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#1 2021-03-05 19:22:44

From: Chester
Registered: 2017-06-25
Posts: 60



Triptych, a Victoria 34, was built in 1988 for Don and Ilene Payen who ran a woodworking business in London. As a result, quite a bit of the internal joinery is bespoke, made of solid teak in his own workshops and fitted at the yard. She featured in Yachting World’s January 1993 edition, pp 48-50, and on completion, she remained in the Warsash area until sold to Michael and Dilys Hare in 1998.

She started life with in-mast reefing as a sloop but on sale to the Michael Hare the mast was changed - fitted for three winches but provided with only a single winch to starboard. The main had a variant of slab reefing with the reefing pennants brought back to the cockpit but the tack made at the gooseneck. She was also converted to a cutter rig, but without the stumpy bowsprit.

The Hares cruised with her to Holland from their base in Ipswich until personal issues stepped in and she was put up for sale in Ipswich but with no movement she was sailed round to Poole and then Hamble by Pip Hare. Thus, we first saw her several brokers and maintenance-light years after first going on sale, by then on the Hamble and in the hands of Simon Walworth of Boatmatch.

So many brokers we had come across were less than enthusiastic but Simon was quite different. There were problems but we liked the boat immediately. He got answers for our questions and before you know it, he had offered a sea trial, which was something of a novelty. If you mention sea trial in the conversation with the broker it usually goes no further and the broker’s thought-bubble screams, “Time-waster!” Not with Simon, a sea trial is an opportunity rather than a nuisance. Of course, the flipside of the time-waster argument is, “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”
Fig 1: Triptych port side, before sale

To cut a long story short, we surveyed her, negotiated, bought her and, because of stern gear and other problems, we decided to truck her back to Conwy. We got that decision right. We would have been a RNLI statistic if we had tried to sail her home – one engine mount fell off in our engineer’s hand and two more were in very poor condition. To be fair to the surveyor, he could not have seen the rear mount due to fail without removing the engine.

Before leaving Simon Walworth, he discussed another boat with us over a cup of tea, a modern lugger, Roanna, he was trying to sell. Who should end up buying Roanna but my brother-in-law, and none of us had mentioned any names to anyone else. Simon is extraordinary, he is a Boat Whisperer, but he has since sold his business that still operates under the name Boatmatch.
Fig 2: Triptych starboard side, before sale

There was not much maintenance done over the previous few years so we had a lot to catch up on. Some gear was outdated and needed replacement and other gear like old, baggy but serviceable sails would have to do, pro tem.

In Conwy Marina we did the phase one refit – all the must do jobs and we sailed in June 2018 for Ireland via the Isle of Man on a five-week cruise. We got to know Triptych better and also found quite a few more problems that needed attention. An account of the cruise appeared in Sailing Today’s November edition 2018, pp 38-42. See also Sailing Today June edition 2020, pp 72-76, for the 2019 cruise.

We were ashore again for the winter 2018-2019, undergoing phase two refit, the less urgent and new jobs, but I will cover them by parts-of-ship rather than chronologically.


The V34 engine space is cramped at the best of times so we decided to hoist the engine out where it could be worked on with all-round access and it also gave us access to the whole engine bay. However, before we could do that, I had to deal with the rust-seized shaft coupling. A generous squirt of penetrating oil, at frequent intervals over two weeks and turning the shaft so it all got a dose, did the trick and allowed the engineer to release it. After that, I stripped the coupling down, primed it with red oxide and painted it Yanmar grey ready for refitting.

As mentioned above, the engine mounts were in a sorry state and they all had to go. Aren’t they a silly price for a few bits of steel and rubber! The Yanmar 3GM30F is the original engine fitted in 1988 with an unknown number of hours (no meter) but it was in satisfactory condition and the heat exchanger was in good nick so it went back in after a full service.

