Sunday, 28 April 2013

Wind and Welding!

We are now into our fourth week on the hardstanding outside the workshop at the Marina.
Although the rain has mostly held off, the wind has continued to be strong and gusting – really cold for the time of year.

Boat city – tucked in against the workshop
This has put a hold on any outside painting – though a brief sunny interlude tempted me into doing a final top coat on one of the rear cabin panels. To my embarrassment, the paint was too thick and I ended with sags and runs!!

It will just have to be sanded off and I'll have another go!

I have been most grateful for the use of a small end of the paint workshop and have been able to repair and paint the top lights, clean and paint the poles and plank and paint up the kitchen side doors. All very helpful.

Finishing black crescent to the top light

During our Leeds and Liverpool cruise last summer, we experienced a lot of water getting into the anchor locker. The up-stand at the forward edge had been taken down to make room for a rather ill-fitting locker lid!

Old lip – showing a meagre 6mm

Simon the Engineer has welded in a new and taller 20mm up-stand with wings which I hope will considerably help. If need be, I can also use this edge to tape a protective plastic over the top?

New up-stand

Work has then moved to sorting out the rusty gas locker.

Old gas locker ready for cutting – for ease of access

Dave the engineer cutting out the old rusty base plate

Simon laughing at the amount of rust?!

Ready for measuring up for new plate

Welding gear and the new base and 3” tray takes shape

Still work in progress!

And we are due to go back in the water this Tuesday!!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Where are the Boats?

Out and About at Salford Quays.

Last Tuesday was boat movement day here at Overwater Marina, when boats whose work is completed are re-floated and another batch of boats brought up to the workshop hardstanding. We have been here for 2 weeks now.

Our boat was moved – though to a different position on the hardstanding – next to the workshop. This is in readiness for the gas locker welding work needed.

Our boat being loaded onto the trailer

Removing the chocks
I had a long-standing dentist appointment in Manchester, so left the Engineers to it.

As we were to be in Manchester, we had arranged to meet up with some friends near Salford Quays. Chris went on early, while I had a walk around the Quays.

Effectively, this area has been completely re-vitalised from the old docks.
It was officially re-opened by Kenneth Baker, Minister for the Environment in May 1986.
The area continues to fascinate me with the range of buildings slotted next to the old quays.

The 'newish' lift bridge from the Lowry piazza to the south bank and the War Museum

The Imperial War Museum North – looking along the Manchester Ship Canal, westwards

The Rank Hovis Mill, behind the Museum

The Manchester Ship Canal was opened by Queen Victoria in 1894 and the Manchester Docks became the 3rd busiest port in Britain, until the decline of the 1970's.

Iconic, and rather rusty, dock cranes – a sentimental nod to the past

Striking architecture

Huron Basin – but where are the boats?

You may be aware that the BBC has re-located here from London, to the new Media City.

Metro links to Greater Manchester

The choppy canal water, overlooked by the Museum

The Lowry Theatre, opened in 2000. Spot the trip boat!

The only other boat around! HMS69 is a party trip boat

Back to the Marina – here is our new location next to the workshop.
We are scheduled to have the gas locker work done this next week!?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Waiting for Welding!

And Walking!

We are in the queue for the gas locker new base tray job. A fairly major piece of welding work, which not being  scheduled, is awaiting its turn.

In the meantime, I have been busy doing as much outside painting as I can – given the very cold windy weather. At least it has been largely dry.

After – shiny tunnel bands!

Top gear being cleaned up and under-coated

The bow in a new-look primer coat

However, I also gave myself a day's walking with the Audlem Ramblers – couldn't really resist as it was over to the Clwydian Range and Moel Famau on the Offa's Dyke route.

The day was cold though bright and the rain held off until later.
We covered about 10 miles and climbed about 2200 feet, mainly in two big climbs.

The first was up to the Iron Age Hill Fort at Foel Fenlli (1670ft).

