Dunstaffnage 22nd April 2022

50 days to go before the Scoresby Sund Expedition Starts!

All sanded with 320 grit. The patches on the bow are “Rocna Dings”

It happened a few days later than planned, but Sumara went smoothly into the shed yesterday afternoon, so I am now busy varnishing. I managed to prep virtually everything whilst she was outside occasionally in the rain so no time has been lost. Ironically, now Sumara is indoors, there has been wall to wall sunshine outside, but sadly the yard is too dusty to varnish with any success, unless a non-slip finish is required.

Half the hull dusted off with a jamb duster prior to being wiped with Isopropyl Alcohol

There is something very pleasant about hanging about in boatyards. They tend to be full of interesting characters and when I say “interesting” I mean “very interesting”.

Then, to supplement the characters, there are the boatyard politics, and up here there is plenty of that. I try to avoid getting involved but I must admit that a bit of good old gossip does beat run of the mill conversations about the weather. A Dunstaffnage soap opera could be popular but I certainly wouldn’t want to be responsible for it!

In the shed with her first coat of varnish

Over the years Sumara has been propped up in many yards but she has never languished in them. If there is one bit of advice I feel I could to give wooden boat owners, it would be to sail them every year, no matter what. Stuff the varnish, just sail her somewhere, it will do the boat more good than a summer ashore. Sumara has been in a few exotic yards including the popular “Power Boats” in Trinidad. She was also hauled out by a massive crane in Porto Santo but generally the yards are closer to home. That includes a yard right outside our house at South Dock Marina in Rotherhithe. She recently had a refit in Ullapool, hardly near to our home but well worth the visit for great workmanship and good company. I would say great company but I’ve just used that word so good will have to do. Kings Boatyard at Pin Mill looked after us really well and we would love to return there.

One of the yards that I have very fond memories of is Coombes Boatyard in Bosham. Partly because I would occasionally take my father along with me to “help” with the work. We would often sit on a log in the shade under the boat eating our sandwiches watching the two tractors “Bertie” and “Betsie” dragging boats around on sledges. The yard’s dogs would sit on the bonnets of the old tractors barking hysterically. I remember they would use a special grease under the wooden runners called ESSO Slidecoat. They tried chip fat once but the rats would eat it. At high tide, ducks would wonder around and there were always colourful boatyard characters. I can certainly remember “Aluminium Bob” who seemed to be permanently working on his aluminium boat. He would love to chat, so sometimes we would need to hide in the hedge until he had passed by just in case we got wrapped up in a conversation so long that no work would take place at all. That boatyard has gone now, but there are still plenty of “interesting” yards around.

I had better steer clear of the politics and characters up here or I’ll be in big trouble. Mind you, once I’m safely offshore!

One coat all over, but a second coat will go on the toe rail/rubbing strake area.

Hopefully next week Sumara will be launched, and I’ll have a few days in the water to get her ready for the Greenland Expedition. There may even be time for a little spin around the bay.

I am so looking forward to the boat being afloat again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.