Monday, 2 April 2018

What goes up.....

So, yesterday was the day we got to sail her for the first time. We spent a couple of hours alongside deciding on more bits to screw on....(debate about arrangements for chute halyard and pole uphaul cleats, type, location of, I won't bore you) interrupted by a lovely passer by who cast a very appreciative eye over her as the sun glinted of the fresh varnish and proclaimed her a 'thing of loveliness ' so we invited him on board. Here, he scrutinised most parts and then went and bought his family back to have a look as well. We were warned you needed to be sociable with a Golant Gaffer as you are seldom alone on a pontoon.
What is also true, as we were told when she touched the water for the first time, 'She'll never look as good again as she does right now' and whilst one doesn't wish to contemplate that, I have indulged myself with a few more pictures for posterity.

So having wrestled the staysail out of its bag and attached it, we motored off down the river to find some wind. We emerged into a quiet Solent with smooth water and a light breeze which was perfect for checking that everything was working. Main went up smoothly and jib and staysail unfurled with ease and we pottered about just getting the feel of her and grinning like idiots until the rapidly falling temperature encouraged us to return to the mooring. Job done with the exception of the chute which still needs a bit of setting up as we need to actually buy the cleats we decided on earlier.

What else is on the horizon ?  Well the thing I have dreaded I can avoid no longer.... the material to make the cover has arrived. I look forward to many hours wrestling with recalcitrant canvas which muttering the mantra - get someone else to do it....For the technically minded I am using Odyssey fabric made by Marchem, colour 'Sand' with Sauleda binding (colour beige is best match) and two YKK No. 10 zips (beige) again. The fabric is reasonably lightweight as this cover is just for use in harbour and we don't have much room to store it. I will reinforce where the eyelets go for good measure. The plan is a two part cover providing shelter over the hatchway or with a back section zipped on to provide a cover over the whole cockpit.

 Also, I appear to be developing a sideline in boat leatherwork. having helped out a friend in fixing their steering wheel cover, I was presented with a large bowsprit traveller which needed some TLC. Having contemplated it, I felt it was worth of some very special leather I had begged to buy from a 'seconds' room at a Northampton leather factory. It is supple and really well oiled, took the curve of the ring perfectly and with a bit of assistance, the owner was able to transform the sorry looking thing to something more respectable (see below).



Sunday, 25 March 2018

A question of provenance

When you bring your new Golant Gaffer alongside for the first time, all fresh and shiney, be prepared....she will turn heads and attract all kinds of questions which is nice that folk show appreciation. Yesterday as a large yacht moored up behind us on the pontoon, the owner approached cast his eye over Satellite and asked about her restoration.... we explained she was built by us.. next question 'Did you buy a kit ?'....... No she was built from looking at hull, Did you buy the hull ?... No she's cedar strip and casting eyes over coachroof..'Did you make the fibreglass sections yourself ?..........Oh well you can't win them all.......

Later in the day, as dusk set in, another gentleman scooted over to say hello and that he had the plans to build one but hadn't started yet. We wish him all the best when he does.

Also we had a visitation from D's family. The younger element having fun bouncing up and down on deck and flicking all the switches which is essentially what sailing is all about I feel.

Today is finally the day of celebration with 30 friends and further family coming to celebrate with us.


We are now home again having had a truly lovely day with friends and family. We are so grateful that they were able to make it as it brought us together with friends we had not seen for a while as well as our incredibly hospitable newer sailing friends. 

They were so hospitable in fact that we came away with a number of things to affix to the boat. Two friends were not able to attend as they had other commitments but they were very kind to send us a name plaque with Satellite's OGA number and her name.

Also we have a new clock..very nice...

Plus an excellent folding down washing up bowl and two fab Union Jack mugs (see below) and a lovely stropped block with Satellite's name on it. Ah and as you can see that's the wine cellar sorted.

The stropped block is pictured below and as you know, I like a bit of ropework and this has a nicely made rope grommet which has then been whipped to hold the block and a brass thimble. We were very touched by this and think a suitable use for it will be to support the 'Bucket of Declaration' (see earlier post).

Also there were some really nice cards  which I appreciate, not being an artist myself.

One of which was very appropriate (with the exception that she is not spritsail barge) but I guess there are not many cards for builders of Golant gaffers.

It seems I have been waylaid by all things shiny and stringy... so how about the boat itself ? I took a few pictures in a quiet moment but have yet to really document the final result.