Looking south

There was still plenty of snow around

The cairn on Foel Fenlli

The view north towards Moel Famau – where we are heading

Firstly, the lunch stop!

Moel Famau (Link) stands at 1818 feet and is topped by the impressive Jubilee Tower.

The tower was built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of King George III in 1810, though was never finished and in 1862, the incomplete tower collapsed in a storm.
It's three sided base now survives and is being renovated.

 The view back down the path and climb up


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Getting the Jobs Done!

With the boat out of the water, there is a window of time to get as much done as possible.

We are waiting for our turn in the workshop queue to have a new welded baseplate tray for the gas locker – a failure in our Survey. Apparently, steel needs to be ordered.

Meantime, with the weather dry (though really cold with no shelter from the east wind), I have been blacking the hull and painting up the tunnel bands on the stern.

Photos of 'work in progress'.

The Woolies Boat Park
Gary the Engineer welds up the pitting

Grinding flush the weld – proper job!

Blacking up the hull – using a brush for maximum coating






The Hammer Test – A Birthday Treat!

Hull Condition Survey - 5th April

I had postponed our scheduled 'out of water' survey from February – a good decision as the weather then was fierce. Now, in April, at least it is dry though with a bitingly cold easterly. We are catching this being higher up on the hardstanding.

Trevor, our Surveyor, came up early from Northampton to do the Hull Condition Survey. He last surveyed the boat for a pre-purchase in 2003, so there have been many changes.

Trevor is renowned for providing a robust traditional hammer testing of the hull plating.
It made quite a loud resonant dong when heard from inside!

 Trevor with his trusty hammer

The dreaded hammer in action!

Overall, the plating was sound, being the Imperial 1/4” used by Les Allen from 1977.
We had the base plate re-soled with an additional 6mm in 2004 when Graham Pearce at Stockton Dry Dock did the work needed to install the re-conditioned JP2.

There has been some wear, particularly just above the bottom plate – from inside. Probably due to periods of wet bilges. Given the boat was a Section 8 recovery and when we got it had flooded bilges, this will have contributed. Trevor insisted I check for wet bilges regularly.

Ultrasonic plate testing thickness

Local pitting – this one at 2.6mm needs welding up
Overall, the hull is in reasonable condition for its age – some 36 years now!

However, corrosion in bottom of the gas locker, probably over many years, failed the hammer testing! He noticed the drain holes were higher than the base?!

The gas locker will need a new base tray with 3” sides, welded into the locker after the old base is cut out. The engineers will schedule this work before we go back into the water.

So, all in all, a reasonable hull condition survey – a sort of birthday present?!

We celebrated my 62nd birthday having a meal in the Overwater Café with Chris' sister and husband.

Chris and Anton

Birthday Celebrations!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Back on Dry Land!

Docking April 2013

It started as a cold morning with the biting easterly wind. There was some ice on the Shroppie though the marina pool was largely clear.

The coal boat Victoria – heading back from the Ellesmere Port gathering?

We waited until other boat movements were underway at the slipway, then started up the Lister and made our first boat 'cruise' for many months. As instructed, coming into a spare berth near the workshop. I came perfectly, except not to the berth I was intending! Windy!

Before long it was our turn to be loaded. Simon, the Engineer came aboard and took the helm. He has the old working motor Ian, also with a JP2, so wasn't phased by the speedwheel and crank reverser.

Reversing out into the wind


Perfect entry! Alan the Workshop Manager guides the bow.

Onto the boat sledge

Safely loaded and on the way out
 Gary drives the powerful tractor provides the grunt – borrowed from farm duties

Up and away

Being pulled into our 'land berth'

We were positioned in front of the paint workshop. Later I checked with Sally the Painter that her schedule would be for a 4 week slot – should be plenty of time for us?!


Placed on 3 wood chocks, on the solid hardstanding. We re-positioned the rear chocks under the heaviest rear section being the engine.

Dave uses the pressure washer to clean off the grot!