Friday, 31 December 2010

My free icemaker

I was expecting the worst next time I would visit the boat as I hadn't been there for about 2 and a half months. The reason was firstly, I that I had a knee operation which went well and secondly it's freezing cold so I did not dare ride my bike there, even if I could start it. Meanwhile, it snowed heavily and rained a little bit so I expected lots of water inside apart from any engine issues (I did not "winterise" it..).

And that's exactly what I saw when I open the hatch. Only there was the added surprise of a thick layer of ice on top of the water. Free ice on a boat! Great! And the smell was terrible, everything was bloody damp. Luckily the battery was good enough to run the bilge pump and a couple of lights. I doubt that it can start the engine though but I didn't try as it's seawater cooled and the boat is on the hard at the moment.

The bilge pump was literally running for ages as the water was well above the floorboords (perhaps 7"). Meanwhile I started peeling off the tape I had used when antifouling, which I forgot to do then and it was now a pain to peel off. That took a while.

I repositioned the mast which had previously been taken down and was placed in a bit of awkward position and for the next couple of hours tried to cover the boat using a canvas cover that came with the boat and a tarpaulin I bought. It was quite an effort and I 'm not sure I did a great job as the covers could not reach the entire length of the boat plus the boat is quite high from the ground so not easy to do it from the ground. Anyway, I'm not going into further details, it's now 31 Dec and got to run off to some friends to welcome 2011. I'm glad I did the few little jobs I had to and will be more determined in the new year to finally do some sailing on Ting-a-Ling.

Happy new year.

Monday, 6 December 2010

A crazy idea

Some things have changed in my life recently or are about to change. I know I should be doing some work on the boat, but since I'm not doing it, I can make plans and dream about my new life. One of the candidate plans is going back to my homeland, Greece, after more than 11 years in the UK. Now this return, I want to be special and I originally thought I'd cycle back to Greece from London when the time comes. But now that I have the boat, I can sail back! I am slightly concerned though if I have to take the long route round Spain and via Gibraltar. There are more options, mainly through the French canals. But I also just discovered this route here: - North Sea to Black Sea!

Here are a few more links: get feed

Sunday, 5 December 2010

While I wait

I have no news regarding the boat. It is now on the hard at Prior's Boatyard at Burham-on-Crouch awaiting some TLC. But what with the injured knee, operation, chilly weather and lack of a decent means of transport (by decent I just mean of the enclosed form..) it's been difficult to get there and I'm worried that it's just rotting away.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this is to share a link to a TV series I found on 4oD. Since I'm not doing any real boat work I can at least be a couch sailor and I really enjoy watching and reading anything that has to do with sailing. The series is called Classic Ships and consists of 6 episodes, starting from a review of the Roayl Yacht Britannia which was commissioned in 1893 and sparked the big yacht racing. I haven't watched all episodes yet but the first one is definitely worth watching.

Here it is:

I've also found this series called "Yachting and Sailing", again on 4oD. This is mostly dealing with yacht racing for both amateurs and professionals. Here it is: get feed

Saturday, 23 October 2010

An update

It was about time I decided whether I wanted to keep the boat out of the water or in for the winter. The plan was that after I´d finished with major repairs I´d put it back in so that I could do some sailing and some other repairs that I could do while afloat.

To cut a long story short, I decided to leave it out of the water as I still wanted to check the rest of the thru-hull fittings and other things that could not be done while the boat was afloat. Also, last time I visited the boat the water had risen above the floorboards, obviously rainwater, but I was very concerned about having it afloat with so much water coming in..

I also had to take the mast down again to get it to the area where it would be stored. This was obviously quite expensive. I took the sails off for the first time and saw that the genoa was in a very good condition. The mainsail is quite tired and I could do with a new one.

One of the main jobs right now is to find where the water enter the boat and fix that. I know it will be very difficult to seal all the areas where water is coming in as the wooden deck is not in a very good condition.. If I get around to learning about deck repairs I'll try to change/repair as much of it as I can..

And I've just went through my expenses list for the boat and realised I've now spent double what I paid to buy the boat on maintenance, repairs and equipment... And I've still got loads to fix and buy. get feed

Friday, 1 October 2010

Some progress at last

I'd not visited the boat in more than a month and a half since I had the accident. The leg is still in a poor condition but I thought I'd better go to the boat and get on with the work as the weather is not going to get any better and the repaired wood needs to be painted otherwise it might start rotting again..

So I hired a van, bought some plywood to rebuild the shelves on the starboard side, picked up a friend and headed for the boat. One of the reasons I hired the van (apart from the fact that I don't really want to ride my bike for any long distances) is that I wanted to take out everything from the boat and put it in some storage space so I can then inspect the boat and do my work in a bit more comfort. Currently there is so much clutter and junk in the boat that it's very difficult to work in there.

In the end I didn't take out anything as there was a carnival in town and the road would close for several hours so we wouldn't be able to use the van to carry stuff to the storage space. Plus I thought of just moving the boat from its current location as it's not very convenient and is right on the high street and everybody can see me working on it so I don't feel very comfortable making noise or being very messy..

Anyway, my friend was very helpful and urged me to get our work done quickly. We sanded down the s/b side of the hull that I hadn't done the last time I was at the boat and then applied the antifouling. The whole process took about four hours. It could be done in a shorter time but the roller brushes we had were simply crap and I went through at least 5 rollers.. get feed

Thursday, 19 August 2010


As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been doing some reading on sailing recently. I've managed to read three books on circumnavigation, two of which were non-stop. A non-stop circumnavigation seems to be more of a challenge and a test of one's limits rather than a recreational experience. What struck me most was the two totally different approaches towards it. I read Bernard Moitessier's "The Long Way" after reading Webb Chiles' "Storm Passage". These two books tell a totally different story and it's interesting to compare both the authors as well as their methods and characters.

Webb Chiles' story is full of agony, despair, stubbornness, ambition and delusions of grandeur. It seems to me that Webb Chiles had the right mix of ingredients to get into trouble. In comparison, Moitessier's account is about experience, harmony, humility, patience, anticipation. In practice, I believe the main difference came from the authors' attitude towards their task.

Chiles set off trying to conquer the sea, set records and prove himself. In doing so he chose a fast yacht that was not at all ready for the long hard journey he set off to complete. He pushed his boat to the limits and paid the price. He risked his boat and his life to try to set records. He was not at peace with the sea, himself and the boat. Nevertheless, his stubbornness and perseverance is what got him back alive. The last few weeks of his trip are just full of agony and a good example of what you may have to go through if things go wrong.

