‘Do you want to swap your boat?’ A happy agreement
‘I agreed to buy his boat for £1 and he bought mine for £1’
When Roy Burnham wanted a larger boat, he was lucky to find a fellow sailor looking for a smaller boat just like his.
Here, on the Portuguese border with Spain on the Rio Guadiana, in the Alcoutim library, there is a great book swap where cruisers can leave old books and pick up new ones they’ve not read. I came looking for a book one day, but I never expected to find a boat swap there too.
I left Poole after retiring and took a genteel 18 months to explore the French islands and west coast. I eventually reached northern Spain and later Portugal. My plan was to head across the Atlantic, which may still happen, but not yet. I was very happy with Adhara, my 11-metre Carena 36 designed by Lemstra, a long-keeled steel ketch built in Holland in 1980 and owned by me since 2003. As I visited other sailors’ larger boats, I began to develop a hankering for more space. I even put Adhara on the market, but things moved very slowly.
Then I met Scot, who lived on Sea Warrior, a long-keeled Great Barrier 48 steel ketch of 14.4m and over 20 tonnes. He had owned her with his wife and two children but now lived alone on her.
One day he said, ‘Why don’t we swap?’ I looked more closely at Sea Warrior and she did indeed need a lot of work. But then, I’m retired – I’ve got time and I needed a project! I agreed with Scot to buy her for £1 and he would buy Adhara for £1 and the deal was done.
With help from our friends Jak and Elaine, we brought Adhara alongside Sea Warrior and transferred stuff from one to the other. Jak even managed to leave Scot somewhere to sleep, eat and sit on his return.
In the meantime, I set to work. We ripped the teak cladding off the cockpit and demolished the open wheelhouse. A local welder called Jesus came and helped to build a new frame and removed all the rusted areas on deck and in the cockpit. Another friend Pete dusted off his woodworking skills to build the panels for the wheelhouse.
While this was going on, I simplified the fuel system, added inspection hatches and cleaned out the fuel tanks, removing a bucket and a half of black sludge. The filtered fuel I kept in reserve to run the generator, buying new, clean fuel for the engine. I also added a means to manually dip and sample each tank.
With that done, I sailed round for a haul-out in Faro, where I hit every square inch below the waterline with a hammer, piercing the steel in places where water inside the hull had caused severe rust. These were welded with patches and the insides treated with rustpreventing grease. I was ready to settle into my new home.
I was very pleased with Sea Warrior and managed good passage times even with just a jib and mizzen, and I now live very happily in my floating two-bedroom apartment.
Sea Warrior was just the right size for Roy, and gave him a restoration project to enjoy
The cockpit, which had been clad with wood, was badly rusted and needed much work
Roy wanted a larger boat than Adhara, his Carena 36