Saturday, 14 November 2015

Laid up for the winter

                                                  October evening on the Swale

This years autumn was warm with mostly light winds. It was tempting to keep the boat out on its mooring for a few weeks longer to get in a bit of winter sailing. But however warm it is in the middle of the day, the heavy dews on  long winter nights mean that at this time of year the damp gets in everywhere down below and never really dries out. So on a warm and sunny day at the end of October D and I  took Bonita up Faversham creek on a spring tide to her winter mud berth alongside the sailing barge Mirosa.  Everything which can absorb moisture has been taken out to be stored ashore, as well as a lot of other portable and semi-portable gear.

The boat is now snug and dry under her winter covers waiting for the spring. There is plenty of maintenence work to be done, but nothing too major unless we find some unpleasant surprises while cleaning out.
The fresh water tanks have been removed and cleaned out following (justified) complaints from the crew about discolouration and sediment. There is always painting and varnishing to be done, and most years I try to clean and paint out a section of the bilges so it all gets done in rotation. Wood preservative gets squirted into every accessible crevice and corner. Leaks in the deck and cabin get tackled, sadly not always successfully.
It would be too much work to get the whole boat looking like new: someone once told me she always looks as though shes about 20 years old. Thats probably good enough for an old lady.

                                                               Under the covers

And what plans for next year?  Winter is a time for planning, browsing through charts of far away places and sounding out possible crew about their plans for the summer. I am hoping to get a bit more time off next year to give us the chance to wander a little further afield.