasis‘ then and this week iv’e been doing circuits of the boat while laying on the white primer and sort-of singing my version of All right now…..except my version is very badly ‘all white now’ (Free….I think) **
Nearly all white now…..except for the grey and cream bits.
As I start this post it’s mid week and all of my main work sessions have been about picking up a brush and either priming something, intermediate coating something or sanding and masking off something that I need to paint…..that’ll be most of the boat then. At the beginning of the week I took the day off and we drove into the city so that I could pick up some primer for this week – that lasted all of 3 days so iv’e just ordered some more ; anyway, I looked at a few things in the chandlery, decided against them and completely forgot to look at their rack of new and secondhand oars. When we got home I did my usual end of week clean up – this phase of the project seems to be generating lots of rubbish, and then started to write up my job lists and shopping lists……so far iv’e only crossed off one small job , added 6 more and doubled the length of the shopping list. The jobs list now includes ‘take coffee break’ so that’s what i’m doing right now.
The shed door as aide memoir……
It looks to me like i’m coming to the end of what I think of as the main construction phase of this project and moving into the detailing, fitting out and finishing stages ; that doesn’t mean that there’s little work to do in fact since I wrote up my list of lists on the shed door iv’e already added another 10 jobs but not so much on the main construction side. So, there’s 4 lists – main construction, small construction jobs, painting and coating and a shopping list which is twice the length already. Until I get around to starting on building the rig iv’e only got one main construction job that I can work on right now and that’s the cuddy top and the side/top knees – I decided to not continue with what I was trying to do with a 2 sheet plywood laminate and will just wait until we get back from our break before I order a sheet of thicker plywood ; I screwed the temporary lid on again today just so that I could make a new pair of bulkhead knees but only as an end of day job when there was no more priming, coating or painting that I could do.
Small construction jobs then……this week I went ahead and made the bowsprit because I needed to mask off that part of the foredeck to prime it and I really enjoyed that as a job – a simple enough job of marking up and planing a quite large board of Douglas Fir ; I’m not going to glue it on but have it as a detachable bowsprit in case I want to mount a longer one in the future to carry a reacher or asymmetric spinnaker. What else ?…..made the 2 cuddy bulkhead knees and not to my original pattern but to a re thought out ‘fatter’ pattern that includes a handhold cut out each side, also….made and fitted a doubler that goes under the aft deck and acts as the mizzen partner and while I was there worked out the position for the mizzen mast within the aft locker ; measured out that will have to be slightly further towards the center line by about 20mm.
My main ‘sessions’ – I think of the work in the same way as we used to organize clinical/procedures time in my last job ; I aim for 2 main sessions a day of 3 to 4 hours work with breaks and often now come back for a short evening session as well – anyway, my main sessions this week so far have all been about picking up a brush and priming or painting something or a longer list of pieces. So far this week Iv’e primed the decks and coamings, inside several of the lockers and pre painted most of the seat tops and locker lids – all done by dry fitting the piece and running a pencil around blind inside each locker. I’m almost at the finishing stage with some of the interior painting – just some minor filling to do and then gluing on 3 of the 5 locker lids that I can attach at this stage .
One more week…..
Where i’m trying to get to now is the point at which the boat has most of it’s final finish and appearance and then where I strip out anything that shouldn’t be there – tools etc, clean and pack all of that away, clean and tidy the workshop and the building area and then pull the covers over and leave the whole thing alone until the beginning of July. I feel that there’s less of a rush to be on the water now, mainly because I can’t afford the long list of fittings, sails and trailer etc so it’s entirely likely that I will launch the boat next spring unless something different happens. So, one more week of work and what I hope to get done is to finish the decks, coamings and cuddy with at least one intermediate coat and one topcoat – today, as I write, a glued the galley locker hatch top on and this week I’ll do the same with the seat tops ; my big plan for this last week of work though is to do a video walk around the boat because it’s the one big thing that I failed on throughout the project.