Thursday, 18 September 2014

Hermione, the beginning.......

So after selling my previous boat I was planning on taking a break from all things nautical for a while and seeing what else I could do with myself.

This didn't last long as I realised I still had unfulfilled sailing ambitions and realised if I didn't do it at this point in my life I might never get round to it.

I don't have any real 'life changing' plans, or a willingness to go and 'find myself' in the never ending oceans of the world...more of an eagerness to experience some proper ocean sailing and maybe get to the Med or the Azores in one piece by myself.

I also fully accept that I might not even like it and decide I am simply happy pottering around coast lines or hopping across the channel from time to time.

Nevertheless I think now is the time to do it.

So with a rough plan the next thing I needed was a vessel!

As I am not intending to spend the rest of my life afloat on one particular boat I decided I was not going to throw all of my money into a yacht that was ready to go, and sail off, only to return some weeks later because it wasn't for me and to sell the boat and lose a whole load of money.

I decided to do what I Have done before and buy something that needs work, the advantage here is that the initial outlay is less, the work can progress at my own speed and also I would get to know every inch of the vessel thoroughly, this I have found is a great reassurance whilst at sea.

So I started to look in all the usual places and quite soon came across a Conyplex Contest 33 which was languishing in a marina looking somewhat unloved to say the least.

After 2 visits to Woodbridge I decided to make an offer which was accepted to my surprise and the deal was done!

Hermione lives at the moment in Woodbridge,Suffolk,which is arguably one
of the prettiest locations on the East Coast of England.
Unfortunately I live in Kent and as much as I would love to keep the boat there I fear the Travelling will be too restrictive.

So I have arranged for Hermione to be transported by road, by Squirrel Marine to the Medway area in Kent at the end of September so Saturday was the only day I could get there in order to prepare for the mast to be taken off in preparation for her journey and to do some cleaning, I did also manage to have a good look at some of the blisters on the hull that I had seen prior to purchase.

Because I made the decision not to keep the boat at Woodbridge due to the travelling time I decided not to start the project in ernest, but only to get her as de-grimed as possible.

I was quite pleased with the results of just using a 110 bar pressure washer.

It was fairly hard going but only took around 90 minutes to do both of the top sides.

The problem as always with this type of project is that as you get to see more of the boat closely more jobs are added to the list.....

Once I had finished jet washing the Hull I decided to have a look at some of the blisters that I had seen when I first viewed the boat prior to purchase.

There are around 6 blisters in total, all around 15-20mm in diameter so I decided to open one up.

The liquid oozed from inside but did not smell at all as I thought it might....

With a screwdriver I gently chipped around the blister until the gel coat would not come away any more, I guess it was approx 50-75 mm in total.

My plan is to strip the hull of antifoul taking it back to the Gelcoat, then repairing the blisters individually before recoating with a barrier coat etc.

Talking of more jobs......I also found out that Hermione at some stage in her life has been painted white, and what looks like the Gelcoat underneath is more of a creamy colour, I am not sure how I will tackle this yet.

I can only go two ways, either repaint or take the risk of stripping back to find the original gelcoat in the hope that its not in too bad a condition.

Finally I haven't seen this set up before on a yacht and wondered if anyone shed some light on how its supposed to work, I am guessing its designed to spread the load. 


  1. Re: "wondered if anyone shed some light on how its supposed to work"
    As you posted this along time ago, I suspect you have worked this out. However, my guess is that it is to allow the mast to be lowered using the tabernacle, without the need to detach the cap shrouds and while maintaining shroud tension so the mast is supported. Apparently this is commonly done when you need to pass under low bridges to get out to sea.

  2. Thanks, and yes the guys at the contest owners website filled me in.