Category Archives: Winter Work 2014/15

We’re Afloat! (at last)

We launched on Thu 16 Apr 15 from the Yacht Haven Quay! At Last!

The Skipper drove the boat the half mile to the Yacht Haven to stay overnight in order to pressure wash the deck to get rid of 5 months of grime (there was lots). The new fuel tank was filled up with diesel (no leaks! but the tank had been pressure tested for at least 24 hours.) The re-sealed water tank was filled up and that didn’t leak either. So far so good.

Next stop, Cargreen Yacht Club … the skipper left at 12:30 on Friday, had fun departing single-handed in about 15knots of wind directly on the bow. As I walked the boat back on the pontoon the tiller flipped over and dragged the stern away and the wind caught the bow and we rotated the wrong way! In the end, I manoeuvered the boat around the long way and left. I want wheel steering which stays where I put it!

The engine alarm sounded on the way down to the marina, but when I ran it again later, it didn’t sound so the help I asked for from Gavin at Mount Batten Boathouse wasn’t needed. Ten minutes after the Skipper left, the %$£%& alarm sounded and stayed on all the way to Cargreen. It was only muted by jamming a sweater against it! All the warning lights were working correctly so I need a new Volvo alarm unit costing at least £120. Thanks Volvo, I’ll just disconnect it.

The new depth gauge works fine, however, I think I’ve set the zero incorrectly, ‘cos tidying up the fenders and warps, I ran aground when the gauge read 0.4m. It’s a small job to adjust with the manual in hand.

Seventy minutes later, the Skipper picked up our mooring at Cargreen. It’s great to be back afloat. We hope to go for a day sail in a few days when the tides are favourable.

Cuchulainn afloat for the 2015 season at Cargreen

Cuchulainn afloat for the 2015 season at Cargreen

Launch Date Looming

I finished the two major jobs back in Feb; since then I’ve been doing all the other little jobs that needed doing. Hardly enough to justify writing the info in the blog.

As soon as the fuel tank was complete, the cockpit locker was filled with the contents of the aft locker and work started in there. Sadler 34 gas drain is via the cockpit drains which are always full of water because of the way they run! No good as gas drains; we now have a dedicated drain from the locker to the hull.

I removed the heater (probably original ~1997) that wasn’t connected to the fuel tank, didn’t have a fuel pump or a control panel. Those items alone will cost £500, goodness knows how much it would cost to get the heater working which stopped being supported by Eberspacher about 5 years ago! Better to buy a new one, which we will do next winter. I ground back the exhaust hole and patched with glass and finished with gelcoat.

We have a new outboard motor bracket on the pushpit, replacing the rotten bit of ply that could have been original.

The engine has been de-winterised and was run up after bleeding the fuel through to the engine. Runs very well and much quieter with all the new soundproofing.

I’ve spent some time tidying all the 12v cabling throughout the boat ending up with a bagful of bits of excess cable. I’ve also installed a new vent for the heads and included a fan. (£5 from Maplin, computer cooling fan!)

The major holes and mess around the chart table has been tidied up, rubbed down and varnished. Unfortunately, it means that I will have to varnish the rest of the interior!

The dinghy has been cleaned up, although we nearly bought a much newer one; it now has a homemade GRP seat. We hoped to move nearer the causeway and would be well within rowing distance. However, it proved to be too shallow for us. The previous occupants only drew 1.1m.

We STILL have leaks from around the forehatch. I hope that I will have time to remove it, clean up the base and refit before we launch. Otherwise, it will be done during a day afloat.

We’ve done the antifouling; All the string has been put up and the mainsail rigged, although I got the reef lines mixed up.

Launch is on Thusday; we’ll spend the night at the Yacht Haven to pressure wash the deck, refuel and fill up with water. We’ve even bought a hose pipe specially. The plan is for the Skipper to go up to the mooring at Cargreen on Friday. However, if it’s a nice day, I may have a quick sail but don’t tell the Boss!

Tanks now Complete!

