Well I suppose that it’s high time that I posted a wee update upon the progress of the little lady. To be honest (quite a new concept here!) with the average temperatures in that sanctuary of independence and escapisium known to you all as ‘the garage’ barely reaching above the ‘warmth’ required to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, I have not perhaps been as enthusiastic as I damn well should have been. But, having said that, progress has indeed been forthcoming and with one very surprising fact about my rival to being outdoors coming to light.
Firstly, what work has been done? I here you ask (well one of you kind readers might be slightly interested) in earnest. Well visually not a lot is my reply, but do not be deceived into thinking that all has ground too a shuddering halt whilst awaiting a degree or two rise in ambient temperature. Oh no me hearty’s all is indeed not lost or in a state of motionless inactivity, indeed the sounds of beaver like activity have been heard echoing forth from that solemn place of manly refuge. The first plan of action was to make the working conditions a tad more tolerable without breaking my first rule which is (as you all probably have guessed via previous postings) :- do not under any circumstance expend any cash unless absolutely, life threatening, necessary, EVER. With this in mind I managed to purchase a boiler suit of unequaled thickness for the princely sum of 100 pennies from the local car boot sale down at Mold the other weekend (yes I know I’m just flitting my hard earned cash away). Clare says that it look like I’m wearing a bright blue romper suit but, coupled with a ridiculously large woolen hat, I think that I cut quite a dash! and damn it all it keeps me bloody well warm to boot. Anyway, enough of this fashion led tangent, back to the matter in hand.
Leading from the last posting about project dinghy the remnants of the paint on the hull are now but a distant memory, she once again sits the right way up and is all the more comfortable for it and I’ve now decided upon the course of action that I’ll embark upon regarding the necessary repairs needed. The main areas of damage are to the bottom pieces of the hull where it is now apparent that only a small percentage of the damage can be attributed to rot, the majority being down to carelessness and mis-handling in the little lady’s recent past. There are two minor holes to the hull one through the way water has being allowed to settle and turn the wood soft, the other where it is obvious that the poor girl has been dropped upon her trailer and then sealed with what amounts to a gallon of silicon sealer (now removed). The other damage which will require repairs are several long splits which unfortunately go right through the ply. These splits are, I believe, the result of some clumsy oaf stepping into the boat without the support of water underneath. There is also a split situated under the port side floatation tank, to gain adequate access to repair this I’ve had drill a hole large enough for my hand to pass through in the inner side wall. This will later become a ‘second’ inspection hatch for the tank, with a matching one installed on the starboard tank. After much head scratching I’ve decided that the best way to repair the remaining damage is to sheet the floor with 3mm marine ply, bonding it with epoxy and screwing it from beneath, the holes and splits can then be sorted via piecing or filling from the outside of the hull. There are plus’s and cons to this, the downside will be the increase of weight and perhaps a stiffening of the hull section. How this will affect the sailing of the boat only time will tell. The advantages will be that I’ll be able to produce a smooth, seamless finish to the outer hull and the inner cockpit will show no signs of piecing and will also retain a wood, not painted, finish. So while I’m awaiting the accumulation of enough shiny pennies to afford a brand new piece of marine ply I’m now getting on with the laborious job of removing the varnish.
Oh and the surprising fact? well you might ask. All Mirror dinghies that have been registered have a number somewhere upon their body. The number, once allocated, means that the boat has been measured and weighed by the proper authorities and that said boat conforms to the Mirror dingy class standard. But also from this number year that the dingy was made (or at least registered) can be deduced. For weeks now I’ve failed to find any trace of a number and had convinced myself that the little lady had been built in somebody’s back yard and never been registered. But when working on her I couldn’t shake the feeling that the build quality was exceptional and who ever had built her had been a true craftsman. Then just the other day whilst bent over the bow, stripping varnish, I glanced back at the transom and could have sworn that I spotted a digit in the deep varnish. I ambled to the rear and there, after a bit of squinting, low and behold the registration number leapt out at me 17469. later that evening I trawled the net and from here the age of the little lady was deduced, she was registered in 1969! Bloody hell, there is no way that I thought that she was this old. My earlier feelings about her being an exceptional build appear to be well founded for to have lasted this long speaks to me of quality, also the finish of the little things reinforces this notion. This has made me more determined than ever to make a decent job of bringing the wee lass back to her former glory.
So, armed with tea and biscuits, I shall attack this venture with new found fervor, well as soon as me romper suit warms up on the radiator that is…..