Monday, March 30, 2015

Out of the dock, heading back north.

We were in the dry dock at Canal Cruising Company at soon after 9 o’clock on Friday morning. We had a bit of trouble, we’re quite deep in the water (all Mag’s shoes…) and they had to run some water down to fill the pound to the brim to get us over the supports.
The problem is that the yard is between two locks, so the water level does tend to vary a bit.

We had four of us on the fore-end to get the stern high enough…IMG_3995

In the dock, pressure washed.IMG_3997

Even though we’ve broken ice this winter, the blacking round the bow was reasonable, and the hull sides were pretty well covered, too.IMG_4000

The prop has taken a bit of a ding at some point!

It was a good drying day on Friday, mild and breezy, so, after scraping and wire brushing any loose bits, I was able to get almost all the way round with the blacking before lack of light and aching arms and shoulders stopped me.
The first coat took longest; I used a fence brush to make sure I got into all the nooks and crannys. After that work progressed a bit more quickly, two subsequent coats applied with a mini roller.

Two coats on, looking better

I broke off to say cheerio to Andy and Sue, NB Festina Lente. They were refloated in the bigger dock on Saturday morning.IMG_4003
They were very careful going down Yard Lock…

I did a 6½ mile run first thing Sunday, wet and breezy but nothing like it turned out later in the day. Good job I was working under cover!

Last night, all done including the weed hatch, bow locker and tunnel bands. Phew!IMG_4009
And I straightened out the prop! Well, mostly.

So this morning it was another early start, up, dog walked, a bit of shopping done at the local Co-op, and waiting for the water at half-eight.
There were two boats to come into the docks this morning, they brought one into the big dock first, then it was our turn. They don’t mess about…

…Just pull up the stop planksIMG_4012

More water had to be brought down to get us off the supports again, so it was nearly half past nine that we were away and heading back up the canal.

Past Joules Brewery

We picked up some solid fuel at Stone Boatbuilding’s chandlery, then filled with water, emptied a loo tank and disposed of the rubbish before Mags carefully steered under Newcastle Road and into our first lock.IMG_4014

Even though we had to turn all the locks bar one (someone had left a bottom paddle part way up) we made good time up and out of Stone, then up the Meaford four.

They fixed that leak on the top lock, then.

Lamb quiche (whoops, Freudian Slip!) crèche enjoying the sunshine above MeafordIMG_4020

Giving way to a boat at Barlaston BridgeIMG_4021
Easter’s coming, there’ll be a lot more of that as we head north.

We pulled in near the winding hole below Oldroad Bridge, No 104.IMG_4022

It stayed fine all morning, but the weather turned mid afternoon, and it’s been raining since.
I had time to get the left side of the cabin washed and leathered off first though. Using the pressure washer had deposited a load of water-borne crud on the paintwork. The right side will have to wait a few days.

This was the first time I’ve blacked the boat myself, although I helped last time. At this time of year it makes sense to hire a covered dock, if I hadn’t I’d never have got the job done. It’s hard work too, tough on the neck, arms and shoulders. Definitely a job you want to share…
Ideally I should have left the paint another day to fully harden, but it’s not practical over a long weekend. There’s plenty on, the initial brush coat went on thickly, as did the subsequent roller coats. The guards and welded seams got an extra layer too. With the floor of the bow locker and the interior of the weed hatch done, there was nothing left of a 20 litre can of Intertuf 16.
The coating cost about £130, the 3 day hire of the dry dock and use of the pressure washer £234. About half the cost of paying someone to do it. And I know it’s been done thoroughly!

Hi Mike. I reckon the boats are about the only things that have changed!

Locks 6, miles 3½

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