On the other hand Moitessier seemed to be more at peace with the elements, himself and the boat. He understood the weather and prepared for it. He was given the chance to set records and receive more fame and dismissed it. While he was not at peace with the modern world, this did not really affect his seamanship. 

To be fair however, Moitessier had a boat that was ready for such a passage and had been sailing since he was a child whereas Chiles had only about 10 years of experience and had done no long passages. Chiles was repairing his sails every day whereas Moitessier did not have to do any repairs at all. And one big difference was that Chiles's boat had a crack in the hull.. I'm not sure whether that was a design fault or one that developed due to Chiles' choice to press hard. Also Moitessier admits that the weather had been, in general very kind to him during his months in the South seas. Although I believe that Chiles' way to go about his task is not the right one, one must admire his courage and his feat was by all means remarkable. I do think that Moitessier was the wisest of the two though.

Most of you may have read Moitessier's book as it is considered a classic in sailing and is full of very useful information, tactics and advice. But I would also recommend reading Webb Chiles' account to see the striking difference between the two.

The other book is the one I mentioned in the previous post, James Baldwin's "Across Oceans and Islands". This is   also about a circumnavigation but not non-stop - in fact one with several stops that were very much part of the journey itself. This is the type of journey I'd prefer to do..

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Isolation & Inspiration

I've been in home-confinement for the past week having only been out to go to the hospital and to get an MRI scan for my knee. While I'm still working from home and trying to deal with insurance claims and the NHS over the phone, this confinement has offered me a good opportunity to catch-up with myself and the sailing endeavours of people that I do not know but I feel so close to and to re-ignite the spark of inspiration that every-day life is so good at suppressing.

Reading James Baldwin's on-line book "Across Islands and Oceans" has been a great source of inspiration. I have found so many words in there that I can relate to that in some cases I felt that I could have written these myself. The following is just one of these, which pretty much sums up my feelings about travelling and sailing round the world:

"Compared to a simple boat, a backpack and my boots, the thought of fussing around with airlines, taxis, buses, hotels, restaurants, and all the other trappings of tourist travel leaves me as uninspired as a purposeless voyage."

To do list

These are the jobs I'll have to do next time I visit Ting-a-Ling:

  • Check shaft diameter, buy & install shaft anode
  • Inspect cutlass bearing
  • Inspect stuffing box (may need to take out propeller shaft)
  • Inspect sink & engine intake thru-hulls & seacocks
  • Sand s/b side of hull
  • Inspect rudder & fittings get feed

Monday, 9 August 2010

And yet some more..

Finally, after more than a month I was able to do some work on the boat! After some hassle trying to find a ladder to get up the boat and trying to find the keys to the boat, I inspected the toilet seacocks that the boatyard installed. They look good and safe. However, the chap who repaired them told me they were completely unsafe before and recommended that we check the other ones too. Maybe I'll do that myself as I'd like to find out how to do it.

Then I went to the local chandlers and bought some antifoul paint. I went for Flag Cruising black which was quite cheap at £30 per 2.5lt.I also wanted to buy a new anode for the propeller shaft but I didn't know the diameter so will do that next time.

Then I started sanding the hull to prepare it for the antifoul. I started doing it by hand but quickly gave up as it was quite tiring and I resorted to my bosch multitool which did a pretty good job although that wasn't easy either. It was very messy and I ended up with a lot of blue dust on my clothes. I managed to do the port side only as I had to get back to London and would go back next day to do the rest and then apply the antifoul during the week.

However, things rarely go to plan.. On that night I had an accident on my motorbike and injured my knee. So now it will have to wait at least for a couple of weeks if not longer. Needless to say that I'm quite disappointed.. get feed

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

More grief but I got a working toilet so it's fine

I had asked the boatyard that carried out the coachroof repairs to try to get the toilet seacocks unstuck as nothing I've tried has worked.. They said they would and I persuaded them to do it for free as I thought it would be pretty straightforward and easy. They said OK. Yesterday I got a call from them telling me that it was quite a bit more complicated as the mounting bases were all rotten and that they needed to replace these and that did incur some cost - they have not told me how much that cost but they reassured me that it would not be "astronomical" - I am a bit worried as even £100 right now seems quite astronomical to me.

Anyway, the end result is that I'm feeling a bit let down by myself for getting into this whole situation, starting from buying the boat to giving it to the boatyard to repair it. It seems that the situation has got a bit out of hand money-wise and I need to get on top of it soon, seeing as though I have paid lots of money and have yet to get a days' sailing this summer.. I am frustrated. get feed

Thursday, 29 July 2010

An alternator is a good thing to have..

..but as I've said before mine is faulty and that means that I cannot recharge my batteries when I don't have access to shore power. Previously I've dealt with that by making sure my only working battery was fully charged before setting off and not starting the engine many times while I'm away. But obviously that is a bit risky.. 

So I got a quote for repairing it and it was quite steep (£100). I thought I could do better than that and found a second hand for around £50 on ebay, which I didn't buy in the end as it was missing the pulley. Then I thought about repairing my alternator myself but I wasn't entirely sure what was wrong and it seemed slightly complicated to find out and actually repair it so I ended up buying a similar alternator on ebay for £110.. So now I have an alternator and I'm quite happy about that. get feed

Monday, 26 July 2010

No longer a bargain

Two days after I returned from my holidays in Greece I received a call from the boatyard saying that the boat was ready. Good news I thought, although I dreaded what would come next: the cost. My heart sunk when I heard that the job cost nearly as much as the purchase price of the boat. No point going on about it now – I was warned that this could be very expensive. I’ve now paid in full and the boat is at the boatyard ready for further work. The repair looks quite good and strong although it does look like the coachroof has been patched.

Next on the list is antifouling although I’m not sure whether I should remove the existing antifouling or use any primer first.. To be honest I can’t be bothered rubbing off all existing antifoul – I just want to get the boat back in the water as soon as possible any enjoy some sailing.

