This year saw the very first Midlands Bosun’s day, a day designed to teach club bosuns how to make simple repairs on boats via several methods, therefore preventing unnecessary expenditure of professional repairs. Funded by a BUSA development grant and hosted by Sam Penhaul Smith, a professional boat repairer, the day covered the removal of self-bailers, different methods of boat repairs, alongside ropework and fixing improvements. Relevant PPE was also provided to all participants. The day also allowed the midlands bosuns to network with each other, which will enable them to discuss repairs in the future. It was such a success that another session with further techniques has been requested by those who attended. Sessions covered were removal of leaking self-bailers, completing a small fibreglass repair, splicing and ropework, fixing a large repair, re-threading a halyard, re-sealing fixings, and simple gelcoat repairs. A few of these are outlined below.
Leaking self-bailers is a common issue on university fireflys, however often clubs do not have the knowledge or confidence to remove the bailers themselves. The removal of these was also useful in demonstrating the process of a simple hull repair. 3 boats were used for the demonstration, allowing bosuns to do the work themselves in groups of 2 or 3, learning the correct techniques for removal of the bailers, preparation of the hole, and fibre glassing to fill the hole. Two different repair processes were used to further the knowledge gained.
A further demonstration on the repair of a large hole was also given. The boat used had blown off a trolley and therefore had a large area in need of repair. The first image displays the damage before the repair occurred. The demonstration included how to prime the hole for repair, alongside how to complete the fibreglass work. Unfortunately, due to time constraints the fibreglass was not set enough to finish the larger repair, and therefore the sanding at the end of the repair was not completed. The rest of the process was discussed with the group before the end of the day
A small task of re-threading a main halyard was also given to the bosuns. Whilst fairly simple, this task is very common at a university club and can take a long time to complete without certain tips and tricks. Tips for this process were given, and the halyard was quickly re-threaded.
A session on the resealing of hull fixings was also completed, particularly centred around sealing cleats to prevent water entering the hull through holes where cleats are attached. Each bosun was given the chance to try this technique on one of the 3 boats, an example of which can be seen in the image.
The final topic covered involved the simple gelcoat repairs of holes within the hulls of the boats, particularly focusing on those holes at the bow as seen in the images. With 3 boats to choose from the bosuns were again all given the chance to complete the repairs and try out the techniques in practise.