Although memories of a stunning summer are beginning to fade as the winter routine kicks-in, we love living by the seasons. Winter brings new challenges with all the maintenance work on Juno, moorings and harbour buoys to lift and service, and always an anxious eye on the forecasts with the threat of winter gales bringing surge tides. But it’s also time to reflect on an amazing summer of sailing and exciting plans for next year!
The marshes and harbour are now almost deserted. Winter wildlife abounds, and the grey seals are pupping in the sand dunes on Blakeney Point – what an amazing sight that is! Long weekend walks on deserted beaches often followed by a long lazy pub lunch, sorting the world with local friends. And then blazing log fires at home to look forward to every evening.
Next week we start work on Juno – de-rigging her completely before craning off her masts and bowsprit, for 5 yearly maintenance and re-varnishing. Helen and I drove to Dorchester-on-Thames last week to collect the new boom for Juno from Collars who have made all our spars for many years. What superb workmanship they have put into making that boom for us! The old boom was bending rather alarmingly when we were hard pressed in a good blow because of the new loose footed mainsail we have fitted this year. So the new boom is larger in section, and cleverly laminated using five sections of Colombian Pine which has resulted in an incredibly stiff spar, just as we had specified. A long wait now before we can sail with it, but I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.
After 16,000 miles sailed since we built Juno almost 20 years ago, the list of work this winter is dauntingly long. We have also contracted Neil Thompson Boats (Neil was a key member of our team who built Juno when he worked for us prior to setting up his own boatyard) to build a new traditional style steering pedestal in the cockpit incorporating updated electronics and all other controls, rather than these being mounted remotely from the pedestal and not all within easy reach of the helm, as they have been in the past.
Routine maintenance will include, as always, a full repaint of the entire exterior of the vessel, including jacking her up to clean and re-antifoul the underwater sections. We take great pride in maintaining Juno to the highest possible standard, ensuring that she still looks almost as new, despite her heavy work load. Annual maintenance always includes grinding back to bare steel every chip and scratch where rust shows signs of setting in. Every patch of steel is then built up using five coats of epoxy primer, before filling and fairing and applying a full coat of best yacht enamel. And all this before we then apply a full coat of best yacht enamel all over the entire vessel.
A massive amount of work, but all part of the winter routine, and we are always driven on by so much to look forward to next summer!