When I go down to the BB11 boat shed on a wintery Thursday evening, it is still, after 15yrs, so nice to hear and see the ongoing winter repair and summer season preparation work in full swing. Usually before I have reached my own boat I will have stopped, watched, advised and discussed the various ongoing activities on several different boats.
The variation of methods and tools used for similar works by different owners is quite interesting – e.g. to remove old varnish – by sanding or hot air gun and scraping. Also the extent & quality of the finished work varies from owner to owner.
Over the years I have seen the emergence of two different groups of boat owners. At the initial boat restoration these ‘differences’ start to appear but tend to be minimal. However, as the completed boats age, then the different owner’s approaches widen into two groups.
Starting from the lifting out of the boats for winter storage, you will see differences. First the boat`s cradle – good condition or “hardly fit for purpose”. Once positioned inside the Båtbua, one group will remove items from within the boat that might require cleaning & dry storage. Sails are removed along with empty bottles and beer cans. The boat is given an internal spraying of oil, covered and layed up in a particular manner. For the other group, their boats tend to be left ‘as is’ until preparation for the coming season is commenced.
Preparation work for the coming season by one group is completed in a detailed and specific manner. Wood working is carried out using, what they consider as “correct” tools and sandpapers. Quality tools tend to be used. Painting and varnishing is methodical, using good paints and varnish. Deck equipment is removed prior to painting the deck. The overall finished package clearly shows the effort afforded, complete with an expression of pride on the owner`s face. For this group the preparation for sea setting is completed in a similar manner. Nothing is left to chance. Automatic pumps have been removed, cleaned and checked. Batteries fully charged. Fenders and ropes are all in place. And a neatly placed paddle oar is ready inside.
For the other group of equally enthusiastic sailors, the sea setting preparation tends to be carried out in a quicker and less methodical way. They know what has to be done, but it`s kept to the minimum requirements. Equipment and materials used are, maybe, purchased from Biltema. Painting sees the tell-tale marks left on deck items. Varnish work is sometimes completed in haste, leaving the resulting runs down both sides of the boat. Sea setting checks are minimal and tend to happen in the last hours before crane lorry arrives. (I have actually seen a complete coating of varnish being applied less than two hours before lifting onto the water). Unchecked pumps are connected to a half- charged battery, usually just by bare wires. More often than not some in this group slip into semi – panic mode, sooner rather than later, causing stir amongst everybody involved.
Two different groups continue to be visible when the boats are moored at the summer quays. Mooring ropes for the first group are usually the required size and length, arranged and tied in a self-proclaimed correct manner. For those in the second group, the differences are not big, but they are there.
It is also possible to identify the group differences during some regattas. One group may be a little more anxious for their boats. The competitive spirit is there but may, in certain circumstances, be held back in case of damaging their carefully maintained boat.
This article is not a criticism of either group, or the equipment/materials they use, rather my humorous and pondering insider’s view and observation, over the years, of a small group of enthusiastic wooden boat owners, who, in their various ways, contribute to the multi-national and varied bunch of BB11 enthusiasts which gives our club such a broad appeal. All of whom are fond of their boats and love sailing.
So which group do you belong to? Are you the fussy and thorough, well prepared boat owner, or are you more of the ‘happy go lucky ‘ type?
Next summer, take a look at the BB11 boats in gjestehavna. Neat ropes or heap of ropes?
Whichever group you are part of, I wish you all a good 2016 sailing season and enjoy your boat.