A quick shake down cruise over the bank holiday weekend. Glorious weather and then a head sea to test the sea-keeping of Sindur. The engines ran perfectly. The rest of the boat worked fine too. A quick video to remind you all of how beautiful the east coast rivers are.
It was a welcome surprise to find an email in my inbox from an Alan Fairweather, on Friday evening. Alan had stumbled across Sindur’s website and got in touch. It turns out that he is the son in-law of Sindur’s original owner, Mr Grist. He told me some of Sindur’s history. Mr Grist had had Camper & Nicholson’s sailing yachts, previously, and when the rag and stick stuff became too taxing, he commissioned them to build Sindur iv. His 3 previous yachts had also been named Sindur hence Sindur iv. Apparently there was also a racehorse with the same name.
Alan has kindly sent me a photo of the drawing Mr Grist commissioned of Sindur, which now hangs on his wall.
Alan’s son, Tom, has also been in touch filling in more pieces of the puzzle, and telling a tale of a trip up the Medway and being served Spam for lunch, which he found amusing having just been told the vessel cost more to build than their house! Tom also sent over some pics of a model of Sindur he and his father built. Both Tom and Alan are welcome aboard any time.
On to other matters. Sindur has a good gas cooker aboard, fuelled by an ageing gas installation. I thought it prudent to have the whole set up inspected by an engineer. It transpires that little of the installation will pass muster today, and the gas engineer cannot work on the system without renewing most of it. The gas locker itself is a problem, being inside the wheel house, non-fire retardent and unsealed. The gas pipes run through the engine bay too! So, already having a paranoia about gas on boats, I have decided to remove the cooker and whole gas installation, and replace it with a spirit stove. So, if you know anyone who would like a barely used Plastimo 2500 oven, grill and hob, for £200, please put them in touch.
The gas locker will now be a handy store for the shore power cable and boat will be two gas cylinders lighter.
The east coast was due to have the best sunshine on Sunday, so an early start and we headed to the marina. Before working on Sindur, we walked to Pin Mill to stretch Diesel’s legs and grab some breakfast from The Butt & Oyster. It is still one of my favourite walks, after 20 years.
I spent a few hours last year stripping Varnish from Sindur’s rear guard rail. Winter has not been kind, so today was planned to get this back into shape. She looks pretty good now.
My thoughts are now moving towards a first overnight trip in Sindur. I think the destination is likely to be Woodbridge but it might be Brightlingsea…anyway, enjoy the vid…
Two good days aboard Sindur and my first over-night stay. Woolverstone is a great marina for boating and also for walking. There are lovely walks through the ancient oan woodland, a big favourite with Diesel the boat dog.
I met Mark and Asha aboard Altor of Down, a lovely Moody 44 which they are sailing to Iceland, via Shetland and Faroes. It should be a great adventure for them and one we can all follow on their excellent YouTube channel, Adventure Now.
The Parkhouse family came today, which was fun but a bit lame, as the weather turned. That and the fact that the museums are still shut in Harwich, made for a slightly uninspiring day. Anyway, enjoy the vid.
I purchased Sindur in March and finalised the deal 2 days before the first lockdown. I sailed her to Ipswich Haven Marina, where she sat, on the visitors pontoon for a number of weeks, until the lockdown was lifted. This delayed works to her, which is why we are now only just back in the water, as of last Wednesday, and the engines not fully reassembled.
A visit today revealed that Tom & Travis from Diesel Marine, have fitted the fully refurbished Fuel injection pump for the port engine. The starboard one has been done too.
Other bits are starting to be reassembled and Travis thinks that he will be done by Thursday, lockdown day. If he is not, it is unclear as to whether he will be allowed on site to finish the job. It may be that he finishes but there will be a prohibition on boat movements. If that’s the case, Sindur will stay in Ipswich and her departure for Woolverstone will be delayed until the lockdown is lifted.
Today I refitted the fire extinguishers and removed the life raft for servicing.
I may choose to do without the life raft, opting for a dinghy and outboard instead, which will be far more use on the east coast. I can always drop the life raft back in when crossing the North sea or Channel.
So with Boris’ latest announcement, it may be that we get Sindur sorted but can’t use her….or the finishing works remain undone. Time will tell.
The alarm chirped at 5.45 this morning, though my internal clock has beaten it as usual. It was not a struggle to get out of bed. Not only was dawn breaking, but today was launch day – not tomorrow, as I mistakenly told Jon of EVM. I joked with a friend yesterday, about ‘adventures’ and ‘plain sailing’ as he recounted the tale of his fraught journey collecting his new boat, where the wheel nearly came off the trailer, and a seat flipped out of the vessel, on the M25. He wished me luck with my launch. I knew I was prepared, so it should be plain sailing! Well this is boating after all, so it was no real surprise that things didnt go exactly to plan.