The shaft seal was a traditional packing and grease affair that leaked but, after a thorough service, it was refitted and has not been a problem. The thought of burping a Volvo lip seal at every re-float did not appeal; it’s just too cramped in there and too much contortion. Having drawn the shaft it was in good condition but inevitably, the cutlass bearing needed replacement and that was straightforward.
Fig 3: The engine bay

The Spurs rope cutter was crusted; it came off for a stripping, fitting with new buffers and anodes. The old fixed three bladed propellor was taken off and sent down to Darglow with an order for a three bladed Featherstream propellor an inch or so bigger than the original and that came back very quickly indeed. I did a speed trial early in the year in flat water with satisfactory results but against a short chop the speed drops noticeably. This may be something that other V34 owners have noticed, if so, I like to hear about it and the solution. Darglow want me to run a second speed trial but taking the revs as high as they will go; I pray the old engine will take it. Whether I will need a different pitch cassette in the propellor remains to be seen. That retest was planned for 2020 but circumstances being what they are with the COVID-19 pandemic it will have to wait until after lockdown in 2021. Otherwise, it has worked well.
Fig 4: Darglow propeller

I had limited experience of reversing with the old propellor; it was a black art that I never had the time to master while the old propeller was fitted. Reversing with the new one can be straightforward one time and tricky the next. One has to live with this uncertainty while learning the ways of the boat, something that unsettles my wife, but we are getting there. We have a growing list of tricks we use that frequently achieves the aim:

1.    Walking the boat aft on its finger berth and giving it a good shove off in the right direction as we board
2.    Springing off generously
3.    Running a slipped spring from the starboard quarter
4.    Trailing a bucket from the starboard quarter
5.    Judging water and air movements correctly
6.    Keep the astern revs low and use short bursts
7.    Fenders at the ready

They don’t always work but they are worth a go and Stress Free Sailing, by Duncan Wells, is mandatory reading.

While the engine was out, I ripped out all the manky soundproofing and replaced it with new. I also fitted an automatic fire extinguisher in the engine bay, mounted on the access panel in the cockpit locker with two stainless steel handles on the locker side to allow easier access and handling. Finally, after a general clean up, the engine bay was ready for reoccupation.


All the portlights were so badly crazed, they were practically opaque and the seals were perished so I ordered a set of lenses from Eagle Boat Company (EBC). I bought 20m of the appropriate Lewmar seal, cut each seal to size and superglued each seal end-to-end. A very sharp blade is essential and I used a decorator’s knife with a new blade. I stripped and cleaned all the closures, fitted new O-rings also acquired from EBC. The lights were not easy to close the first time and for a couple of weeks we left them to bed in. They are still quite tight but they fit well and do not leak.
Fig 5: Crazed portlight
Fig 6: New portlight

The heads portlight frame was leaking, letting in rainwater but a smear of silicone over the leak stopped that until a definitive fix could be done. Two portlights at least had leaked around their frames but when we got down to it the sealing looked very dodgy and joints between the coachroof and cabin lining were delaminating, allowing water deeper into the boat. To date, we have rebedded all the portlights bar the non-opener in the quarter berth, but that too will get the same treatment in due course.
Fig 7: Delamination allowing leaks
Fig 8: Failed portlight frame sealing

Working with the shipwright, we found the lower studs on the portlight frames were the difficult ones to get out and having never had any anti-galvanic preparation a good few were either very stiff or seized and two sheared. We got one out by guile but the other we left there, then we drilled and tapped another hole close by for the new stud. Almost stumped by resistant studs I suggested a little heat treatment with a wallpaper steamer I had brought aboard to clean out the bilges. The shipwright gave me a quizzical look but it worked a charm and he is now a convert, so try it if you are stuck.
Fig 9: Portlight studs

Prior to reassembly, all delaminations were treated with appropriate filler, each stud received a dose of Duralac and generous amounts of Arbomast BR were applied so the job was a good one. Arbomast does not go off like Sikaflex, but remains flexible, but it is a challenge to clean off with white spirit, so come well-armed with solvent and plenty of rags and rolls of tissue. So far, the windows and frames have remained bone dry and a few months later I went round all the studs and nipped them tight again.


