Oliver, in case you have not found it already the WIC have some useful information on restoring wooden boats;
you may find the techniques used help with your repairs.
I have given answers on some of your questions below – hope they help.
As you can probably see from one of the earlier pictures, the rear buoyancy tank is not accessible, as the section where the hatch fits was removed with a solid piece of wood. I have the original hatch; the previous owner said I could cut a hole and restore the hatch if required. I am a bit loath to cut a hole in my boat – any thoughts on this? He said this had been done to avoid leaks.
If you don’t need the storage space then ok – but I think you do need some bungs. If any water is getting in then it is vital that it is drained out.
The boat has taken a little damage at the front where it’s rubbed on the winch. Is there a standard way of avoiding this?
I would avoid using a winch – it puts a lot of strain onto a single point, not a good thing on an old boat. A rubber snubber instead.
The trailer has seen better days – I only spotted this after I’d towed it from Norfolk to Cornwall. Clearly this needs a new piece of box steel. This might sound a daft question but how should I get the boat off the trailer in order to fix the trailer? Without actually putting it in the water?
With your trailer I think you need to support the transom – eg on a workbench – then one person lifts the boat at the bow, another person slides the trailer out. If you have more people then it is easier!
Forestay – the wire part of the forestay is not enough to reach the bow. There is a rope attached to it which makes it long enough. This helps when raising the mast (which is very difficult on my own – is there a trick to this?) Is this right? Basically it means if the mast is up without a foresail attached so you pull on the jib halyard, the mast is slightly dubiously held up by a this wire/rope combination.
This is the normal method – the rope tail should be long enough to make a few turns and hence is plenty strong enough. Your wire forestay does look a few inches short though. Raising the mast is done by hand – from within the boat. Only use the forestay once you have the mast in position.
Cleats – These two cleats are the only ones at this part of the boat. I’m used to every line having it’s own jam cleat. I am alright to use these two old-fashioned cleats for main and jib halyard, kicker, and downhaul?
It looks like you have a fairly modern mast – if you don’t have cleats on the mast then fit some.
Outhaul – this is where I am completely stumped. See below pictures of the boom:
It should be possible to use a thin lanyard and take a few turns around the “horns” or lug at the end of the boom.
This would be a fixed outhaul, once set you could not adjust it underway. This was a simple and common method.
If you want to be able to adjust it then some mods are required. There some posts on the forum about this.
One final question – no battens came with my boat – I bought some but the lower ones are about 3 cm too long. They are Aquabatten tapered battens – am I alright to shorten them with a hacksaw and replace the end cap? Presumably I shorten them at the thin end?
Yes – that should be fine.