In a week which saw the start of a new series of “Club Reps” on TV, it wouldn’t be surprising if many of your minds turned to the need for a holiday. And we have something superb to recommend for you: a waterside activity break, with beautiful harbour views, great company and weather which this week saw one of the warmest February days on record, with a temperature more commonly found in May or even June. So come to the refit – it’s lovely, bring your shorts, bikinis, and sun-hats, and top up your tan on board JOHN LAING. Of course warm weather doesn’t guarantee dry weather – so wetsuits, drysuits, oilskins, galoshes, sou’westers and waders could all be useful additions to your luggage.
Actually, the key item required by refit helpers at the moment is a pair of sunglasses, required when looking at the hull, which has now had a second coat of antifouling. “It’s lovely and red”, says Wolf, the man responsible for buying 25 litres of orange antifouling paint which clashes with the red topsides. Actually, red and orange is the new fashion trend (trust me, I work for Woman’s Hour, I know these things) and if there were fashion shows for boats, the new red ‘n orange JOHN LAING would be sauntering down the catwalk like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Elle Macpherson rolled into one.
The team of helpers since last week has included the core squadron of Mark “Wolf” Todd, Craig, Phoebe, Dinghy Boy and Sarah, supplemented by John Parkin, Martin Skipper, Mike West, Bill Edwards and a return visit by James, one of the Princes Trust / Millennium volunteers from a couple of weeks ago.
Wolf gave strict instructions to Craig (but this also applies to you, Andy Royse): DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING ELSE APART. Craig of course always pays attention to His Master’s Voice and, as a result, the very next day he and Ian Webster from Contact Marine dismantled the fridge freezer systems and put a lot of bits in the bin. Ian has very kindly agreed to install the new ones; and he’s also rewiring the engine room.
Wolf has also been very stern about not digging out any more bits of the deck – but then went ahead and attacked it himself. Does anyone know a good source for lots of cheap filler?
The cockpit locker team are thinking of moving their sleeping bags in as the job is taking so long. Everyone else thinks they just like it in there.
Also this week we have made progress with the preparation of the bilges in the crew quarters, and the mid-bilge. The gas locker is now ready for painting. The water tanks are ready for a coat of bitumen varnish - Chris Lane, your brush is ready and waiting for you! (Craig has invited his mum to come and stay for the weekend and is rumoured to have a special pot of bitumen varnish waiting for her too).
As ever, we are desperate for as many volunteers as we can possibly get at the refit, but if you can’t help us there, Chris Hirst is looking for volunteers to help with an OYT South stand at a Southampton University Student Community Action event on February 24th from 11am to 3pm. This is an opportunity for us to recruit volunteers (perhaps more refit helpers?), attract crew and raise awareness of our work. Anyone interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01243 790953.
And don’t forget the Activity Weekend in Gosport on February 20-22 in Gosport, with the Sea Cadets – lots of training courses including GMDSS updates, radar, First Aid, and basic navigation; activities including power boating, air rifle shooting and canoeing, plus the Ocean Youth Trust South AGM on Sunday. Overnight accommodation available, minimum age 16. Under-16s are welcome to join in the events but unfortunately we don’t have suitable overnight accommodation for you – why not just come for a day, if you don’t live too far off? Anyone who wants to come, remember YOU MUST BOOK YOUR PLACE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - contact the office for details (0870 241 2252). It’ll be a good weekend anyway, but if you’re not already convinced, don’t forget it’s your chance to say goodbye to Phoebe: her family has emigrated to New Zealand and she’s going out to join them for a while.
Meanwhile, if you want to come and help on the boat next week, call Wolf on 07771 771864: there’s plenty more work needed on the deck, the gas locker, the cockpit, the bilges…and it’s time to start prepping the hull to paint the red bits so they look even more gorgeous next to the orange. Bring your sunglasses!