Waif 2010 Preparation

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River Cruiser: Waif (2010)

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Posted by Malcolm Duffield, 24th April 2010

Technical Info.
Class:River Cruiser
Author:Malcolm Duffield

THE 3 RIVERS RACE 2010 - Preparation

It all began on the Saturday afternoon of the race in 2009. The wind for once was fresh and Waif was going very nicely. We had decided to do the Ant on the way out as in 2008 we did it on the way home and it was not much fun doing the Ant in the dark. Unfortunately soon after rounding the Ant mark we had a coming together with Vacuna which resulted in us having to retire as the bowsprit had broken. Still we took the opportunity of doing some boat watching at Potter Heigham.

Waif is out of the water from about mid October. This winter she has had some running repairs as there were some soft spots, some filling this year and a lot of work next winter coming up.

I have been making (with help) a new bowsprit which is going to be slightly longer and will be fitted in one piece. The hope is to launch Waif next weekend.

One of my crew has now got his own boat, a Thurne class and it was anticipated that he would be doing the 50th in that. In January a telecall came. “Is there still a space on Waif?” I said I thought he was doing it in his boat, and he replied “I think we have unfinished business in Waif and I want to get it out of my system.” Of course you can come, I told him.

The entry invitation arrived and I contacted the other crew member who was also up for it. The following words of encouragement were given “This year we need to practice more. You need to remember this is a 24 hour race and it is not necessary to try and beat everything. You can take it easy on the Ant.” I’m not sure what he means - I didn’t think I was necessarily that competitive. Anyway that’s me put in my place!

Part 2 - 28th May 2010

The usual plan is to make sure Waif is in the water by the EACC spring regatta, the May bank holiday. This gives time for her to take up, get rigged and have a shakedown sail before TMOR and the 3 RR. However this year home life and work has meant that Waif is not ready yet.

The soft patches in the planks have been filled, sanded and smoothed, ready for painting. The bow sprit now has 3 coats of varnish on so hopefully a couple more to go. Still need to put another coat or 2 on the mast, just to make sure.

As the new bowsprit is a different shape other things need to be altered, and they are on the way.

Waif is anti fouled and the top coat is on. Just need to get rid of the waves and put another coat on where she is patchy. I have however managed to get a sail in today, following the AGM of the Friends of the Hunter Fleet. Had a play on Hustler 3 which was a bit of fun in the gusty conditions.

Plan of action is to finish the paint/ varnish and get Waif in before next weekend.

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Final Preparation - 3rd June 2010

As someone from Scotland once said “The best laid plans......”. Waif alternative gaff was ready and put onto the boat on Thursday of last week. On Friday I was putting the sail on and was given a helping hand by JJ. What in fact happened was that I ended up leaving him to finish off as I headed off by river to Winkles at Upton. Friday night fish and chips there cannot be beaten.

Sunday was the day for a test run using the Allcomers A races at TMOR. As the wind conditions were a bit blowy decided to reef. Unfortunately the reef did not go well and sail ended up with a tear in it. Words cannot describe how I felt with only a week to go. So it was sail off and try and find someone who can do repairs. Fortunately bumped into just the person and asked if it could be done, before next weekend. I was asked if I minded if the repair was cream instead of white to which I said I did not care if it was sky blue pink provided it was repaired. I was assured that it would be with me by Thursday. On Tuesday I arrived home from work and joy of joys my sail bag was outside the door (no I hadn’t been thrown out) and my sail was back with me.

Arrangements had been made for Waif to go to Horning on Wednesday and so me and Martin arranged to re-rig that evening. I asked when he could be there to which he replied “I am in Horning I finish at 4 throw a sickie.” I did. We decided that we wanted to practice lowering and raising the mast which we did and I was able to change a couple of pullies. We then put the sail on and then had more practice raising and lowering the mast, only because we had to keep making adjustments and to finally free the topping lift which had decided to jam.

Finally after about 3 hours of toil we had a gentle evening sail up river to the entrance to Blackhorse Broad and back to the mooring. The Gaff looks ok and the sail seems to be not too badly set (no doubt someone will put me right), and all halyards and sheets are in order.

Everything is now set for the forecast drift around the Ant Bure and Thurne. Looking forward to seeing people throughout the day. Wishing all of us a good sail and accident free.

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