A new keel for Leda!
During 2022 we discovered that Leda had some rot in some of her interior wood work that supports the floor and bulkheads. We carried out some temporary repairs during the season to make sure that it did not get any worse and planned it in for the winter maintenance. As ever, now that we have exposed it, it is inevitably worse than originally thought – this picture shows just how much we have had to remove to get to the offending parts.
In the foreground you can see grey floor bearers going across the boat. The equivalent bearers that were at the base of the varnished bulkheads further forward, were in a very poor condition. In places the base of the cabin bulkheads had also gone – we vacuumed out the remains!
How the rot got in!
Leda is built slightly differently to our other Farrington 30 based yachts. Yes, she is 34ft rather than the standard 30ft, but is based on the same core hull mould with 4ft added to the aft end. She has a bolt on keel rather than the usual moulded keel, which is used on most Farrington 30s. As a result there was no sump in the keel to collect any water that was getting n.
Unlike many modern design boats that are designed to stay completely dry, traditional Broads Cruisers generally still have a cockpit that drains into the bilges rather than being self-draining. (The cockpit floor may well be below the waterline!) When water did get into Leda, it sloshed around the bilges as you sailed and made the bearers and woodwork wet, rather than dropping into the sump and being contained there until pumped out by the bilge pump.
As well as repairing the rotten wood, we are looking to solve the problem and prevent it re-occurring by adding a moulded keel with a sump. While we are at it we can hopefully improve her upwind sailing performance!
Stuck on the Mud…
When Leda came into the hire fleet at EW it was discovered that she went aground a lot with her original keel, so, it was decided that it would be much more hirer friendly if the keel was shortened. On reflection, it has never worked quite as well as the keels on the rest of our fleet. Whilst Leda is fast, she also makes a lot more leeway compared to say Lutra or Windjammer. If both Lutra and Leda started at the top of Barton Broad on a fine reach, by the time they got to the other end of the broad Leda would find herself some way downwind of Lutra. It may be perceived that Leda does not sail as close to the wind when in reality they are similar in that respect, but because of the leeway, Leda has to point higher to achieve the same course. This effect is also particularly noticeable when creeping up the lee bank of the rivers and trying to make use of the Lee Bank Effect. Whereas it works well in Lutra and Windjammer, Leda just drifts gently sideways into the reeds.
As the fleet were being lifted, Nick measured several of the other boats in the fleet to be able to compare the wetted area of the various boats – they are all subtly different. Using the old piece of Leda’s keel that was removed as an initial template piece, he made up a new plug to use as the basis of the new keel. Meanwhile Tony has begun to make up the new bearers and we are also taking the chance to refit her proper rudder that got bent some years ago!
Watch this space for the rest of the story!!
P.S. Please don’t tell the other people/competitors sailing in the Barton Charter Regatta!