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Monday, 9 June 2014

Public Service Day

Today was a public service day because I did more for other people than I did for myself. If it was up to me, I'd have been on my way out into the Solent on the ebb tide and have spent the day sailing to Cowes and back. I mean, I got down to the boat and was greeted by weather like this:

But I'd promised to do some jobs and a promise is a promise, so I stayed here.

Over the past few days I've been hopping onto Sprite during the neap tides to do odd jobs. It only gives me about 1 or 2 hours on the boat maximum, before the tide goes out so far I have to drag the dinghy over a mat of seaweed, which I try and avoid.

The things I've been doing are small things. The other day I put the spray dodgers back on and today after dropping the wife off at work I got down to Eastney at 7:30 to do a bit more.

I fitted the freshly stitched spray hood and fitted a double block on the main sheet to match the triple block on the boom. I managed to get the spray dodgers on pretty tightly, so no unsightly flapping about. Pam emailed me this week saying the block on the transom was to allow you to fit the boat's table onto the pushpit. I tried it out and yes, it works! It needed a bit of thin rope and a screw in the table leg to hold it all secure, but I sorted that out and then had a well deserved brew, placing the cup on the table!

The old girl isn't looking too bad:

So that was the early morning taken care of. I came off her at around 9:00 by which time Jim had arrived.

As you can see from the picture, the wind was negligible so I persuaded him it was about time we dropped his mast and repaired his jib furling system.

So we dropped his mast.

Once we got the mast down it was apparent that the top section of the furling foil had lost the insert that joined it to the section next to it. I had a brainwave and nipped down to B&Q for some pipe from the plumbing department. I cut a 6 inch section and then cut a slot in the side of it, to match the slot in the foil. To my surprise it fitted a treat! To make doubly sure the sections didn't come apart we stuck some tape across the joins.

Then we hauled the mast back up. It was then we noticed that the jib foil had come away from the forestay. There was nothing for it but to haul the jib sail up and hope it pulled the foil and the forestay together. Luckily it did and I rolled up the sail.

Taking the mast down, nipping to B&Q through seafront traffic, having a brew, fixing the jib and hauling the mast back up had taken us until 2:30. But then I had to leave as I'd promised to do some work at the care home for people with learning disabilities the wife works at. Mainly clearing out their fish pond and selecting a filter for the pond at the local aquarist centre. So I left Jim tightening up the rigging and re-routing the lines.

Just like Langstone Harbour, their fish pond has become overgrown with hair algae. I'm not sure why hair algae is so bad this year, but in Eastney pool, most of the pool is so matted with swathes of algal growth it makes rowing the dinghy almost impossible in places. So I spent the next few hours dragging green hairy goo out of the pond whilst avoiding dragging the newts and fish out as well.

With the pond cleared, we could see that it being choked with algae hadn't harmed the fish: there were about 30 baby fish in there! I filled the pond with fish from freecycle a couple of years ago and they certainly seem to be doing well.

Anyway, that took me up to 6 o'clock, so it was time to head back to Eastney so I could help Jim move his boat off the beach and back onto his mooring. While I was waiting for the tide I epoxied a crack in the dinghy hull that had opened up and started weeping slightly again. I then rowed to Jim's boat and we fitted his boom back on the mast while waiting for the tide to lift his boat off the beach.

Because the wind had dropped to nothing I row-towed Jim's boat to its mooring. It was quicker than setting up the outboard. We spent an hour or so securing the mooring and generally nattering, before heading home.

So as you can see today has been a bit of a public service day. I've done some useful stuff helping other people and I ache again.

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