That’s it ! I finally moved to Øya to carry out a fairly detailed inspection of the ship with the intention of putting it in the water as quickly as possible. Everything starts well here, I felt at home from the first second 😃!
This passage on board is of short duration because I leave for the end of year celebrations on Friday. It is not so bad to leave quickly because after all, it will allow me to take a step back on my observations and avoid haste.
Øya currently stands on the ground, proudly among the other boats on the court. This is where I live, I have electricity and drinking water, but no shower or toilet and that’s fair enough!
First, the nap ☝️
Once arrived on Øya with all my mess, I hastened to take a nap. It was Sunday morning, the sky was already blue yet so early in the morning. I dozed for about two hours, two hours during which I observed the head linings and the woodwork of the boat.
It was a way of checking the most important thing: do I sleep well at home, is it comfortable? The answer is obviously yes, it is the most comfortable boat in the world!
I quickly understood that there was something old in there, we are not in a modern boat, I would say first that the volumes are not placed in the same places. Here there is a lot of room both inside and outside.
Outside, everything is done for navigation. We have many handrails: wherever we are, we can stand and with both hands even! Everything is oversized and protected as if we were going to eat an iceberg from one moment to the next! The deck and flat with a very long roof to the mast, and we move around with ease despite a certain narrowness which perhaps will be a bit of a snap once the boat is launched!
Inside, the chart table takes up its full place at the bottom of the companionway on port side and the navigator finds there the place he deserves while the kitchen lacks nothing on starboard side. The saloon is built around a central table which contains a large volume of storage, all like the benches. If we compare with a modern day boat, I think that once standing in it, we stand deeper below the waterline. In a way, the boat is higher and when we go down the companionway, we go a little more deeper! In any case I stand in it more or less everywhere, which is still not bad for a 9,60m sailboat.
Inspecting the deep floors
I begin my inspection by the bilges, it consists of looking below the floors to see the condition of the hull from the inside. Among other things, the goal is to check if everything is fine, see if there is no rust or holes … For example!
In the cockpit everything is fine, I am even amazed, very few traces of rust and a huge place in the chests to store all kinds of equipment. I go inside and there too everything seems pretty good to me: the engine drip pan, the kitchen, the hull inlet pipes …
I see that the rust has been treated as and when and with different color paints, it looks weird, but it seems to me ultimately relevant to distinguish the old “crackers” from the more recent ones …
Badly wirered you said?
It was Monday evening that I started to reverse engineer the Øya electrical circuit.
With my first experience of my Norwegian sailboat, I start at the beginning: namely the charging circuit. I check the voltage of the three batteries, and I find with surprise that the two service batteries are full. It was not long after I understood that they were in fact automatically maintained by the charge regulator of the solar panels which have always worked since they were installed.
Øya’s wiring is efficient, it doesn’t look pretty at first, but it works and it’s in place. I was able to check the consistency in its integrity and it is there, so that is enough.
On my polyester boat in Oslo, I felt the need to improve the insulation by the -10 Celsius degrees of the Scandinavian winter, it made a little condensation inside. However, it is with Øya that I understood how polyester is an insulating material compared to steel! I knew that steel did not insulate, but living it is something else.
Øya has been very well isolated, and yet water is gradually trickling into the sumps. After observation, I understand that the smallest steel surface of the hull in contact with the indoor air will be a source of condensation at the first opportunity, even half a square centimeter.
Insulation is therefore important and for real! The entire Øya saloon has been made very rigorously and the insulation is skillfully covered with the original wooden lining. The handrails (things we can hold on to) are still present and their fixings have been enhanced with metal parts ensuring adequate solidity. Note that in so few words I have just summed up days or even weeks of work that the former owner did brilliantly.
The Volvo Penta MD11C is a Swedish twin-cylinder carved out of cast iron. Robust and at its simplest, it is an engine that I already appreciated even before knowing about the existence of Øya. My previous boat had indeed an engine of the same generation, and I had the opportunity to read on the MD11C.
Here, no surprise, the engine is in remarkable condition because it has spun little, although it is not very young. It is as if it was a car built in 2000 with 1000km on the odometer in 2019. This engine was ordered around 1985!
