Work and more work

So as the saying goes, BOAT stands for ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’.  Well you could say that sums up our last month or so.  As soon as you mention the words boat, or sailing, the pound signs seem to increase.  It’s a bit like the word wedding in relation to catering or venue hire (something else I’m discovering as we got engaged this winter!).  Bora Bora came out of the water on May 11th down at Dartside quay in Galmpton, where she was for a month.  Watching her being lifted out was nerve wracking and we both felt a bit sick!  Considering she hadn’t been out the water for any length of time for 3-4 years the bottom looked surprisingly clean.

We were really pressed for time as we are also trying to complete the renovations on our house in Topsham which we’ll rent out for income whilst we are away, so we had to leave the boat and head back to carry on with the house, to get it to the point the estate agent could at least advertise it for rental.  Therefore what Ben had planned as 6 weeks work he ended up doing in just over two.  Cue many long days, hard graft, stress and a few sleepless nights!  As we are so new to owning a boat Ben felt with a lot of it he was learning as he went along, sometimes finding he needed to order parts that took ages to come as well as trying to keep costs to a minimum and being time efficient.

Being lifted out

He agonised over the rigging as when we bought the boat Norseman fittings were still in production, which was a bonus as they are user servicable.  However, these are no longer available and along with time constraints he reluctantly had to change the main mast to swaged fittings, of which we had to get professional riggers to do.

We bought a new Raymarine autopilot which required Ben to hack into the hydrolic steering pipes and connect in the pump, two days before relaunch we were still waiting for parts to turn up.  No part=no steering and therefore no relaunch.  Much stress and cursing Royal Mail ensued until it finally arrived the day before.

In the aft cabin we changed the cushions so that we now lie one down each side, effectively two large singles that meet at the head end, which gives us more room.  We can also lie across ways if under way, depending on which tack we’re on.  We also added ‘egg box’ design foam toppers, that would allow air to circulate better, and made new covers with zips so they’re washable, leaving the original cushion covers beneath as they are waterproof.

Loads of room in our cosy cabin

The transom windows were very scratched and the rims corroding badly so we got new ones made and ben fitted them.  They are 15ml solid acrylic which you can polish scratches out of.  Water had been leaking in and had started to de laminate the fibreglass, so he had to inject resin between the layers and clamp it before fitting the new windows.

We wanted to get the pilot house window re made so it opens, as mentioned in my last post, but in the end we just couldn’t afford it.


We ground out and re filled the osmotic blisters, then applied three coats of anti foul paint (how expensive?!), fitted new anodes, polished and sealed the hull, reground and greased the seacocks and fitted new clips.


Whilst the mast was down Ben fitted a new AIS antenna and masthead tricolour.  When taking it down we found a lucky penny had been placed under the shoe that it sits in, dated 1975, the year of launch.  We made sure to keep it safe and replaced it when the mast went back up!

Lucky penny!

We remarked the anchor chain using cable ties in a system we could remember…black marks 10m and white marks 20m, so looking at the chain it goes 1 x black (10m), 1 x white (20m), 2 x black (30m), 2 x white (40m), 3 x black (50m), 3 x white (60m) etc.  We found leaving the tails sticking out meant they caught in the windlass so we put them length ways around two links and cut them short.

Ben also inspected all the chain plates and replaced the two that has been leaking and corroded.

With the new sails, covers and stack packs and a new life raft she is looking pretty smart.


Work still to do, but can be done underway: deck maintenance, pilot house woodwork, saloon seats to recover, storm sail set up, toe rail in cockpit, dry seal bellows on stern gland, cockpit cushions, fender socks.

Wish list: water maker!, twin headsail downwind set up

All in all a hard few weeks and expensive but you don’t get anywhere for nothing!  For us it’s working towards a less conventional lifestyle that is as self sufficient as we can be, away from the daily grind.  Many thanks must be given to Andy and Gail, the previous owners, who are always on hand to give advice and answer the many questions we have, and also Iain Cooke who has helped us out with all our safety equipment, given lots of advice and been a huge support.

We are back in the water now and currently anchored in Dartmouth, having a beer and about to fire the barbie up…We reckoned we deserved a day of rest and recuperation before we head back to finish the house!

Two weeks and counting till we start our adventure and sail south 🙂


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