Antifouling Sunday – sun and the prospect of summer bring out the boat maintainers

Antifouling Sunday_owner at the top of his boat's mast 2

Antifouling Sunday_at the bottom of the mast Antifouling Sunday_owner at the top of his boat's mast Antifouling Sunday_working on an area of dodgy woodwork

Antifouling Sunday_it may be hard work but it's still a great place to be

I think there’s a special Sunday each year when those who need to ready their boats for the season suddenly rush down to the moorings and get to work – I call it Antifouling Sunday, but you won’t find it in any church’s calendar.

My guess is that what happens for many is that the first days of sunshine and the promise of spring get the sap rising in the boating enthusiast’s veins, but their consciences (and perhaps their families) insist they first complete a selection of household jobs on the Saturday. But then Sunday is their own…

Last Sunday I was down there with the rest of them, rubbing and scrubbing and getting antifouling in my hair and on my sunglasses, and wondering which particular kind of magic stuff to try on my woodwork next (nothing I’ve ever tried has lived up to its promise, no matter what the magazines say) and what other jobs I really need to do.

It might have been hard work but, in that setting and with the sense of community moorings and yards have, it was a great place to be.

There were a companionable lot of us down at Hollowshore, near Faversham, and these photos show just a few of the things that were going on – I was particularly impressed by the chap swinging about on a bosun’s chair sorting out shrouds for his Maurice Griffiths-designed yacht. I hate heights…

Nick Smith makes still more progress on the motor launch Lisa

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Lisa’s getting nearer and nearer – but she still some way from being finished

Hampshire traditional boatbuilder Nick Smith has kindly sent some more photos of Lisa, the 17ft motor launch he’s currently building. At first glance she might look as if she’s close to completion – but, as he explains, there’s still a fair way to go.

He writes:

‘Hi Gav:

‘Here are some more photos showing progress on ‘Lisa’.

‘The next tasks are to build the sole boards, engine box and battery box, fit fuel pipeage. engine control lever and cables, exhaust hose, bronze manual bilge pump and electric float pump, fit crutch sockets, fairleads, foredeck cleat, towing cleats, ensign socket and pole, bilge rails, seven coats of varnish, bilge paint and a traditional red antifouling. We used to call antifouling ‘compo’ when I was an apprentice, which was short for ‘composition’ – a paint antifouling people used that was based on arsenic!!!!

‘Yes , thats all! Won’t take five minutes. More next week!

‘Regards Nick’

Thanks fella – I’ve no doubt the owner will be very proud. A trivial point that comes to mind from these photos is about the masking tape – I wonder what people used in the past for that job?

PS – Nick had this to say about the masking tape. It sounds like a slice of real life to me:

‘As for masking tape, when I was apprenticed there wasn’t a roll in the yard, everything was cut-in with a brush, so thats what I learned to do. It was ok cutting-in a waterline if you were good, but successive years of cutting-in by someone inept would end up with the line creeping up by 1/2in every year, and sometimes it looked like a permanent wave pattern had been painted in!
‘Likewise, nothing was templated. “Template” was a dirty word and there was no 1/8in template ply in the place, as it was thought a waste of money.

‘No, they would much rather pick up the piece of wood to be used, even if it was teak, rough mark it, cut it , and plane it to fit, plenty of pieces went through the bandsaw and back home for kindling, not by me of course, but learning that way was good for me as you had to get it right first time. As an apprentice, when I got it wrong I was told I was a ‘f****** c***’ , as I wasn’t keen on being called that I soon learned to get it right first time every time. When I did well the best I got was to be told I was “not bad for a boy”, but then I knew I had arrived.’

Nick has sent us quite a few photos of the Lisa project over the past few weeks.  If you’d like to see all our posts about his work, click here and scroll down the page. If you don’t already know him, Nick comes from Devon and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for  sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. He can be contacted by email at and by phone on 07786 693370.

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