The main hatch was badly crazed, the hinges stiff and they rocked quite a lot. It was a Lewmar Ocean 60, totally obsolete, so I replaced it, with a Bainbridge flat based equivalent (£200 vs ~£450). The difficult part was freeing the four bolts that held the hinges with the nuts underneath the coachroof. That meant damaging some of the woodwork in the hatch frame to get at the nuts under the deck. A shame, but we couldn’t find a less destructive method, fortunately Paul Jones from TLC Boatcare repaired the damage for £170. Had we replaced like-for-like we would still have had the repair job. The old unit I sold on eBay; I expect it will be refurbished and sold on again on eBay.
Fig 10: The old main hatch
Fig 11: The new hatch and damage
Fig 12: The repair

The forehatch is a replacement and is sound but the hatch seal will probably need replaced at some stage. All was well until one weekend when it rained heavily and it began to leak around the frame so the hatch will need to come off for rebedding, come some dry weather. Thankfully, it is screwed down with no hidden bolts to complicate matters.


Our first deck leak was obvious from the start. The seal on the starboard deck drain had failed, draining water behind the chart table panelling into the bilge and the port drain was weeping. The latter was easy to access in the galley locker but the starboard drain is concealed behind panels by the chart table and the jubilee clip’s screw fitting was out of sight, so all the electronics had to come out and be refitted on completion. Before that happened, I rotated the clip so that the screw would be visible through the Echomax instrument hole if there was a next time. The cockpit drains were leaking too, so they got the same treatment, as did the hinges in the cockpit lockers.
Fig 13: Water stains in the forepeak
Fig 14 Access to starboard deck drain

More troubling was the leak we got in the forepeak when sailing hard on the wind in 15-20 knots. Salt water drips from the leading edge of the trim under and forward of the forward portlight. It’s evenly spread port to starboard with nothing around the portlight itself. There is also a water-stained section on the slats to port, adjacent to the first stanchion plate. I took three of the slats off recently and found the area under the toerail was wet, one bolt was missing its nut and washer, and further forward there were no hull-deck joint bolts, just screws. With a long socket I might just get a nut onto the bolt but I doubt I’d work it tight enough to be helpful.

Water also comes down through the inside of the mast when the wind drives the rain in the right direction and the bilge fills if one’s no careful. Its hit and miss when one gets it, but it keeps happening. Before the pandemic it wasn’t a problem, we would be down often enough to pump the bilge but during lockdown we had to get the marina staff to pump for us. The answer is, fit a suitable electric pump with a float switch and keep checking the mast boot in case its leaking there, too. So, that’s a job for 2021 refit.

The bow roller plate looked a little suspect as some old filler under it was crumbling. This we had refilled with new material and so far, so good. I also noted that the forward toe rail from pulpit to the coachroof was suspect. The bedding under it was crumbled and when laced with some yellow food dye that part of the hull-deck joint proved to be leaking into the forepeak cabinet. I raked that material out and forced the first bead of white Sikaflex into the void and waited for the next heavy rain. Everything in the forepeak remained dry so I put the final bead of Sikaflex on and gave the forward starboard section the same treatment but that didn’t bond well so I took it off and will re-treat that and the remaining areas of the toerail with Sika Cleaner and Sika Multiprimer before I seal them.

Over the summer 2020 I planned to work my way around the whole toe rail when it was dry enough. It was dry enough alright but living more then five miles away from Conwy during lockdown 1 I had to let it be. I’ll play catch up on that when I can and also re-bed all the deck furniture but I shall start with the pulpit base and the old safety net fittings.

As backup to trace leaks, I have access to a GoPro camera and a cheap endoscope that works on my tablet so I can look into corners. I still have plenty of food dye and if all else fails I’ll bring down the ShopVac and pressure test the hull, which should be interesting.


