Avy-J Refit – Update

So, what have we been doing down the boatyard these past two years? Well, Avy-J  is in the water (launched last August) and ready to sail and play with. Here’s most of what we have been doing to turn an tired old classic into a potential ocean greyhound ready for a long trip:


  • New custom made double bow roller and chainplate – thanks to mark and Mackenzie Welding
  • New anchor locker bulkhead in 18mm/36,, mariner play, fully epoxied in place – thanks to Darren, Mainsail Marine
  • Anchor locker painted in Danboline, strong point for bitter end
  • New anchor locker lid
  • New 40m 8mm chain spliced to 40m 14mm octoplait
  • New 9Kg Knox anchor
  • 15Kg CQR chocked on foredeck
  • New midships stanchions (inexplicably missing when we got the boat – new ones fit to toerail)
  • New deck glands for mast cables, VHF deck plug renewed
  • Liferaft supports treated and woodsealed
  • 4-man Ocean Safety liferaft, in service date
  • New 4-sheave deck organisers both sides
  • Hatch garage top renewed in 12mm Robbins Elite ply
  • Walk-on 50W black flat solar panel installed on hatch garage
  • Morse control; tension fixed, unit painted
  • Engine control panel repaired
  • Tiller varnished
  • Cockpit cubbyholes painted in white Danboline
  • Cockpit cushions
  • New steering compass on port side
  • Lazarette partitioned to make it useable
  • Navik wind vane rebuilt, refurbished, fitted and set up
  • New custom made stern chainplate – thanks to John and Norman
  • New inflateable danbuoy
  • ‘New’ (to us) Yamaha 2 horse 2-stroke outboard
  • Emergency boarding ladder on rail
  • New flagstaff


  • Rudder professionally repaired – many thanks to Darren of Mainsail Marine
  • 2 coats Micron 350 antifoul
  • Prop antifouled with Velox
  • Prop bolts tightened and locktited
  • New sealant all round the underside of the toerail


  • New raw water filter added
  • New stainless exhaust elbow
  • All filters replaced
  • Fuel tank repaired and re-plumbed
  • All fuel piping replaced – thanks to Iain
  • Impellor/belts/filters/anodes all replaced
  • Stern gland re-packed and greaser cleaned and refilled
  • New seacock on exhaust
  • Morse control serviced, new cover for morse contols in quarterberth
  • New engine stop cable fitted


  • Partial re-wire with new marine tinned cables run internally
  • New VHF with built in GPS
  • New NASA wind unit
  • New Matsutec AIS transponder/GPS flush-mounted in cockpit
  • Active aerial splitter for masthead aerial
  • CTEK intelligent battery charger in re-organised battery locker
  • Battery holddowns
  • New engine start battery with new 1-2-both switch
  • Shorepower – consumer unit + 2 double sockets
  • Voltmeter
  • Nav lights rewired and replaced with LED bulbs


  • New NASA wind
  • Metz manta VHF whip aerial with new RG8X cable
  • New NASA LED tricolour
  • New steaming light
  • New wiring for lights – 3-core Oceanflex marine tinned cable
  • Cable run in new external conduit
  • All running rigging cleaned/serviced
  • New forestay
  • New reefing spectacles on mainsail
  • Blocks etc for slab reefing system


  • New gas locker with space for 2 Camping Gaz 907 – thanks to Adam and Darren
  • New piping – thanks to John
  • Bubble leak tester
  • NASA gas alarm
  • Neptune 2000 cooker refurbished


  • New electric bilge pump fitted with auto/manual control
  • New discharge seacock for electric pump
  • Whale Gusher manual pump – new diaphragm


  • Quarterberths, lockers, gally area repainted in Heirloom White
  • New engine cover and slides
  • New steps
  • Floor repainted, new carpet
  • Lockers below port bunk painted in Danboline
  • Hinges replaced with wood slot-ins on port side lockers
  • Instrument cupboard refurbished
  • New custom made curtains
  • New cushions
  • Headlining painted and refastened with more screws and screw covers


