Restoration Projects
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An update on the trials & tribulations of "Mandarina."

Owned by Jerry Flint & Carolyn Edwards


We are still alive, just, and are here on Leros, in Partheni Boat Yard.

Right, we arrived here on the 2nd June and were lifted straight out of the water and onto the “hard”.  The boat yard is right by a military base, so no ‘photos are allowed except in the yard.

The main jobs to be carried out were;

1.        Scrape the bottom of the boat, repaint and re antifoul

2.        Have the engine cylinder head “looked at”.

3.        Have a new exhaust system fitted.

4.        Renew the cutlass and stern gland bearings on the propeller shaft.  The cutlass bearing is the last bearing before the prop itself and in always underwater, the stern gland is the bearing / seal that stops the water coming into the boat!

Straight into it, off with the propeller!

During this operation, I found that the cutlass bearing was well shot.  There was about ¼ inch of play in the bearing!  The next morning we started scraping the hull, what a job!  Several years of antifoul, some grotty paint to be removed.  As with all scraping jobs on Mandarina, small is beautiful.  A ½ and ¾ inch chisel being the preferred implements…..  The underwater section of the hull is bl**dy huge.  It took us 21 days to scrape all the cr*p off the bottom!  That’s every day for 21 days, with one day off!  With both of us scraping!  The boat yard is miles from everywhere (except the army camp and one excellent taverna), so I scrounged the use of a moped from Stein, a Norwegian neighbour, to get some essential supplies from the local shop (beer, retsina fags etc…..)
The Yard Manager, Angelo, arranged for us to have a meeting with Michaelis, the Technical manager, on Tuesday 5th June.  Michaelis, or the Maestro, as he is known, chooses not to speak much English, not because that he is rude, but he is in fact shy of not speaking it correctly!
A program of work was planned, the head was to come off, a new exhaust system designed and fitted, and the prop shaft removed for inspection and bearing replacement.
With a view to all this I cleared the engine room to enable work to commence, and Caz cleared out all the lockers that the existing exhaust pipe went through.
 As an aside, all the other members of the boat yard community offered us various scrapers and sanding devices, all to no avail.  The cra*p on our boat resisted all except the faithful chisels.

The hull had dried out by Thursday, and I had noticed that a previous repair to the rudder had failed and had let water into the foam filled cavity of the rudder.  I drilled drain holes, let it dry out and repaired “properly” with epoxy filler. 

The port side of the boat was scraped by 11th June.  The cylinder head and old exhaust were removed on 12th June.

The head was a right state.  Well clagged up with goo, gunge and crud.  This was caused by too much back pressure through the old exhaust system.  The “old” system went up from the exhaust manifold, about a metre!, in a stainless silencer.  Cooling water was injected at the top (to silence and to cool the exhaust gases), the gases and water then dropped down a metre to the engine room floor in a flexible hose.  The hose then went up over a metre, through the cockpit locker, through the aft head locker, through all the lockers in the port side of the aft cabin, finally exiting at the back of the boat.  The tubing length was over 14 meters long when I measured it…….

While scraping the starboard side we came across a redundant echo sounder transponder, set in teak, attached to the hull.  Off it came and the holes filled with epoxy filler.

June 14th saw the removal of the prop shaft.  Not a pretty sight, in fact beyond repair!  The was a huge area of wear adjacent to the stern gland that was due to the crap packing that I removed about a year ago.  The shaft (three meters long, 1 ¾ “ diameter) was not replaceable, so The Maestro said that he would make a new one for us!  Drachma before the eyes!

As Stein had now left the yard I hired a moped and on Saturday 16th June we set off to Lakki, the main town on Leros, to purchase a electric sander to sand the hull.  I bought 2 x 5 meters of sanding paper as well, one coarse, one fine.

The Maestro summoned me to the workshops on 19th June to inspect the testing of the fuel injectors.  All were fine (and they should have been as they were only replaced late last year!).  The head was declared fit for overhaul, so the valve seats were re-cut, new valves and springs fitted and a general clean up of the ports completed.

Sunday 24th June saw the end of the sanding of the hull, hooray!

The next job was to prime the hull ready for antifouling.  As the head, exhaust and shaft were nowhere to be seen, I decided to paint the top sides of the hull while the boat was out of the water.

More sanding, delightful!!

Caz had been busy making wind awnings for the cockpit sides, and very posh they are as well.  They will also keep the rain off us if a shower should arrive.

27th June arrived and I took down the two plaques from the back of the boat, the “Mandarina” and the “London” timber work needing a good seeing to.

