23rd March – 3rd April: TLC for the Seafly …including hatch refurbs.

My Seafly got neglected last year while I was sailing Seatern so I decided to take advantage of some good weather plus very neap tides to clean her up. In the past I’ve used a high water neap period to turn the Seafly onto it’s side and scrub the weed off the bottom. She doesn’t have any anti-fouling so I have to do it 2 or 3 times each year. Last year it was done once!

Unfortunately, each of the last times that I scrubbed her down, water got into the side buoyancy chambers. So this time I decided that first I needed to completely refit the hatches. Once I got the side tank hatches off it was clear that I’d not used enough sealant when fitting them. Also relying on screwing the hatch openings onto the fibreglass had not been a good idea. In refitting them I bolted them in place and used far too much sealant – so it oozed out everywhere!

Then, before screwing the covers down, I used silicon grease (Polypipe/Paragon Plastics from the plumbing shop) as a lubricant on the “o” rings. What a difference! I could really screw them down tight. I’ve had those sort of hatch covers on boats since I was in my teens and never thought to lubricate them before… how stupid! I haven’t done the bow tank hatches yet – they are hard to get to. However, if the side tanks are performing properly, the water doesn’t reach the hatches in the bow tank when the boat is on its side.

Having redone the hatches in order to float the boat on its side in the water, in the end I scrubbed the bottom with the boat against the tyres on the hard standing! There was a lot of green weed in the places where the sun gets to the hull. In the top photo most of it has already been cleaned off – you can see some on the “bilge keel” but most of what is left is easily cleaned mud. The top photo shows the finished hull – I don’t try and get rid of the discolouring. During the process I removed the centreboard so I can strip it back to wood and repaint or varnish it. I am surprised how well it has survived over the years.

I’ve been doing this while I wait to find out why my power generator for Seatern was not working as well as I hoped when I went to Chichester Harbour. This is “work in progress”, contact me for details.