I was worried that I hadn’t put enough hardener into the resin for the cockpit locker. On the next visit to finish the job, the first thing I checked was that the resin had set – it had, if it was still sticky, I wasn’t sure what I would do. The final job to the fuel tank was fixing down the fuel hoses and ’tis done. Just add fuel! I’ve got some but the rest will be done after launch in April.

New Fuel Tank in Position

New Fuel Tank in Position

I connected the breather tube for the water tank quite easily. But the feeds for the water to the taps needed extra tubing as well as the filler tube both meant a trip to Gavin at Mt Batten. Getting the filler tube onto the elbow inside the locker with a heat gun and lots of heaving and shoving. Eventually, I got the tube on, then cut it to fit onto the elbow on the tank. Loadsa jubilee clips later, ’tis done.

Water Tank Reconnected, Resealed with new Hatch Covers

Water Tank Reconnected, Resealed with new Hatch Covers


Is this a Home Straight?

Probably not!

I’ve finished the fuel tank, which is connected up to the engine fuel lines and the support shelf is now glassed in so that it cannot move. Just add fuel! I bought some beige colouring for resin and I’ve covered all the glass repairs I’ve made in the cockpit locker so they are now better comaflaged with the right colour-ish instead of bright white on beige gelcoat.

The water tank was sterilised with Milton and the lid was sealed down with Silicon sealant and about 60 screws. Thank goodness for electric screwdrivers! I had cut a second inspection hatch into the lid and had two stainless steel covers made. I fixed those down with the same sealant and 18 screws in each. Last job is to re-connect tubes and the level sender unit, then it’s done!

I’ve installed a substantial fiddle for the larger bookshelf at the chart table – a hinged affair, looks the job but a bit agricultural! Just need to make a fiddle for the smaller shelf. That will be a wood batten fixed between two slots.

As is usual, it’s the fiddley bits that take the time, so I’m finishing the soundproofing very slowly. This also means that I had to fix down the fuel line again as well as the engine control cables and 12v cables for the windlass. That’s now done and I can now fix the soundproofing around them. Possibly a day’s work!?

I’ve found some hinges for the heads doors and will fix them on my next visit. One door is varnished temporarily. It really needs stripping completely, repair the water damage to the laminate and re varnish. Sadler really did cut corners and didn’t even use WPB ply but standard interior ply. Plonkers.

I’m getting near the end of the winter jobs.


Working in the Freezer!

By Heck, it was cold this morning! Made worse, ‘cos I was finishing off the fixings for the stainless steel fuel tank. I collected the tank last week, did a rough fit and “modified” the three steel tags for location by extending the bolt holes by 3 mm and modifying the batten and the shelf that it held up. Today, I bolted the batten in, knocked in the shelf, replaced the temporary bolts with tapered spacers and now it’s solidly fixed. Jobs left here are: glassing in the shelf (warmer temperatures needed), connecting the engine feed and return, sealing off the outlet for the heater. I’ve connected the breather and filler tubes. Great, nearly done!

To warm up, I inserted the supporting blocks of wood into the soundproofing for the cooling water strainer, stop lever and external fuel filter. They are now all fitted but I forgot the engine bay fire extinguisher! Job for when it’s warmer.

I’ve managed to lose a couple of hinges for the heads and forecabin doors – they’re purpose-built and goodness knows where they are. A serious hunt will take place in due course.

The only significant job left is finishing the water tank: sterilise the inside, seal and fit the lid (60-something screws) and the two inspection hatches (another 30 screws). Otherwise t’s cleaning and tidying and putting the two doors back as well as all the string, sails etc etc.

Pictures next time, I hope.

Soundproof Engine Bay

Last Wed, I spent most of the day cutting pieces of soundproofing cut to fit into the engine bay around the engine. If you want to do this job easily – first remove your engine! The rear door to the engine was easy to do as I removed the door! It was a case of cut & fit & glue. However, the sides of the bay by the engine were done in 4 pieces and then the joins were covered with aluminium tape.