The teak toe rails had been repaired previously with small biscuit repairs and epoxy that had failed so I approached Barry Lovell of TLC for advice. He had Paul Jones scarf in three repair sections on both sides that addressed the problem areas. As they are almost symmetrical, they look like they are supposed to be there. The bedding below the caps was dried and crusted as noted above. I raked out, faired off the crumbling sealant under the outboard edge of the toerail, and resealed it, stem to stern. I believe this has been tried before to stop leaks, without impressive results but life is too short for doing one thing at a time to see what works, so it’s part of our overall leak prevention strategy. During the summer 2019 cruise this was tested transiting the Langess overfalls in the Isle of Man. No water penetrated below despite plenty of green water above deck.
Fig15: The toerail repairs
Fig16: The hull deck joint underside

We’re still getting some fresh water leaks after heavy rain that I think are coming from under the toe rail via failed hull deck bonding, again proven with yellow food dye. Sealing the inboard side of the toe rail is work in progress but is only possible is things remain dry long enough to allow good bonding. It’s also an awkward place to rake out and operate the sealant gun but having some angled nozzles from Screwfix helps considerably.


Thankfully, the teak deck is in good condition overall and better still, there are no screw holes as it is glued down. Apart from some maintenance with Borocol, we have only had to repair two minor pieces of damage.


We are still trying to fully understand the water stains on the outboard edges of the cabin sole, particularly on the starboard side. Hopefully, the leaks I’ve addressed will alter this problem but there are bound to be other leaks, particularly when the boat is working at sea.
Fig 17: The cabin sole

All the cabin lighting has been converted to LED, as have all the navigation lights apart from the stern light, which I’ll get to in due course. At least that one is easy to get at if it fails.


The leading edge of the keel had sustained some damage in an argument with a closed sill by a previous owner, but that was easy to repair. Triptych had also been re-epoxied in recent years but in a few areas, it had not adhered properly, but this too was made good.

The hull was painted professionally several years before we bought her and it has weathered well but of course is far less forgiving than gel coat when it comes to bumps and scrapes. We have had a few scratches repainted but it’s working well at present.


I took every bit of running rigging off the mast before it was dropped for transport and used almost all of my material from boat shows (English Braid lucky bags) to mouse the lines as they came out. The shrouds and backstay had been replaced within the previous two years so we kept them though I had the forestays replaced as their age could not be determined and this was the opportunity. While the mast was down after delivery the rigger got to work doing his bit and the electronics were also attacked. The deadweight Visiball got the deep six and a dual-band echomax responder fitted in its place; a new VHF aerial and cable was fitted; a replacement wind vane. Since then, the old NASA sensors began to fail and were replaced with Raymarine units that integrate with the chart plotter. The guard wires were renewed in bare stainless wire with lanyards at the pushpit

Most of the running rigging has been replaced – main halyard, topping lift and main sheet, foresail halyards. As new, Triptych was sloop rigged with in-mast furling but after 1998 was fitted with a staysail, keeping the original fore triangle without a stubby bowsprit. This involved a replacement Proctor mast fitted with only one winch to starboard for the topping lift. The main halyard led back to the cockpit and the kicker led to the mast. The reefing tack was applied at the mast and the reefing clew lines led to the cockpit.

It was chaotic, so I sourced and fitted two used Lewmar winches and put them port and starboard for halyards. The existing winch was moved to the reefing position below the gooseneck and I put Barton Winchers on to give them some self-tailing capability. It is an economic fix and they work. All reefing is now done at the mast, old fashioned but simple and relatively friction-free.

I left the kicker in place with a view to putting in a rod kicker later but fitted a cascade to bring the purchase up to 6:1 and led that back to the cockpit instead of the mast. The clew line also comes back to the cockpit.

Needless to say, all the winches were stripped and cleaned thoroughly, serviced and reassembled. I fixed a permanent preventer pennant on the end of boom, and its working end fastens by snap shackle to a bungee strop near the kicker anchor.

We upgraded the mainsheet purchase from 4:1 to 6:1 and fitted a new mainsheet. The traveller track is usable but obsolete and the cars clunky with worn-out bearings, also obsolete. It’s noisy, the clicking and clacking spooks the dog, too, which makes life difficult on passage. The whole lot will need to be replaced before long, so I shall be looking out for a solution. If anyone has been there already, I would be interested to hear their solution. Well, that good intention went the same way as all the others in 2020.