I was able to test the equipment already in place and I even have sound! Øya is not a recording studio for that matter, but I could listen to music when I will be offshore or anchoring while fishing.
Little by little I feel a certain joy rising in me. My solar panels work well, I have a wind turbine and a sound system, all that is comfort in addition that I really had not envisaged.
I have it, I keep it!
Some weaknesses, nonetheless
Nothing is perfect, and inevitability means that I come across an element that could present a serious problem. As I specified in my article “how to choose your sailboat“, oxidation can make their way between the steel sheet of the keel and its ballast. If this happens, and it will inevitably happen one day, I will have to remove the ballast to clean up the inside of the keel.
It was by scratching a small point of insignificant rust that a plate of paint of a few centimeters came in fact, then another … I had not seen that during the visit, even if I looked closely to this part!
It is quite possible that the oxidation has already spread lower between the keel and its ballast. The ballast is a large block of epoxy resin containing lead ingots, so as much to say that it would be a more than arduous work than to go to see in there.
After a little reconsideration and a finer observation, I note that other treatments have been done above the ballast. Rust also does not have the texture of puff pastry characteristic of a really sick steel sheet. Also, the ballast dates from 2012 so do not panic, it will just have to follow that closely as it will be, whatever it is.
The front room
The front cabin suffers from its poor insulation. As in the saloon, the hull is naked up to 50cm above the waterline, but the storage there serves as insulation. There, there is no barrier between the cold shell and the air warmed by my presence. As a result, moisture condenses against the walls, forming small drops that trickle down into the bottoms where the water stagnates.
On these steel sheets, we see that the original coating does not hold well unlike the rest of the boat, a sign that the problem is not recent.
Stagnant water is not ideal for a steel boat. The rust that I found was mainly lodged in these places, which is consistent …
On the ceiling, the insulation which is not covered with lining. It therefore tends to fall, then letting the air come to bring steam against the deck’s steel where it will rush to also end up in the bottom.
There is not much missing for the insulation to be adequate, the former owner did the most complicated. Completing the work would consist of installing a lining and insulation where it is lacking. If it can reduce the production of rust, then it seems worth it!
The navigator station
The navigator station was favored by the architect and the shipyard. On the other hand, the evolutions and revolutions which the boat has benefited from in recent years have taken away a lot of the cachet it deserves. Yet it is not less functional, but it is ugly, it must be admitted.
Apart from its ugliness, another drawback (and it will be the last one with regard to Øya for the moment) its insulation is not finished, as in the front cabin.
What a pity because there is little to do. That said, I understand why it was not done, the wiring of the electrical panel is not the most beautiful, it has an air of “temporary”. I think that the navigator station simply needs a finish in terms of insulation, even temporary lining will solve the problem while waiting for perfect wiring.
The entire companionway has been redone. When you observe the entry of the boat from the outside, you can see traces of welding and a more recent painting. The descent was redone for a smaller one. The hood which was certainly in teak and sliding at the origin has become a custom hood which rises like the doors of the Dolorean, moreover the hood is surmounted by a observation bubble which allows to look at the horizon 360 degrees without having to go outside. It is an incredible cutting and welding job that makes me wonder what experiences inspired the former owner to feel such a need?
I wrote down no less than 17 pages in my little notebook! I took care to distinguish the elements to be reviewed at the end of the inspection from the questions I would have to ask the former owner.
Analyzing a boat also means meeting its owner, builder, architect. I was fascinated by the ease with which I understood the choices of the former owner of Øya. During the visit I had the impression of being at home, that says a lot!
In the structure of the boat, I saw a simple, robust and “bestial” construction as the expert who accompanied me during the visit said. I like this construction because we can see everything and understand everything quickly. There is no gray area where I could imagine sneakiness, I am convinced of the seriousness and the quality of the work of the L. Landy shipyard, and I feel safe in there.
I hope I don’t have any bad surprises that I would have missed, but I don’t think so!
The continuation: antifouling painting, launching … And then it’s just to sail! 😁