Saturday 29 September 2012

Thank for your kind comments

Chris and I would like to say a big thank you for your kind comments on the blog and facebook.  It meant a lot to Chris and lifted her spirits

Mary had her operation on Wednesday night and had the left leg amputated from above the knee.  She is doing fine and has improved somewhat.  Now we have to get her on the long road to recovery but now we are optomistic she will do well as she seems to be more with us since the op.

We returned home and enjoyed our friends wedding day on Friday. Simon and Lorraine tied the knot in the lovely Leasowe castle on the banks of the Mersey estuary.  The castle was built in 1592 as a lookout tower by Ferdinando, the 5th Earl of Derby. In the following year he was awarded with the Manor of Wallasey, and in 1594 became the Mayor of Liverpool. The original purpose of the building is not known but it is likely to have been built in connection with sporting activities, possibly as a viewing area for the famous Wallasey races, the forerunners of the Derby race.  Today it has been enlarged to this elegant hotel with beautiful interior decor.

The happy couple, Simon and Lorraine
Having spent a great day with the couple we returned home feeling better and today (Saturday) Chris has returned to Essex for a few more days to see her mum and be re-assured she is OK before returning back to work,  So for me its home alone as the girls are out.  With a pint of cider and Andre Rieu on in the background all is a well as can be for now.  Its been a busy and stressful week but there looks to be light at the end of the tunnel at last. 

So TTFN for now.

Sunday 23 September 2012

To Stourport and a playful Collie dog.

Hi All,
Chris and I had planned to visit Jim at Alexander boats yesterday (Saturday) but during the week Chris received some bad news about her mum.  Seems the arteries in her leg are so bad she must have it amputated so Chris diverted to Essex to speak to the hospital people about it.  I won't go into details but needless to say Chris is every upset about this and so we wait for further information.

As there was very little I could do we both agreed I should still visit Jim, so Saturday morning I was up early and drove to Stourport for 10am.   I spent a good few hours discussing AmyJo and answering several questions Jim had all the time referring to a hull he is currently building.

Jim's usual cabin side shape
 We quite like the way Jim finishes the cabin sides at the Cratch but wanted a slight modification (you can see the concept in chalk above).  This would mean a wider edge at the base so when sat in the scratch the draft on ones back should be minimised but the shape still looks nice.  Do you think the top looks a little like a dog's head?  

A pert Josher bow on this hull.
We discussed our request for a Josher bow and looked at the one on the current build. The bow was quite short for a Josher but Jim still managed to get the proportions looking right.  We have asked for a slightly longer bow so it will look smoother and give a little more room in the bow locker 

Very open plan!  Looking back from the bow
 As you can see from the photos the current hull is only half finished but it gave me an opportunity to see the structure in more detail.  The way Jim puts these hulls together is fascinating to see and you get a feel of the strength he builds into them.  This particular hull is a 70foot semi trad but from the photo it seems much longer.

Attention to detail to ensure everything is straight and true
 Jim has two hulls on the go at present and the other one is a shorter 57foot hull.  As you can see below it has only been built as far as the gunwales so far.  The plate on top will become the cabin side wall of the 70foot hull eventually

We discussed the size of the stern for AmyJo and have settled on 3foot 6inches which I believe is the normal size of a traditional boat?

I showed our concept layout drawings to Jim to give him a feel for what we are hoping for and he seemed very interested.  He is keen to get going on our hull and reckons two weeks for the 70foot hull to be finished.  Once that is shipped out AmyJo will begin.

Having spent a fair while with Jim it was time to head home.  On the way back I was in need of a cuppa and as the sun was making a rare appearance and I was passing by, I stopped of at Grindley Brook lock cafe and enjoyed the warm sunshine with a scone and a brew.  It was quite busy with lots of people about and many boats passing through.

The collie in the photo was a lovely dog and went from person to person with a squeaky toy that she expected to be thrown for her to fetch.  If you ignored her she squeaked the toy constantly until you complied.  She never gave up the whole time I was there and everyone threw the toy for her.  She seemed totally happy for this to never end and gave much entertainment to all who watch or threw the toy.

