…but not for Alexandros! I love winter sailing. Sure, there is nothing like those balmy summer afternoons in shorts and t-shirts, ghosting along to a summer breeze. But for real tranquility, a winters sail is hard to beat. Few other sailors about, fewer mobo’s and PWC. Indeed, more than once we have traveled the length of the Blackwater without seeing another vessel at all, and that’s in the crowded south-east of England.
Most years Alex gets lifted during the winter for a clean and anti-fouling. But this year I decided to do it at the very end of August. When I thought about it I decided it was stupid freezing to death trying to clean and paint the boat in January or February.
One memorable winter my dear old mum was polishing the foredeck when her trousers actually froze to the deck!!! So, an end of season scrub and brush up was the obvious choice.
Normally upon lift out I find between the keels and the prop are encrusted with barnacles. I even found some tasty looking mussels last year. Perhaps a foot of green seaweed around the waterline too.
As followers of this blog will know, Alex was moved to Maldon right at the start of the season. She lives on a drying pontoon berth and only floats about 11/2 hours either side of HW.
I carefully motored her up to the slipway about 1/2 hour after HW and made all fast. As the tide ebbed and Alex settled I could not wait to see how much marine growth the anti-fouling paint had encouraged. As I have said elsewhere, the anti-fouling paint I use would be better described as Barnie Food. Donning my trusty waders, I ventured into the brown water to assess the growth and imagine my surprise when there was not a Barnie, a mussel and hardly any weed to be seen. The prop looked pretty much as it had done upon launching last winter!
Puzzled I spoke to the yard manager and his ever helpful son and learned that this is normal for the Maldon berths. They pointed out that there is a high calcium content in the mud and that a build up of limescale is common but marine growth almost non-existent. I have an additional theory too. Up here near the upper reaches of the mighty Blackwater, I wonder if the salinity of the water is reduced by the rivers flow? Could it be more, sort of brackish rather then salt? It tastes salty for sure, but maybe the salinity is lower and marine organisms simply do not like it. Just a thought. Anyway, a quick pressure wash and we slapped on a fresh coat of anti-foul/Barnie food. Mrs BS volunteered to nip round the waterline with a 1″ brush, I attacked the hull with a long handled 6″ roller and the aforementioned helpful son of the yard manager dove between the keels with a short handled roller. I guess it took no more then 3/4 of an hour to do the whole job! a record for us.
In fact we narrowly missed a weekend cruise to Walton and hope to ‘do’ Pyefleet Creek this coming weekend, crew, wind and weather permitting.