Having now invested quite a bit of money on this boat I am wondering whether it would be best to keep it any do more work on it rather than replacing it with a bigger one as my original plan was. get feed

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Time vs. money

I can't say I'm really happy with this decision but I took Ting-a-Ling to a boatyard to have the coachroof professionally repaired. The person at the boatyard was very helpful and wondered whether it's worth repairing as the cost would be quite high - about half of what I've spent to buy the boat. He advised me on how to repair it myself but for me it was a matter of time vs. money. I will be away for 10 days in July and I want to do some sailing in August so the only option is to have someone repair it as I don't think I can do it on my own before the end of July... Also, just to have the mast stepped/unstepped would be quite a lot of money even if I did the work myself. get feed

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Oh dear

Another weekend at the boat, planning to do some major surgery to replace the aft beam under the mast step. My jack had arrived but as I was not sure it would be stable enough to lift the coach roof I borrowed an acro prop from the marina. I fitted that under the mast step and started lifting it but could not really move the coach roof even though I had slackened the shrouds. I did not want to put too much pressure though as I did not want to stress the hull over the keel. Anyway, I started cutting away the broken beam that came off surprisingly easily - it was all rotted. After removing a large section of it I discovered that the top of the bulkhead behind the beam has also rotted away. Oh dear - not another bulkhead job.. get feed

Saturday, 19 June 2010

I'm connected

Till now Ting-A-Ling has served as a retreat; from the city, work, people, anything. However this has now changed. The internet is here! This weekend I brought my laptop as I had some work to do.. And I just got my marina Wi-Fi connection going. So now I am connected. I can't say I'm too happy for that but surely it's good to have an internet connection on the boat.. Only problem is I have to be at the cockpit to get a decent signal. Crap! get feed

Monday, 14 June 2010

Another spring tide, another grounding

I feel like I've lost focus lately as I haven't done any work on the boat. Of course, I promised to reward myself by enjoying a bit of summer sailing before embarking on any more jobs, particularly those that would result in de-commissioning of the boat for some time.

So sailing it was this weekend too. I was contemplating going single-handed but luckily, after little persuasion and a lot of deliberation, my flatmate decided to join me. We arrived at the marina after HW and the first thing I did was to start the bilge pump to get rid of the water that had, once again, risen above the floorboards. This has become a standard procedure now. The other standard procedure is charging the battery from the mains as my alternator is still not working. While this was going on we met the neighbour in the berth next to us who offered coffee and interesting stories and advice. One of the useful things I found out was how the depth sounder system was installed. My depth sounder is out of order and this can be a big problem in the East Coast..

We finally left the marina around 16.30 which was a bit late as spring low tide was just 4 hours away. The wind was not very strong but strong enough to make me a bit cautious with the sails. We arrived near Essex marina quite quickly with the help of the tide. I then decided that it was about time we turned around as the wind had got stronger.

My newly acquired iPhone Navionics chartplotter indicated a top speed of 5.8 knots which is not bad at all. On our way back progress was noticeably slower as we were beating into the wind and the tide flow had also slowed down. At some point I went in the cabin for some reason and when I came out again I realised that we were not moving. We had ran aground! According to my flatmate who was on the helm at the time, it was the wake from a speedboat that had pushed us to the side near the river bank.. After some attempts to get unstuck that had no positive outcome we decided to sit back and enjoy the sunset. The time was around 20.05 and low tide was at 20.25. I estimated that it would be about an hour before we could move and I was about right. Around 21.25 we set off and motored towars the marina. Coming to the entrance of the creek that leads to N. Fambridge marina, I could only see a very narrow water passage and a lot of sand on either side. I thought I'd better wait before I attempted to enter so we went in circles for about half an hour. Then I just thought I'd give it a shot - the tide was rising and even if we ran aground again, it would still be better than just going in circles in the river.. Luckily, we made it just fine through the narrow passage and I also managed to get my mooring right this time.

I then put up the tarpaulin over the coachroof. This is something I always do before leaving as there's quite a few deck leaks. Nevertheless rainwater still finds its way in. I also did a bit of exploration and located the depth sounder transducer and managed to get my hands very greasy as I took it out of the through-hull fitting. I didn't have the time to fiddle with it as it was getting quite late so I put it back in. But that's another task that has been added to the increasingly expanding boat repair task list. I also tested the Raymarine ST1000 tiller pilot that came with the boat and was pleasantly surprised to find it functioning; well, at least the pushrod was moving. I may test it at sea next time.

Here's a clip from this weekend's sailing:
get feed

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Navigation aids

Ting-a-Ling is not yet equipped with a GPS receiver or a chartplotter; hopefully one day she will. The only navigation aid on the boat is a bulkhead compass.. However, at our last trip Peter brought his hand-held Garmin GPS receiver so we had the luxury of knowing where we were, our bearing and speed. Not that we really needed to know all this while sailing on the Crouch but it was a nice-to-have thing. Having never really used a navigation device before I was very impressed with Peter's GPS.  I quite liked the fact that you could have all that information at hand very easily.

So I bought an iPhone app that kind of does the same thing. It's from Navionics, includes charts for UK, North France, Belgium and Holland and was only £15! You can see a snapshot of the app in the pictue showing the entrance to Cowes. Now I can do some proper passage planning, although it is not advisable to rely solely on this app for this purpose. But I may leave the actual passage for after the coachroof repairs.. get feed

Monday, 7 June 2010

Second test sail

I should really be doing some more work on Ting-a-Ling but having recently paid my first marina fees (till now I had a free ride as the previous owner had already paid till end-May) I am eager to get my money's worth of sailing. This time a friend came along, who had recently completed his competent crew course so there was quite a bit of help. We arrived Friday evening and stepping in the boat I was grateful to have my wellies on when I heard the splash instants before my foot touched the cabing floor. Not again!? There was plenty of water covering the floorboards. Was it rain or seawater? I didn't really find out but immediately I put the trusty bildge pump to work.

We had a relatively early start, around noon with the tide on our side. Getting out of the berth was a bit tricky though as the next berth next to mine has recently found an occupant that I struggled to avoid  as I was reversing out of the berth. I literally had to fend it off with my hands! Bloody reverse! When I bought a fin-keel boat I thought it would at least be able to reverse - that was one of the advantages vs. full keels. I guess full-keels must be just unmanageable.

Anyway, the weather was lovely; very warm and quite sunny and we were really enjoying it. This time I switched off the engine as I was quite sure the battery had enough juice to get it started a few times (I fully charged it the previous night). Bliss! That moment when you switch of the engine and the wind pushes you along.