I arrived at Ipswich at 7.50. Tom from Diesel Marine was beneath Sindur just checking the anode bolts. So far so good. Travis arrived with coffee. The day was going well. I then noticed that the filler was unpainted on the spray rails. Jon of EVM was making those good, but they were not finished! Never mind, they are above the waterline – he will be able to reach them when she is afloat. It transpired I had told Jon the wrong launch day.
The crane arrived and lifted Sindur with ease. We got the ‘shoes’, that protect the spray rails in the right place, and she was balanced in the slings. A quick dab here and there of anti- foul paint, and Sindur trundled through the port.
She was lowered at the dock so that I could jump aboard, along with Tom, so that we could check all was good, and that there were no leaks from the newly installed shafts, or the seacocks I had serviced. All good…. but then sharp eyed Tom noticed a weeping leak around the port exhaust flange.
Fortunately the crane boys were happy to lift her ashore and hold her in the slings, whilst we stripped out the flange bolts and resealed them.
30 minutes later and Sindur was back in the water. Her engines are not operational, so we pulled her around to the waiting dock, by hand.
She was sitting well, when I left her, with her shiny hull, gleaming in the morning sun. She looks good out of the water, and even better in it.
Tom and Travis from Diesel Marine have two or three days of engine reassembly to do. With any luck, by the weekend, Sindur will be mobile.
We visited Sindur again today, to find that Jon from Estuary Vessel Management had done as promised, and applied some lovely red anti-fouling paint. With the white boot stripe and the polished hull, Sindur is starting to look great.
The launch date of Wednesday is looking feasible. However, there are no shafts and props installed – so quite alot depends on Travis, over the next couple of days. The engines will not be ready, but once launched sindur can be towed to a berth, to await the heat exchanger to come back from repair.
Currently she is also missing both fuel pumps and all the injectors. They are somewhere in Colchester being refurbished.
Today involved jet washing the wheelhouse roof and structure, and the coach roof. Awlwash get the paint looking surprisingly shiny.
After a roast lunch we tackled the portside of the hull and got a coat of polish on her.
So, hopefully Wednesday to get her wet, as long as the shafts are back in, and the props fitted.
Jobs on the list this weekend included
- Remove the anti-drip moulds from the wheel house roof.
- Scrub the deck and bathing platform
- Wash and polish the hull.
So Saturday started with scrubbing the bathing platform and boarding ladder steps. To be fair, I could do this once afloat, but it is a slightly precarious operation and I do not fancy an unscheduled dip in the Orwell in November.
Whilst this was drying, I turned my attention to the anti- drip rails which are designed to stop rain running off the wheel house roof and in to the open wheel house doors. The current rails are strips of hardwood, screwed into the roof. Water was leaking around the screws and the wood was damaged. The plan is to dry the holes out, fill with epoxy and then fit low profile stainless steel rails, to divert the water.
the holes were deep and sodden so were left exposed over-night. Heat from a hair dryer was applied today, to speed up the drying process, but in the end I decided to leave them to dry further and covered them with waterproof tape and will fill the holes in a few weeks.
As anyone who has scrubbed a really filthy deck before, will know, that a dark green sludge is produced when you really to get down to business. The green gunge then runs out of the scuppers and down the side of the hull. So, deck scrubbing had to come before hull cleaning. Starbrite’s deck cleaner, applied with a sponge, had little impact on what I think is at least 18 months worth of grime and algae. So good old fashioned scrubbing was necessary. After 3 hours, the deck looked pretty good, though there are some stains that are going to need further treatment.
With the deck rinsed off, it was time to wash the hull, which is painted in Awlgrip. The best product to use of course, is Awlwash, which is hugely expensive for shampoo, but it does work. Once dry, I polished with Awl Care polymer sealant, to give a good shine and protection to the paint. The results speak for themselves. Money well spent, I think.
The starboard side is done. I will tackle the portside next week, with some help from the old man.
There are still alot of jobs to do, to finish Sindur to a high standard, but once the hull polish is done, then she can be launched and the remaining jobs tackled whilst afloat.
The launch date is looming, which is exciting, but at the same time adding a certain amount of concern, as each day ticks by. Travis, the trusty engineer, called me today to say that the injection pumps and injectors were in Colchester, being overhauled. It is hoped that this will improve performance and economy, whilst reducing the amount of smoke on starting and whilst the engines warm up.
He has also ordered all new silicone hoses for each engine, the old ones being just that – old. Old hoses become perished or sometimes hard and brittle, resulting in leaks, usually when you are miles from a safe haven, or when you are trying to manoeuvre in an awkward situation.
Other items ordered include new gaskets for the reassembly of the components stripped from the engines.
Outside, new cutlass bearings have been installed, which was in the nick of time – one of the old ones disintegrated as Travis started to remove it.
