Finally the sun shone. It burst out of the clouds with a 24 degree blast that, for a couple of days, made life on the yard the envy of office-wallers.  The phrase, “I wish I had a job like yours” rang in the air again; something we never hear in those dark months of ice, wind and rain, when they scurry past with coats tightly drawn against the blasts. But it didn’t last and the rain and cold returned with a vengeance, bringing with it strong North Easterly winds that closed the Orwell Bridge again and brought hardy yachtsman, who had launched early, into inland safe waters, with hatches tightly closed.

Grit blasting was the order of this month. Three yachts waited their turn to be cleaned up ready for their season afloat.  Two 35′ glass-fibre GRP yachts had their anti-fouling removed under low pressure to avoid damage to their bottoms and a 45′ steel yacht was blasted back to bare metal ready for epoxy coating next month. Grit blasting quickly and cleanly removes anti-fouling with very little damage to the parent surface leaving a lovely key ready for anti-foul primer.

‘Blackthorn’ a half size sailing barge filled our large workshop this month. She is in to have her decks sanded, rust chipped off and primed and painted with fresh colours ready for her seasons racing in the increasingly popular East Coast Barge matches.

In the small workshop ‘Timberly’ had all her varnish work taken off, stripped back to bare wood and started all over again.  Traditional boat owners know this task well.  It is a arm-aching time consuming yet necessary job, that must be done to keep your wooden boat in sea worthy condition.  ‘Timberly’ is a strip planked mahogany built 30’yacht with graceful lines; a pretty little boat she now shines fresh and new ready to be launched just as soon as the weather allows.

The weather seems to have held back the demands for early launching, increasing the load on the ‘silly season’, fondly known as the month when everyone wants to be afloat at once but hasn’t booked in their lift or their pre-season work.  Simon’s advice is, even it is cold and raining now, get your job lists in to him and your lifts booked in early to avoid disappointment of still being on the hard when the sun is shining and the river is filling up with those who have planned ahead.