Saturday, 28 June 2014

Holes replanked and primed

Slowly getting there. The list is growing and not getting shorter though! Now the VHF antenna snapped off when moving the mast - to be fair it was corroded through. All the locker catches need servicing as they often don't shut and spill open at sea and I don't think the hairband solution used so far is very aesthetic.

I now need to install a chart plotter, AIS and also fuel tank readers. There is a dip stick, but the tanks are so hard to get to it that I think a fuel gauge is really the only sensible solution.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Two Laurent Giles in the tents at the same time

It is nice to see that there are two Laurent Giles in the paint tents at the same time at present. When they were both out I always thought Rosie looked tubbier than Serlio, but looking head on, you can really see Rosie's pilot cutter heritage.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Electronics Audit

I have been looking to see why the original Harrier Brookes and Gatehouse is no longer working. Well sadly there was a deck leak on top of it. Only a small one, but the battery inside has suffered an acid leak - it is a delightful bit of kit, and probably original, so it will be a shame to see it go. There is one good thing though, and the new depth sounder could have new features such a depth alarm and maybe even depths to decimal places. Keel offset would be handy too!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Rebedding the beading

A very frustrating day yesterday. It is painstaking work hand sanding the beading along the coach roof edges. These have been letting in water, especially at the front of the coach roof. There has been previous use of bathroom silicon to bed down this beading. There is no real place for silicon on a boat. Nothing sticks to it all - not even epoxy. It is also a bitch to strip. I have a couple of days on this so watch this space!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Laurent Giles

By coincidence another Laurent Giles is in the paint shed. Rosie is waiting for her to come out before she can go in.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Accommodation plan

Some people have asked for an accommodation plan so they can see what I am upto in terms of her refurbishment.


I found this photo of Rose Rambler sailing with the OCC burgee at her masthead. You can see the davits that held the dinghy. Some of you have noticed that the current dinghy, a plywood lapstrake Romney is turtled on coachroof. There are already lashing eyes for this, but I suspect that Hum rather likes the convenience of hoisting the dinghy out of the water when island hopping in Caribbean. It makes for such a civilised departure to have your dinghy stowed with minimal effort. Note the gigantic genoa!

Heads again!

I had to attack the vestibule and heads today. I was getting so worried about those chain plates and the wood around them behind all that plywood paneling. I need not had worried, but there was evidence on mildew and mould. This needs cleaning up now and holes drilled for ventilation. The plywood lining is not going back! One really should be able to get easy access to any of the planking from the inside on wooden boat.

Anyway, after near total destruction I can start to rebuild. The stainless tank for the pullman sink will need to be remade do that it is is a totally removable unit so that I can gain access to the chain plates in future.

There is a photo below shows a  red hose. This a the hot water system that I am installing; it will have a discreet outlet in the new stainless pullman tank. A shave in hot water will be a luxury! Oh, and I fluorescent light goes; being ugly was it's downfall. So I am on the search for a vintage vanity light.

The last photo shows the where water was getting in  at the front of the coachroof. This was purely due to the glass cloth not being turned up at the edges of the deck and

coachroof. Silly really, a mistake that could destroy a wooden boat....but luckily the damage was caught in time. I have some work do do here. There are some badly corroded iron lodging knees below which leaks conveniently dripped on. These are going to be difficult to remove.

There is some good news. Jack, a school lever and looking to gain painting skills on boats (as well as cars) has finished sanding his port toe rail before varnishing. It is a competition as to who gets a better finish. The starboard side (mine) is looking decidedly lacklustre!

This is what lining a boat in plywood on the inside will do to your planking! Note the evidence of leaks...

Hatch Cascover

For some odd reason the paint on the hatch was cracked and I decided to take this back. I went through a layer of green deck paint (Hum's original I think) and then this blue appeared. I can now see that the whole coachroof is covered in Cascover, which presents a bit of a problem as I need to take the paint back to get a key without damaging the cloth. I will experiment on the hatch, which will eventually have the Cascover removed and replaced with glass cloth. I need to also rebuilt the hatch garage which is not strong enough to old the weight of anybody over 10 stone of which I am.

Friday, 20 June 2014

How original is she?

I was asked this in the yard today and the answer is surprisingly original. The main changes have been to the Starboard cockpit seat where there was a Stuart Turner generator. On the same side in the cabin there was a fridge and oil skin locker; these have been adapted to be a quarter berth and remains that way to this day. The rig remains the "Slutter Rig" which was so famously experimented on by Laurent Giles. The rig remains but the 22ft long gigantic genoa is now roller reefed and controlled with barbour haulers instead of tracks.

New Tingle

Martin Evans, the surveyor, has left me a long list of things to address, and one of those things has now been repaired. Tighten and bed down the bronze tie bar in the rudder and cover with a new copper tingle.The rudder was taken back to wood so that I could find any other hidden worries. Rudder done! Good feeling ticking something off the surveyors list.

Heads up on the chain plates

Another job for the weekend is rather destructive. The whole yacht has been lined in plywood. I really don't like it when this is done. It hides all manner of sins from owners over the years and even from the surveyor. Removing the plywood from the fo'c'sle berth earlier showed where some seems has opened up and where very old dry putty was falling away. Now that is being raked out and re-caulked. My real concern is that the chain plates need to be inspected.
On the starboard side there is plywood lining in the vestibule locker. To port the plates are hidden behind the pullman sink furniture..... there is nothing for it; I need to get in there if only for piece of mind. Even a hairline crack (which there is) can let in substantial water and start rot. I have also discovered on my deck leak list that the grab handles and teak pads for the patent levers were not bedded down in mastic, so no wonder they leaked!


