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Boat Blog: Maintenance Visit (November)

Posted by indigodream on 28 April, 2015

Rewind to Saturday 29th November

Uplands Marina

Uneven spacing - I hpe this is put right when they install new timbers....

Uneven spacing – I hope this is put right when they install new timbers….

Because of my concerns about the uneven pontoon timbers at the marina (a perfect trip hazard for clumsy hounds) and the fact that we’d planned to spend the weekend working on the boat, I decided to leave Ty and Ollie with Greygal and the pack in Suffolk.

This left us free to spend the entire time on the boat. We’d been perusing the weather forecasts every week and decided that this would be a good weekend for painting. This was our major task, to touch up a few bare areas, apply some more protective polish and paint the gunwhales, which were worn beyond the reach of a simple touch-up!

We had thought we might be moving the boat down to Kings Lock for her winter maintenance, but sadly the chandlers had not got back to us with the necessary quotes, so we asked Bill at Uplands to cost the work instead. We had a good drive up on Saturday morning and were in good time to invite Bill on board to look at the work.

Our main problem is damp – we’re still getting water into the cabin bilges, and parts of the walls are mysteriously damp; the bedroom floor also needs replacing. Bill said he’d look a the job and set a bilge blower going to dry the boat properly in December then give us a quote and get the work done from January onwards. With boat builders/maintainers very busy over winter, we’re a bit concerned that we’re now going to run out of time to get the work done before our summer cruising starts. Fingers crossed that Uplands can get the work done.

And this is the slat that cracked under my foot - definitely overdue for replacement...

And this is the slat that cracked under my foot – definitely overdue for replacement…

Having been empty for a month, the boat was very cold indeed, and the weather “oop north” was nowhere near as good as when we left Surrey. We ran the heating all day to warm and dry the boat. Tempting though it was to stay inside, we wrapped up and I set to washing and polishing the boat while Richard prepared a particularly nasty patch of rust for painting (an area worn by the rubbing of our deck door).

In the cold and damp, the pontoon timbers were more lethally slick than ever and I was doubly glad that I’d left the hounds at home. One dodgy timber actually cracked under my foot! This does not really matter to us, Uplands is still a good winter lay-over for Indigo Dream; however the news that Bill has new timbers and is intending to renew the pontoons over winter must be welcome news for the residents.

We were moored opposite one of many boats called “narrow escape” – this one was occupied by a very friendly couple, Kim and Christine, who owned a charming little lurcher called Cara. We instantly bonded with them and were sorry that we’d see so little of them during our intermittent visits. Cara the lurcher was exceptionally well-behaved as a cat wandered at will along the pontoon and the boat roofs. We found out later that the cat lives a few pontoons away but considers that every boat in the marina belongs to her. Ah, another good reason for leaving the greyhounds at home, though in all fairness, Ollie’s too old and Ty’s too scared to be interested in a pesky cat!

This is just the first load of dog beds to leave the boat :-)

This is just the first load of dog beds to leave the boat πŸ™‚

We hadn’t bothered to provision the boat for such a short stay, so when it went dark (far too early at this time of year) we headed off towards Warrington to find a supermarket, a cinema and a place to eat. We got hopelessly muddled in the confusion of retail and leisure parks around Warrington but we eventually found an Asda and a Frank & Benny’s restaurant, where we had really excellent service. We finished the evening with a viewing of part 3 of four of the Hunger Games “trilogy”. It was a dark and thrilling movie, very faithful to the books, which I have read. Richard is saving the books for after he’s seen all the films so I have to be very careful not to give anything away πŸ™‚

We’d had a good day, and returned to our toasty boat with a sense of satisfaction.

Sunday 30th November

Today we had the weather that we had been expecting yesterday – clear and sunny, though quite chilly in the shade. Time to get painting!

We managed to paint one gunwhale, and between the fresh paint and new polish, Indigo Dream looked quite magnificent. There’s life in our molecule-thick paintwork yet!

While Richard got the painting done, I started clearing up inside. The interior works that Bill had planned meant that we needed to move some stuff out of the boat so he’d have room to move. We took the most bulky items home – the bikes and the dogs beds – two trolley loads! We may need to move more stuff out later, depending on how much work we need to do to the floor and wall panelling.

The days are simply too short in November – we had planned to paint both gunwhales, but we were running out of daylight. However, we’d achieved a lot over the weekend – most of the cabin has an extra protective layer of polish, one gunwhale was painted, the boat was ready for the works and we’d warmed and dried her thoroughly – not bad for a weekend’s endeavour πŸ™‚

Today’s Trivia

We took our centre ropes home for washing as they had turned an alarming shade of green on the cold, damp roof. It shouldn’t surprise me that boaters have numerous conflicting opinions on how best to wash a rope, but here’s how I do it!

Put each individual rope into a pillowcase – it helps if the pillowcase has a zip “seal”; put in washing machine and wash at 40 degrees with ordinary powder and a scoop of stain remover. The pillowcase method means that they don’t get tangled and washing two or more ropes together gives an even spin. The ropes are almost dry coming out of my machine (1200 rpm spin) so I can just hang them in a warm room and they dry in no time. Hey presto, clean ropes πŸ™‚

Mucky ropes...

Mucky ropes…

Clean ropes (they won't stay that way for long I'm sure!)

Clean ropes (they won’t stay that way for long I’m sure!)





3 Responses to “Boat Blog: Maintenance Visit (November)”

  1. s/v Eolian said

    Have you guys considered leaving a dehumidifier running? They are absolutely wonderful at keeping the inside of a boat nice and dry…

    We have one that draws only 1.6 amps (at 110V… suppose it would draw 0.8 amps at 220) and that removes up to 2 gallons/day of water. If you park it near a sink, you can just let it drain overboard.

    s/v Eolian

  2. indigodream said

    Hi Bob

    Thanks the comment, sorry I have been slow getting back to you thanks to working 12 hour days this week.

    We have to do more as our boat has really suffered this winter, used less then normal and winterised so the heating was not set running plus shore power was a bit of an issue at times.

    I must admit I have been trying to get my head around getting a dehumdifier, I have been wondering is there a risk that if you don’t seal up all the vents then you are just extracting moisture from the general atmosphere rather than just the boat? Clearly not if it works for you. Hmm must research before next winter, particularly if we leave the boat miles from home again.

  3. s/v Eolian said

    Richard –
    I wouldn’t worry about hermetically sealing the boat – there should be very little air exchange with the doors, ports, and vents closed. A larger concern is the lack of heat. In a very cold environment the dehidifier will spend its of its time I’m defrost mode.

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