We had plenty of time so we decided to go all the way to Burnham-on-Crouch which was the furthest I've ever ventured on Ting-a-Ling. There was quite a bit of wind but I've no idea how strong it was as my wind instrument is dead.. According to Peter's GPS we logged a high speed of 5.1 knots which is quite impressive. We would easily do around 4.5 knots with not very much wind.

When we arrived at Burnham-on-Crouch I was stunned by how busy it was. There were too many boats on swinging mooring and plenty of dingys sailing around. We decided to pick a buoy so we could rest and have some tea and also do some buoy-picking practice. Peter thought we could do this on sail, without starting the engine but I had serious doubts as the wind was substantial and I didn't think we'd have time to put the mainsail down when we got the buoy. Anyway, after a few failed attempts we lost the boat hook, which luckily got stuck on a buoy. We put the sails down, started the engine and then it was pretty easy to pick the buoy with our boat hook on it..

When it was time to head back we didn't start the engine but hoisted the sails instead. However, we had to head into the wind which proved quite tricky in the busy area around Burnham so after a few failed attempts to sail towards our destination, we started the engine. Later we hoisted the sails again and quite enjoyed sailing into the wind, again with the tide on our side. At some point the wind died so we had to start the engine again which was a shame as we were having good fun.

This time we arrived at the marina just before high tide which gave us plenty of maneuvering space to make an easy mooring into our berth. Overall it was a very pleasant sail this time, although there were moments when I was quite uneasy about the coarch roof/mast step. Need to fix that soon if I want to relax. get feed

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Test Sail

This is it: the moment of truth! Have I done a decent job or will the mast fall over with the first gust of wind?

I chose a very bad weekend to do the test sail as the weather forecast predicted winds up to Force 7 on the East Coast.. Am I sure I want to do this? Well, having worked on the boat the whole winter I could not wait any longer and was determined to get the boat out of the marina.. I had not repaired the alternator so I was releuctant to turn the engine off after I hoisted the sails. I was trying to reduce the wind pressure on the sails as much as I could as I could not yet trust the repaired chainplate knees nor the mast support. So anybody that saw us sailing would had thought that we did not know anything about sail trimming..  And to be honest, they wouldn't be far off the truth.

Another problem with the mainsail is that there are no reefing points so it's either all or nothing.. I could not relax at all. The constant sound of the engine was getting quite annoying, then it started to rain but I had to stay on the helm adjusting the course in order to avoid any significant strain on the mast.

Anyway, it was not really that unpleasant, I was just uneasy and anxious all the time. On the entrance to the marina, we went slightly off course and were grounded on a very low neap tide about an hour before low tide. We were planning to just stay there as there was not really much we could do. It would be at least 3 hours before we could go. Fortunately, an inflatable with a powerful engine managed to drag us off the ground and we made it to the berth. Mooring was not very easy as the tide was low, maneuvering space restricted and as I've said at previous posts, Ting-a-Ling will not go backwards easily..

Overall it was a good experience and I was quite happy with the repairs. The main problem now is the coachroof under the mast step which I should repair pretty soon even if it is a temporary fix. get feed

Friday, 28 May 2010

Fine weather but still no sail

I was planning to spend two days on the boat the past weekend but a friend’s birthday party lured me away, at least for the Saturday. I was torn as the weather was absolutely amazing and I was very keen to do some sailing. Anyway, I had a nice time at the party and ended up going the following day, on Sunday. I arrived quite late but I managed to do some jobs including patching the mainsail with some repair cloth and a generous amount of 3M 5200, following advice that I read on a website. By the time I left, around 11pm, the glue was still quite sticky so I left the mainsail partially rolled but covered it under a tarpaulin.. Hopefully it will be OK. I did a couple more jobs including some fibreglass reinforcing of the chainplate knee that I had repaired.

My mooring contract is running out on May 31 and I’m not sure exactly what to do. I’m probably not going to sign another annual contract as I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with the boat and how long I want to keep it at North Fambridge.

The coming weekend is the bank holiday weekend but I’ll have to go to a meeting on the bank holiday. Luckily, I’m allowed to take it on another day. Anyway, I’m going to the boat and planning to do some sailing this time, although the weather forecast predicts rain.
get feed

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Ting-a-Ling is now sailable. All the starboard side chainplate knees have been repaired, the chainplates attached and the shrouds secured to them. This weekend was fairly easy as I did not have to do much more than just put the pieces together and a bit of glassing. More glassing will be done in the near future in order to make the joints more secure. However, I believe that what I've already done should be OK for sailing in light wind conditions. I'm planning to do a bit of sailing for the next couple of weeks and perhaps some reinforcement work on the chainplates/knees. And later I will probably take the boat out of the water to do the mast/coach roof work and perhaps anti-fouling, checking the seacocks etc. get feed

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Almost there! Where?

The weather forecast for this weekend predicted showers and very low temperatures. But work on Ting-a-Ling had to go on, come rain or come shine. First thing I did was to attach the lower shroud to the now repaired chain-plate. That gave me immense satisfaction as it was the conclusion of my first major repair job. There are a few tasks left for this job but these are mostly cosmetic.

I then had to detach the main shroud in order to repair the chain-plate knee for this main shroud chainplate. This knee was a bit tricky as all my measurements seemed to be inaccurate. This has already resulted in me wasting quite a lot of good quality marine plywood. I ended up using a patchwork of bits of cardboard in make a template of the right shape and size. I know I’m an amateur..

I also had to drill holes in the 6mm stainless steel backing plates - my previous efforts to this had resulted in several broken drill bits. Luckily, a colleague offered to drill the holes as he had better tools than me..and more DIY experience. He did a really good job!

To cut a long story short, I have now done most of the work required for the chainplates and will probably assemble everything next weekend. This means that I will be able to sail in a couple of weeks. Of course, the mast compression issue remains.. but I decided that this is a risk I’m willing to accept for a little while in order to enjoy some sailing. get feed

Monday, 19 April 2010

A big mess

I hadn't been to the boat in three weeks as I was away to Greece for easter. As much as I want to finish work on Ting-al-Ling, the roast lamb, family, sun and sea lured me away.

I re-visited Ting-a-Ling this weekend with quite low expectations really, as I wasn't sure I'd be able to do much. The next job on the list was to build the chainplate knee. This was quite tricky as the inside angle between the knee and the hull was difficult to glass. I reinforced the knee-chainplate attachment with two bars of 316 stainless steel to provide a stronger bond. However, the glassing did not go perfectly well as there were right angles where I couldn't get an air free bond.. I do hope though that it is strong enough to withstand more stress than the shroud can..