Attacking this refurb on all fronts now. Spars are out and getting repaired. The stay sail boom end was rotten and a new piece of spruce has been scarfed into place. Moray has made a new galvanised end fitting. Slowly we are getting there.

The main and massive boom is sanded back ready for traditional varnish. There is no point spending money on Coelan on stuff that I can varnish from the deck. The end here need some work too, as rot was setting in where water ingress got behind the roller reefing fitting. That is off being dipped and the boom end repaired in epoxy.

The big job this weekend is to strip back the mast. Coelan primer and 1st coat would be good.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

No place for Iron on a boat

Due to access issues to the shaft, Humphrey Barton's Heath Robinson shaft break needs to go. It was never a very good bit of kit although I have never used it myself. For starters it was hard to tell which way the prop was vertical with an bedded down cockpit sole. Once this is removed we can start work replacing the final galvanised floor under the it. Turning the shaft by had shows that the gear box needs some bearings replaced. Much annoyance!

I need to think about how to keep the prop vertical when sailing. Since the gearbox is hydraulic the prop will spin....and wear out the bearings again without even motoring. Low cost ideas welcome! The new cockpit sole will have an inspection hatch fitted, so I wonder that maybe something as simple as a stick with some sort of wedge on the end might do the trick?

Thinking about it, wherever there have been problems of rot, it is where iron has been used. On the frames, some quarter knees and straps in the stern. Had she been spec'd in oak or even bronze for these parts there would never have been any problems.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Shafted by the Stern Post

One of the problems that has been encountered is the use of the Manecraft deep sea seal. After two years ashore, the ceramic plate has seized; this is common. What is not common is that a new seal is around £500 + VAT. If seizure happens at sea, it can rip the rubber apart, essentially giving a catastrophic failure, with sea water coming in. The only was to stop ingress is to tighten a cable tie attached to the seal. This means getting under the cockpit floor behind the engine. Almost impossible in an emergency I would say. I also really need two of them when cruising, one as a spare, so that is a grand  down already. So I needed to find a better solution. After much deliberation I decided to revert back to the stuffing box and gland which I am used to. This can maintained at reasonable cost, without specific parts, anywhere in the world. More importantly, failure is not catastrophic. What does worry me is that we have now discovered some soft wood in the sternpost.....

Friday, 13 June 2014

Evening draws over Rosie

Things always look worse before they get better. I particularly like this shot. You can see slight knuckle in the bow and her very purposeful stern together with that long run aft which makes her deceptively fast.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

You Rotter

Well, actually I am not surprised that there is rot in the lazarette. Fresh water dribbling down from the corners of the transom and deck. There is a lot of deck furniture here which I suspect lets in water. Kings as ever are doing a fantastic job and using their initiative to find and fix. I just hope that when the underwater parts go to bare wood in a fortnight or so, I will not find rot there too.

New Anchor

I have decided to go for a new self-stowing Delta anchor - of Simpson Lawrence fabrication and not Lewmar. This should help ease of anchoring and ease of launching and setting when single-handed. Together with this a second bower in the form of an Simpson Lawrence CQR which is stowed in chocks. This has been upgraded from 35lbs to 50lbs. I seem to recall that the Hiscocks had trouble with their 35lber and upgraded - so I will follow suit.

Rosie Refurbishment

After 51 years and over 17 Atlantic crossings, Rosie is in pretty good condition. But she does require some attention as all wooden boats do, if she is going to do the Atlantic again. The yard have been brilliant in raking the seams out ready for painting. There are some soft patches around that will require some graving pieces.

The main jobs:

  • Replace the last remaining galvanised floor, 
  • Strip and varnish the mast.
  • Rigging inspected and tested.
  • New stuffing box and greaser, 
  • New cockpit sole and teak grates
  • Two seacock replacements. 
  • Cabin revarnish
  • Deck leaks sorted
  • Window seepage sported (possible re-bedding)
  • Rebuild hatch garage and make strong enough to stand on.
  • Update some defunct electronics and ensure batteries go in boxes.
  • Install fridge and enough solar to power it.

ohhh, and a lot of paint and varnish!

Oh well, that will keep me out of trouble for a while!

A Very Brief History

I have always had a childhood passion for owning a Vertue after reading Vertue XXXV.  The Rambler Class, designed by Giles exclusively for Humphrey Barton,  and was heavily influenced by the Vertue. She was mainly designed a double-handed live-aboard. She is still largely original and keeps the original slutter rig.

Rose Rambler was Hum's home between 1963 and 1975, having completed many, many, transatlantic crossing as she commuted from the med to the Caribbean during those years . She was sailed back from Cyprus to the UK in the late 1970's. A short spell was had in Brighton Marina before she was purchased by Peter Bell in the early 1980's. I bought her from Peter in July 2011.

To begin with the posts here will largely focus on her refurbishment. There are tentative plans of taking her off into the Atlantic again, and new ramblings, but for the moment the next couple of months will be spent getting her ready for some ocean sailing.