Wrestling with conger eels

Next on the never ending job list is fixing the rubbing strakes to the boat. Betty had two rows of these, wood in some places and rubber in others. This had pretty much perished and was removed. The new stuff wasn't cheap to buy (hell, what with this boat is!), nor was it cheap to attach (as ever, why stick one bolt on when a gazillion would do – this stuff ain't coming off!).

The job of attaching it has been a bit of a ball ache for tom and Ian. These pieces are about three metres long, they weigh as heavy as they look. To attach…. take a d shape rubbing strake, a plastic washer insert, bolts a plenty. Beta Iii is littered with 13mm holes in a pre-defined channel. We got over 200 m12 bolts (horrendous cost). The nut goes on the inside, so we drilled through a 5mm pilot from the inside out, then a 13mm bore hole from outside in. You really need a diagram here… then the washer strip is slid in and the whole lot bolted on. This is all done working at height – you have to get the rubbing strake about two meters off the ground and do a lot of running in and out of the boat and up and down ladders to fix everything in place. Fun times.

The job has triple negative characteristics of being fiddly, requiring precision, and involving incredibly heavy objects. Bit of an arse really. Fortunately the result is very pleasing. I can only describe it as having the framing effect of like giving the boat eyebrows. Really expensive, heavy, time consuming eyebrows.

Also big thanks to the chap at Wilkes (I have completely forgotten his name but it will come to me). He was super super helpful throughout the purchasing and fitting and turns out is one of the skippers of the Massey shaw so really knows his onions.


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