The lazy jacks and the canvas work were replaced. We replaced the Yankee furling line and the staysail furling line will be replaced be later this season. All the turning blocks for the furling lines were struggling and have been replaced, too. All that remains of that system are to replace are the cam fairleads with a pair we won from Sailing Today a few years ago and are sitting in my lucky bag. The rest of the running rigging were earmarked for replacement for the 2020 season, but you know what happened there.


The pedestal was uncovered and provided with a new canvas cover. The compass light was fixed prior to sale but as we have not done any night sailing it has not had a serious test. We still need to swing the compass and zero the fluxgate compass.

The old wheel leather, unprotected from the weather and UV, was crumbling so off it came. We bought a new kit from a place in Glasgow, deliberately too long for the wheel as we also wished to serve the grab rail on the sprayhood as well. The wheel leathering was straightforward but the grabrail was a smaller diameter so it needed an underlayer so the leather would fit well.

I have built a small cockpit table that fits onto the pedestal and strikes down for easy stowage. I measured out the diameters and spacing of the pedestal bars and the compass bowl which I applied to a piece of gash MDF. From this I made adjustments for the final cut in 12mm marine ply donated from the marina skip. The leg was made from a reclaimed remnant cut square and then rounded with spar gauge and plain. The mount was left over from a chart plotter fitting but I had to buy the material for the fiddle. (See PBO March 2020)
Fig 18: The cockpit table


The mainsail was particularly baggy below the first reef. The luff was too long so it couldn’t be hardened up with halyard tension and there is no Cunningham hole, but it was usable. It certainly looks a lot better with first reef tucked in and in 2018 we still saw off a smart, French steel yacht that was chasing us from Ardglass all the way down to Lambay light.

The Yankee is a great sail but equally aged, as was the staysail that needed a tweek outboard with a barber hauler to silence the leech. Collectively, the sailmaker’s opinion was - usable but not worth spending money on, so their time was up and a new set is on order from Peter Sanders for the 2019 season. The genoa, however, is in great condition and will rock on for a few more years yet.

The reefing horns, were not ideal for the ordered sails so I replaced them with Wichard wire-gate carabiners that I had welded onto the gooseneck bolt. The new sails from Sanders were fitted in 2019 and performed well for our short cruise to Ireland and back. Why Sanders? He builds the sails for the military V34s at Haslar.
Fig 19: The old reefing arrangements
Fig 20: The new reefing arrangements

The next problem in this area will be the reefing lines. The new sail comes with three reefs but the boom can only accommodate two plus the clew outhaul internally. I would prefer not to re-rig the first reefing line into the third reef at sea using a pre-rigged messenger line between the second and third leech cringles if I can help it.  Yet rigging No3 in harbour could send the wrong message to my crew. I’m working on a few options but ideas would be welcome.


The spray hood, stack pack and main hatch flap were replaced and a pedestal cover made. We had brought an overboom awning with us but inherited a better one that we didn’t know about and will keep that in service, if only to protect the forepeak bunks when at sea until we have the leak problem well and truly nailed.


We inherited the following:
YEOMAN PLOTTER                        Working but not tried
GARMIN 128                        Working well
ANCIENT GARMIN HANDHELD            Decommissioned

We had a Raymarine chartplotter fitted at the wheel as there was already a large analogue radar at the navigator’s station and we also fitted class B AIS. A new but basic VHF had been fitted before sale but as I wanted a RAM output to the cockpit  we put in an ICOM VHF and RAM in its stead and sold the other on eBay. As it was almost new and the set had never had a MMSI loaded – Triptych never had one for the old set – it was an attractive item and sold quickly. I also sold the working masthead tricolour lantern, which I had replaced for a new LED unit. Since then, a few more surplus bits have also gone on eBay.

The NASA instruments rocked on until 2019 when they started to fail; they didn’t talk to the chart plotter either but I could live with that, pro tem. They were replaced during winter maintenance 2019/2020 but with Covid19 in full they were not fully tested at sea.

