Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

the winter blues

OFSTED....a word that strikes fear into the heart of all sane teachers. It shouldn't but it does. That inspection which casts a judgement once every three years or so on your teaching, your school etc. So much rides on that judgement!
Anyway, they are imminent - any time now; school life is hectic, manic, deranged.......choose your adjective!

In the meantime, Arwen languishes on the drive. I had a peek under her covers at the weekend. Not as much water has penetrated the tarp covers as I was expecting. It didn't reach the bottom of those circular hatches that I have so regretted installing in the vertical bulkhead of the front thwart. Removal of said hatches gave me a pleasant surprise - no  water ingress!

Mould? Oh yeah! Black spores everywhere so that will need cleaning out with soft scour pad and soapy water asap - it gets everywhere and is difficult to get at under the decksides! The mast is looking slightly worse for wear, where the tarp has rested over it. It isn't rotting; still very solid but it does have a damp bedraggled look to it!

And so to my list of chores to restore life into Arwen ready for the sailing season.......

  • can I seal off those circular hatches in some way? Can I then cut and install a new 10" circular locking hatch in the flat seat part of the thwart under the deck - so it gives me better access to the storage space? What if I just ran marine sealant around the hatch rims - would that seal them?
  • clean off the mould - a good soapy wash down of all areas
  • paint over the divots and dings where silver grey aluminium oxide paint is exposed - thank heavens I gave Arwen three coats of the stuff and then four coats of undercoat before the three layers of topside paint (no - honestly - I did do that much painting.....I think I have OCD or ADHD tendencies)
  • I have some lead flashing reclaimed from a neighbour's roof extension - about 30lbs weight - can I flatten it into large thin ingots and then epoxy it in to the floors of the central lockers either side of the centreboard case - to give extra weight/stability to Arwen? Is this safe? is this worth doing? Or shall I just carry on strapping in 4 x 25 litre water containers either side of the case when I am single-handing across coastal waters between Falmouth and Dartmouth?
  • new oars - never got around to making them this winter - ur huh!
  • sanding down the mast and coating it with burgess sealer for the season - urgent need to sort
  • getting rid of clutter - Arwen always seems to be so untidy or is it her owner always seems to be untidy?
Well that is a starting list. Of course until OFSTED have been and gone - all Sunday's are work days; I know, if things were going well, then the arrival of OFSTED shouldn't mean any change to routines or normal workloads.......but as all teachers will tell you ...rubbish!  We are so inundated each day that you never tick off any list you have and say "well done - managed to do it all today" are always, despite best efforts, at least 6 weeks behind on marking..........working four hours each night after school and desperately trying to keep up with each new initiative or change thrown at you by each successive government.

I love teaching - it is a privilege - but why does it have to be so physically exhausting and draining every day?

A case of the winter blues - sorry folks - normal cheerful service will be resumed tomorrow - promise.


Stuart said...

First of all, let me declare an interest. I am so jealous of your Arwen(and your experiences with her) that I might resort to petty criticism just to massage my ego.

Anyway, as to the hatch covers, why do you want to seal them? If they're still watertight, then the extra access they allow might be useful one day, especially if you need to sponge out water or condensation. If they're not, then a flexible waterproof seal shoud work. I'm not sure that Sikaflex is flexible enough, so look at perhaps some ordinary mastic (bath sealant, for example, much cheaper). It should be fine, so long as it's not subject to regular immersion.
On the mould, a little bleach (also v. cheap if you buy the non-branded stuff) added to your soapy water can help. It certainly works when I'm washing down the mouldy rendering on my house. Vynil or rubber gloves, of course, are recommended.
Finally, I live within a few miles of the Dart. The River Exe, westwards, is brilliant, innit, for dinghy sailing, all the way to Falmouth? See my comments about jealousy above.
Sorry about your winter blues, but "can Spring be far behind?".

steve said...

Stuart - thanks for the comment. hatch covers do periodically leak and allow water to seep through. the problem is Arwen is stored on a sloping drive and standing water in the boat will eventually get through the hatches. In addition they expand slightly in the summer and jam for some obscure reasons - so sealing them them up seems best way forward. Thanks for the tip on bathroom sealant - worth a go.
fairy liquid seems to cure the mould - it happens every year!
yep I am lucky where I live; on the bright side spring is on its way; on the downside - I spoke too soon in the post above - we can expect a visitor from the DFE in the next couple of weeks!!
Hey Ho!