So, two weeks to go – the engines in pieces and parts of them in another county! It’s going to be interesting to see if we can get it all together in time. I use the royal ‘we’ – I mean of course Travis.
Whilst he is doing that, I will continue cleaning and oiling teak. I also have some holes to fill in the wheelhouse roof.
I used to be very familiar with the rivers of Suffolk and Essex, and their associated harbours and marinas. However, after a few years of cruising elsewhere, I thought I would remind myself of the various destinations on these beautiful rivers, that I had enjoyed in previous years, so I purchased the latest (20th) edition of East Coast Rivers. Turning to the chapter on Southwold, I was delighted to see Sindur features slapbang in the middle of the main photo. Taken in 2016, she is looking in fine fettle. With any luck, she will look that good again in a few weeks time. I had better inject a bit more time and effort!
I nipped to Sindur yesterday to check on progress and squeeze in a few hours of deck teak work. Sadly my departure from the office as delayed, which meant I got there at 4.30pm.
I fiddled about on deck, washed some of it down and worked out how to alter the aft cabin – the bed is hopeless for a claustrophobic 6ft 4in lump!
The propellers were missing, which meant either the light fingered hedge rats, had been around, or Travis from Diesel Marine was on the case. Fortunately it was the latter, confirmed by the engines being dismantled further. Things are perhaps getting back on schedule.
I also removed all the fenders, bundling them into the back of the car so I could remove the faded fender socks when I got home. I was pleased to find almost totally unmarked, blue fenders, beneath the worn sock, so they won’t need replacing.
I had the rest of the bulwark capping to do today, but a lovely surprise slowed the job. Sandy, Louise and my Godson Reg arrived to inspect the works and lend a hand. I managed to get the capping on the transom done before they arrived. I also started sanding the finishing panels on either side.
However when my guests came, work stopped. But I did take advantage of the extra pairs of hands, and we managed to refit the wheel house roof panels.
After that, it was off to Woolverstone to walk to Pin Mill, stopping for a picnic on the way. Louise had made delicious egg sandwiches. The dogs enjoyed the scraps and the walk. The Butt & Oyster provided a refreshing drink at the halfway stage.
After they headed home, I finished oiling the teak capping, and sanded and oiled the side panel.
A great day overall.
Having oiled and re-attached the rear guard rail last week, I thought I had better start on the rest of the teak. So today it was the starboard bulwark capping that got the attention.
The cleaner and brightener do a good job. Having said that, the teak had so much dirt ingrained, that it took three goes with the cleaner, before I could apply the brightener.
Once the teak was rinsed and then properly I dry, I used Danish oil.
More of the same next week, so there may not be a blog update – my faithful readers can only cope with so many pictures of teak.
A quick tip – shut the car sunroof and windows when parking below a boat that might be washed with a hose! I shut them – eventually!
It has been a good week or so on the Sindur front. Firstly, I was contacted, via this blog, by one of Sindur’s previous owners. He has kindly given me some useful information about works carried out to Sindur during his ownership. He also kindly forwarded some photos of Sindur. His advice so far has been useful and very welcome.
Secondly, having spent the last couple of weekends clearing the family boat Kyra, our Trader 575, Sindur had little work carried out. However, Pop came to help, which enabled me to get Sindur’s cabin doors refitted. A small job, but one that needed two pairs of hands, so his assistance was very welcome.
This weekend, being a Bank Holiday, good progress was made. I went down with a list of jobs, on Sunday morning, with my trusty sidekick, Diesel the dog. He is good company but not much help. He is also not great at ladders, so going up and down to Sindur’s deck (she’s out of the water), was a slight challenge.
The aim for Sunday was to epoxy the wheel house roof from the inside, rebonding the fibreglass to the ply core. This would then enable me to replace the roof headlinings and refix the interior lighting. The epoxy work went well. However, when offering up the headlining panel, I noticed there was a damp patch on one of the fixing points. Investigation showed that water was leaking in through the stern navigation light, on the wheelhouse roof. Putting the headlining back was not an option until the leak is fixed.
So the next job was to strip the nav light mounting off the roof clean everything up, apply Sikaflex sealant, and reassemble the fitting. All this takes time. However, it was a worthwhile job and all seems sorted now.
We had lunch at Fox’s marina restaurant. Nice fish – diabolical chips. Even Diesel agreed, having a sniff of the one offered, and then turning up his shiny black nose, at the prospect.