The lack of proper tools made the job even more difficult as my Bosch multitool struggled to cut through the stainless steel bars. And while drilling the holes on the bars I managed to break all the steel drillin g bits.. Frustrating.. Meanwhile, the weather was perfect and I kept thinking that if I had spent a bit more money I would be sailing instead of being stuck iat the marina doing dirty boat work. But I'll get over it.
get feed

Friday, 2 April 2010

Constructive work

All my effort till now had been mainly destructive, i.e. cutting off wood, taking apart parts of the boat, drilling holes etc. While this was progres, there was nothing to show for all the work I've done, just dust, missing parts and rotten plywood lying around the cabin.. But this time it was different I really felt that I made some progress as I installed the missing part of the bulkhead! I have to say that it was quite a difficult job and while it took me about six weeks to figure out how to do it, order the required materials, tools and prepare the area, I now feel that I can do the same job in just two days. The result can be seen in the photo. However, it's not yet complete as I have to install the lower shroud chainplate knee which was essentially the main reason I started all this work. And then I discovered more rot on the deck above the knee that will have to be dealt with at some point. The plan is to bulletproof the chainplate attachment so that it will never fail again. I know, never say never, but at least I'll try to build it as strong as I feel I have to. I've ordered some 316 stainless steel bars that I will use as backing plates that were not in the original design. Of course, the trick here is to build a very strong hull-to-knee bond as the design seems inherently weak..

Coming back to the bulkhead, I have to say that I'm not 100% pleased with the job I did. The main issue is that instead of soaking the fiberglass strips in epoxy, I applied the epoxy after I laid the strips. This made it quite difficult to get rid of the air between the layers. However I think I've overbuild the tabbing and having used epoxy instead of polyester I believ the bond should be stronger that the original. I still have to lay a bit more tabbing after I install the knee.
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Project management

When I started this project I thought it would be a good idea, perhaps a necessity to use some proper project management methods to de-construct the project into smaller ones and deal with the complexities. This seemed to me to be the only way to deal with the fact that I had no idea how to go about organising and doing the work step by step. I used a free online service for this (called Zoho projects) which helped me get my head around the various tasks. However, I soon discovered its limitations, such as the lack of resource planning tools (at least for the free version) and essentially gave up on this approach. And while I knew what tasks needed to be done, every time I arrived at the boat to do the work I never carried out the tasks as planned.. Instead I followed a guerilla approach, tackling tasks as I thought necessary at the time. I must admit now that while this method works, there's always something that you will miss, it could be a tool, a minor task that you should have done but forgot and now it's too late.. I may try to find another project management tool as it can really help simplify the work.
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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Reality check

My original plan when I was looking for a sailboat was to buy one which I could immediately sail and get as much experience as I could. And that was my spirit when I bought Ting-a-ling. I did not imagine that I would be spending all my weekends doing hard labour instead of relaxed cruising. It now seems to me that that is rarely the case when you buy a sailboat, unless you go for a new one or spend loads of money to get one in pristine condition. Sure, there are bargains out there but the general rule is that you will get what you paid for. And I paid about £2k for Ting-a-ling. That included 6-months marina fees (about £1k) and an engine which could fetch around £1k. When I viewed the boat I was not happy with its condition - I did spot the rot on the bulkhead, the missing chainplate knee, the more-than-normal water in the bilge etc. But I didn't spot the compressed coach roof, soft deck etc. I knew there was work to be done but I had no idea how much and how difficult it would be.. I had second thoughts and when I handed over the money to the seller I was not at all sure whether I was doing the right thing.. My definition of the right thing though is a very loose one. The right thing is simply something you can live with..

Three months later, I can't say I have regretted it. I do spend all my weekends doing work but I think I prefer it to getting up at 1pm, faffing around and drinking around London pubs which was what I was doing before. And the knowledge and skills I am developing are invaluable, particularly if I eventually set off for the round the world cruise. It has been a very steep learning curve and I've been reading all the time about every single repair and different ways to do it. I have spent about a third of what I paid for Ting-a-ling to buy eqipment, tools, materials and books. But I'm still enjoying it and looking forward to that day when I will be able to sail her, being confident that I have done a good job. And I'll be more happy knowing that it was I that managed to restore her to this condition. So even though I might prefer to go sailing this weekend instead of building the bulkhead, I am happy that I bought Ting-a-ling and pretty sure that if I hadn't I would probably be drinking at the Kings Heads and waking up with a headache on Sunday morning.
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More progress

The plan for this weekend was to install the new bulkhead. In order to do the tabbing though, the hull had to be properly prepared first, which meant taking off all paint and smoothing the surface. I bought a new corded drill and a wirebrush just for this job as the cordless drill kept on dying all the time. This job was very messy - I got dust all over the boat and it didn't look look like a healthy environment to work in. I later discovered that I could pull off all the remaining tabbing which essentially eliminated the need to take off the paint first. However, this was also a difficult job as the tabbing was very tough to take off and I kept on cutting my hands trying to pull it off. In the end I was left with the smooth surface of the hull..

The new plywood for the bulkhead and chainplate attachment had arrived so I spent Sunday morning cutting out the new pieces. I bought a jigsaw for this job and it worked a treat as my Bosch multi-tool saw would have been a pain for this job.Sunday was a beautiful day.. I could now see the light at the end of the tunnel - I had all the equipment and material to get Ting-a-ling sailing again.
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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Some progress

Here's an update on the bulkhead repair. I've managed to cut a piece of tabbing and to make a template for the new bulkhead out of it. The result can be seen in the picture.. It looks like patchwork, probably because it is. I should add here that when I was cutting the bulkhead, the side near the hull was completely rotted and would not come out in one piece. This meant that I had no template to use for shaping the new bulkhead piece. What I did was take draw a vertical line on the remaining bulkhead from top to bottom and measure the distance at right angles from the line to the hull at regular intervals of about 10cm. I transferred those measurements on a large piece of thin cardboard and carved the hull shape.