The battery charging system was ad hoc and charged the two domestic batteries only. A new unit was fitted to charge both domestic and engine batteries and the previous, and almost new, unit was rewired and given to my son to charge his car battery.

Prior to sale we had asked the vendors when the gas system was last tested. “Not for a long time,” so it was duely tested and found wanting; the regulator, hose and copper pipe run were all replaced before the sale and a test certificate provided. We upgraded the system with a Pilot mini gas alarm as well as a carbon monoxide alarm.
Fig 21: Refrigeration

In time for the 2018 cruise, we converted the cool box to a refrigerator. Calculating the volume was an interesting exercise in geometry as it is far from rectangular but worked out at about 150 litres. After careful consideration and conferring with members on the forum we fitted the compressor on the aft side of the coolbox/refrigerator bulkhead, high up in the cockpit locker, as out of the way as possible. It works well when on shore power but we limit battery use to motoring or motorsailing.


Fresh water is stored in 2x200l bladders under the saloon seats and I’m sure that is common to quite a few V34s. They are coming to the end of their life and because of their tubular shape, do not make best use of the space beneath the seats. Furthermore, you cannot fill them to capacity as they lift the lid on the locker and raise the seat cushions. Who thought this one out? Has anyone got a solution? I’m looking at Tectanks to see if they have a solution which, if made to measure, may be pricy but impractical given tapering and curve profiles of the space available and access through the hatches.

The taps were delivering a pathetic dribble due to gunge in the in-line water filter - pieces of biofilm I think, which will affect the entire system. As we make our tea from fresh water in a two-gallon container the tea tastes fine, so this is on the to do list. Déjà vu, anyone? The entire water system will be dosed before I change the bladders.
Fig 22: Gunge


I fitted the main locker with rope hangers and a spare fire extinguisher close to the Eberspacher. The engine space inspection panel was replaced and fitted with stainless handles to aid handling with the deadweight of the engine extinguisher on the other side. I have also been in there repainting with light grey locker paint. Fortunately, I’m fairly small so find a small volunteer if you don’t fit.


I had a compatible servicing kit from the previous boat so that was put to use. The holding bladder was flushed with an appropriate fresh solution and left in situ though we didn’t use it during 2018 as we were hopping from marina to marina.

The sanitary hose was of indeterminate age, smelled and had to go, so did the holding bladder, which gassed no matter how we treated it, even though we never used it. Getting the beasts out was difficult as they had stiffened over time so I cut them to convenient size and hauled them out. Fitting a new and simplified hose system I left to someone fitter than I. The hole for the holding tank diversion switch was covered very conveniently by a SeaSmart unit, which drips into the seawater inlet hose to keep it sweet. As yet, I cannot make any recommendations to members but if it and new hoses keep the H2S at bay we shall both be happy. We’re not done there unfortunately. The heads outfall seacock is seized shut and will have to be changed at the next maintenance period, which I can’t arrange or take my chances on during the October/November firebreak.
Fig 23: The SeaSmart unit

I have plugged the holes left by the holding tank hoses that passed through the underbunk sail locker, filled bolt and screw holes with filler and removed the pump that has gone ashore, should we ever be compelled to refit the beast.

The galley drain hoses were also past their useful, aroma-free life and were replaced. It is an awkward place to get at so find a small, flexible volunteer. That leaves the sealing of the heads compartment so that there are no leaks when showering.

Last year the input hose for the heads blocked for some reason; I probably sucked in something. I put a hose union on the working end, which provided a nipple to insert into the inlet hose at the heads and hose clamped it. The other end went to the tap which, when turned on, blew whatever was in there straight out again. The water supply was not endangered and I shall not be using that hose to refill my water tanks. The alternative method recommended to me seemed unsavory, kneel down and blow the tube hard; it didn’t seem too appealing.


A sender unit had failed just before the sale so the vendor fixed that. It worked well over the winter but the ducts were unlagged and the cockpit locker was like a sauna, as were all the lockers through which the duct passed. Once lagged, I was impressed with the increase in heat arriving in the cabin but I will have to adjust the run over this winter to improve things further. The run under the cool box refrigerator is inaccessible and will just have to stay as it is.


