‘Do you want to swap your boat?’ A happy agree­ment

Yachting Monthly - - CRUISING LOG -

‘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

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