If you live in Britain you will not have failed to notice that the weather had not been particularly good these last few weeks. My last visit to Naiad was six weeks ago. Five weeks ago the weather was really nice but I decided not to visit Naiad since I had been down the week before. Daft decision really in retrospect. Four weeks ago the weekend was cold, wet and windy, so no visit then. Three weeks ago storm Dudley was approaching and the weather forecast was not good again. Two weeks ago we were between storm Duncan and storm Eunice and last weekend storm Franklin was still causing havoc.
The forecast for this weekend was not optimal, but good enough to allow me to get out to the mooring safely. Assuming I still had a boat there which I didn't know until I received a phone call from one of the unofficial harbour masters at West Mersea in response to an email. He confirmed that Naiad was still afloat on the mooring and there did not seem to be any major damage.
So, armed with provisions and tools, just in case, and a hot coffee I set off at 05:45 on a cold and frosty morning. By the time I reached Mersea Island the sun had risen and it was a beautiful morning. So far the weather forecast had slightly overstated the expected wind strength but everything else was spot on.
It didn't take long to get the dinghy packed and launched and I had an easy row out to the boat as it had just gone high tide so the slight ebb was in my favour.
I rowed past Naiad so that I could take photos without looking into the sun and this is pretty much my first close view of Naiad in six weeks.
A closer look and you can see that the canvas cockpit cover, although still in place, has sagged in the middle as the paddle supporting the canvas has fallen down and water collecting in the tarpaulin underneath is causing the sagging. The boom crutches are have also fallen down.
One of the crutch supports has torn off the boat but amazingly it is still on the leg the crutch. There's nothing holding this in place except friction.
Apart from having fallen down, the crutches look be otherwise undamaged.
The cockpit cover is also undamaged.
Here you can see where the crutch support used to be with part of it still fixed to the cockpit coaming.
I spent the next few hours sorting out the mess. There was about 10mm (3/8") of water in the bilge which needed to be bailed out. This isn't a lot really. A fair bit of stuff in the cabin had been tossed around as I had not stowed things with a storm in mind and many things had come loose and subsequently flown around and landed in the bilge. With the water in the bilge and the fairly excessive motion from the 85 mph winds experienced during storm Eunice everything that had landed in the bilge was coverd in salt water and mess from the bilge.
Hot water and Fairy Liquid soon sorted that out but I had nothing with which to dry everything so I put everything in the washing up bowl to return it home to wash and dry it all properly there. I must remember to bring drying towels, scourers and a washing up brush.
The cockpit cover was hung over the boom today then I sat and had some breakfast and a cup of tea.
This is one of my neighbours high a dry on the mud of Cobmarsh Island
The muddy spit extends quite a long way from the island.
The mud is a lot further away on the Mersea side of Besom Channel in which Naiad is moored.
Another nearby boat which probably doesn't draw much more than Naiad still on the mud spit from Cobmarsh Island. Being on the mud does mean that you are safe from waves for a lot of the time but it does limit your sailing.
This is the view I had from the cockpit about an hour before Low Water looking inland. The weather forecast was correct about the wind at this point, it was force 3 gusting 4 and slowly rising. But that's fine since this will blow me back to the public hard.
In the course of my tidying up I found that the wonderful new epoxy fillet between the cockpit footwell and the inside the cabin leaks. On inspection I can see where so I'll need to bring some epoxy putty along for my next visit to plug these. This will be a temporary job until Naiad is next hauled out when I'll cover the entire seam with a strip of glass matting and more epoxy to seal it completely.
I also discovered the source of the water getting into the cockpit in the first place. I have been assuming that the cockpit cover was letting in rain water, but the water in the bilge tasted salty. So I dried the cockpit with a lot of paper towels and then shone a torch in the lockers and lazarette and I found that there is a slight seep coming in where the transom is joined to the keel. Not a lot, maybe a couple of drips a minute, but over time enough to account for the water Naiad has been getting in her bilges.
I tried to seal it with the wonder sealant that can be used underwater but I think that will probably only have slowed it down since the slight pressure from the water seeping in will push the sealant away from the hull. I suspect that epoxy putty will also be required to temporarily seal this next visit. The proper fix will require Naiad to be about of the water and in a sheltered spot so that I can effect a repair from the outside. However, it's nothing to be to concerned about unless it starts to open up.
I had a great day on the water and I was highly relieved to find that Naiad had weathered the storms so well. My biggest amazement came from the fact that the cockpit cover had not blown away. I attribute that to my use of individual bungee cords. Each grommet on the cover has a bungee with a loop at the end which slips over the hooks screwed to the outside of the toerail.