The “London”  sign on the plaque had only been painted, so I decided to carefully route out the letters, making them match the Mandarina plaque.

The Mandarina plaque was in a bad state of repair.  There were splits and cracks in the carvings.  I repaired the cracks and splits by gluing them together and then screwing them together with stainless steel screws to add strength.  Caz undercoated both the lumps of wood, especially the backs, which had not been touched from new!

29th June saw the shaft back in the hull, new cutlass bearing fitted etc.  30th June saw the head back on the engine!    2nd July saw the name plaques both painted blue, on top of three coats of two pack epoxy undercoat.  The hull had now received six coats of two part epoxy primer, yes that’s six coats, the minimum to ensure that the hull will remain waterproof.

A coat of “hard” anti foul was then added.  This will mean that we can revert to hard antifoul in the future.  (See below).

The hole that the old exhaust went out of the back of the boat was filled, very expertly, by the yard’s glass fibre specialist.

The next day I “picked” out the letters on the name plaques in white, three coats, with a tiny brush, knackering.  I also repaired the aft section of the starboard rubbing strake that had been savaged during last year.  A lump of “left over” teak from a previous repair being let into the existing timber.

Caz had been making new loose covers, recovering the life buoys, and having a mega-polish of all the bright work on deck.  She had also decided to repair a split in the mizzen sail and also to renew the sacrificial strip (to stop UV degradation of the sail).  This meant that she had to use the bosun’s chair!


The new exhaust had now been designed, a much neater system, with a custom made water cooled manifold, silencer and waterlock.  The gases and water now exit out of the side of the boat.  This saves about 10 meters of exhaust tubing!
I decided to follow Caz’s example and also went up the mizzen mast to remove the redundant radar dome, redundant SatNav aerial and to tighten the VHF aerial.

5th July saw the start of the undercoating of the topsides.  Only two coats this time.

The attractive yellow is a chemical etch primer, not a change of boat colour!  The yellow was covered by a grey, two part epoxy, then three coats of white.  The “old” 8 mm anchor chain has been replaced with 100 metres of 10 mm.  You might also spot that we now have a “boot strap” line around the hull, a wide blue and a narrow white strip round the boat.  9th July, and a beautiful calm hot day.  I decided a good day to go up the main mast to change / renew the navigation light bulbs.  What joy.  I don’t mind heights, it’s just a fear of falling……

Being a belt and braces sort of chap, I went up on the spinnaker halyard, with the topping lift as a safety line.  The spinnaker halyard is long enough to reach the anchor winch, which means that Caz could winch me up with ease.  All went to plan, until I was half way up.  The spinnaker halyard “jumped” out of the pulley at the top of the mast and jammed!  I was half way up, and stuck solid.  Thanks to the topping lift I was able to get down in a controlled manner!  But the spinnaker halyard was stuck fast.  Poo!  There was nothing for it, I had to go up again on the topping lift, with Caz winching me up by hand!  I got to the top, freed the spinnaker halyard and quickly attached it as a safety line.  The pulley had seized solid so that had to be freed.  I replaced the bulbs, and checked them before coming down again!


A long way down!  But at least Caz would catch me if I fell

11th July, and the top sides were complete.  And very fine it looks too.

I also painted the coach line blue, which we think sets everything off.

The stern looks good too, with the repainted plaques and the repair finished to the rubbing strake.  (You can’t see the join!).

I got the lads in the yard to move the frame work supports so I could scrape, prime and anti foul the patches that they had covered.  I also fitted stainless steel plates to reduce future wear on the top of the stern section, (for the kedge etc.)

Friday, 13th July, and Maestro and the gang came for a final fiddle with the engine before running it!  After bleeding the diesel system, it started!  No blue smoke, and much quieter.  Phew, not my choice of day for doing such a job……

I put the final three coats of self polishing antifoul on the hull.  This stuff comes off very slowly, as the boat progresses through the water.  It means we won’t be scraping ever again, as the next time we come out of the water, the old antifoul can be power washed off.

All that was left now was to re-stow all the bits and pieces in the engine room, get the fenders out and get ready to go back in the water on MONDAY!  At last!  Oh! And I had to pay the bill.  Ahem.  A small consideration.

The bill included all the antifouling, paint, labour, materials, exhaust system, head work, new shaft etc. etc. etc.  so it wasn’t so bad.

So, a very tiring six and a bit weeks.  We think that it has been worth it.

Will be in touch again soon, I promise!

Jerry Flint & Carolyn Edwards

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