‘Ne’re cast a clout ’til May be out’ – referring to hawthorn (not the month) but it’s fitting as the sun has peeped out from the rain clouds a little longer this month, creating stunning rainbows over the river and beyond. Mornings on the yard were greeted with the sight of sun kissed mud, freshly washed by ebbing tides creating blinding lights or at other times, the sight of still silent high tides forming stunning reflections of clouds in the water – both equally as breathtaking.
Sitting on the river wall waiting for the day’s work to begin, yard hands, customers and visitors always feel an appreciation of the beauty that surrounds them. This final populated stretch of the Deben marks an end to busy river life as it is naturally quietened by the water expanding to fill the saltings opposite. Then the low and narrow span of Wilford Bridge changes the nature of passable river traffic creating a very different feel to the water as it emerges the other side of the bridge; from here on, it becomes almost stream-like.
Silence never really falls though, especially in the mornings. Rush hour traffic over the bridge starts to build, passing trains sound their horns, early runners pad along the footpath, and multitudes of birds feed on the saltings and river. Their days start with a loud rebellion against the peaceful nature of their setting; they court, argue, raise young, fight, flap, fly and feed in a noisy mix of calls that make it difficult to distinguish one from the other. Eventually, their rabble wakes the yard machines; big yellow cranes join in the chorus and life on the yard begins.
On the days with no rain the sun heated the inside of boats and for the first time this year we began to feel that dreaded hot blast, as hatches were opened ready for work to begin. Working inside boats in this weather is airless, cramped and uncomfortable work – and it’s been a busy month getting boats ready to be launched. The twice yearly task of lifting, servicing and hauling is the mainstay of any boatyard. Our 40 tonne travel hoist and cranes have been at full capacity on every tide. And as the yard empties our marina fills, so although it is still early, there is a feel of the early summer season on the yard.
Grit blasting was also the order of the day, a 40′ Bruce Roberts blue water sailing yacht was taken down to bare metal ready for epoxy coating. Whilst, ‘Windhover’ a 27′ drop keel yacht and ‘Blue Jay’ both had a light blast to remove their build up of antifoul, ready for fresh coat of antifoul before returning afloat.
Work on ‘Blackthorn’ has been completed and she is ready to be launched next month, to take up her summer berth in our marina. This big barge leaves a space on our quay large enough for two vessels that have already been booked in from Woodbridge and are arriving soon.
An interesting vessel launched this month was ‘Silver Wraith’. She is a 1927 wooden 40′ Silver (said to be part of the Dunkirk rescue mission) and has been on our yard for a year undergoing DIY work. After extensive soft caulking to close up her planking, she went afloat, spent some time taking up in our marina before heading off to her berth in Woodbridge. Her place on the quay was quickly filled with another vessel which arrived from Bass’s dock on the same tide.
And finally, we have some exciting news – a very interesting vessel will be arriving in July for restoration and repairs – watch this space.