  • Neptune 2000 cooker refurbished and re-mounetd more securely
  • New gas pipework to cooker
  • New woodwork round sink
  • Whale gallery tap refurbished
  • New sink seacock


  • New Jabsco twist and lock heads
  • New inlet and outlet seacocks
  • New heads compartment floor
  • Hanging Locker repaired (large section of bulkhead replaced) and relined
  • Large shelved locker refurbished, wires hidden, repainted, door catch fixed
  • Main door to saloon rehinged, latch to keep it open fitted
  • Latch repaired on locker behind heads
  • Spotlight bulb replaced with LED


  • Bulkhead partially replaced on stbd side – thanks to Darren, Mainsail Marine
  • Bunk head areas lined
  • Bunk foot area lined
  • Cove lockers refurbished/repainted
  • V-berth infill repaired
  • Spotlight bulbs replaced with LEDs
  • Bow nav lights rewired
  • Custom made bedding/cushions


  • Comprehensive toolkit and spares
  • Emergency VHF aerial
  • Boltcroppers


New aft chainplate for Avy-J

I discovered that the corrosion in the under-deck backing plate for the stern chainplate on Avy-J was far more advanced than I thought, and it became obvious  it would be necessary to build a new chainplate. The raked transom (raked at about 45 degrees) means that this is not as easy as it might be on a flat transom.

The existing arrangement (shown below) has the transom plate embedded in the hull, connected to the top (deck) backing plate with the transom plate and the deck plate triangulated by two struts of metal. You can get the general idea from the diagram below (not to scale)

Options seemed to be:

  • Dig out the existing structure and replace it with like for like. Incredibly difficult job working in the confined space of the lazarette.
  • Dig out the existing structure and make a standard chainplate on the transom with backing plate –  the owner of this site has this type of chainplate (see right). The alternative would be to  bolt through the embedded plate in the transom, but of course I had no way of knowing how sound this was.
  • Design another solution that would allow me to leave the existing structure in place and not have to bolt through it.


In the end I put my head together with a friend and we came up with this design – a wide rectangular plate tapering to couple of inches wide at the top, bent to the appropriate angle (to line up with the masthead) where the dotted line is. Material is 6mm stainless. This way it can be bolted through either side of the embedded metal with two separate backing plates, no need to cut anything out.

The tricky bit was getting the slight curve of the transom in the plate, and the even trickier bit was curving the top (at the dotted line) in a different plane to the transom curve. I took the project to a very capable local stainless steel fabricator, who said the only way to marry the two curves together was to make it in two separate pieces and weld them.

(This guy is brilliant, but I can’t give you his name as he would have to kill me – he has far too much work, for better paying customers than impoverished yachties)

The plate came back beautifully finished. The only difficulty was getting the top bolts in as they were very close to the hull/deck join. I had to remove a couple of the rubrail bolts to get the backing plates, in, and these had to be cut down so the top hole was right at the top.

Have a look at the end result – strong and handsome . . . .






Hi everyone

Catherine and I have just acquired Avy-J. We know very little about her. She is currently on the hard in Dunstaffnage, Oban, but we are hoping to launch her and move her to the Isle of Seil sometime over the next week. Stage one – buying the antifoul – is complete, just waiting for the rain to stop!

I see from the list of MG30 yachts on this site that she was previously named Emma J May, but that is all we know about her. We have no previous history, and are not even sure when she was built.  If anyone does have any previous history for her we would be very interested.

I have discovered that the vessel is still registered under Part I of the British Register at the port of Guernsey as EMMA J, and is on the register as a Morgan Giles 30, 1977

As we do not have the necessary paper trail (all the Bills of Sale etc) and as we prefer Avy-J to Emma J, we will have her taken off the part 1 register and will put her on the UK Part 3 SSR