I've also done my first epoxy job. I used some to sheath the bulkhead at its base where I cut it as it was quite damp there too. But I couldn't be bothered removing all the damp wood so I thought I might as well protect it with epoxy.. I mixed fiberglass in the epoxy after I chopped it up to little pieces. The mix became quite hard quickly, probably because I didn't use the correct proportions of epoxy/hardener/filler. I also found more rot on the cockpit.. A section of wood was filled with what looked like sand which came off quite easily when I touched it.. I got it all out and filled with epoxy/fiberglass-filler mix. There is still some rot there but I just wanted to seal the area so no more water gets inside.. I realise that I have to be a bit more careful with epoxy but at this point I just wanted to familiarise myself with the stuff and get an idea of how to use it and what it can do. I'm pretty impressed with it..

I also managed to charge one of the batteries with my new charger and most importantly to get the engine started. The other battery is probably dead and I'm contemplating buying one of the Red Flash series which are supposed to by quite reliable or perhaps settle for a simple car battery that is half the price.
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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

DIY Masochism

I just came across an ebay listing for a T24. It's in excellent condition and I just wish mine was that good. I hope that I will someday admire Ting-a-Ling as much. However, it's more than double the price I paid.. although judging from the rate of my repair bills I may end up spending the extra cash anyway. And I wonder: would it be better if I had bought this one? It would have spared me the tedious work I'm currently committed to but even so I'm not sure that I'd swap.. This is DIY masochism..
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Monday, 1 March 2010

A pleasant surprise

This time I visited the boat equipped for some serious messing about. I went alone as it would be quite difficult for two people to move around in the mess that I was planning to create. I bought a saw (actually, a multitool), light, various tools, gloves and masks and was prepared to cut up everything that was rotted. As I opened the hatch, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of water in the cabin. I was actually overjoyed as I could now relax a bit, knowing that imminent sinking is not a big worry. It seems that the tarpaulin I had used the last time to cover the coach roof had done an excellent job keeping the water out. I always thought that the water was coming from the stuffing box or a sea cock but the fact that it was now almost dry meant that it was probably because of rain water coming in from the deck or the coach roof.

I had ordered a Black & Decker battery charger but it had not yet arrived so I could not start the engine and had to rely on shore power for all my electricity needs. Well, the house battery was still going but that was only re-charged by the small solar panel and I could not really count on it. I was however, happy to find out that I could power the bilge pump with the 12V drill battery which I could re-charge with shore power..

This time I intended to get some things done as during my previous visits I did not end up doing much at all. I wanted to cut all the rotten parts of the bulkhead, get the toilet seacocks unstuck and start the engine. The latter was not an option without a battery charger and although I read that you could start a Yanmar 1GM manually, I could not find a suitable winch to crank it. I had a go at the seacocks, trying anything I had together with brute force and although I always thought my level of brute force was pretty good, in this case it was useless. The seacocks wouldn't bulge at all! I was impressed and at the same time disappointed as the thought of having to haul the boat out to fit new seacocks was not appealing.

So I moved on to the task that I thought I could handle easier: cutting wood. Equipped with my new saw I started attacking the bulkhead and soon enough I had inflicted plenty of damage. The problem was that I kept finding rotten wood the more I cut. Where is it going to stop? At some point I had to remove some shelving to gain better access but I could not figure out how. I didn't want to take things apart or break things because it would be a pain to put back together. On the next visit I was a bit more determind and figured out that I had to apply a bit of force to take things apart. After I had removed the shelves I ended up cutting almost half of the bulkhead on the starboard side and my despair grew as the job seemed to be getting a lot bigger than I first imagined. I would now have to remove the sea toilet if I were to do the job properly. Is it worth doing this for half the bulkhead or should I just go for the whole thing now?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

First night on board

This visit was bound to be a particularly memorable one as it was the first time I planned to stay on the boat overnight. I brought a small electric heater that British Gas had kindly donated to me and my flatmate when they cut off our gas supply for a few days..

When Emma and I arrived at the boat we were confronted with the usual interior pond a sight that usually indicates luxury, but in a boat it indicates problems. I tried to start the engine but to no avail.. Luckily, there was still some juice left in the house battery so I was able to start the electric bilge pump and get rid of the water.. nevertheless the boat was very wet. Emma tried to convince me to stay at a nearby inn but I was determined to sleep in the boat. The electric heater did a marvelous job to keep us warm and I think we had a cosy good night's sleep, with the occasional drop of water only marginally annoying us.

I had also brought with me a drill and a sander and was prepared to do some work on the boat. Previously I had been reading all about fiberglassing and repairing chainplates and bulkheads. Anyway to cut a long story short, I did not get around to doing much that weekend, partly because of lack of tools (saw) and partly due to the fact that I did not know what to do. The only useful thing I managed to do was to drill a hole on the cabin floor so that I could lift the planks and gain access to the bilge. Bob from the cafe came along to offer some advice on what needed to be done. He suggested I wait until the summer to do the work but I did not like that idea very much as I wanted to get Ting-a-Ling ready for sailing as soon as possible.

Before we left on the Sunday, I managed to find an old piece of tarpaulin which I used to cover part of the coach roof.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Will it float?

At the moment, my main concern is to keep the boat afloat. I have not been to the marina in 2 weeks and I'm slightly worried that I will find it at the bottom of the river or that the engine will be flooded. These are valid concerns as it has about a foot of water every time I go. Last time the manual bilge pump did not work so if the engine doesn't start, I'm slightly screwed as I don't have any emergency buckets on board..

Sailing with friends

It was perhaps the first sunny day of the year in the beginning of February. The plan was to go to the boat with a friend and do some work. However it was a perfect day for sailing and we just could not resist. After having a very big breakfast at the cafe, I went to the boat to conforont the, now common, flooding. I started the engine and the electric bildge pump did its job perfectly well with no complaints. I tidied up a bit as it was the first time I would have guests on the boat and wanted Ting-a-Ling to make a good impression. My guests arrived and a good impression they got indeed, or at least they said so..

I thought it would be a good idea to get some fuel before we leave the marina as I wasn't sure how much there was in the fuel tank. There was a motorboat at the fuel station and we had to wait until refueling finished - it took quite some time! Anyway, our turn to refuel came and I was quite pleased to skipper a crewed boat for the first time (in reality it was the second time out in Ting-a-Ling but the first one doesn't really count). Turns out the fuel tank was almost full and all the diesel we could get was only £2.17..

