The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2019.06.23 - Not Sailing

Next week we shall be on the Broads for a week, cruising with some friends. We have hired a fairly decent motor cruiser and will spend our time exploring. I hope to be taking along the Nutshell sailing pram dinghy that I bought with Naiad and have never used. She needed a bit or work to fill in some dings and scratches before I could sell her but I never seems to find the time to get around to it. So this was a good opportunity to do the repair work, repaint and varnish and then get to use her for a week.

Things went very well, the paint sanded down fine, although, since it was, hard, two-part paint correctly applied and then covered with a protective coating, it was quite hard work sanding it but that didn't present any insurmountable problems. The dings and scratches were filled in with thickened epoxy and the hull painted Antique White, which I would have called Cream myself, and the top plank in the original Burgundy.

In order to do all this work the hemp rope fender that had been fitted all around needed to come off. It had nearly come away in several places anyway and this weekend's boat job was to put the rope fender back on again. It was dunked in very salty water for a coupe of weeks to kill of the greenery and then hung in the barn to drip-dry.


So here ins the starting position. The dinghy, which I have decided to call Sprite, outside in the fine weather with the rope ready to be fitted.


The start is at the stern and you can see that I have already made a number of the fastenings.


Here are a few more done and to this point it has taken about an hour as I didn't know quite the best way to do this. By this point I had it all worked out.


Each set of fastenings has two holes drilled in the gunwale and each fastening is spaced 6" away from its neighbours matching the original fastenings although those were glued onto the side of the boat on top of the paint.


Here is how each fastening is done. The two holes are about 4mm wide (1/6th inch).


I thread a pre-cut length of sailing twine on to two darning needles, they do not have sharp points and are ideal for this.


The needles are threaded through the two holes, one through each and one is just tucked over the gunwale to stop the needle falling out.


The fid is then pushed under one strand of the rope and the tip of the fid rested on the gunwale to stop it from scratching the new paint.


The working needle is dropped down through the groove in the fid and thus under the rope strand.


The needle is taken up through the other hole, back down the first and under the rope strand a second time.


The fid is removed and the sail twine pulled tight to that the rope is pulled against the hull.


The two ends of the rope are tied together using a modified version of the surgeon's knot.


The fid is again pushed under one of the rope strands again making sure that the tip does not mar the new paint.


Both needles are led under this second rope strand.


The fid is removed, the ends of the twine are pulled hard so that the knot slips into the middle of the rope and the fastening is complete.


After three hours in the lovely June sunshine all 46 of the fastenings are done.


Now I have to deal with the ends of the twine. These are simply cut off close to the rope with a sharp knife and then the ends melted with a good lighter being careful not to ignite the rope at the same time!


And here is the finished result. Looking smart in her new paint.


And a view from the bows.

Now I have to do the inside as well, but that will be after we get back from holiday.