Whilst in Fox’s, I noticed Havengore, afloat by the fuel dock. Havengore is a handsome craft, built of English oak, in the 1950’s. She was used to carry the coffin of Winston Churchill, up the Thames on the day of his burial. She also carried some of the Royal family in the procession for the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
I have been musing over Sindur’s mast which supports some nav lights, the radar scanner, a TV aerial, a SeaMe active echo enhancer, and Echomax passive echo enhancer, a flood light and the anemometer (wind speed gauge). The mast has 6 guide wires holding it in place. These were stretched and saggy, which added to the cluttered and shabby look. I had been considering doing away with the lot and having a custom made, sleaker and shorter mast installed, that would still hold the essential gear. This would be an expensive option, so I decided to try to rationalise the current mast. I tightened the guide wires, removed the rear boom, and also took off the Echomax cylinder and the TV aerial. Both were redundant. The result is that the mast looks far better and less complicated. I have decided to run Sindur like this and review the situation in a few months.
Sunday night was cold. Sindur’s heating was not yet working and I had one skinny sleeping bag. Diesel was cold too. Kyra, 50 yards away was looking inviting, knowing that she had a good heating system, a double bed and duvets. However, it was nearly midnight and I thought the port security might have a few questions if a shabby individual was seen climbing aboard a boat that was for sale, outside the broker’s office. Also, Jon & Sue Humby of Estuary Vessel Management have just completed a thorough clean through, ready for buyers to view her. They have done a great job. She now looks superb after 6 months of neglect and a 400 mile passage.
We got through the night aboard Sindur and woke to a sunny morning. We went for a walk at Pin Mill, along past the old gnarly oaks that line the winding footpath towards Woolverstone. Diesel loves this wooded way, and is free to run off the lead. I love it too, with views through the trees, across the Orwell, with moored boats straining at their tethers, keen to ride the incoming tide up to Ipswich. Breakfast was taken at The Butt & Oyster, who serve good traditional fayre. However, the Covid situation means they have to serve the food in a cardboard box, with plastic cutlery and plastic pots for butter and the baked beans. The whole lot then goes in the general bin! The landfill being generated by the way the Covid situation is being handled around the world, is going to be a disastrous.
Several weeks ago I removed the varnished teak capping of the guard rail that runs around the stern. The varnish was weathered and badly deteriorated. I spent several hours stripping this with a scraper, back to bare wood. I then sanded it ready for revarnishing. I debated for along time whether to revarnish the rail, or perhaps to oil it. Varnish looks great when in good condition….but it’s a bugger to look after. So after canvassing opinion from Diesel, I decided to Danish oil it. It looks great and is now fitted back on board. I think it will look superb once the deck and bulwark is cleaned and oiled too.
The final job of the weekend was to clean the teak mounts for the other nav lights and vhf aerials. Whilst doing this, I uncovered the roof mounted search light, that the previous owner said was military grade. He is not wrong. This is a robust bit of kit that looks like it could illuminate a gnat a mile away. I’m looking forward to testing it on a dark night.
With the long overdue arrival of Kyra in Ipswich 10 days ago, Sindur is able to benefit from some of the excess equipment aboard.
Kyra is our beloved Trader 575 who has been gradually over-stocked with gear over the last few years. She is now being prepared for sale, and therefore all the lockers are being cleared. During the clearance we discovered that we had 4 unused First Aid kits aboard, so one of these will transfer to Sindur. We also had spare, unused cruising lines aboard, so Sindur will get some lovely, navy blue ropes.
For those more interested in the social side of the boat, Sindur will also get a range of wine glasses and an ice bucket, plus cutlery and crockery.
There has not been much progress with other works aboard Sindur. The old Ford engines are still being stripped.
I have decided to explore the possibility of converting the twin bunks in the aft cabin, which run fore and aft down each side, into a double berth that runs across the aft end. It looks feasible and I hope that the dressing table can be adapted so that its drawers can still be used. I will be looking for a joiner in the Ipswich area.
I have also decided to take the plunge and clear the wheelhouse roof of the various antennae, clips, lights etc and put them all onto a modern, lower and sleeker radar mast. This will mean the copious amount of holes that have been drilled, can all be filled, reducing the risk of leaks. There is a fair bit of spaghetti wiring, but with careful labelling and routing, the system should be tidied up and all fed into the new mast. This will also make space between the headlinings and the roof, which I aim to insulate, for better comfort in hot and cold climates.
No visit to Sindur this week as I am preparing to visit Kyra, in Roscoff, and sail her for the first time since January 27th. So, I helped move Sindur along by stripping the varnish from her guard rails. I started this over a month ago, working for 30 minutes t a time, over a few evenings.
With the varnish stripped back it was time to sand and prepare the rails for either re- varnishing or perhaps teak oiling. I bought a detail sander and this has made quick work of stripping the remaining varnish.
In order to re-varnish properly, the rails need sanding with 120 grit, then 240 and finally 320.
The question is to re-varnish or to teak oil? You cannot beat the look of high gloss varnish on a boat, but…..its a bugger to look after. Teak oiling is simple to apply and easy to look after. But will it look as good? A real dilemma. Any one got any thoughts?
