For the last 18 months very little boat-related unfortunately. Turns out three kids under 5 and navigating a retail business out of the pandemic doesn’t leave much time for boat stuff. We’ve visited a lot and have definitely got a soft spot for Woodbridge and the area. Particularly the fish and chips and pubs – there are no other fish and chips like Suffolk fish and chips.
I have to dig out the pictures of Beta being towed round Felixstowe- I have them somewhere and they are pretty impressive. Soon she arrived in Woodbridge and, after dropping off the engine upstream (more on that later..), was in her berth on Woodbridge quay.
Who knew how much work three small children under 5 was? Turns out a lot. between the kids and the business, I barely have time to go to the loo let alone refurbish a boat. But things have been bumbling along nonetheless. Also further complicated by covid and lockdowns – hey, wasnt everything?!?
In October 2020 – between lockdowns!!! – we put Beta back in the water and took her to her new mooring in Woodbridge. This was our number one choice for a mooring – train station, easy road access, possible to tow the boat there from Ipswich and – importantly – affordable (the marinas don’t stack up with price per foot for larger boats). We were SO LUCKY to finally get a mooring there and are ridiculously grateful to Sam and Emma for taking us on. Things do sometimes turn on a pin and having sorting this, the whole project went from stressful white elephant to looking like it was much nearer completion.
Just the question of getting there… Foxtons were more than happy to sling us in the water and – I’m sure – to see the back of us! They were great but we aren’t a yacht and they needed the space back. Just the question of getting there and, on the river Orwell, turns out Tam is your man for shifting boats.
And the launch. I think I must have been about 6 or 7 months pregnant here. Probably not a recommended situation for stress levels. For a ship the size it is, Beta moved and launched pretty smoothly. Props to the Fox’s team here. Fortunately all my nightmares of there being a big glug and Beta swiftly sinking to the bottom weren’t realised and once in, she stayed afloat.
A quick pic of the crew (all 4.5 of us!) in front of the newly painted Beta III. The latest round of blacking looks a treat and the hull might not look this smart again. Next job, welding the anodes on – the painting was the icing on the cake and these are like, um, the very expensive iced gems?
Putting Beta III back in the water means that there are quite a few jobs that we’ve been putting off for some time that are now urgent. The good news is that she has weathered the last couple of years in Ipswich remarkably well. There was some water in the bilge but this was dispatched by the pumps very quickly, also there is some water damage inside from leaks from the deck which happened before we got the cover (more on the cover at some other time!). But generally nothing that isn’t fixable fairly quickly.
The list as it stands.
Things we’ve done (always very motivated to start lists with completed items)
– BLACKING ON THE HULL: the last coat had deteriorated a fair bit due to UV and had become chalky. Tom has already done this and made remarkably quick work if it, particularly when I think what slow progress it was massaging all that jotamatic on to the hull.
– WINDOWS: there were two rogue windows that were never sealed and screwed in properly. I finally got another bunch of brass screws (although forgot to get the domed nuts) and they are in.
Things to do:
– ANODES: we have worked out what we need, got them on order and lined up a welder to attached them to the hull.
– DOOR: being out of the boatyard means upping the security and Ian has almost finished making a beautiful iroko door from the offcuts of the counter in our shop (which were originally science lab benches).
– THE LIFT: travel lift all taken care of by Fox’s Marina. And in a fit of sanity, I’ve opted to do the lift in one day, and the tow round the coast the next. Very sensible for my stress levels (should also comment that at 5 months pregnant, my involvement will be from the sidelines).
– THE TOW: got a chap lined up for this who assures me that it “might bounce about a bit” but is no problem. As ever, weather could prove a problem, so fingers crossed the wind plays ball.
– GENERAL CLEAN UP: once it’s moved, there’s absolutely no reason not to use it, so it needs to become less worksite and more gin palace. Nothing a deep clean can’t sort.
Cracking on before the 5 October deadline!
A quick check back through the blog suggests in has been a year since my last post and a phenomenal SEVEN YEARS since I started this hair-brained project. The boat is still out the water, albeit hundreds of miles from its first home in Rye, but looks very very different from where we first started. The last year has been a bit of a non-starter – pandemic anyone? Combined with crew member two and a lot of false starts with moorings.
Moorings remain the single trickiest most frustrating piece of the puzzle. For a boat this size, they are elusive and, while there are definitely more options in Suffolk than Rye, there is still a limit to how far we can go. The chap who whisked us effortlessly up to Ipswich has sold his lorry and many of the distances which seem close by as the crow flies, are a Herculean effort if towed round the coast. So while it seems like little has been happening, there have been monthly trawls of google maps for anywhere that looks like it might berth the boat and phone calls to boatyard after boatyard.
Persistence has paid off and we are thrilled to have a pretty much perfect spot for her. Launch date is planned for 5 October and I for one never thought that I would be saying that. The original unhelpful shot blasting chap who said that the project would never be finished was wrong! It might have taken seven years but it has finally come off. A big pat on the back to all involved.