Sunshine and . . . More Holes

Ashore at Raibow Boat Yard, Seward
Weather: sunny, mild

The craggy black mountains surrounding Seward have had their first light powder of snow for the season, but down in Seward over the last few days we have enjoyed clear sunshine, allowing work on getting Sylph seaworthy to continue in earnest, which is just as well as regrettable we have had some serious setbacks. Two days ago I thought I had everything welded up so I shifted my attention to sanding back the bottom ready to apply a fresh coat of anti-fouling paint. In the process I discovered a couple of blisters in the paint. Beneath one of them was a small hole.  Bother!  But at least the metal looked sound under the other one. I ground out the hole and ended up cutting out a significant amount of rotten steel. I worked hard to catch up on my schedule and yesterday this patch was completed.

Then I had a closer look at the second blister. I was suspicious. I had given it a good whack with the sharp point of my chipping hammer without it giving way at all, but I was not satisfied. The blister had to be there for a reason. I got an old screwdriver that had its tip ground to a point specifically for this purpose. I applied it to the centre of the blister and gave it a few hard whacks with a heavy hammer. Sure enough it went through. Another hole. Double bother!

Last night I pondered what to do. To fix this new hole properly I really needed to pull the starboard water tank out, a rather daunting job.  Pulling the water tank out and preserving the hull behind it was on my “to do” list but I was hoping that I could put this job off until the next haul out. I contemplated making a temporary patch, but this morning I decided I may as well fix it properly. Removing the water tank proved awkward, but not as difficult as I had imagined. When the tank was clear of the hull and I could see the hull plates under it I knew I had done the right thing. There was a lot of corrosion. I have now cut another large hole in the hull, and Sylph is even less habitable than it was, with the large water tank now dominating the saloon and galley, as it sits on top of the galley/chart table in the centre of the boat. I could take it outside but it is large and awkward thing  so for now I will leave it where it is.  Also, seeing as the tank is also the starboard settee berth, I will now have to sleep up in the V-berth. The V-berth has accumulated a fair bit of junk while I have been working on the boat, so this is going to take a bit of shuffling each day.  Quality of life on board Sylph at the moment has taken another downward step.

With the new unanticipated work arising I reckon we will be up on the hard for about another two weeks. While I am disappointed that the work on Sylph has grown so much, I am nonetheless pleased that these very necessary repairs will soon be behind us, and I will feel much more confident that Sylph will be up to the rigours which undoubtedly, hopefully, lie ahead of us.

All is well.