New Deck Jan 2024 on the Committee Boat

Some of you who visit your boats/yachts on the hard during the off season 23/24 will have seen the club committee boat also on the hard. It has the cabin (Bus shelter / security hut ) removed and the rigging down. Currently parked on a trailer with replaced wheels and some bearing work.

Most have not climbed in to see the old decking, which is/was in a rotten state.

Because the last used Buffalo board was not sealed on it’s cut edges, the damp has wicked into the board and softened and rotted it for about three inches from the edge. Several pieces have been replaced over recent times (especially at the actively used stern deck of the boat) however for a comprehensive refurbishment of the whole flooring the cabin had to be removed. This was achieved by crane in early November. Due to other maintenance work taking priority, the deck work has only begun to receive significant attention in recent weeks.

Perhaps most/many club members do not remember the major work done in 2003 on the committee boat after the shed on the boat collapsed in a storm – like a pack of cards. It was at this stage the joists were replaced and three quarter inch ply decking was utilised. Some great photos of the 2003 joists are below. Graham Farringdon was one of the members assisting in this work (some 20 years ago).

In the twenty approx years since these photos were taken the boat has deteriorated with some of the wood joists rotten and all the glavanised steel fittings/bolts corroded.

Another memorable incident in the committee boat’s life was when it broke its mooring and was pushed by the wind on to the South shore of Taggart. This happened when fully crewed by a Race Officer plus associates and was attended by our safety boat while the cruisers raced on. It was pulled off several tides later by an accomodating local fisherman.

The rudder also has to be refurbished since the tiller stock of one inch steel bar has badly corroded. In addition the samson post /mooring post at the bow got additional securing.

The first flooring in 2003/4 was of ply wood – edge sealed and slip treated as can be seen below.

After which we discovered boarding called Buffalo board – used in trailer floors, this became the second and third floor fitting.

The cabin – another feature of note – was earlier of ply with three sides, a roof and an open back. Well in some strong wind this just collapsed like a pack of cards meaning a replacement was required. A security hut possibility was introduced by a member, being possibly available in east Belfast near the ropeworks. This was surveyed, paid for and eventually collected by a suitable vehicle and crane/hyab arm. This has become our shelter from most of the Lough’s weather – like the bouncing hail in the next shot.

It is worthy of mention that there is ballast in the lower hull – some concrete is in the main hull centre, just visible as the grey matter in the joist photos above. This concrete was an early addition and has not been moved or adjusted since fitting even though it blocks drainage from the bow bilge to the stern bilge meaning we normally have to use two pumps on the boat.

The ballast has been increased in 2003 by bags of 15 mm agrigate. These are in blue plastic, which has survived almost two decaded, but several have become punctured or deteriorated meaning loose gravel exists in the bilge , normally hand cleaned from the pump hose entrances. A practical member has provided some coal/log bags of polypropylene which have been fitted and stitched over some of the torn blue plastic bags, meaning less gravel escapes. In essence there is around one and a half tons of ballast which assists in stabilising the committee boat in all but the major Southerly swells experienced on our mooring.

Historicaly the boat looks as below

Some may remember the earlier store sheds which the club used and which would look like babies in comparison to the shed we have now.

The flooring/decking at the start of the December 23 improvements looked as below

With the forward pump intake arrangements as below

The new flooring/decking has been selected to be of composite decking planks – which are coffee in colour and we hope will last a further 10 or more years. Integrated into the flooring will be two deck access hatches – a forward one and an aft one.

After the flooring, there may be enthusiasm and work time to improve the cabin internal facilities. A 240v mains coffee maker has been ruled out – but equipment storage and solar capacity will be looked at. The rigging as evidenced by the stern mast head shown below has room for improvement as well.

Our new Autohoot system will be facilitated and hopefully the Race Officer duty will be a more pleasant experience with the new facilities.

The pic below shows some progress

We have a number of other projects in hand at present – including the :-

refit of the refurbished gearbox into Daisy, replace the engine mounts in Daisy, possibly sound proof the engine compartment of Daisy, rewire the electrics, test run the propulsion system and adjust.

The Daisy work can be undertaken within the shed during bad weather.

Looking forward to a set of post completion committee boat photos and details joining this post.

Deck almost complete photos follow from 23 Jan 24 – further screwing down work is required, plus the re-installation of the cabin.

Further work will be needed but the bulk labour is complete, with a trap door at the stern and one near the forward deck bulkhead – the forward manual bilge pump is functioning – 23Jan24

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