With a good forecast for the day I made another very early start leaving Southery at 04:00 for the drive down to Mersea Island. There has been panic-buying of diesel in our area and thus a shortage locally, I drove carefully and at 50 mph in the 60 mph areas and 60 mph on the dual carriageway and keeping my accelerations down. Not being a lead-foot driver really helps the fuel consumption. I started with 2/3rds of a tank of fuel and that may have to last me some time. I decided to keep an eye out for fuel stops on the way down.
I arrived at 05:55 to a beautiful morning and by 06:20 I was on the boat.
To my surprise, very little of the tapes I had tied onto Naiad during my last visit remained but there was only a little recent fouling on the foredeck that had not dried. I presume that the tape kept the gulls away until it was blown away by the very strong winds a couple of days ago and hence the much reduced fouling.
The view from the cockpit aft.
The view to the South-West
And the view to the North.
Today's main tasks were to try and seal the ash-catcher on the heater to the heater body and to try to develop easy to mount and dismount anti-seagull measures. The reason for the seal was to try to reduce the gaps at the bottom of the heater where air can get in so that the airflow control is purely down to the adjuster. This was moderately successful. I'll have another go next visit as once the heater is hot it is not possible to make another attempt until it has cooled down.
For the anti-seagull measures, the first thing to do was to screw on a number of lacing straps under the gunwale. You can see three of these in the photo above. You can also see the muddy bottom which shows just how clear the water is at the moment. The depth of water at the time is about 1.2 m or 4 ft.
The lacing straps were put on at 12" (30cm) intervals on both sides of the boat.
The current idea is to use bird netting to cover the deck and clipped to the lacing straps using the spring hooks shown above. Both the lacing straps and the clips are 304 Stainless Steel and should not rust.
I started with the foredeck and will see how well that keeps the dreaded flying rats from fouling the deck. The net is held up by a couple of thin lines from the mast to the forestay, seen as the red lines in the photo above.
A side view showing the net.
A closer view showing the netting. If this works as I will find out on my next visit, then I will make two more anti-gull nets to cover the deck from the mast to the peak halyard where is it attached to the gaff and the third from there to the aft of the boat. With the hook and strap arrangement undoing the netting should be fairly straightforward, hopefully rolling the net up should also be easy, as should putting it back again before I leave.
Showing more of the lacing straps.
For now I have tied a few tapes to the boat to scare the gulls aft of the. foredeck, if there is no strong winds between now and my next visit they should stay attached.
I do hope the netting works, I really do not want to put on the mainsail until this is sorted. The sails may not be particularly good but I'd prefer them not to be covered in seagull droppings.
One last task was carried out during this visit and that was the replacement of the GifGaf SIM card in the camera with one from EE. I can now watch the boat nearly all daylight hours. I worked it out and for the monthly fee I could watch the boat for 10 hours per day, every day for the month using the low resolution.
As an aside, I was able to fill up with fuel on the way home. Most fuel stations were selling diesel for around £1.75 to £1.80 per litre but two were selling at £1.71. Guess where I filled up !!