The forward berth is quite high so I built a short, two-step bunk ladder to facilitate access. This slots onto a piece of square timber that I rounded with a spar gauge where the ladder fits. The ladder hooks were standard pieces bought at the chandlery, designed to secure fenders, but the other way up worked perfectly for this purpose.

As the bulkhead surface to starboard is not quite in the same plane as to port a little simple geometry identified the correct plane to trim the pole. I laid a meter rule against the bulkhead and offered up the pole and lightly scribed a pencil mark along it. Then I measured the offset required and laid of a line parallel to it and cut to that. It fits perfectly now. Onto the pole I also fitted some suitable headboards to stop the pillows disappearing at night. The three sections are easy to strike down for storage or access.
Figs 24 & 25: Bunk ladder and headboard

For the ladder, I measured the angle required for the ladder to fit with a goniometer, (a type of clinical protractor) and used that angle to fit the steps and to cut the upper section to lay against the pole. The feet were round off and then served with leather, as were the steps. The finished article was stained light mahogany and lightly varnished in satin finish.


As one would expect, after 30 years, some places get more wear than others get and needed retouching. Melanie rubbed them down carefully, lightly re-stained where necessary and used clear Danish oil to refinish. The cabin sole was washed and rubbed down to remove grime. Sadly, the white rubber stripe has aged less gracefully and can’t be rejuvenated. It is a minor cosmetic defect and of no functional importance.


The anchor rode was less than ideal, 10m of 8mm chain, spliced onto 40m of octoplait, which would have been usable, only once, as the splice had to be dragged out with force and neither it nor the octoplait would go back down the pipe to the chain locker after use. The octoplait was otherwise perfect for the kedge warp and I changed the CQR for a 16kg Delta on 50m of new 8mm chain. The windlass worked well and to date needs no specific attention. The 10m chain was lightly rusted so we shall pickle the rust off that and regalvanise it for the kedge. I was given a kedge but it is too bulky for the long term and I will look for another.


Along with the mast, the radar mounted on a goalpost astern was struck down for trucking home and went straight back up in full working order. I did the RYA Radar course during the first winter but I need to practice with it afloat to master the dark art. It should have a few more years’ service in it but is too old to be integrated with the chart plotter.

What use is a barometer when you cannot get to in harbour let alone in a seaway when the table and mast block access? I left it on the forward port bulkhead and mounted my own – a trusted friend I have had for years - on a plaque at eye level by the main companionway. There is now no excuse for not logging the barometric pressure.
Fig 26: The barometer by the companionway


The cockpit bilge pump doesn’t work properly though when stripped for inspection all looks well and it does appear to be sucking. I had a spare piece of 38mm hose left over from the sanitary hose replacement that I mounted and dropped into a bucket of seawater. Eureka! It pumped perfectly. It must be a hole in the old hose run. Fortunately, the other bilge pump in the saloon works perfectly. I plan to dose the old hose with steam from my wallpaper steamer to make it softer and easier to remove with a strong messenger line attached to it. The new one will get the same steam treatment before being pulled into place.


The safety gear needed upgrading. The bag for the lifting sling was badly UV degraded so we replaced it but the contents are still usable. The sling we retained as a second sling for a horizontal lift for a MOB if required and the line will be used for odd jobs and mousing etc. We bought a new Danbuoy from Jimmy Green and put a UV sock over the flag; a new light float was given to us by the broker from his lucky bag. We re-registered our EPIRB and PLB to Triptych.


In the coachroof above the galley was a solar vent, fitted a long time ago. The electronics had failed so the vent provided passive ventilation only. Then we had a rainstorm one night and it rained into the boat. Worse, we noted that water had leaked into the balsa core and was seeping out lower down, so I took the vent off to inspect the damage. The gasket had failed to keep the water out and when the solar vent was fitted, the balsa core had not been sealed off with anything. So, I picked out the crumbled, sodden balsa core and sealed off the hole in the deck over the winter with a breadboard and loads of silicone which I knew would fail so I would be able to get it off easily when I needed to and it did keep the weather out.

