Function is more important than aesthetics. Well, that’s the policy I have for maintaining ‘Sandpiper’. She’s quite a pretty boat with loads of character; the latter is both by design and use. One of the great things regarding her is that I’m not afraid of working her. Brand new boats like Boat Show exhibits are sometimes so perfect that one is scared of causing any blemish while sailing them; that is not the case with my darling little boat.
What does it matter if she sustains a few scratches here and there? That’s precisely what happened when I recently cruised her along the South Coast of England. The worst damage occurred when I tried docking at Plymouth Yacht Haven. My first attempt at coming alongside went wrong when the Force 6/7 wind took control and pushed her bow onto a piece of sharp metalwork. There was nothing I could do, other than let her fall back as she scraped against the offending piece of metal. Considering the force of the wind and the movement of waves that played their part in ‘wounding’ ‘Sandpiper’, she was not damaged as much as I thought she would be – only a few indentations to her rubbing strip near the bow on the starboard side.
This afternoon I sanded parts of the boat’s woodwork and applied varnish and paint where appropriate. The rudder and stock required most doing to them, because I had not thoroughly varnished the stock at the beginning of the season, nor had I painted the rudder. The lower parts of the rudder and stock were often immersed in water, and consequently they were subject to marine growth in the form of weed. Once during my cruise I scrubbed weed off them, but it wasn’t a great chore, as I could easily and speedily remove the rudder and stock while the boat was afloat.
Once again, I am reminded of how little maintenance my ‘C’ Type West Wight Potter requires. Likewise, because of her diminutive size, she is cheap to keep.