Another productive day at Sindur and things started well as I finally remembered the garden sheers to cut back the gorse bush that had literally been a thorn(s) in my side every time I climbed aboard.
First job was to tackle the other seized seacock. This one was the WC inlet. I removed one of the floor panels to make access easier. I then removed the hose and gave a squirt of WD40 into the valve. I applied some around the top too, once the bolts and plate were removed. All good good so far. After a while and with a gentle tap, the valve was free and came out easily. A faint smear of grinding paste, first coarse, then fine, and working of the action and all was good. I cleaned off the paste and applied some grease and re-assembled the cock. Easy. I then managed to knock the floor panel over and three of the four brass screws shot into the bilge beneath the holding tank! There they shall remain. Fox’s chandlery will have some more.
Time for lunch. The sun was shining and I was prepared to eat outside. M&S salad with a few extras thrown in. A quick photo for the blog, of my first meal aboard. A gust of wind came moments later and blew the bowl over. It literally was lunch on deck. I scraped about and got most of it back the bowl and enjoyed gritty prawns and tomatoes.
The fire extinguishers don’t seem to have been inspected since 2007, so I removed these and will drop them in Corby for servicing, if possible. Sindur has a very simple, single, automatic extinguisher in the engine bay and two handheld powder extinguishers in the accommodation.
I hate gas aboard boats. It can be lethal, as it is denser than air, so if there is a leak, it settles in the belly of the boat where electrics and batteries can cause sparks. Not a happy mix. Sindur has limited space and I am conscious of weighing her down, so the current gas installation is the best solution for cooking for the time being. The surveyor identified that the gas hoses are way out of date and consequently the insurance company would not insure her comprehensively until the hoses were renewed. So, a quick trip to Fox’s Chandlery (don’t forget three brass screws!) Was necessary, to fetch some new, compliant hose. Such a simple and critical job, for £6. Back to the boat with my shiny hose and 10 minutes later, all done.
I will just screw down the floor panel from earlier…….oh bugger, …forgot the screws!
A second trip to Fox’s, a packet of screws, a kettle for the now compliant stove, and a celebratory icecream, and the day was almost done. Last job was to swap the seals on each of the deck filler caps. Surprisingly nothing went wrong with that!
So, more progress… slowly but surely. I am getting to know the boat well. She really is so simple compared to Kyra, which makes maintenance more enjoyable and less of a financial strain. I think I will still miss 60ft and 35 tons, pushing through a head sea, and probably the dishwasher, generator, aircon, two full heads and hydraulic stabilizers and thrusters…..but I won’t miss servicing any of it, or paying for it. Let’s hope what they say is true- the smaller the boat, the more fun you have! It wont be long before we find out…
…the hedge trimmer. Yes, it was me. So more scrapes and scratches as I battled with the gorse whilst boarding Sindur. An added complication this week was Diesel, my trusty terrier, who fancied (I am certain), a day on the boat.
So having run the prickly gauntlet, it was time to get down to work. I’m working my way through the list that the surveyor has created, highlighting essential jobs that need to be completed before she is insurable for all risks.
Today’s aim was to tackle the seized seacock for the forward heads outflow. Inspect the flexible gas hoses, and look at the fire extinguishers, which are in need of servicing.
The seacock was below the head floor. Being 6ft 4″ and built like the proverbial brick house, there was not much room for me to work. So to make the job easier I removed the cabin and head doors, so I could lay stretched out and work more easily.
It is the first time I have worked with Blake’s seacocks.YouTube provided excellent guidance, thanks to Suffolk Yacht Harbour, and sure enough, out popped the cone once it was persuaded with a hammer and bar from outside the boat. As you can see, there was a lot of corrosion – it was no wonder this could not be turned.
I ground the surfaces, cleaned them up and greased the cone. The cock is now reassembled and working well.
This exercise needs repeating on the inlet side too.
The gas hoses seem perfectly sound but are out of date for safety and insurance purposes, and it seems as though the fire extinguishers have not been inspected for 13 years, so removal and replacement is on the cards for those.
Dirty diesel is the cause of many breakdowns or poor running, as the RNLI will tell you. Whenever I purchase a boat, I either have the fuel polished, the tanks cleaned or give the fuel within, a shock dose of Marine 16 fuel treatment. There is evidence that the tanks on Sindur were cleaned about 4 years ago, and she was full of fuel when I picked her up, so today I gave the tanks the shock treatment. The Marine 16 can start working on any bugs that may be present.
I have had several of you ask what Sindur looks like inside. Those of you that know Kyra, will realise from the following video, how much of a scale down that Sindur is. She is just over half the length of Kyra but offers only about a 1/4 of her volume. I’m afraid Mr Roughley, that there is only one fridge for your beer! Anyway, enjoy the film…
A successful visit to Sindur today, in the glorious sunshine.
