Newbridge Venturer Junk rig
This posting details the life so far with my Junk rigged Newbridge Venturer Hajra. It starts in the year 2005 and is still on going.
This is one of two Newbridge Venturer’s we currently own. See the other pages on Storrs for our thoughts on the Bermudan rigged version. This particular boat, Hajra, is rigged as a Chinese Junk.
When I first met Hajra she was long abandoned in the back corner of Brighton Marina.
The vessel interested me, or in real words, spoke to me, and she struck me as a well thought out small vessel that was worth saving.
The buying was a little more complicated in as much as being long term abandoned she came under the sealed bid process through the Marina. So I had to submit my sealed bid via the post and await some future date when I may or may not be told I was the successful bidder and hence new owner.
The pictures of the interior tell their own story about her state. What is not so clear is the hatches had been left open in her abandoned state and thus rain water had collected in her bilges that had filled and risen around three inches over the floor. As there was numerous bottles of pills, it was something and Codeine, together with the mirrors, sleeping bag and general feeling that ‘someone was dosing here once’ appearance that lead me to the following decision –
That is, who knew what lay in that black murky water? It was quite possible if it had been used as a druggies den that syringes and needles may lurk down therein that dark and dirty bilge water and the last thing I fancied was some old rusty needle puncturing the soles on my shoes or stabbing into my hands as I explored. Simply put I was not going inside this boat unless I owned her as at that point I would have to deal with the situation as it was found, as I would ‘own it’. If I was not successful in owning her then I had mitigated any risk of being stabbed by some old needles and that would now be someone else s look out.
The story would end there except I was successful in my bid, but only just. My cunning plan at this point, still founded on the fear of those needles, was to drill a pilot hole in the hull’s lowest point and allow the water to drain out over a few days.
Now able to see what I was working in, one Saturday evening, donned with large heavy duty industrial arm length gloves I worked liked a demon and stripped everything removable into bin bags and dumped it.
It smelled in there too. All of the foam backed vinyl interior was hanging in various stages of falling off the walls or ceiling, just waiting to drop off wrapping itself around your head.
The most disgusting part of the job was the gas locker on the stern. The drain here had blocked, leaving the locker half full of the blackest dirtiest water. The remains of the tiller lay rotting in it too. Had someone urinated in there? How about finding a dead decomposing rat? It was horrible.
With everything dumped which took all 10 heavy duty rubble bags full to bursting, the hole I drilled was cleaned up and sealed up using Chemical Metal as it is an Epoxy based material.
This gave us what was essentially a bare hull, but I still had plans for that.
Hajra was launched without problems where upon she was towed using my other boat at the time, Copeina, over to where she came out of the water into yard. Here all the interior lining material and anything else remaining was removed. This included all the windows too.
Thinking it would be quick job with a Jetwash inside, about an hours work, it actually turned out to be about four hours work to completely jet wash the interior. It was incredible to see the Jet Wash cut through the dirt inside revealing the golden colour of the fiberglass laminate underneath the cooker area and within the lockers in particular.
Also the amount of general crap that came out of the darkest corners of the interior moldings, all the stuff that would block up your bilge pump at a time of need was simply impressive. I highly recommend this treatment to your boat if you can. I used a battery charger straight onto movable bilge pump that I left running all the time I was jet washing. This pump was moved to where ever the water was collecting as the cleaning progressed.
This satisfied me that this boat was as clean and virginal as I could expect.
With the boat left to dry out it was now at a position we could build up on.
The sailing instruments were removed after photographing and disconnecting the wiring. They are somewhat old by today’s standards however its likely I will replace them with something newer although these are stored away at the moment.
The windows were well past their best being cracked and crazed when she was purchased. As I write the replacements have been been made and fitted for a number of years now, although I was never really happy with them from new. The window over the bow is particularly nasty with a tight curvature for thick perspex. The new one cracked within days of fitting while using a thicker piece of perspex will probably pull the screws out.
What has persistently irritated me was the thief that stole the main halyard as I have no way of raising a sail until this is renewed and this will entail removal of the mast now to thread a new halyard.
Several fittings were stolen too. The locker catches for the seat tops in the cockpit were gone. However in my Caribbean sailing days I picked up a replacement set of 5 quality stainless ones paying something like $12.99 each at a $2 to the £1 exchange rate compared to paying £12.99 for each in the UK.
To be continued….
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