I have begun to cut holes in the soundproofing for the fuel filter, engine stop handle, water strainer and fire extinguisher. I’ve made wooden blocks with the necessary fittings for all the items. Next task is to fit the blocks and hope everything works! I’ve just got the small bits to fit that will fill the edges etc.

Dave Wiley has finished the tank, I saw it in his workshop being pressure tested. I expect it will be delivered sometime next week. The shelf is ready but will need cutting to fit.

Working on and in Tanks

The model of the fuel tank was delivered to Dickie B after the New Year, only to discover that the steel fabricator thinks that the 5 bolts are insufficient to take all the weight with the leverage. When full of fuel it will weigh around 180Kg; I think that he has a point! Back to the drawing board to reserrect the shelf that I intended to use if I bought a plastic tank. I’m also going to forced to fit it AFTER the tank has been installed! Not easy, ‘cos there will be very little space under the tank.

Everything is ready for the fitting of the water tank lid, except for warmer weather. The sealant should have around 10°C. The recent max is around 5°C. I’ve cut the hole for the 2nd inspection hatch so I can now get to clean the whole of the inside, if necessary. I have fitted a water level gauge, unfortunately, the only place I can fit it is in the recess where the lid is inside the trotter box. This means that the gauge will read full until ¾ but when it reads empty it is empty! The cover of the sender unit is too tall to put anywhere else.

The fridge is now fully working, Merve from Mt Batten Boathouse diagnosed a blown fuse that I had missed. The replacement thermostat is fitted and the final job is to put some insulation onto the lid. ANy ideas where I can get suitable stuff?

The engine bay is getting new and proper sound insulation instead of open-cell foam. One part was soaked in oil & diesel and given half a chance would have burnt nicely. As Merve (see above) said, “you would probably die from the fumes from the foam before anything else”. He’s normally a very cheerful chap! The engine covers/companionway steps in the saloon have been done; it’s quite easy placing sheets of sound insulation with contact adhesive in a workshop but sticking sheets around the engine mounts will be fun!

I’ve made a new outboard engine bracket for the pushpit and a hinged fiddle for the bookshelf for A4 books at the chart table. I’ll be test fitting both on my next visit prior to varnishing.


Happy New Year

Thirty-six hours after the hangover, I went to the boat to continue sorting the instrument panel and the fuel tank. This was a reasonable day with wind but no rain.

The Raymarine network demanded that I use numerous connectors and a connector block at great expense so I soldered the narrow connectors (x9) to a single cable at almost zero cost instead of £50+. All the instruments are connected – new Depth sounder, existing Windspeed and Boatspeed. The chartplotter is now fitted to the middle of the instrument panel and reconnected. Better still! It works!

Completed Instrument panel fully working

Completed Instrument panel fully working

Next Mon, I hope to order the new fuel tank. I have marked up the full scale model (plywood) where the full outlets, breather, filler, return should be positioned. The model is 330mm wide and the cockpit locker where the tank will go is 345mm wide – it’s a very tight fit! It was quite easy to bolt the ply version, however, the stainless steel version will be very heavy and may need extra help to fit. Watch this space.

Full Size Wooden Model of Fuel Tank

Full Size Wooden Model of Fuel Tank

I bought the gauges for both the water tank and fuel tank. The next job is re-fitting the water tank lid and make it watertight.

Just before Christmas, in the postal rush, ASAP Supplies delivered the sound-proofing for the engine bay. Now that will be fun to fit! Come and watch if you want to learn some new words!


Not a Month off!

It’s a month since my last post, however, we have been doing quite a bit to the boat as well as everything else. Worse still, the hard disc crashed on this computer which has taken a few days to sort, lost the username/password for this blog and got snowed under with stuff from the other website that I run for the sailing club.

After the removal of the old fuel tank, I’ve made a space model for the new tank out of ply and I will be using the original bolt fixings to secure it. I had a quick look at another Sadler34 in the yard and discovered that the original tank is canted away from the bulkhead which will make fixing with thick spacers fun! Today, I hoped to take it to DickieB for them to manufacture, however, they’re off until 5 Jan. There’s plenty of time – famous last words!