A recent survey of the boat suggested that the wheelhouse roof was delaminating. Further investigation was required. So I visited today to remove the headlinings to take a look at the condition of the roof from the underside.
There has been water ingress for sometime, as indicated by the staining on the woodwork, so this needed investigation, as it could be the cause of the delamination.
I was keen to see behind the headlining for two other reasons.
The first is that Sindur has a curious ‘bump’ on her cabin roof and no one knows why it is there. Removing the lining revealed that it is just a curious void, with no obvious purpose.
The second reason for removing the lining is to see how the various aerials, lights, mast and stays are fixed – and the routing of the various cables. Sindur has quite a large mast to support the radar scanner. This is steadied by a mass of stays and only a small base. The nav lights are ultra modern LEDs that do not suit the craft at all.
The plan is to swap the mast for a shorter, sleeker design with a larger base for stability, that will do away with the stays. The nav lights will be changed for a traditional design and be mounted on the new mast too, reducing the amount of holes drilled in the roof.
The headlinings came away nicely which is testament to the Camper & Nicholsons build. However the wiring beneath is a bit like a bowl spaghetti, probably due to retrofitting of equipment, but I think it will all be workable.
There is a small area of delamination which I intend to inject with epoxy and squeeze together by placing a weight on the roof and jacking a strut from beneath to apply pressure
So with this all worked out, I turned my attention to removing the diesel filler cap that refused to budge last week. I ended up drilling one edge of the cap so that I could tap it around with a screw driver and a mallet. This failed to budge it so I drilled through the edge and let wd40 run into the thread. I left if for an hour and then gave it a tap and she opened a treat.
A successful day. So why a pain the rump? Well, Sindur has been placed on chocks in the yard with her stern touching a gorse bush, exactly where the boarding ladder lowers – note to self – take hedge cutter next week!
You may remember that Sindur was due to be lifted from the water the day the Lockdown started at the end of March. Of course, this did not happen and she spent the next 10 weeks moored at the fuel dock at Ipswich Haven. After 8 dormant weeks, nothing much has happened except that Sindur has collected dust and I have turned 50!
However, the boat yard has started work again, and Sindur was lifted a week ago, and placed in the yard. Time to start work!
I nipped down today to look at the props. The top speed on Rangers is supposed to be 26 knots. Sindur seems to top out at about 18 knots. She is probably a heavier build than the original Rangers, and at the moment, the engines a far from tuned. However whilst she is out I want to check that she is at least sporting the right size props.
Whilst crawling about beneath the hull, I noticed the underwater exhausts protrude slightly below the hull, causing additional drag (see photos). On other vessels I have owned, the exhausts are flush with the hull below the waterline. If anyone has thoughts on this, please do say.
The highly varnished guard rails, that span the stern, are badly weathered, so, before I headed home, I spent an hour removing them and have brought them home for stripping and revarnishing.
I now need my engineer to Un-Furlough himself, so that work to the engines can begin.
I have made a useful contact in James Gormley, who is rebuilding his father’s Ranger 36, named Saga. James knows the model well and has clearly researched ways to improve upon the original fittings. He has been generous with his time and knowledge, which he is sharing with me. I think his vessel Saga, will be a wonderful craft when complete.
More updates to follow. Please follow this site if you want to see how work progresses.
The weather, over the last few days, has been unseasonably perfect, for boating in the UK and northern France. Most boat owners are off work or at least Furloughed, and I am sure will have been staring out at the blue skies and the great golden orb in the sky, that has been warming the gentle southerly breeze, and wishing that they were on their way to their patiently waiting, idle (or should it be idol?) vessel.
Visiting your vessel is probably not an option in these days of ‘lockdown’. I visited Sindur on Friday morning to check the batteries and the bilge pumps, and whilst there, I started mopping the decks. Cleaning is apparently not essential maintenance and I was asked to stop. So, I poked around inside the boat, and made a mental list of jobs to do, when we the ban is lifted. I could do little else, as Sindur is very much a bare boat at the moment, and has no gear, books or a kettle aboard. So, on a perfectly warm, sunny day, I locked up the boat and headed home, with a heavy, frustrated heart.
The journey home takes about an hour and forty minutes. The road was empty, and I was in no rush for a change, so bimbled along at 60mph, thinking of my adventures to come.
Some of you know of my vague plans to ‘do’ the west coast of Scotland and also eventually get to Sweden to navigate the Gota canal. But what before then?
‘The devil makes work for idle hands’ is a great expression – and one that rings so true. You only have to see how creative people are being during this time of enforced isolation, to realise what can be achieved. Whatsapp is full of ‘inappropriate’ material and videos of people doing crazy things. I have even given myself a buzz cut, out of boredom and slight necessity.
