John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 20th February 2004

JOHN LAING goes back in the water in 17 days’ time!!!!

Ace chart corrector Andy Royse has particularly liked his regular personal slot in these bulletins over the last few weeks: that’s the bit where we tell you not under any circumstances to take anything else apart, Andy.

Those of you who have been helping at the refit will know – and the rest of you can probably imagine – quite how many things on board JOHN LAING can be unscrewed, untied, disconnected, dismantled, or in moments of particular stress ripped apart with teeth and nails and big hitty things from the workshop. (I think the US military calls this “refitting with extreme prejudice”). There is, however, method in all this madness and everything that needs to be checked, serviced and reassembled will eventually be back on the boat in better condition. The real art of the project is to keep the process under control, and particularly not to lose track of any of the bits. Everything has to be meticulously labelled and carefully stored (that’s why there’s a space in the refit house known as the “pissy-if-we-lose-it-cupboard.”). And it’s all been going fine.

Until now.

Something important has been mislaid.

Yes, ladies, gentlemen, giraffes and pinnipeds: Wolf and Craig have lost the plot.

The moment finally arrived this week when they found themselves painting the hull at night illuminated only by Craig’s land rover headlights. They now insist that they’ve definitely lost the plot, they can’t find it anywhere, and it must have been taken off the boat by accident…

With 17 days to go before JOHN LAING goes back in the water, the refit team of permanent staff plus full-time and part-time volunteers are putting in the most extraordinary hours and effort to ensure that everything will be ready. Those of you who plan to sail this season but have good reasons for not coming to the refit: you owe them a lot. Those who haven’t got good reasons: there’s a paintbrush waiting for you. And those who’ve been already: many, many thanks and we’d love to see you if you can come again!

This week’s heroes were the full-time team of the plotless twins (skipper Mark “Wolf” Todd and bosun Craig "Little Princess" Dickerson), plus Phoebe, Dinghy Boy (now back from his holidays) and Sarah, with visits from Mark Boggis, Matt Bland, Di Francis, Wendy Dickerson and Josh, Graeme Cole, Ian Webster, Phoebe’s friend Gemma, George Furber, George Harvey, Andy Royse and Caz.

The big stop press, hold-the-front-page, order-a-trumpet-fanfare-plus-twelve-dancing-girls-and-a-performing-elephant news (actually it’s a week old but someone forgot to tell me last time, Wolf) is that THE COCKPIT LOCKER IS FINISHED! Phoebe arranged to emigrate in order to be allowed to get out of the locker, but everyone insisted that she couldn’t leave until it was done. So now she’s off to New Zealand next week and anyone who wants to say goodbye should know that the team are going out in Hamble this Saturday night (21st February) – if you want to join us, call Wolf on 07771 771864.

Obviously with the expertise Phoebe has developed in fitting herself into confined spaces and achieving a perfect paint finish on all surfaces including her hands, face and hair, it would have been a shame to waste her last few days, so she’s been doing sterling work in the bilges. The mast cabin bilge has been painted this week, and the mid bilge and heads bilges are prepped and ready to paint.

We have also finished servicing the seacocks, painted the gas locker, rebuilt the stern platform, done more work on the hull, re-attached the forehatch, put two coats of paint on the starboard side of the hull and one on the port (the other might be happening as I write but that depends on the weather in Hamble), finished the water tanks and cleaned out the port fuel tank. The fridge is in but the piping runs are still being sorted out; the cooker is off and has gone to be serviced (thanks, Trevor), and the team has started work on the scuppers.

Volunteers wanted tomorrow (Saturday) but not this Sunday 22nd February as the boat will be closed for the OYT South AGM. Lots of people also required during next week: we need to paint the rubbing strake and boot topping, put the seacocks back on, fill the portholes, paint the mid bilge, heads bilges and mates’ cabin bilges, touch up bits of the hull, fill and fair the deck and finish the scuppers.

Oh, and help Wolf and Craig to find the plot again.

If you’ve got the plot, or you know where it is, or you just want to come and give us a hand and save the team from early graves / mental instability / physical ruin / premature ageing (delete as applicable) call 07771 771864.




“This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it.” Sam, aged 16

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