This Old Boat – Don Casey

This Old Boat
Fixing up an old boat on a budget

I’ve recently bought this book from Amazon for the princely sum of £8 including delivery.  I heartily recommend it to anyone who hasn’t heard of it and is considering buying a boat. The first chapter alone will probably save you thousands of pounds and if not that, hours and hours of heartache.

It is also available in a more recent reprint and brought more up to date, but cheapskate that I am, I went for the original edition.

Of course I’m probably preaching to the converted but if I do happen to find any new potential acolytes then you would probably find the following websites of interest too. The general theme of them all is boating on a budget, common sense, avoiding the hype and bullshit.

In no particular order and apologies if you think you should be on here and I’ve missed you out.

Volkscruiser – the perpetual search for a boat For The People – Like the VW was the Peoples Car

Boat Bits – Bob’s common sense perspective to boating

Shoestring Sailing – exactly what it says on the tin

Small Boat Projects – A digest of inspiring projects

That’ll do for now.

Another Flying visit to the Saloon

Another quick trip down South to ‘Free’ to get another coat of paint on the foam insulation.

The tides were at unsociable hours this weekend, High tides about 5am. Plus with the clocks going back on Sunday night, the tides didn’t get any more hospitable a day later.

We had a gentle drive down and decided to break from our routine and visit Dartmoor for a while. We had enough time for a walk up to the nearest Tor. It was small enough to manage in a little over an hour and tough enough to let us realise that we’re out of practice and should be doing this sort of thing much more frequently!

Sunday we set our alarms for a 0545 start. We made it onto ‘Free’ easily with perhaps an hour of water to spare. That could have been an extra hour in bed..!

She managed to get another coat of paint on the ceiling and walls whilst I fiddled with the LED lights and wired them in.

We now have a triple gang switch that turns on “The Hall”, “The Kitchen” and “The Lounge” lights… 6 LED lights in pairs , 2 near the companionway steps, 2 over the sink/cooker and 2 over the port seating area. Hall, Kitchen and Lounge makes the boat feel much bigger!


Final coat on the bulkhead with the off-white colour.



Testing the original trim for size and colour-relief

The insulation certainly makes a difference we feel. I’m not one for feeling the cold too much,  but I’m still in T-shirt and shorts and it’s nearly November.

Still had to remove a fair amount of water from the bilges. I revisited the video from the seller and was reminded that the keels had been re-bedded in his ownership so I’m hoping that its just a matter of tightening the nuts, or possibly resealing from the inside. I don’t relish having to drop both keels again if that’s where the water is coming from.

Hope to be down next week for the final coat of paint.


A Dry Boat, and a not-so-dry-boat.

We managed another day on the boat this weekend and pushed on with the Salon redecoration/insulation. No further photos I’m afraid, I just forgot to take them. Imagine her looking one coat better that the last photo. The transformation will be more of a surprise this way anyway!

We were in a hurry to get on the boat with an early tide on Sunday morning, and in our hurry, forgot to provision adequately. The beer and Bacardi somehow contrived to stay in the camper.

All Day.

So for the day at least, ‘Free’ was a Dry Boat.

Until I looked in her bilges…

I always knew she was letting in a bit of water through the keel bolts. It was something I was psyching myself up to tackling. This weekend, I sponged about one bucket out of each bilge. 8 litres each side since I last did this, 2 weeks ago.
Then I lifted the inspection hatch for the Forward Looking Sonar, a big stainless plate in the cabin floor. It was awash with another 8 buckets! 60 litres since she went back in the water in May.

That is unacceptable, and needs to be resolved. It looks like I shall be lifting ‘Free’ out for a while, resealing the keel bolts and re-tightening them in an effort to improve the situation.

I suspect that the problem is exacerbated by being on a drying mud mooring. Perhaps its time to move to somewhere more suitable…