It’s fair to say it was with some trepidation that I drove down to visit Flora last weekend. Storm Angus had barreled through the south west during the previous weekend and he had wrought havoc. The wind and rain had been incredible and much of Devon and Somerset was affected by flooding.
At the time the storm hit all I could do was lie in my warm bed and wonder how poor old Flora was fairing in the tempest outside. Did I tie mooring ropes well enough? How much water would she take on? Then I remembered the state of the sail cover. Flora’s previous owner, Dennis, is married to an incredibly patient and talented seamstress who had kept the sail cover going long after most would have given up.
Incredible work right? But it struck me that the fabric itself must be pretty weak if it had needed that much repair and stitching to begin with. As I remembered a velcro under tie coming off in my hands when last securing the cover, I imagined Angus fingering away at it until prising it loose. With nothing left to protect the mainsail, I imagined it flogging away in the wind, driving Flora off her mooring and taking down the mast!
So as I approached in the dingy I was greatly relieved to see Flora bobbing away merrily on her mooring with her sail cover in tact. Apart from one jib sheet trailing in the water it looked like Angus hadn’t so much as ruffled her feathers. I climbed on board and lifted the hatch in the cockpit fearful of how much water I would find. The locker lids don’t look all that waterproof and Dennis had mentioned that he recently made modifications to the cockpit sole hatch as it had leaked. For those reasons I expected to see the water up around the prop shaft. But, Dennis’ hatch fix had withstood Angus’ battering and I happily removed the paltry three or four sponges full of water I found there.
When Barbara – the met office names storms in advance here – comes flailing across the UK I don’t want to be plagued by the same worries that Angus caused me, so I set about measuring up for a new sail cover, which I brought and fitted later that afternoon.
And here’s Flora wearing her new cover proudly.
The other cause of concern during the storm had been the mooring lines. As you can see in the picture below the run of the lines on the front of the boat isn’t very good. There are no handed fairleads to guide them, so the last time I tied them off I ran them around the outside of the pulpit bars and onto the samson post.
Inspection of the ropes showed that they had indeed been rubbing on the pulpit and had started to show wear. I couldn’t leave them like this. I picked up some off cut tubing at the chandlery while I was picking up the new sail cover and ran the mooring lines through that. I took the anchor off the anchor bow roller temporarily and ran the tube and lines through that. At some point I will need to add some handed fairleads to run these lines through. I put the stern lines through tubing too.
With those jobs now done, when Barbara inevitably shows up I hope I shall be able to rest easier in my bed and that Flora will rest better too!
I didn’t have time left for a sail, so I sat and enjoyed a cuppa, then set to taking the covers off the birth cushions and packed them ready to go home for a wash. Heading back to shore I saw a number of boats on the moorings around Flora were missing. As it was a pleasant sailing day I had assumed that they were out in the sound or beyond, but later spotted them lined up ashore for the winter.
I know I’m going to have to have Flora taken out of the water before next spring but I’m going to leave it as late as possible for a number of reasons. Firstly I’m sure to find more jobs that can only be done when she’s out the water. Secondly, being ashore is expensive, and finally I want to get a few more sailing in before she has to come out!