I was asked how I was going to dry out the balsa core. I had given it some thought and all I could say was “Slowly.” The humidifier was just below the hole so it could drain into the galley sink and a bar heater on a thermostat was sitting on the cabin sole. The inside of the hole was free to ventilate and I left it like that for six months, by which time I had sourced a new unit that I fitted after the cavity I’d created was filled with epoxy resin. I also used sealant on the gasket when I fitted the new vent so that calamity will not happen again. The two vents forward are sound and need no attention.


Most of the bilges show their age, look rather crabby and the bilge sump didn’t smell too sweet to begin with. As we work our way through the boat each bilge and locker is being given a freshen up with light grey bilge paint.

The brass plate cover for the emergency steering had no key so I made one from a piece of hard wood, two cabinet knobs and two rivet pins. It beats hacking the thing to bits with a screwdriver in an emergency. I mounted the emergency tiller on a clip in the starboard aft locker so it is always readily available. Both jobs were zero cost items as I had the various bits available. A fuel/water key I bought; it was so much easier.
Fig 27: DIY emergency steering key

To provide alternative emergency steering or manoeuvre propulsion I have built a 5.25m Yuloh but it’s having a few adjustments over the winter. In due course I will report on its utility or futility if it is of interest.

Of course, I am still dealing with the regular chores – engine service, life raft service, old flare disposal and so on. I am still working my way through the defect list, but it is getting smaller and new items are appearing less frequently but I am sure they will never stop, not until I do. I've not covered everything, but should you want to see particular photos, do please ask and I'll see what I have immediately or can get as soon as lockdown is eased.
Fig 28: Triptych in Holyhead
Fig 29: Melanie at the wheel

Don Fitzroy Smith


#2 2021-03-06 22:48:19

Committee Member
From: Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
Registered: 2017-03-14
Posts: 144


Fascinating read Don, thank you. Some things I should look out for with Blue Opal as she gets a bit older!

Blue Opal, Victoria 34


#3 2021-03-07 00:46:34

From: Chester
Registered: 2017-06-25
Posts: 60



We were looking at Blue Opal one day in the yard at Conwy, at broker George's suggestion, when we were trapped on board by a violent rain squall. The only ingress during that assault was a leak past the mast boot, but I expect you have sorted that one now.

We are getting rain water coming down into the bilge from inside the mast but the main problem relates to the failed hull:deck seal. Hopefully, I'll get on top of that as soon as we are at liberty again. Will Dun Laoghaire by out of bounds this summer?

Best wishes



#4 2021-03-08 20:39:27

Committee Member
From: Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
Registered: 2017-03-14
Posts: 144


Don_Smith wrote:


We were looking at Blue Opal one day in the yard at Conwy, at broker George's suggestion, when we were trapped on board by a violent rain squall. The only ingress during that assault was a leak past the mast boot, but I expect you have sorted that one now.

I had the boot replaced, and recently re-sealed with self-amalgamating tape. Don't think I've ever seen water down the outside of the mast since. I have some home-brew (sort of) hardware to hook up on the automatic bilge pump circuit that'll send me a text message when the pump runs; it'll get installed some day, and then I'll document it for everyone else.

We are getting rain water coming down into the bilge from inside the mast but the main problem relates to the failed hull:deck seal. Hopefully, I'll get on top of that as soon as we are at liberty again. Will Dun Laoghaire by out of bounds this summer?

Best wishes


Hard to say what's going to happen. I know the club is launching in early April, and I suppose we're hoping that things will ease up by end of April - vaccinations will certainly help.

Blue Opal, Victoria 34


#5 2021-03-09 12:40:34

Committee Member
Registered: 2017-08-10
Posts: 154


Great update and information Don. Well done!

Anitra - Victoria 34 cutter

Victoria 34 Cutter - 'Anitra'


#6 2021-03-09 13:39:55

From: Chester
Registered: 2017-06-25
Posts: 60


Good morning, Charlie. We looked at Anitra too, on her mooring on the Tamar. Don


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