Pressure washed at last

I originally took the pressure washer aboard almost as soon as she was ashore. I expected that a quick blast around the deck would make such a difference to her appearance.  There are big patches of algae on some parts of the deck and piles of broken mussel shells and other fragments in others.  The base of each mast and the steering binancle are also thick green, and every deck fitting has a fillet of dirt along its edges.

So today the job is finally done and she does look much better for only an hour of effort!  What I hadn’t expected was the amount of paint that also came off.  Some pieces were plate size. The good news is that nowhere did it expose bare metal. The base primer coat seems very solid.

What’s in a name?

Changing the name of a boat is traditionally seen as unlucky – maybe it is – the boat currently known as Joss is on her third name and has not been blessed by fortune.

When launched she was called Tahi – if you are into the meaning of names this is initially promising.  In Maori it means (depending on the part of speech)  “One” or “In Unison”, or “To sweep”.  Similarly in Rapa Nui it means “One” or “Other one”.  In Kanamari  it means “Water” though there are only 650 Kanamari speakers and they are all in the Amazon so it’s unlikely anyone is going to walk up and say “Your boat is called Water”.  Meanings take a turn for the worse when we go to Indonesian laqnuages – in  Malay it means “droppings, dung,muck, flith, dregs” and it seems much more possible that someone will walk up and say with a snigger “Do you know what your boat is called in Malay?”.  Reverting to “Tahi” is suddenly less appealing.

When she first changed hands she was renamed “Summer Wind”.  It conjures up images of a pale coloured, delicate little yacht drifting quietly up river on the afternoon breeze while the sun reflects ripples of light onto her hull.  Fifteen tonnes of steel, two masts and a novice skipper don’t belong in this picture.  “Summer Wind” is out then, though here lies a difficultly – on her stern she still bears the name “Summer Wind” and its also on her MMSI registration, so from one perspective e that must be what she is called.  Except …

When we bought her she was referred to as Joss and we are now in the habit of calling her Joss.  It’s not necessarily a name I would have chosen, but it has a robust simplicity that I could live with.  It seems not everyone is convinced.  Perhaps the meaning doesn’t help “one of the Goths”;  black leather dodgers and black superstructure over a white deck anyone?

So now my task over Christmas is “to find a NEW NAME” and hence have a fresh start.  If it’s unlucky to rename a boat how does four names in 20 years stack up? Very unlucky or just inured to change? If her everyday name doesn’t match what it says on the stern does she really have a name that it would be unlucky to change anyway?

Faced with such dilemmas my plan is simple – do nothing for now – if there is a new name she should have it will somehow be made known and if not she will be called Joss – unlucky or not I can’t cope with “Summer Wind”.

Clearance done

We got the last of the clearing out done today.  All the cabins and lockers have been poked and peered into and generally the contents have bewen removed.  The aim is to have the boat stripped to empty ready to do some cleaning and then start on the refitting.


The sail maker collected the sails this morning and we went to see them in the sail loft in the afternoon.  Overall they are in very good condition.  As expected the UV strip has to be replaced but beyond that a good washing is all they need.  This improves the budget estimate!

Out of the water

Towed up river by Simon Turl and the Lumbering Elephant.  Its by far the least stressful way of getting up river.

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Once we got to Retreat Boatyard we had an 80 tonne crane waiting ready for the lift out.

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Two days later the weather changed and gales and rough water sank several boats on the river.

Sails and Rigging

The sails have to be off before the lift out.  I was a bit apprehensive with visions of the jib unrolling part way then jamming, or raising the main and not getting it back down again.  In practice the running rigging all worked very smoothly.  The boats I’ve chartered in the past have all needed far more effort to set and furl sails, this will be partly a benefit of the direct lines rather than leading everything back to the cockpit but its still encouraging.  The only obvious damage is to the UV strip on the edge of the jib.  The stitching is almost warn away in place and the fabric has weakened so that it tears easily.  The sailmaker will give an opinion I’m sure.

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From advert to ownership

I saw the advert in mid August 2014 (there’s a copy here:  SY Joss – Retreat details).  The first thing that caught my eye was a selling price of £1, the second was that it was a 40 foot ketch (I wanted a ketch of 35 foot) and finally I realised I knew the boat – it was just a few hundred metres down river from our own mooring.  A closer inspection of the pictures showed that it would need work – plainly for £1 there had to be a catch.  I moved on in my browsing and shortly after found a schooner on the Hamble that was £9000 to a good home. In nearly 10 years of scanning boat adverts I’d scarcely seen one such advert never mind two.  The schooner was wood but fully epoxy sheathed – this sounded worth a closer look.  I showed both adverts to my wife as expected the response to the schooner was not good “its wood”, then she looked at the 40 foot ketch and said “oh that’s quite nice”. Referring to a sail boat this was a phrase I’d not heard before – maybe I shouldn’t dismiss it as too much of a project after all.  I went back and looked at the advert more closely – clearly it wouldn’t do any harm to investigate a little.

The price of £1 was of course notional it was a boat that had been arrested by the Admiralty Marshall and it was to be sold by sealed bid at some point in the future.  The £1 was to register interest.  No there were no more details, no the history of the boat was unknown, and no I couldn’t go aboard for a look around.  I dithered, at times it seems too good an opportunity to miss, at others I had images of drug runners reclaiming their boat in the dead of night. The family were all enthusiastic with the exception of my wife who now realised she had said the wrong thing more out of a sense of politeness I suspect than any real enthusiasm.  By mid September a decision was made, I put in a bid – the closing date was still not clear, it seemed the Admiralty Marshall was uncertain.  Another month passed and the closing date arrived.  I was told that nothing could be said “until the fat lady sings but it looked like there was a chance I might be in a favourable position”.  Clearly the broker was a diplomat.

Two days later the bid was accepted and a further two days later we were the happy owners (well most of us were happy) of a 40 foot steel ketch.  And the schooner on the Hamble? – already sold when I enquired.