The new instrument panel is installed, with the new depth gauge and loudspeakers; wiring up will take a little time as I’ve got to fiddle around with the chartplotter which will be fixed on top of the instrument panel.

New Instrument Panel

New Instrument Panel

The wiring that I did before launch was, to say the least, a little messy. I’ve started to tidy it up. The windlass cables in the forecabin look much better. I have noticed that we STILL got a very small leak from one of the deck fittings. More crackcure needed!

We bought a battery charger which works fine, it even restored our completely flat caravan battery! Cables that came with the unit mean that it can be permanently wired in – a job for later!

Merve from Mt Batten Boathouse serviced the engine and has replaced all the engine mounts. The old ones were worn out and one was actually for a different engine. No wonder the engine vibrated and the shaft was out of alignment! Next job is to install the new sound-proofing.

The cockpit table will not wobble as much next year ‘cos I’ve strengthened it up with a full backing plate and we will have an extra securing loop for safety harnesses for the helm. There were numerous holes in the cockpit that I’ve filled with gelcoat. All the old paint that a previous owner put on has been removed – it came off with scraping, however, another previous owner tried to remove it with paint-stripper but that has stained the gelcoat. Eventually, we will repaint the whole of the topside. I would really like to replace the rotten ply teak in the cockpit with plastic teak but we should do that after we paint.

Winter Work!

Winter work started in earnest on Sun! The Skipper went down to finish clearing stuff out, sleeping bag, pillows, &c. I thought that I would make a start on clearing the cockpit locker of the 200litre fuel tank.

I had bought two 25litre cans and pumped out the diesel from the existing tank, however, only one was needed, oops not much fuel then! Removed the webbing that secured the tank, removed the fuel connections, rotated the tank thro’ 90deg and removed it much too easily! It’s now stored on deck. Anyone know someone who needs a perfectly serviceable 200l fuel tank? One’s going cheap-ish!

That left the supports: a very small amount of cutting removed what glass fibre that was securing the platform meant that I could very easily lift and remove it. I pulled most of the fibre glass of the side of the locker wall ‘cos no attempt had been done to grind it back to get a good adhesion (EXCELLENT! = nice and clean locker!) The supports took only a couple of kicks with my heel to remove them and virtually all the fibreglass. I have no idea how 200 litres of fuel (= 180Kgs) would have survived in a very rough sea. What I thought would be a 2 day job was done in half a day. Lovely, but I will pay for it later!

Cockpit Locker after old tank was removed

Cockpit Locker after old tank was removed but I’ve already removed most of the debris and water

The Boss came to the boat on Sun to help with re-seating the boarding ladder on the transom, definitely a two person job, me inside and her outside. The Boss went shopping and stuff, while I got one with cleaning the debris out of the cockpit locker and starting with the design of the platform for the new tank. More later….

Where the new fuel tank will go

Where the new fuel tank will go

Another long job was the removal of the lid for the water tank, under the Starboard saloon berth. It leaked from around the join. The forum had stories of using long levers and even a car jack to remove it. I undid the 50 screws holding it (I did forget one!). Got a screwdriver under the lid, followed by a wooden wedge and hey presto, off it came. Although I had to cut the tubes ‘cos I couldn’t remove them. We now have a smelly, slimy water tank to clean, sterilise and put back together with the correct sealant, instead of the rubbish that was there. At the same time, I’m replacing the glassed in copper tubes with proper bulkhead connectors and adding a contents gauge. The Boss has promised to do the cleaning! There is osmosis inside the tank in the fibreglass; I’m going to ignore it but ask the Sadlers Owners forum for their thoughts.

I enjoy being at the Yacht Haven Quay, I went to see the office to ask what can be done about the boat being chocked bow up. I said that I knew it was bow up but didn’t really mind but the gas locker was filling up with water, could you do something about it. Quick as a flash, Will said, “well drill a hole in it!” No Will! Anyway they’re going to re-chock sometime during the week.