The (pointy) End...

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Waiting game

Well, best laid plans and all that. Last Sunday we were due to celebrate with friends and family the fact that we had made it however weather intervened and in the face of snow, ice and a biting easterly wind keeping temperatures close to freezing, we decided that we would forestall and move our 'party' by a week. No one wants to stand on the pontoon discussing the niceties of boat building whilst essential bits of them fall off and roll from the pontoon. Enough said. Anyway, after an afternoon of phoning round we have succeeded and are looking forward to seeing everyone soon.

Oh dear...

But not wishing to be idle in the meantime, I had a bit a time on my hands and what did my thoughts turn too ? well 'string' of course ! Actually to be more accurate, rope. I had still to finalise the arrangements for the cruising chute and so I set to and created a halyard for it. This is going to run through a small low friction eye and as such, a tapered splice has potential to get stuck in the eye and so, rather than attach a nasty white plastic 'stopper' I decided to pack out an area below the serving and then dress it with a nice turk's head which I think will do the job. We will see. Obligatory photograph (showing serving, Portuguese sennit to aid the release and turk's head as an ornamental stopper).

Monday, 12 March 2018

Wet bottom

The last few weeks have rather drawn out as we awaited today. There have been a few jobs to do preparing the trailer to take the spars and finishing off a few bits and pieces. But today, in between frequent heavy downpours, we launched. I think now is the time say a huge thank-you to a long list of people, D, for staying the distance and calmly working through the build. I knew when we committed to this build that it would be completed, I had no concerns that we would end up with a half finished shell at the bottom of the garden where some folks' dreams start and finish. Also to T and S (they know who they are) for their support and for sharing their learning from their built, I am sure Satellite is a better boat for that. And finally to all our OGA friends who showed interest in what we were doing, particularly M who rendered much practical assistance and hospitality at critical points along the way. Oh good grief this is sounding like the Oscars, but seriously it has meant a lot to us to have you all rooting for us. Thank you.

Whilst this blog was set up to share the process of building in real time for anyone else who has a plan to do this, it does not end here. We will have a debrief and share the things that work well and the things we would probably do differently. 

In the meantime here are the pictures. Below shows the wood and leather holders for the spars fixed to the trailer.

Here is M applying seizing wire to various shackles (nice job). If you ever need your shackles seizing, she's your woman. Behind the boat is the enormous fork lift truck which was used to launch the boat.

Here she is being lowered into the water by the huge fork lift which makes her look like a toy.

Here she is on the water with an engineer commissioning the engine which went like a dream.

Once she had the boom, gaff and jib added, we took her off down river to her mooring.

I have to say that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed so I think its time for a lie down after having been awake half the night like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Many hands make light work....

Now she's on the trailer and out in the open, it gave me the chance to stand back a bit and take photos from a greater distance so you can see a bit more in one shot.

And more to report as another milestone passed. Today's challenge was to get the mast up and determine final lengths for forestay and shrouds. This involved attaching the shrouds, the backstays and the forestay to the appropriate places on the mast along with a decent length of strong rope to where the forestay attaches and then heaving the mast onto the deck. The foot of the mast was located into the tabernacle and the rope run forward to a block on the stemhead and then back to the cockpit through the halyard jam cleats. This was designed to provide some control and protect the mast from falling backwards once it was up. Before hoisting, the backstays were attached to provide some lateral stability and to stop the mast going forward. Next job was then to 'walk' the mast up. It helped that D is tall and strong and between us we managed to get the mast up but the decent piece of rope to the stemhead didn't provide much help to get the mast up due to the steep angle. Consequently, we stuck the bowsprit on and re-ran the rope to a block at the end of the bowsprit to give a better angle when dropping the mast down again.

NOTE. If you are going to do this then apply rope to the bowsprit to stop it going skyward as the mast comes down as you can't put the bobstay on as the trailer prevent this and it would be a shame to break it when we've come this far.....

Anyway we got the mast up and marked off what we guess is the final length of the shrouds so I can finalise splicing the hard eyes into the dynastay and D can fit the turnbuckle for the forestay (the only bit of rigging I am letting him do only 'cause he's done it before !). 

Handy hint....Also we took the opportunity to test the navigation lights on the top of the mast at this stage in case there were problems. Which there weren't (hooray).