So, away we go with my friends taking turns in steering and doing quite well in all the tasks really and making me a proud skipper. As we exited the marina creek we put up the sails and then turned off the engine. The moment you turn off the engine a heightened sense of tranquility overtakes you. Even though there was almost no wind, we were all overjoyed to be sailing. However, we were making very little progress as we were going against the tide. It was starting to get dark and we decided to head back. Now we had the tide on our side and the wind had picked up considerably. I believe we were making very good progress and we were all excited by the speed we suddenly picked up. My boat was sailing!! The wind was getting stronger and Ting-a-ling started to heel noticably. I was a bit concerned as the lower shroud chainplate was very weakly attached to the hull/bulkhead. Suddenly we heard something snapping and while I was certain it was the lower shroud chainplate, I was too excited by doing some proper sailing to stop. The mainsail is not a reefing one and I was reluctant to take it down just yet. Then, a gust of wind hits us and we heel even more. The chainplate could no longer take the load and came of its attachment with a loud noise - it had also taken off a deck plank with it! A little panic overtook us, I immediately steered into the wind to take off the load and we took down the mainsail. Our experience was cut short..

We started the engine and headed back to the marina a little disappointed as our first propper sailing trip in Ting-a-Ling was cut short.. When we arrived at the marina I made a temporary patch for the deck area that was now missing. I tried to start the engine but it wouldn't start - this worried me more than the detached chain plate as the electric bildge pump was really the only way to empty the water..

Then we all headed to the cafe for a well deserved dinner.


Finding out about boat repairs became my latest obsession. As I frequently talk about obsessions here, I need to clarify that when I say obsession I do mean it: it's something I think about all the time and I devote almost all my energy to it, without necessarily achieving the desired my obsessions come an go.

Most of the research I did was online in an effort to minimise my expenses which are bound to mount if I want to make the repairs. I found out about the different types of wood: there's hardwood and softwood - I never knew about that distinction. Then I found out about the properties of different species of wood: teak, mahogany etc. I checked wood prices. Then I though tabout the tools I'd require. And the possibility of having to unstep the mast, which I do not like at all to be honest.. as it probably means that I'll have to take the boat out of the water.

Third visit - oh oh

Third visit to Ting-a-ling. I opened the cabin hatch and guess what I see? It was again flooded with about a foot of water... Hmm.. I thought - it's not the snow. What is it?? I saw a drop of water coming from the coach roof and went  to see what it was. As I entered the forward cabin and tried to close the cabin door (which also serves as the heads door) I realised that the door would not fully close - it got stuck on the top of the bulkhead which was a bit deformed and compressed. I went out to the deck to check the mast step - the coach roof had collapsed under the mast step and there were cracks. I poured some water to see if it came out the other way and sure enough it did. That's it I thought! This is where the water is coming in from. But that was not my main concern anymore.. How would I repair the mast step / coach roof etc.?? It sounded like a big job to me at the time. The seller said everything was fine!!?? Sure he did.. Buyer Beware!

When I went back home that evening I started reading about repairs.I emailed a very helpful guy that I had met on YBW and he told me that the same thing had happened to his mate's T24 and how they repaired it. It was two days work for them. I thought that this translated to about two months for me..

Anyway, I started reading about woodwork. I had never done any woodwork in my life. Not that I'm bad with DIY, I just have never done anything serious..Changing the oil on my motorbike and putting together an Ikea bed was probably the best experience I had. And that's not woodwork! I thought I might take a short course - it's always been something I'd really like to do anyway. Making my own furniture was always a dream I had. But I never got up to it, mainly due to lack of space. However when I visited a friend's newly-bought house in Cambridge and I saw the shed at the back of the garden I was very envious. I offered to do any DIY at his place if I could use the shed. I never did.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

There's work to be done

When I bought Ting-a-ling I did not expect that there would be much to do in order to get her up to a reasonable standard. By "reasonable standard" I mean a state that would allow her to sail safely in reasonable weather and sea conditions. To be fair, she wasn't in a bad state, but the one foot of water in the boat was quite a concern.. I thought the water came in through the deck as one of the chainplates was not properly sealed and an old wooden deck is expected to leak at some point anyhow (or not?). Plus the snow that was on the boat when I first saw her must have found its way in.. So it wasn't biggie unless it rained like hell for days and days - which, to be fair, is not that rare in this country.

Anyway, apart from that, the bulkheads are quite soft at some spots on the starboard side. It seems that the leak through the deck had rotted them away. I had spotted that in the first place and this was the major piece of work that I thought I had to do. Also, the attachment point for the starboard lower shroud was rotten - on the port side this consisted of a wood board attached to the bulkhead and to the hull via a GRP base. The wood was simply not there on the starboard side. It needed fixing but I thought at that time that it was not urgent. What was I thinking?

There were other bits and pieces too. But I really thought that most of it would be cosmetic.. There was no water pump and no stove - I needed both. Also the heads had some problem which needed attention.

First time out

It was another cold morning. Emma and I arrived at the marina on my bike. This time I was hoping to have a proper inspection of the boat, although it was now too late to ask for my money back.When I opened the cabin hatch I was quite shocked to see that there was about a foot of water in the boat. Luckily I had my wellies on.

First thing I did was of course to find the bildge pump. How does it work?! I couldn't find out how to start the electric pump. No problem I thought, let's try the manual. Where is the handle? Nowhere to be found! I found some other metal rod and started pumping. We must have been doing it for about half an hour when I decided to have another go at starting the electric one. This time I got it right. It was just a matter of flipping the right switches on..

In a matter of minutes the water disappeared. Good! The cabin looked much healthier now; just a bit wet though. Oh well. I was not sure whether I wanted to get the boat out for a little sailing. All my experience was 5 days of the RYA competent crew training and one more day of crewing on a friend's boat.

I had never skippered a boat before, navigated, moored etc. But the adventurous spirit in me that keeps me going and often messes things up could not resist. Emma was slightly concerned.. And I must admit I was too. But what's the worst that can happen on the river Crouch with no wind at all?

I started the engine, untied the mooring lines and off we went. The sensation was subtly mesmerising. I was skippering my own boat! It must had been around 4pm and the sun was nearing the horizon. The scenery on the Crouch was just beautiful. But the noise of the engine was disturbing the tranquility. Despite the almost complete lack of wind I decided to get the sails up. That's why I got a sailboat. And so I did. After taking off the mainsail cover and the ties I did struggle a bit to figure out which is the main halyard. Such was my experience on boats. When I finally did find it and after I created a bit of a mess with the other halyards/sheets, I looked up the mast with pride, joy and satisfaction..

