RazzmatazzInFlight (23K)
Razzmatazz in flight

Razzmatazz, a Dazcat 9.2, was 10 years old last year. In addition to needing to do some work to remedy wear and tear, we wanted to change the character of the boat slightly towards being a more docile cruiser, more suitable for an aging couple wishing to voyage further afield.

Razzmatazz was rather fast and a delight to steer in inshore waters in any wind strength. The first problem, however, was that offshore, with big waves rolling in from the ocean, she was a handful, requiring constant and vigorous hand steering. Although she was balanced on average, the balance changed continuously with the passing waves and varying wind strength. Our aim was to change the characteristics so that she remained easy to steer by hand, and so that the Autohelm could cope in any wind - assuming that we reefed down appropriately. The second problem was that reefing was only possible with the boat head to wind - the main jammed in place if there was any weight in the sail. Offshore, we wanted to be able to claw down the sail in a squall on any point of sailing. The third problem was that the dagger boards, rudders, halyards and boom all creaked, groaned and rattled in a way that undermined our confidence in the boat.

We decided that some of the jobs needed to be done professionally, or at least with professional assistance (P). Others were plausible DIY tasks (DIY).

The planned engineering jobs were:

We also had a long list of internal jobs, to make the boat more comfortable. However, we ran out of time, so these became a separate project for the following winter:

We decided to do the work in our son's boatyard - Eel Pie Boatyard in Twickenham - where he and his mates could do the professional work, and where we could stay and see something of our grandchildren.

So, one cold but clear weekend in November 2007, we motored in no wind from Woolverstone to South Dock, where they lowered the mast for us, and then under all the bridges and past the Houses of Parliament up to Twickenham.