Getting the mast down we decided to call on another pair of hands and our obliging neighbour helped out which made it rather easier, and so dear reader in the gathering gloom we came in to thaw out and celebrate (can you see the theme here ?).

Also, we have been contemplating vehicles as D's vehicle is just about at the limit for towing so we have now identified a secondhand Mitsubishi L200. It is less of a beast sizewise than it looks (see below) and the interior is less van, more car.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Up and under.

Yesterday another milestone passed. With the storms of the first week of January having abated, we prepared to make an attempt to get the boat onto its trailer. This involved jacking up the boat bit by bit and sliding the trailer underneath. The first step was to set up a framework D had built in order to provide some reassurance that the boat would not end up on its side if it all went horribly wrong. 
The framework and beam were set up at the position of the rear chainplates and block and tackles run either side onto the chainplates.

So far, so good...What else was useful ? Well, a friend gave us four small 'caterpillars' (see below) which were about nine inches by five inches. They were used by his father to move x-ray machines round hospitals and can take about 2 tonnes each. These were slipped between the bottom of the keel and the keel tray on the trailer with a piece of ply on top to stop the teeth 'nibbling' into anything.

Then,  a cable was attached to the front of the trailer and led aft through a 'cable puller' (see below) which was helpfully restrained by a rope round an obliging oak tree behind the tent. At this point we expected to have to apply a bit of force but no, with D applying some winching on the trailer winch and me on the cable puller the trailer slid under so easily without repositioning the oak tree. I couldn't quite believe it had been so straightforward. The next thing to do was to jack up and remove the caterpillars remembering to put a bit of wood under the keel to allow the strops to go under when lifting her ready for launch.

The whole process, working steadily with jacking up the boat and repositioning boat stands, blocks under the jack and faffing with the block and tackles took the afternoon but by the time dusk arrived she was up on her trailer and we retired to thaw out and celebrate.

Oh yes, while I remember... if you want to understand the inner workings of a Golant Gaffer I found this image below. This is on the website of what seems to be a group of German radio controlled model boat building enthusiasts whose work needs to be seen to be believed - exquisite. One of them is building a scale model Golant Gaffer and details of the group can be found here

Sunday, 24 December 2017

the end of the beginning

Those of you following this blog know I get reflective at Yuletide and this year is no different. I was going to title this entry 'the beginning of the end' given the position we are in with the build but then that seems to completely negate all that we plan to do with the boat once launched so really the completion of the build is just the start. I have looked back to the Christmas entry from last year and see that the main structure of the boat was then complete but during 2017 the teak deck was added, the cockpit fitted out, the rudder built, all the electrics and engine stuff completed,  boom and gaff built and all the painting and varnishing done and the rigging created. A couple of weeks ago we had a survey completed for insurance purposes, this went well (only one recommendation to add an extra clip to secure the intake hose for the engine) and the surveyor departed having thanked us for allowing her to survey our boat  (!). We area now at the stage where we need to get her out of the tent to set up the rig to finalise the shroud and forestay lengths and check where various fittings should be fixed. In the meantime, D has been adjusting parts of the trailer and  building the mast support for towing. We managed to get the boom and mainsail into the dining room and had a merry couple of hours sorting out what fittings were required for the boom and where they should go. More bits than you would imagine and trying not to get them in the way of each other takes a bit of thought. We now just need to order the fittings for the boom and attach them.

Just some of the rigging !

On the inside, D has built a couple of small cupboards into the forward compartment, useful for stopping stuff escaping.

Also, fitted on the aft bulkhead of the main cabin and within easy reach of the companion way is a fire extinguisher. This is a nano-particle fire extinguisher which has the advantages of being small and lightweight and the contents do not 'settle' like powder fire extinguishers and, God forbid we every have to use it but if we do, then it is kind to engines as well. See  

In order to be thoroughly ship-shape and to keep standards up, D has cannibalised an old flagstaff and it is now ready for its flag.

Ah yes, and she now has a name which is 'Satellite'. Why 'Satelilite' ? I hear you ask, well bit of family history really tied up with the famous T.E.Davis who owned the schooner 'Westward' build by Nathaniel Herreshoff and raced against King George V's yacht 'Britannia' between 1925 and 1935. T.E Davis's first trip to sea was on board a vessel named 'Satellite' on which D's forebear was master. See 

That's all for now, Merry Christmas.