We launched Saltwater Lady in April 2019 and she was used as normal until August before sitting on her mooring throughout the autumn and winter with very little use.

We intended to lift her out in March to take a look at her Coppercoated bottom, spray off the slime that we were told to expect and relaunch ready for the 2020 season.

The lift was booked for Monday March 23rd – yes, you guessed it, lockdown day! Needless to say, the lift didn’t happen, so Saltwater Lady continued to sit on her berth for another two and a half months. We were therefore a little nervous when she finally rose up from the water on the Lake Yard hoist, but pleasantly surprised that, despite lack of use, the hull had just a thin film of slime which was sprayed off in minutes. The same could not be said of the props and rudders, all bronze with no protective treatment other than polishing. I was also shocked to find the port cutlass bearing had partially popped out and needed replacing. I considered it fortunate that we found this, as a few more trips and we could have lost the ‘P’ bracket and been left with all the damage that would cause. A very helpful Dave Ford of Mobile Marine Maintenance, based at Lake Yard, took a quick look and managed to replace both port and starboard bearings the following day.

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As you can see from the image, the props and rudders were growing a remarkable variety of marine life, but they were soon cleaned up by the yard team and, after replacing one of the main anodes which was 80% gone, she was ready to return to the water in a couple of days. Looking at the Coppercoat, we were pleased with the results and clearly will have very little work to do at the end of this season. On the down side, Coppercoat had been applied to the stainless steel trim tabs without any primer and here the coating was lifting off, but I do not think this is a problem with the Coppercoat as it is not meant to be applied direct to bare metal. We take that one on the chin and will sort that this winter.

Overall, I am very pleased with the result and what a joy to go 15 months in the water without the need to re-antifoul.

I suspect a diver could have washed off the slime, but the damaged cutlass bearing and half-eaten anode showed how important it is to lift and check the underwater sticky-out bits every year.

My thanks to the team at Lake Yard who were the most helpful office and yard staff I have encountered in Poole harbour.

This blog is the latest in a series of Saltwater Lady posts.

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