Rather than making work for my hands, I have started putting my idle mind to use, by planning and researching destinations, the marinas on route, the canals and the ‘must see’ attractions in each area. And by crikey, there are a hell of a lot of them. The internet is a powerful and dangerous tool, that can sap hours of your life, whilst fueling your aspirations and dreams. This is an example of how one thing leads to another:-
So I DEFINITELY want to go to the Gota Canal that traverses Sweden. I know, roughly in my mind how to get there. I will go through Holland, across the tip of Germany, through the Kiel canal, skirt Copenhagen and Malmo -i have to see the bridge – and then up to the Gota. But the devil is in the detail, so you start to explore the rules for transiting the Kiel canal, and then you find yourself on Youtube watching a video of someone else’s experience of going through the canal. Then you research marinas and their costs, in Denmark, for you will be passing through. Next, you read an on-line guide to boating in the Baltic and watch another video of someone else’s experience at said marina. Two hours have now passed, surfing the net, dodging from one site to another, someones blog, Youtube, a marina website, another blog, videos, photos….And 6 hours later – I may go to the Gota canal….. but before that, I really want to go up the west coast of Norway, see Pulpit Rock, enter the Arctic circle and end up in Tromso, like two lads from Newhaven have done in a converted lifeboat- as I found out, by watching their mesmerising video and reading their blog. Sindur is capable of it and so am I…..but how much time have I got to do this momentous journey? Well if I added up all the time I spent ‘researching’ such trips, I could probably manage the journey over a 12 month period. However, the Corona lockdown will end, work will re-start, and my dreams will be put on hold. But no harm done – I know a little more about the world now, I have whiled away some otherwise dull time – I have done some virtual boating and i do have some new destinations that I WILL get to, when work / retirement allows. Anyone want to come? You can do your own research……you have got time!
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I knew we were in for a bit of engine work, particularly after running the engines for the first time. When they fired, the marina was totally obscured behind the clouds of smoke. Visibility was down to about 5 feet, and the smoke hung in the air, for what seemed like an eternity. I was glad that it was a cold March day and that the Corvid 19 had kept many people at home. Having said that, I think the fumes were acrid enough to wipe out any virus.
As the engines had not been run for 6 months, I hoped that a good run would clear out the old oil and diesel and the exhaust would clean up a little. But now I have run the engines three times, and to be fair the smoke is not as bad as that first time, but it is clear that I will not be popular with neighbouring berth holders unless I get some serious work done to eliminate or drastically reduce the smoke on start up. The following video shows the state of the engines are two minutes of running.
Having said that, I watched the boat opposite Sindur, start her engines the other day, and this was the result
So I don’t feel so bad! However, we have to be kind to our neighbours and the environment, so Travis of Diesel Marine will be stripping down the Fords and sorting them out.
Sindur was purchased knowing that she would be a project for a few months.
Internally, she is in pretty good shape, but despite the last owner spending a small fortune on having the windows removed and re-sealed, they are still leaking, and this has damaged the woodwork. So, Stevie Pike of Watercraft UK has been engaged to remove the windows and re-bed them. My good friend Keith Dalton will then treat and re-varnish the interior woodwork. Incidentally, on crawling over the boat, I found brand new, unused window covers that had been specifically tailored for the boat. What a shame the owner never used them -these would have saved the interior woodwork from damage. I have now fitted them, to reduce the on-going damage, whilst she sits by the lifting dock at Ipswich Haven. Her loft out has been delayed due to the Covid 19 issue.
Whilst that is going on, Travis of Diesel Marine will set to on the mechanical side of things. The engines need a serious service and the stern gear needs real attention too.
It was evident from my first inspection that the starboard prop had de-zincified, suggesting a lack of anode protection. I suspect the p-bracket on this side is also affected and therefore a full shaft removal will be necessary. This will allow the cutlass bearings to be replaced at the same time. If doing the starboard side, you might as well do the port!
So there is a bit to do, but I feel she will be worth the investment. I will keep you informed of the progress.
I have, according to some, had too many boats over time, and maybe perhaps those that think this, are correct. However, perhaps like girlfriends (or boyfriends -for this is the way of the world today), one has to experiment in order to decide on what it is one really needs or wants from a partner. A good friend and colleague of mine once said ‘you have to do the numbers to know what you want!’ – and I feel he was right. From the tales he tells, he certainly ‘did the numbers’ before eventually settling down with his charming wife, to whom he is well suited, and she to him.
I have had not had that many girlfriends -in fact, in totting up recently, I discovered that I have had more boats than female partners. Both though, have brought fun and merriment to my life, as well as stress and financial pressure – perhaps it is no wonder that boats are referred to as ‘she’.
