With the boat snug in her new temporary home alongside my workshop it was time to fuel up the crew and remove the contents of the boat.
Those of you who are boat owners will understand the need for “adequate” storage space for the seemingly endless equipment that comes from a boat. I thought at the time that the contents of Dark Star would have caused Dr. Who some issues with the Tardis.
It seems like a good time in the process to define the purpose of this short refit. I had by this time owned the boat about ten years and it was time for a bottom job, topsides paint and to tackle that never ending list of “to do’s” that never seem to get to the top of the pile when there is the opportunity to sail.
I wanted to paint the bulkheads and lockers inside the boat, perhaps paint the deck head (currently varnished) but this was a major decision as paint over varnish is not easily reversed and also to find that annoying little leak that was delivering a little water (getting worse) underneath the engine. I had checked all (as I thought) obvious options and determined that it was fresh and not sea water so needed resolving before any rot got hold.
So the increasing amount of fresh water that was appearing under the engine was becoming a frustration and needed to be resolved before I could get on with the cosmetic jobs at hand. I had removed the bow pulpit that was on the boat when I bought her
and it was now time to remove the stern pushpit that also had mounts for the radar (of limited value so low down) and the wind generator which really didn’t work well when you were on the wind with the boat heeled. It would sometimes get into a sort of gyrating oscillation that seemed to threaten to tear it off its mount. The radar and generator uprights had been removed prior to her leaving the yard when she was lifted out as a result of concerns for overhead height.
The stern pushpit had two seats which my wife had affectionately christened “Gin and Tonic” and had been one of her favorite hang outs when weather permitted.
There were a couple deck pads on each side, you can see an upright in the picture above where the horseshoe buoy is located. The bolts went right through the deck and were easily accessed and removed on the port side. When released there was virtually no sealant of any kind under the pad and when removed completely much water (fresh) ran out of the aluminum upright, not good. All the aluminum removed allowed close examination of the surrounding area from below decks and the true horror was revealed.
No sealant had been applied around the through deck bolts by the company that had made and installed the stern pushpit and no weep hole in the uprights so they had served as reservoirs to store fresh water and provide it through the bolt holes as required. The result over however many years this had been happening, as they were already there when I bought her was that there was extensive rot in the port and starboard gunwhales, sub deck and aft bulkhead and I mean extensive with a capital E!