Sunday, 9 June 2013

We've Bought a Boat

Or rather Tod has, since I get sick in a rowing boat on a duck pond, so it's not my first thought on what we might do with our time and money. Mind you, I do have this sort of image of messing about in boats - I loved the Arthur Ransome books, especially Swallows and Amazons - but reality is rather different.

Anyway, he bought it (her?) last autumn and I took no interest whatsoever and then we were busy all winter and spring and she just sat there at her moorings on The Lot, unloved and uncared for.

But now we've time and we've been lavishing some attention on her. Well it gives us something to do now that the good weather has gone again!

She's a wooden Norfolk Broads Cruiser, built in the sixties, and amazingly there is a photo of her in her prime on a boat-fanatic's website.

She was christened Gossamer Girl.  (The boatyard still exists and they are still calling the boats in their fleet "G-something Girl".) And then her name was changed by previous owners to Lucy Mary, which has now been frenchified to Lucie Marie.  She's certainly no fairy-like thing - being pretty broad of beam - so that rules out GG. And she's not really an elegant French lady, so she'll probably revert to plain Lucy Mary.

She's looking her age and we're investigating what we need in the way of marine paints and wood restorers to give her a face-lift - all much cheaper in the UK, of course.

Friends down over the summer may just find they get presented with a paintbrush as they arrive.  But after a hard day's work on the boat an early evening cruise down The Lot to a local night market sounds like a pleasant experience.  I will just have to wear my sea-bands, breathe deeply and remember Nancy and Peggy in the Lake District.

In the meantime, we badly need advice on how to make her more weather tight.  With all the rain of the last few days, the mattresses in the cabins are soaked through.  This seems like a "cottage moment" - better to know now that we've got rain problems than in the middle of a cruise.

 Gossamer Girl in her heyday 



  1. Gracious, that takes me back!
    I used to see this type of cruiser when sailing on the Broads as a student.
    Is she plywood?
    You might like to take a look at the area under the sliding roof, where the cabin top joins the hull as the strain can sometimes pull out the sealant....and the sealant round the windows might also be perished.
    What a journey she has had from the Broads to the Lot...

  2. Hello Helen, glad to be able to take you down memory lane:)
    Being complete land-lubbers we haven't a clue what we've bought - except George who knows about these things said the engine was running sweetly. So no idea whether it's plywood - that sounds a bit flimsy! All beautiful varnished wood inside. Thanks for the suggestion re the sealant - we will investigate. :)

  3. i don't know what the builders of this lady used, but marine ply is in common use and is absolutely fit for purpose - lasts for years if kept properly varnished or painted and protected on the edges of the sheets so that water cannot penetrate between the laminates.

    She may be old enough to be of 'proper' wood, though....

  4. Wow! Some project. Best of luck to you both and all who (will) sail in her.
    I suspect that someone who reads your Writing Home knows, or knows someone who knows, all about this kind of craft and you may well get expert advice and help in restoration and future maintenance.
    The thought of summer floating with glass in hand will spur you on.

  5. Hi Lesley, thanks for the encouragement. I've been reading boat forums, hoping to pick up some tips. OH not good at reading manuals etc, so this one's down to me I guess. Hopefully there will be future blogs of trips on The Lot. :)

  6. Hi Fly, glad to hear marine ply is fit for purpose. As you can tell, I know nothing. :) :) The recent owners are not around much to ask - too busy cruising in their new camper! So we're having to find our own way. :)