A skipper/owner worth his chalk will want to deepen his relationship with the vessel of his choice. Part of the process is exploring her physical makeup. At first there is the visual perusal which excites the mind and the emotions; this is followed by in-depth scrutiny to the extent that the examination becomes tactile. Only after the minutiae have been explored can there be a full understanding of what the relationship is all about.
Some will say that a boat has no spirit, but few would not admit that a boat with great character does have a spirit, malevolent or benign, as the case maybe. Almost all would define the gender of a boat as female. Only in this cuckoo age of neutrality and political correctness would a boat be classified as a neutered object. At least the French consider a boat to be masculine, but they are sadly wrong to call a boat ‘he’. Anybody who knows anything about boats will always refer to them as female. Experience will prove the point!
Well, I have reached the second stage of my relationship with ‘Sandpiper’. I am exploring her in depth with microscopic eyes. She has many blemishes and one or two larger defects that will need attention.
Between the rain showers I made a bold dash into her cabin with the purpose of examining the bolt that supports the galvanised centreplate. As far as I understand the system, the bolt does not pass through a hole in the centreplate; instead it passes through a slot so that the plate can more easily be removed from the centreplate case. Before that can be done, the sealing board that covers the slot at the top of the case must be removed to enable the centreplate to be lifted off the bolt.
I am hoping I shall not have to lift the centreplate out of the case, but my initial investigation points to the fact that I shall have to make seals of some kind to prevent water entering the boat. As things are, water could seep between the bolt and the edges of the holes. The easiest solution would be to pack the area with a good flexible sealant and to place penny washers either side before tightening the bolt - not too much, lest the centreplate case could be damaged. In fact, the case has been repaired forward of the bolt by the application of a layer of fibreglass, not perfectly done, but sufficiently well to strengthen that area.
If I am offshore, I need to be reassured that ‘Sandpiper’ will not spring a leak and that ‘she’ will be able to cope with inclement conditions.