Update for the beginning of 2016

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Update for the beginning of 2016


I thought I would start this folder/renovation with a long overdue post, the story behind piccolo, and where she is at.

So, first off, piccolo is, we believe, a late readcraft boat. I bought her in mid 2013, from a guy called David Stephens, who had her located on grafham water. She came with a rather sad trailer, a random collection of sails, and a sort of working outboard engine, at least as old as the boat itself.

I paid about £1000 for the lot, which seemed OK. Not a great bargain, but at the same time not prohibitive. I'd had a local trailer firm look at the trailer and pronounce it safe once it had new bearings, and they did a full service and safety check, including looking at the trailer frame for rust etc. That cost a total of £400, including a pair of new tyres since the existing ones were a bit rotted.

That may seem a lot, but in my opinion, a solid braked trailer in good condition was worth it, and the whole lot together was within my budget. The boat needed work, but hey, I was buying a project, not perfection.

Once it was home, it sat on my driveway as I went over it with a fine tooth comb, marking down all the things I needed to do, repairs or improvements, etc.

I built a mast store out of garage bike hooks that meant the mast was in the back garden (where it wasn't going to get converted into cash by local metal thieves!). I built a mount for the outboard to store it on, I took down the rigging and checked it over, and then......I discovered my wife was 3 months pregnant with our first child, and suddenly the boat took a back seat!

Roll on two years, and apart from a lot of jokes about Noah and weather from my parents, nothing much was done to the boat beyond putting a tarp over it and focussing on getting the house ready for a baby, and then having ave a beautiful little girl called Robyn, who loves boats....no shock there).

That takes me to this summer (July 2015). The first time that things started to seem possible to do, other than looking after the little one. I suppose this wasn't helped by me setting up a business, then taking a new job as well, which all in all, kept me busy.

Anyhow, the next post you will see is the resurrection of the outboard. In July, I took my faithful socket set to the Yamaha p45 2hp 2 stroke engine, looked up service manuals on the Internet (I love the Internet!!!) and did a strip down and rebuild. Apart from having to grind out and replace seals, it just wanted a new water pump, and all looked fine. I fired it up and it all worked, sweet as can be. I'll give more details and a link to pictures and videos in the next post.

Roll on another six months. The engine sorted, I now turned my attention to the boat. This winter, I spent some time getting the cover off, scrubbing it, checking for problems, bailing it out, and generally making sure all was good. And it was.

Piccolo has a long list of things she wants, but more importantly, she is sound, clean, and barring a quick service on the trailer brakes to make sure they haven't seized, she is ready to get wet, at least as a motor boat.

I'm heading to the boat show in Jan, and will be picking up various things, including the wherewithal to fix the standing rigging (oh, I replaced all the running rigging too). Then I may need to look at the sails, but nothing more until she is floating.

And the long term aim....to take off the 90+ cleats and eyes that have been fitted, to fill the holes, to rub down and repaint her, replace the windows, and generally get her looking beautiful.

Oh yes....and to build space for a third bunk, so we can all go for a pleasant sail together as a family.

I reckon that with other things going on, there is a good few years of work to do, but so be it. I intend to take my time, have fun, and let you know all about it along the way.

And now, the New Years resolution. 2016 will be the year piccolo gets back in the water, and takes me, my wife and my daughter for a day out.

Good sailing and fair winds