Happy New Year

 The Bessie Ellen - 27/08/2013Greetings from Charlestown, Cornwall.  We have been blown into the new year with gales and rain with still no sign of let up, but at least we are afloat and sheltered inside the lock gates here in port. Work starts today with maintenance to blocks and rigging as we move on into spring and the start of sailing in March.

Two new crew join today, George and Freddie who sailed back from Denmark in December have signed up for the season to learn more traditional methods of sailing other than yachts. Both have good skipper experience from working in the Med for a charter company in Greece last season but I think they will experience a very different type of sailing aboard a traditional tall ship.

First on the list will be servicing around 60 wooden blocks (Ash).  For the last three years they have been aloft in sun, wind and rain and now need stripping down for greasing, revarnishing and checking for defects, i.e wearing on the cheeks.   Although an easy task, it can be long and drawn out as the varnish will need good drying temperatures, not what we have at present.  To reduce the chemical and polluting effects, we are using a Tung and linseed oil mix that penetrates the wood and provides a good shine, plus it is easy to repair when worn.  Stockholm tar is added to colour the mix and help the waterproofing.  Stainless pins are greased and new copper plates are set over the holes.  I have a large collection of penny and ha’penny that are just perfect for this job and they have a sailing ship/ Brittannia on the coin face.

Rope wise, each halyard and sheet will be end-for ended where possible. New splices turned in and served and parcelled in the traditional manner with spun yarn or tarred marlin.

Using our strong ties with Denmark, many of our rigging products are sourced there.  If you are looking for belay pins, hoops, blocks or other wooden items,  can recommend H.J.  Jacobsen for a fast and efficient service and not ridiculously priced!

Now we have the time, i hope to update the blog weekly to give tips and advice to any boat owner also contemplating maintenance, and if you would like to get some hands on experience, then give us a call and come down to try traditional skills for yourself.

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