..which instantly evaporated when I saw the blue sky through a 2 foot tear on the sail. But, he had said the sails were fine! Did he lie? Emma said she heard the sound of something tearing as I lifted the sail... I was disappointed for a while but then thought that it's not a biggie - it can be repaired - just another job to add on the list.

So I unfurled the genoa and pretended to be sailing in the non-existent winds. The calmness drew us in and we drifted with the falling tide. By the time I realised it was getting dark we had already drifted quite some distance from the entrance to the creek where the marina was. And it was near low tide meaning that we may not be able to get in as the boat has a substantial draft of 5foot 6inches.. On the way back, against the tide, we were making little progress. It did get dark and we could barely see where we were going. At the creek entrance we must have had skimmed the mud as the boat started turning round instead of going straight. But we did not get stuck so we did not have to panic.

But I have to say that I was quite worried. What with the darkness, the falling tide and my complete inexperience, so many things could go wrong. When we reached our berth I thought I'd have an easy time. How wrong I was. It's a finger berth facing the shore which at low tide is probably less than two boatlengths away. No problem, I thought; I'd make a 90 degree turn and then make a few maneuvres forwards and backwards and get in. And that's what I did. But when I tried to go backwards I discovered that the boat would only turn to starboard!! I was trying for more than 10 minutes pushing the engine hard but drifting away the more I tried. I thought it was the tide that that was too strong and prevented me from turning to port when going backwards. The engine was making a lot of noise and probably woke up our neighbour, two boats to starboard side.. Finally, I managed. I don't know how but I certainly was in a state of controlled panic.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

How not to inspect a sailboat

As you have probably figured out, I had not viewed the boat at the time I bought it. I just relied on the seller's word. If what I saw did not match what he told me over the phone, I had the right to refuse to honour my part of the deal. Plus I thought it was a bargain at that price so didn't want anyone else to bid for it.

The seller of Ting-a-ling could not make it the first weekend which was quite disappointing as I was dying with anticipation to meet my new "object of desire". (perhaps object of desire is an exaggeration).

We arranged to meet the following weekend, 10 days after I had bought her on ebay. It was mid December 2009 and all of you that were in the UK at the time may remember the record-breaking snowfall around that time. The view from the train window was wonderful as Essex was covered in snow and the river Crouch curved a silver line through the white fields. But enough with the poetry.

I had previously gathered information about what to look out for when buying a boat. My ex-boss, a keen sailor insisted on three things: keel, sails, engine. Considering she was on the water a full inspection would be impossible.. To cut a long story short, the only thing I got to see was the engine...

The deck was covered in snow and there was no way I could inspect it. It was too cold to even think about unfolding the sails. The keel bolts were not accessible as the seller had made a new cabin floor which we could not lift as it was quite snug.. Suspicion mounted.. The starboard side of the main bulkhead was quite rotted and the starboard lower shroud chainplate knee had fully rotted away. Plus, there was quite a bit of water in the bilge. I had serious doubts that this boat was a real bargain. Emma loved it. In the end, I thought, what the hell, it may need some work but it's definitely got potential. And if I didn't buy her, who knows how long it would take me to buy another boat. So I just paid the money and bought her. There was quite a bit of documentation going back to the original registration in 1969..

I got myself a bargain! Or did I ?

As I said before, you may find a million (or was it zillion) reasons not to buy a boat. Conversely, you can find as many to buy one. Here was my excuse:

As I said, the T24 was offered with a six-month paid marina berth which, alone was worth nearly half the price of the boat. And the fact that I did not have to find storage or arrange mooring straight away gave me peace of mind. It also came with a 1996 Yanmar 1GM10 engine which I think goes for about another half of the total amount I paid. So even if the boat was in a really bad state, I'm still not going to lose a lot of money. And according  to the seller, the hull, sails and engine were all in a pretty good condition,

I got myself a bargain! Her name is Ting-a-ling. If you've met her before, please drop my a line.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Ting-a-Ling. A Thompson T24

To put an end to mine and my girlfriend's boat-induced misery I decided that I'd be better off buying a boat than spending the next few months/years/life thinking about it. So I decided to try to find a small cheap old boat to get some experience on. The plan was to keep this boat for about a year and then try to get a bigger one. I decided that a bildge keel would be better for this first boat as it would keep costs lower. But that was not a strict requirement. I also wanted separate heads and near standing headroom. And of course, all this at a very low cost as I still had to save for my next boat.

So I came across a pretty cheap end-of-season bargain on ebay: a fin-keel Trident 24. I read all about it, called the seller and was quite happy with what I found out. But then I had second thoughts as the boat was near Edinbourgh and there was no way I could bring it to the south in the middle of the winter. So I gave it a miss, albeit a near one..

Then I found a triple-keel Trident 24, about 50% above my budget but well equipped, at a cheap harbour and relatively close to London where I live. I was quite excited! Called the seller, and arranged to view on the weekend. As I was about to set off from London, I called the seller to say I'd be half an hour late and he told me that he was with another buyer who made him an offer which he accepted. I was very sad..

But that was not the end of it.. A couple of hours later he sent me an email saying that the prospective buyer was obviously mad and that he did not buy the boat after all.. OK, I thought. Opportunity knocks! I am I ready for it? Well, I wasn't. My excuse: it was a lot more money than I had budgeted for. Or maybe I was just pissed off because he turned me down the first time. Or maybe just not ready - whatever - you can find zillions of excuses not to buy a boat.

Back on apolloduck, Boats & Outboards, ebay, boatshed, boatshop, yachtsnet and of course yachtworld. In front of a PC monitor for hours, straining my eyes and my girlfriends patience.

There's a Thompson T24 on ebay. Looks good - fin keel though. BUT: with 6-months paid for marina berth. And it had separate heads, standing headroom and five berths! What more can you ask for a first boat?

The reserve and buy-it-now price were double my budget though so I kept on dreaming. But opportunity knocked again: it did not sell the first time so the buy-it-now was reduced to half!! You could had thought: suspicious. But I thought: bargain!

I called the seller and of course I was happy with what he told me.. It seems that opportunity knocks quite frequently when you're in the market for boats. But frequently the only way to find out if it really is an opportunity, is to grab it. The risk is that it may turn out to be a flop.

I placed a bid and bought the boat straight away.