Welcome to Nicholas Fairhurst

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Nicholas Fairhust 9 months, 1 week ago.

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March 25, 2015 at 00:32 #25757

Nicholas’ account was one of the casualties of this website going down over the holidays. So let me re-introduce Nicholas as a new member.

He is currently looking for a Nicholson sailboat, and the Nic 38 is his favorite choice. Hope you find one that works for you, Nick!

Marilyn, moderator

November 8, 2018 at 06:01 #26465

I am happy to report that Nicholas now owns Hull #53, which you can learn more about its recent concerns here.

We look forward to learning more about how your project goes, Nicholas.


November 14, 2018 at 01:15 #26482

Nicholas Fairhust

Thank you Marilyn & good evening from the mountains of Virginia,

This is an overview of my passage into Nic 38 custodianship. As a young apprentice marine draughtsman with a competing firm of  C&N, I was very taken with the Alden based lines of the Halmatic hull, from whom we also purchased bare hulls in the 60’s & 70’s. This initial impression stayed with me throughout my career, to be reinforced by seeing and visiting Nic 38’s in the Highlands & Islands and English East coast whilst cruising. On retirement from the UK to the mountains of VA, I naturally contacted this esteemed owners club in 2015 to enquire about any vessels that might be in need of a new, sympathetic custodian.

On reading in this column several months ago about hull #53 “Rampant” taking a brief bath at her Maryland berth, I set out to talk to her long-term owner. As is often the case with good well-found vessels, #53 had found her way into good family hands since the early seventies with a major refit in 2011 & 2012. Being of undoubted pedigree, good bones, and continuous professional maintenance, my decision to ascertain if my family and I were a good match to the expectations of her owners was met by them with great enthusiasm and I have to say a wonderful sense of accord. In this vein #53 has now found a new family to get her back to 100% seaworthiness and to be cruised & cherished for another forty or so years in US and UK waters.


As a now retired marine professional, I have often been asked why vessels sink, to this end admiralty attorneys, marine surveyors, and “expert witnesses” make considerable fees in trying to find an answer that underwriters would like determined. My comment on this, and it is no reflection on what happened to #53, is what should we as responsible seafarers do to take reasonable precautions in preventing such mishaps occuring in the first place?  Familiarizing yourself and your crew with the location, maintenance and consistent use of all the seacocks, particularly when the vessel is left unattended, is paramount in preventing a high proportion of  flooding incidents. Seized, poorly located or the incorrect specification seacock needs remedial action as soon as possible. Time and money should not be spared on the grade and ease of location for seacocks and if necessary, extension rods fitted in the case of inaccessible valves as well as the use of a pre/after sail check off list showing valves open or closed. Good quality valves, properly serviced should be easy to use, some such as the Blakes WC inlet/outlet require some understanding as to how they work and need to be set up and lubricated accordingly. All said and done these observations will help me sleep soundly in my bed at home knowing I have at least done all I can to prevent any flooding via the seacocks – ah! but what about that dripping stern gland….

Fair winds and a following seas to all.


November 14, 2018 at 19:11 #26483


Good day and welcome Nicholas,

On reading your postscript brought to mind a problem I have struggled with for some time what with advancing years and all that!

The problem is having access and to maintain the Blakes after end WC inlet which on R. P has been coupled up with the saltwater inlet for the galley sink. Now the inlet valve seems impossible to ‘get at’ and in my various attempts have managed to ’round off’ the forward one of the 2 nuts holding the inner flange in place.

I have found that viewing from the engine compartment the valve is too far aft and  from the aft cabin floor access the valve is too far forward and now appears inaccessible. My thought now is to cut away the floor in the aft cabin step, in my case where the starter battery is situated!!!!!!!

Has anyone come up with any ideas?

Cheers – Roger. Race Passage.



November 16, 2018 at 01:53 #26486

Nicholas Fairhust

Evening Rodger,

Sadly there is no easy answer but it is the beginning of the haul out and laying up season so RP might now be on the hard ? As with you trying to squeeze my old bones into tight spots and then extricating myself is becoming harder by the day !

My solution for one such valve on #53 is to move the valve and reposition it once I have taken it into my workshop and stripped down & fitted 4 new Blakes through bolts, 2 flange machine screws after having lapped in the tapered valve faces – I also use their grease which seems to last longer.. That’s the easy part, if you have access to a grinder and a good face mask / goggles. The next part is more difficult and I would leave it to your local boatyard laminator (but I would specify West products and laminating protocol). Laminating the old positions hole is not difficult but it does require experience and a thorough knowledge of the preparation of the interior and exterior hull surfaces along with the use of the epoxy laminating process and curing requirements ! A good laminator set up ready to do the repair should take about three hours for the process, up to and including fairing off with peel ply, leaving you to sand and perhaps apply some Gel Shield before your overall antifoul coatings.

Repositioning the rebuilt valve and installing it is not so hard with “reasonable” skill sets, the inboard backing pad needs some careful shaping and sealing if you use BS 1088 marine ply. Some racers like a flush out board face for the four domed bolt heads and backing plate but for us cruisers seeing them standing proud is like a badge of honour 🙂 Again a good underwater sealant is worth the extra money but in the “old days” they used Sealastic and putty mixed together and it worked just as well plus easy to remove again at a later date… Over the years I have come to understand that there is no ideal place to reposition a seacock – it always involves a compromise but ease of operation and for servicing should be at the top of the list. One other point, if you are a skinflint like me, the old style seacocks and bodies can be serviced and kept going ad infinitum so long as there is no electrolysis (carrotty orange colouring). The new range include a grease nipple, again if you have good access, makes lubricating easier, so you might want to buy a new version and sell the old one on EBay as they seem to sell for silly money !!

There is a really good series of U Tube Classic Yacht videos by Suffolk Yacht Harbour UK, where Mick shows and tells you a bit about the subject: http://www.utube.com/watch?v=BFU2tJDCJDY   (this post does not let you copy and paste) SYH are also Nic 38 friendly if you find yourself on the UK East coast.

Hope this helps and in my opinion the Blakes seacock has no peers, so stick with it.

Nick Fairhurst




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