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.
I hate complaining that I am too busy as it is all on exciting and interesting projects but time to record and research and reflect is non existent. Work on the boat has continued. The kitchen has been fitted and painted, there is seating, and a fire and a fully functioning bathroom (more on the shit and sawdust loo later).
The deck continues to be a pain…. the hot summer was not it’s friend with gaps opening up in the teak and a lot of leakage which damaged the floor below. We’ve tarped it over for the winter which doesn’t look great but will allow us to look afresh in spring and reassess what needs to be done and where the water is coming in. The launch has also been pushed to spring as, on balance, there was no advantage to being in the water earlier as the won’t use it as much over winter and it only increases the potential maintenance. She’s happy in Ipswich for the time being until he can make the big move to Fambridge in the spring.
New photos of the taps and bathroom.
I hate complaining I am too busy – it’s all fun stuff and never boring and I love doing all the bits I do – but it does mean that there is almost no time for blog writing. All the progress in the last three months on the boat remains undocumented which, given I have been tapping away on the keyboard for some five years, does seem a bit of a shame. So, in the interests of keeping some sort of record up, I’m going to avoid volumes of type and go for the picture and video approach. You’ll get the drift….
We left Betty with a newly installed log burner. Since then, all the interior cladding has been finished and painted, lights have been installed and the whole boat wired. There is a bathroom with bath, toilet and plumbing. The kitchen is finished and painted and there is running water. Doors are on the cabin and the bolt holes in the striker rail have been plugged. A lot of hard work that I have to credit Tom and Ian for. It looks blimmin amazing. Better than I had ever hoped in fact.
There is still a fair bit to do – a sink in the bathroom, worktops and a boiler – but considering how far we have come, it’s mere frosting.
Blog is woefully neglected at the moment but stuff is happening and so much more to update. More soon. In the meantime we have heating and fire
One of the best parts of this project has been hanging out in and getting to know Rye. It might be a hell of a drive and feel like you are practically in France, but it is a really pretty town with plenty going on and plenty of people more than willing to help out on Betty. We have literally searched high and low for a mooring so that once she is back afloat, we can keep her there. Alas it is not to be. There are relatively few large moorings in Rye, due mostly to the fact it is relatively small and the rivers are tidal with steep banks. They are too narrow and the bed slopes away too steeply to moor her stern on, like most of the smaller boats round here, and there aren’t spaces to put her side on. We have been hunting since the start of the year and pleading with anyone with any access to a bit of river bank. Alas, it isn’t to be. There simply isn’t anywhere. End of.
So, on to plan B and a new era for Betty in SUFFOLK. More on this later