However, during the ownership of various craft, I have worked out what I really need from a vessel, particularly today. Obviously if money was no object, I would have several craft – a fantasy fleet comprising a sporty rib, a sleek weekender and of course a Nordhavn or a Fleming in order to girdle the earth. This not being an option, I need a craft that is an all-weather boat, that feels like a proper boat, that can be crewed single-handed, but has room for two guests, and does not look like a run of the mill, dated pointy-thing, made of plastic. It must have walk-around decks, an aft cabin, a traditional look and feel, and be under 40ft in length, so I can sneak into small harbours – oh and it must be under £75,000 – quite a lot to ask – but I have found it.
Sindur iv is a rare boat. She is a Ranger 36 – of which quite a few were made. However, Sindur is a one off – being the only one made by Camper & Nicholson – to exacting standards and with a unique layout, for a retiring yachtsman. She was built in 1988. The quality of the work, both internally and externally, is exceptional. She has been cherished in her life, but has been ‘let-go’ in recent years, and she is now ready for a makeover.
I first saw Sindur for sale, in 2007 at Levington, on the River Orwell. She caught my eye all those years ago, but she was priced at a level that was way beyond my abilities to reach (a bit like the girls that used to catch my eye too). I thought nothing more of her though, until last year, when I had an hour to kill when visiting Ipswich. So I sauntered around the marina at Levington, the way any sensible chap might, when he has nothing better to do, and lo and behold, there was Sindur, for sale again, after 13 years.
After long deliberations, man-maths and the passing of several months, a purchase has finally been made, and I have moved Sindur up the Orwell, to Ipswich Haven, ready for the works to begin, to bring her back to her former glory. Coronavirus is probably going to stymie the progress of the works, but over the coming months, I will update you all with the progress that is being made.
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Sindur was launched in December and a very quick sea trial took place, to confirm that the engines were working correctly after the injector pumps and injectors were reconditioned. A full service of the engines also took place and the heat exchangers were removed and cleaned. The engines ran fine but are still smoking. I am now working on the oil levels, as I suspect the dip-sticks have not been recalibrated since the engines were installed in the boat. More on this in another post later.
Sindur has been languishing on a berth in Ipswich Haven Marina, which has been convenient for the winter months whilst work has been taking place. However, It was never the plan to leave her there. The staff at the haven are helpful and the site is fairly secure, but for a country loving chap like me, with a dog, it is not really the environment I enjoy. The number of sirens from various emergency vehicles, echoing off the tall buildings, seems to be an almost constant accompaniment to marina life, both day and night. Diesel the dog also is not a fan, as there are no rabbits or squirrels to chase.
Woolverstone Marina is a couple of miles down stream from Ipswich and is a totally different environment. It sits in open water on the banks of the Orwell, in 22 acres of former parkland. Ancient oak woodland lines the shore, on a walk through to a delightful pub at Pin Mill. The nearest road is about half a mile from the marina. No traffic noise. I have berthed there on and off, since 2003. I called the marina office on Friday morning to see what berths they had available. There were just two left. One of which is perfect for me and also for Sindur. I like being towards the end of the pontoon, so that you have fewer pedestrian passers-by and also get a better view over the river and the passing vessels. It is also good for Sindur, as she smokes on start-up, so fewer people will be affected by her fumes! Having spent 3 seasons in France, contacting Woolverstone was a stark reminder of the horrendous cost of UK berthing compared to other countries in Europe. Our last boat, a 60ft motoryacht, cost 6,000 euros, in a prime berth in the sunshine of La Rochelle. Sindur, at 36ft, is almost £5,000 for a berth on the east coast of England. I suspect it would cost double that on the Hamble. But what are the choices in this world of lock-downs, Brexit and uncertain travel?
So yesterday, with a good friend of mine, we stole a day, and nipped Sindur out of the Haven, through the lock and down river to Woolverstone. The engines ran beautifully and Sindur burbled along at 6 kts, with a couple of yachts as distant company. We popped her on to her berth, had a celebratory coffee, and left her for another day, when the lock-down is over and she can be enjoyed properly.
Tomorrow is the day the engines should be run for the first time since Sindur was delivered to Ipswich Haven Marina, just before the lockdown at the end of March. During this time, Travis and Tom from Diesel Marine, have stripped the heat exchangers, the fuel injectors, and the fuel injection pumps, as well as replacing the filters and all the hoses.
Several £000’s and 8 months later, and the engines are reassembled and ready for bleeding, running and a full oil and filter change.
There was a delay to this, as it was decided to polish the fuel and clean the diesel tanks, so that there was no chance of contaminating the newly overhauled injection kit. This has been done, so tomorrow Tom will prime and start the engines. Sadly I will not be there to see, but look forward to hearing how it all goes. All being well, Sindur may move to Woolverstone next weekend, without a smoke trail!