Why isn’t Goshawk in the water?!

It’s June and my Westerly Centaur, Goshawk of Møn is still on the hardstanding at Titchmarsh Marina! How can this be? Well it certainly wasn’t the plan! 

A couple of weekends ago, my friend Stephen and I met at Titchmarsh to do some work on Goshawk. Stephen is a certifiable genius, one of the smartest people I know, and an electrical whizz. He also quite likes boats. He seemed like the perfect person, therefore, to help me do some electrical work on Goshawk. He very kindly gave up his bank holiday Sunday to traipse up from London with a huge set of tools and a large rucksack full of cables and more. 

When we arrived at the boat we were quite surprised by the state of the interior. The mainsail and boom were in the cabin. The coolbox had been lifted out. Cushions were everywhere and lockers open. Miles of yarn crossed the cabin, pulled through in place of cables, presumably. It also appeared that the cable to the depth sounder had been cut, which was unexpected!

Still, we had lots to do and limited time, so we (well, Stephen!) got down to business. 

In order to drop the mast to replace the standing rigging the cabling needed to be disconnected from the junction box in the heads. Unfortunately this had completely seized up over the years and had to be smashed in order to release the cabling. Stephen had brought a replacement with him, and managed to remove the old broken box and install the new one.

Remains of the smashed junction box

Unfortunately the starboard navigation had been broken last year and was held together in its non functioning state by tape. I bought a new set (port and starboard) from the chandlery and we installed both of these. They’re rather smart-they have posh chrome inserts! They both now work too, which is advantageous.

Replacing the navigation lights

With mast down and lying alongside the boat it seemed like a good time to test all the electrics. Stephen disconnected the radio and plugged in a large length of cabling which he used to connect the lights on the mast to power. Most worked, but the masthead light appeared to be dead. It didn’t work and appeared heavily corroded. We popped back to the chandlery to buy a replacement but Stephen baulked at the £150 price tag. I was happy enough to pay it, but Stephen decided a better option would be to remove the existing unit, strip it down and give it a good clean and see if he could bring it back to life. He was successful, and so saved me £150!

Testing the power on the mast

The final task was to replace one of the saloon light fittings. A couple of seasons ago Claire and I were sitting in the saloon when one of the lights went off. A little later, after being turned off and then on again, the light worked, before then going off again a little while later. Stephen had previously managed to diagnose the fault-the fitting is bakelite, and as it warmed up it expanded just enough that the bulb dropped away from the fitting. As it cooled down, contact was restored and the light worked again. To resolve this, Stephen had crafted a new light fitting(!) made of brass(!!), so the final job for the day was to install this. 

As an aside, a couple of years ago the original Westerly lampshade broke. Last week I posted about this on the Westerly Owners’ Association’s Facebook page. One of the other members, Phil, replied to say that he had a lampshade from a Centaur that he didn’t need, and that I could have it for the cost of the postage! What a result, and how kind of Phil! Westerly owners really are the best. 

It was quite a late finish at Titchmarsh but we got a lot done, and I’m so grateful to Stephen for giving up his time and lending me his expertise. 

So, with all of that work completed, why is Goshawk still not in the water?

The plan had been for Titchmarsh to put the mast up in the subsequent week, but unfortunately the wind on the east coast was just too strong, and they weren’t able to. Rather disappointing, since we had really hoped to get Goshawk around to Wrabness over half term, but it just wasn’t to be. 

I had confirmation earlier this week that the mast has now been restepped, however. Jim the rigger is now going to organise for the cables to be reconnected and the cabin to be restored to normal. I also had confirmation on Friday that my repaired genoa, with the new bolt rope to fit the new furler, was returned to the boat yesterday. Jim was going to reinstall this, but unfortunately it was too windy…

I think we’re basically there, however. With lighter winds forecast for the coming week, hopefully we can get the genoa fitted. Then we can try and find a day to sail her around to Wrabness, and arrange for her to be launched and the engine run up in readiness for this!

We better get some decent weather this summer after spending all this money on her this spring…!

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