The usual suspects, Alan and I made the journey today, in horrendous traffic. Our Coding surveyor required us to check the condition and fixings of the rudder. This had been extremely difficult to do until the access hole had been enlarged in the bulkhead. This enabled us to go one better and carry out long overdue maintenance.
The rudder is already blocked up from below as the skeg shoe and bottom bearing bracket is removed. Off came the tiller arm, with a struggle, and the upper support ring with more of a struggle and eventually the rudder lowered to the ground. Alan fished out the old packing rings and fitted the new whilst I had the glory job of cleaning up the rudder stock of old grease that had turned to a very hard, sticky tar. The reassembly followed and the job was done, almost, although the greaser was MT of grease and in need of a new tube and the rudder is still chocked up on blocks.
In the afternoon we set off for Bursledon in search of a ready-made hatch for the bulkhead. We tried the Barge Chandlery at Riverside and also the big new Force 4 chandlery in Deacons Boatyard but the biggest size available was still too small. After a long search of Ebay and the internet, we gave up. It will mean making a new one from wood.