Launching time is only about six weeks away, so I’m getting on with preparations when it isn’t too cold. No painting needed in the cabin, and I have finished most that’s needed outside. Redoing the non slip paint will be a bit of a chore and the anti foul boot topping needs renewal. 

I’m trialing my recent little Studland beach seascape in the cabin. Just held up with blutac whilst I decide on her best location. 

The cabin is beginning to look quite home like again. 

Cockpit table

In amongst scrubbing off old Poole Harbour mud and touching up paint work, I have been working on a new, smaller cockpit table. This will use the infill panel over the sink unit as the table. This will save space and cut down the need for a separate table. 

I needed a socket underneath the infill panel. I laminated a few bits of marine ply, bandsawed it circular and drilled out a central hole with a hole saw. This was a bit lage, so I wrapped the end of the leg in parcel tape, upended it in the hole and filled in around it with epoxy resin. This worked well, but it took a few wallops with a mallet to knock the socket off. After removing the parcel tape, the leg fits in quite snugly enough. 

I have just glued the socket to the underside of the table with polyurethane glue, using improvised clamps to hold it on. 

It works. Slightly odd shape but a much better size than the old table . The table should also fit on top of the boarding ladder platform to give a flat surface for sitting on, diving off, etc. Everything needs to be multifunctional. 

Canvas work and oil

I’ve applied six or seven coats of Danish oil to all my woodwork. That should do for the start of the season. I will take a small bottle of it onboard, just to top up during the summer.
Some of the stitching is perishing on my sprayhood. I carried out running repairs on board, and finally finished the job today . Looks rough but it should hold. The main trick to the sewing is not to stab yourself somewhere painful. 

Some winter work at last 

Doing some winter maintenance at last. I made one more attempt at fitting a waterproof hatch in one of the under berth lockers. It still leaked badly from the ballast tank last year. I’ve made a new hatch blank, quite a bit larger this time, and spewed two rows of sealant under it. Hope that finally works. 

I was going to finish all the wood work in Deksjoel, but that was going to be quite a job, as it really needs umpteen brushed on layers. I’ve decided on Danish oil instead, as that is literally an oily rag job. Our kitchen worktops are finished in it and it seems very tough. I’ve got three coats on so far and aim for at least five. The plan is to take a can with me on the boat, and wipe things over during the season. 

Thinking further into the future, I’ve signed up for a week’s sailing in the Canary  Islands in Feb 2018 on the Baltic ketch Bessie Ellen. Anyone else fancy a sail on a real sailing boat in some winter sunshine inshallah?

Winter work starts 

The shed is more than a bit crowded, but I have just about managed to get the four boats in. I’m starting repairs on my dinghy, partly because it has had a hard season, and also so I can prop it up our of the way in a corner when it is finished. 

The main repairs are to the launching wheel on the skeg. This was starting to open up after being bashed on many beaches and docks. I’ve filled in a hollow portion, epoxy filled some gaps and covered the whole thing in fibreglass. Currently undercoating the hull. I’ve taken the rope fender off, as it was coming loose and the cheap rope was so hard it caused as much damage as the bare wood would have. I’ve got some pvc fendering on order which I will fix on next. After painting, the interior just needs a bit of tidying up, and that will be one job done. 

End of the season 

I had Daisy G lifted out, pressure washed and loaded onto her trailer. The warm Indian Summer made up for the poor start to the season. I spent some delightful time anchored of Studland Peninsula but never got further out than Old Harry Rocks. Plans for the Isle of Wight will have to wait for next year. So not too many sea miles, but I did get a good suntan and lots of vitamin D.

The garage is getting very cosy. I had plans to build a strip planked canoe over the winter but I really can’t see how I can fit a building frame into this. Anyone want to buy a Guillemot? 

Daisy’s Dulux blue paint has lasted remarkably well. Just needs some scratches touching up. I got serious fouling by midsummer. I am going to sand the Coppercoat antifouling to see if that revives it. I think it would be a trip to Swallow Yachts if it needs redoing. It should have another three years or so in it. Winter jobs looming, but no major repairs I don’t think. 

Despite appearances I have been sailing this year

It’s been a funny sailing year. May and June have been about the worst I have known. Just nondescript days after days, or very strong winds. I’m not sure I went down more than once each month, if that. But July and August finally gave us some hot sunny weather, which is what I like. Some of the hottest for years. So this is just a bit of an amalgam of a few relaxed visits to Poole.


One highlight was having an old friend down for a day’s sailing. She is a far more experienced sailor than me, and also provides an excellent picnic lunch. We made it out to Old Harry Rocks, which looked wonderful. They are visibly crumbling away. I am sure the arches through are larger than when I last came out here. Old Harry will fall one day, which will be a sad occasion.

I have done a lot of loafing about in the sun. I anchored off the  landward side of Studland peninsula for one evening and stayed there two nights. Rowing ashore and hiking over the heathland, which was looking at this best. I made it up to the Agglestone, which gives a wonderful view down over the  harbour. Didn’t see a soul all morining.

Watching the sunset is wonderful, but it was almost better looking in the opposite direction. The sunlight was being reflected up onto the cliffs, and as I was watching it ripple, I suddenly noticed that there was a great antlered stag standing on the beach watching me. he ambled off eventually, followed by a younger one, keeping a respectful distance. A stand up paddle boarder landed on the  sand about 50 yards from them, but never noticed them, despite my trying to point them out in silent sign language. He must have thought I was completely unhinged. (Very poor photo I’m afraid, I only had my phone).


On another day I sailed into the Wareham channel for the first time this year, and anchored in one of my favourite bays, where you can hear the night jars churring in the  evening. I meant to stay for half an hour or so, but impressive misreading of the tides tables found me stuck on the mud for well over two hours. I managed to row out the anchor as a kedge, in perfect Riddle of the Sands fashion, but the tide dropped so fast I couldn’t row back to the  boat, and had to punt it back over the mud with an oar. I only just made it, or I would have been stuck in the dinghy for those two hours, The mud was far too soft to walk on. As it was, it was sunny and beautiful, so I put a cushion on the cabin roof, got out a book and touched up my tan whilst the water disappeared and eventually came back again. It comes back with  surprising speed, once it starts.

I’ve managed to get in a fair amount of swimming, which is always a good indicator of the  quality of the summer. I don’t like cold water. Swimming in the sea is good, although it has been a bit rough on the Studland beach. My favourite spot is on the Little Sea, which is a large , brown fresh water lake in the  middle of Studland peninsula. It is surrounded by trees, full of birdlife and there is never a soul there, even though it is just off the  main path down to the crowded beaches.I can never understand the human herd instinct. It is my number one wild skinny dipping location.