Of course I knew it (she) was really, Singapore that is, built of pitch pine on oak... but it's one thing knowing what's under the paint; quite another actually seeing it. I didn't actually see it in person, Jim went over to Walton on the Naze on his own, by train (have Senior Railcard, will travel - just wait til his bus pass arrives!) to see how things are progressing and decide on the next moves. No nasty surprises, that's the good thing, and all the bits of rot now exposed and the wet bits drying.
The (semi) wheelhouse has come off - this was a kind of bastard hybrid of wheelhouse and windscreen - a raised screen with a canvas cover over the whole cockpit. The canvas is still in very good condition so we are loath to change anything while that it still useable, buit it has to be said that while most of the screen/wheelhouse is beautifully made in good solid materials, at some time in the recent past the whole lot was raised, to accomodate a tall person, by inserting a new lower section of far inferior quality. So we need to decide long term whether to go for a fully fledged, solid wheelhouse, which certainly could look nice and would be useful in adverse weather, or revert to a simple screen, which would certainly look nice (and original), and would be useful in sunny weather.
Another job is to remove parts of the interior and the mahogany tongued and grooved lining to enable access to the new planks as they are fitted. We are also going to remove the vinyl head linings that have been recently fitted. Although these are well done (and I have seen some horribly botched ones on other boats we've looked at) they look out of place, and more importantly, are trapping moisture. The key thing with a wooden boat, we have learnt, is to maximise the circulation of fresh air - this is the biggest preventative against rot.
Jim had a very pleasant journey, he informs me, but I am slightly peturbed by the behaviour of the National Rail website. Asked for journeys between Newhaven and Walton, it claimed there were only two available a day - at eight thirty and one thirty, and the same coming back. but when I asked it for trains from Liverpool Street, it turned out that there is one an hour throughout the day in both directions. Given that there are two trains an hour from Newhaven to Victoria, and no problem getting across London, there were far more available trains than originally suggested. It's a good thing I was incredulous and double checked - but as far as I know, the National Rail site has always been accurate and complete before, so I am wondering what happened this time.