Anyhoo that's all I have for now.  Joanne has the dinner in hand and I have to phone Chris for the latest on her mum so TTFN.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Glutton for Punishment

Hi all,
Last weekend saw Chris and I at Southport marine lake for the annual 24hour dinghy race with the sailing club.  This is a big event for us as the club has attended every race in the 46 years it has been run.  Unfortunately I could not sail due to my tendinitis in the shoulder so it fell to me to run the shore crew, managing the crews, change overs and keeping tabs of the lap times so no sleep for me.  Still I reckon that's good penance for not sailing.

The race is the sailing version of the Le Mans motor race where boats continually sail from mid day Saturday, all through the night to mid day Sunday with pit stops for crew changes

The pit area for crew change overs
The up wind Leg looking down the lake
One lap of the lake is just over 1 mile long, the photo above looks down the lake from one end and in the middle it has two islands making the course a clockwise one all the way around them.  You can just see one of the islands to the left of the photo above.

Sailing into wind, leaning (hiking) out to balance the boat and keep it upright

With over 60 boats taking part they cannot all start together as there is not enough room so they are set of in flights (groups) of 10 boats with 1 minute intervals.  The starting order is determined by your finishing position from the previous year.

Doing the night run, 3am in the morning and still going (this is not our boat)
Chris getting ready to do her turn
 We all take a 2 hour stint in the boat to keep it going as the boat that completes the most laps in 24hours wins the race

Our club Enterprise, number 46 with Chris as crew

Gusty conditions make for hard work

Sailing down wind on the other side of the lake
The race is very competitive with some crew members from team GB taking part.  Needless to say their club won doing 100 laps.  That does not worry us as we enjoy the taking part.  Having started the race in 46th place we finished in 26th place (85 laps) and was the lead boat of our flight for which we won a trophy (a silver tankard)

As you can imagine after 24hours with no sleep we were exhausted and slept well Sunday night.

On a different note were off to Alexander Boats on Saturday to have another chat with Jim.  Looks like the start date is getting closer so he wants to talk about AmyJo in some more detail.  I'll post how we get on after our visit.

Hope you are all well and keeping out of the Autumnal winds we've been having of late.  My Grandfather used to say "Winter drawers on" and, "Its getting late early"  and it certainly is getting darker early as the evenings pass.  

Saturday 8 September 2012

Tantalisingly Close

Hi All,
Just a quick post today.

Had an email update from Jim at Alexander Boats.  Seems the hull he is building should be finished at the end of the month and when its moved to Fernwoods he can start on AmyJo.  Not sure how long we'll have to wait for the current hull to move out and so now it looks like October at least for the build to start.   Oh well, sometimes it does seem like for ever this waiting game but we know it will be worth it in the end.


Wednesday 5 September 2012

Numb bum and legs like jelly

Hi all,
Sorry for not posting recently.  Not much happening on the boat front I'm afraid and so we have just got on with daily life of going to work every day.  The kids are back to school and the traffic queues are now twice as long again.

Chris's mum, Mary, has had a couple of bad falls and is now in hospital so we have been up and down the motorway visiting.  She is not eating or drinking and so is getting more frail as the days pass and her memory is going too.  Worrying times ahead and so we are both a bit down in the dumps at the moment.

To cheer us up a bit we bought two folding bicycles for on the boat and have been making the most of them.  So far we have cycled into town via the canal and tonight we are just back from cycling to Ellesmere port Boat Museum and Back.  We live by Chester zoo so picked up the canal there and cycled to the museum.  Tomorrow we plan to cycle to the sailing club for a BBQ and a pint or three.

Now one thing we've learnt since having the bike is that whoever designs the saddles is clearly not a cyclist.  My backside is numb and my legs are like jelly.  

On the way back tonight we simply had to stop off for a rest

Can't beat and Old Speckled Hen!
and re-hydrate.