Real Launch Date, Photos & The Pink Panther

It's been a busy last two weeks, with three days lost pointlessly in London on work... I was then offered to have a tour of the Solent on a Nicholson 35 for two days, and consequently pushed back my launch date again... This time to the 15th - But, unless something goes drastically wrong, I will definitely be launching, as everything is already nearing completion. The additional week may mean I can have the Diesel ready by the launch, as I was intending on getting towed to the berth because I didn't have the money to service the engine and get new batteries in time. Next week I am going to see Jeremy Rogers, to buy a new transom mount gudgeon, and with any luck ask a few questions about my Contessa. It was great to see the Solent at last - After looking at it from practice charts. We sailed out of Gosport, past all the Destroyers and Aircraft Carriers, and back onto to the River Hamble, to have a canvas company double stitch the sail cover. The next day we sailed West, and chased a square rigger back to Gosport.

I was rudely awoken last week, as the tractor slotted into my cradle to move the boat to a new position. I ran out onto the cockpit half dressed waving my hands. Luckily, the yard staff had a laugh and I climbed down, and was moved into a much better place for painting, instead of sitting on the 'highway' which is dusty, and I'm always nervous someone is going to drive past and clip me.

I found out a place for cheap paints, and was kindly driven over by a friend to a very sketchy looking boatyard not from from the River Hamble. The paints and anodes were stored in a shipping container, and everything was 50% off retail. I have no idea if it all fell off the back of a truck, or whether it is expired, but whatever it is, I'm a cheap skate and I was giggling like a child at the thought of not having to pay Chandlery prices.

The rudder reconstruction has also been difficult to content with, because I've been waiting on some free teak planks. I've eventually given in because of time restraints, and purchased two pieces of Iroko (thanks for the tip Rich!) instead, rough sawn for 20pounds. As you well know, I've never rebuilt a rudder, so I'm just trying to do what seems logical with this whole thing... I have a pattern made up, and just need to get access to a table saw to make the cuts. I'll then epoxy the cheeks on, and through-bolt them.

Photos and descriptions below:

Trying to dry cloths.

The rudder template.

Square Rigger
Square rigger in the Solent.

At anchor for the night in Gosport, England.

Pontoon BBQ. These guys are amazing! Karin is always making me up something to eat, and Rob has to deal with far too many questions from me.

My boat has been named The Pink Panther - For now, until I paint over in red.

The planks I will attempt to turn into a rudder