A month of boat jobs in Ipswich

So I’ll try not to bore you to death with a long god awful description of dull jobs. Actually I will.

The guys from the yard called on me first thing to get me lifted out.

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Toilet pump replacement

Trina changed my toilet pump, waheeeeey! For reasons unknown to me, my new boat helper actually volunteered to carry out this rather unpleasant job without any form of torture, bribery or drugs.


Keel maintenance

Boat owners with bolt on keels will inevitably have some keel maintenance to attend to at some point. The Halmatic has a long bolt on iron keel, and where it joins the main hull of the boat mine needed a bit of attention. Again Trina came to the rescue, and with a bemusing level of enthusiasm she got to work scraping out any loose visible debris. Meanwhile I sat in the cabin sipping tea and tapping a hammer against a piece of wood, to simulate that I was indeed working.

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After all the old crud has been removed, it was left to dry out.

I then painted the gap between the keel and the hull with epoxy primer. After this I filled in the gaps with a generous amount of CT1 which is similar to Sikaflex, and by all accounts works much better under water based on other peoples experiences.

Your main aim is basically to prevent water ingress, which will corrode the keel bolts over time, a frightening thought. God I wish I had an encapsulated keel! But we all have our problems 😀

Once this was completed, a coat of anti foul primer was applied and the rest of the boat was anti-fouled.

Fix something, break something, that is my mantra!

A typical day working on the boat normally involves fixing one thing, and creating 2 more jobs. I replaced a broken switch on my BEP switch panel, and then broke the cover. Typical.

Failed Marelon seacock

I changed my broken Marelon seacock for a new one. Replaced my raw water intake seacock with your bog standard bronze one, and also replaced an old one that served no function in preparation for a sea tap.

I’ve now done a U-turn on my opinion on plastic seacocks. Given the choice I would not go for plastic seacocks again. I’ll explain why. Marelon seacocks are more expensive because they don’t corrode, however my seacock lasted less than two years and broke without any warning. Replacing a Marelon seacock with a like for like replacement is not so easy.

Firstly the boat has to be out of the water.

Secondly, the white mushroom plastic piece that screws into the seacock from the outside will not come off easily, as when installing you need to gunk it up with sikaflex, so this needs to be destroyed in order to remove the seacock. However if a normal bronze seacock needs replacing, you can easily unscrew the old one and fit a new one without having to remove the skin fitting. Replacing a bronze seacock was significantly cheaper, quicker and less destructive.

Finally, I was less impressed with the attitude and support given. I would have expected Forespar to have insisted on getting the failed one back to investigate the reasons for it breaking, but they didn’t seem bothered, and it doesn’t seem to be a one off occurrence. Therefore I would rather have bog standard bronze ones, which I can do a visual check on for corrosion, and if necessary replace at a fraction of the cost without the need for a liftout.

Installing a sea tap

Another job I started was installing a seatap. The importance of conserving water on long passages came to light from my experience sailing to Spain and St Lucia on Oliver and Carlottas boat Troskala.

I’ve used a previously blanked off seacock, and have run a pipe to the cupboard under the galley sink. I’ve also drilled a hole through the kitchen work top and just need to decide on which type of manual footpump to use. Sorry this is probably sending you to sleep as you read this.


Topsides polished

Alan Wyatt who’s based in Ipswich did a cracking job at restoring my topsides, which hadn’t been done since I bought Excalibur. The results were amazing and she looks like new (for now). Alan was recommended to me through the YBW forum. His contact details are in this post should anyone need his services.

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Other jobs

I fitted a new table leg for my dodgy table. That’s still work in progress.




I’ve fitted these nets everywhere in the boat. They’re bloody amazing. Storage space on a 30ft boat is always at a premium so this is a great way to squeeze out a bit more.


I’m now addicted to threadlock, that went on the tiller bolt to stop that falling off, and adorned the thread of many other lucky lucky bolts around the boat.


Excalibur now has soundproof engine insulation inside the companionway steps, though I haven’t noticed any discernible difference. Excalibur still sounds like a Cornish tractor to me.


It transpired my fixed VHF radio is toast and needs replacing. I’m going to rely on my two handheld VHF radios for now until I can afford a new one. My sailing exploits won’t take me to far from land, though as Gus pointed out crossing Traffic Separation Schemes without a longer range radio may be unwise.

Dolphin sails stitched a new leather patch on the sprayhood and covered up some rips. When the topping lift is taken off, the boom comes down too low and rubs up against the sprayhood, so another job will be to get a sailmaker to trim the main as its too big.

There’s been countless more jobs carried out, but you don’t need to hear about them.




Fox’s didn’t get round to doing any of the jobs other than testing the chartplotter and VHF radio, which was disappointing. However they were fair with the lift out and storage costs and we left on good terms. I was very grateful that they were able to lift me out at such short notice, this time of year is their busiest time. Also after a bit of investigation, some jobs I was going to ask them to do I can probably do myself and save a bit of money.

Jobs to do include rebedding two stanchions, genoa track and chain plate reinforcements.

All in all, working on the boat in Ipswich was a heck of a lot easier than say Birdham Pool, mainly because the chandlery is just around the corner.

I’m pretty sure every sailor has experienced the same cringe worthy moment at the counter of a chandlery,  covered in muck, stinking to high heaven of eau de bilges, as you slowly look up and your eyes meet the cashiers eyes, you nervously joke “Hi me again, can’t keep away today huh”  *forced laugh* knowing you are one gigantic pleb for not being able to A, buy the correct parts, and B think ahead that if you buy those hinges then you’ll probably need to buy those screws, or if you buy that tin of paint you’re going to need that brush, or even that you should have opted for a couple more metres of rope just to be on the safe side to do that job, now you may as well keep the old bit as it’ll come in handy, and hand over your card once again for another £50 of rope. Oh that was a cheap one you say to yourself, in a bid to quell the ball aching pain coming from your wallet that is your bank card crying out “no more no more!!”

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Author: Tim Butler

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