Metic­u­lous plan­ning

Yachting World - - Practical -

Po­lar Bound’s re­fit has been foren­sic. Cow­per leads me down the dou­ble-dogged fore­hatch in the fore­peak, where shelves of plas­tic boxes con­tain ev­ery­thing he will need on a voy­age he says will last one, maybe two – who knows – three years? A vi­cious-look­ing old wooden-han­dled RNLI boathook rests against the hull, a relic from the Wat­son, used for cut­ting weed off clogged pro­pel­lers.

Wa­ter­tight bulk­heads sep­a­rate this from the en­gine room and bow com­part­ment. The space is im­mensely strong. This is the sec­ond line of de­fence, the first be­ing a stem, al­ready super-strong, fur­ther pro­tected by a sharp, hefty strip of alu­minium.

Ev­ery sea­cock and valve is ac­ces­si­ble; ev­ery one has been dis­man­tled and greased. Cow­per has a tool for ev­ery­thing. A Dick­in­son Ber­ing stove in the saloon, in­su­lated with one tonne of rock wool, has been nickel-plated. “I hate rust,” he says with a pas­sion you might ex­press about mice in the rafters.

Metic­u­lous plan­ning un­der­pins ev­ery­thing he does. The 18mm tough­ened glass wheel­house win­dows, as fit­ted to RNLI lifeboats, and 10mm poly­car­bon­ate side win­dows – Po­lar Bound is self-right­ing – have been re­moved and rebed­ded; the wipers – “very poor, all mix­tures of me­tals” – dis­man­tled and re­built.

Metic­u­lous, but fru­gal. The man him­self is spare. The shower looks un­used. “Clean peo­ple don’t need a shower,” he says, ap­par­ently quite se­ri­ously, al­though I can’t be sure.

Yet ex­pense is not spared on the es­sen­tials. The air-damped wheel­house seat was bought cheaply off a po­lice boat. Po­lar Bound car­ries £20,000 worth of diesel, much of which he in­tends to buy in Green­land “where it’s sub­sidised”.

The record-break­ing Huis­man-built 41ft sloop Ocean Bound

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