Saturday, 18 October 2008

morning constitutional

Vortex has fallen in the water before once, but that was at our old, 'mill pond' like mooring. Falling in on the tidal Thames is a whole different matter.
Fortunately Vortex isn't the kind of cat to put of the inevitable, so after about two days here we heard a loud miaowing in the mornign and found him crouched, shivering and very disgruntled, inside a huge tire fender hanging from one of the garden barges. He must have jumped onto a sloping skylight, slipped on the morning dew and fallen in, and then swum to the garden barge, climbed up the rudder and into the tire. With a neighbor hanging onto my legs i managed to get him out and once we had dried him out in front of the stove he was fine and back exploring, jumping, hopefully with a little more forethought, between boats, and guarding the boat against the local cats.

Rooflessly Efficient

As we have posted about repeatedly, the central column of the roof had had a good innings, but was ready to be replaced.

After a lot of thought and planning, proposing different approaches, screwing up pieces of paper and starting again, etc etc, we came up with a workable plan that would make a good and watertight central peak for the roof, allow us to walk up and down the roof easily, and fit with our fibreglassing plans for the rest of the roof.

We worked out the angle that the supporting beams would have to be planed at to fit the pitch of the roof

cleared all the existing stuff away and swept the roof

laid out the planed wood we had bought from the fantastic Whitten Timber down the road

cut it to size

and began to screw it to the plywood boards we’d had cut, to make sure that all the beams were straight before we glued them down to the roof.

It all began to take shape

and we made sure that the walkway was straight (as the various sections of the rof certainly aren’t) by using lorna’s stretchy climbing roap pulled taught down the full length of the roof.

By the end of day one the whole walkway was in place and screwed together, but not attached to the roof or painted.

So the next morning we lifted the sections up and put super polyurethane wood glue down on the roof (so that we wouldn’t be piercing the roof by driving screws through it),

and then weighted it down until the glue set. Lorna did some stirling work sitting, adding to the weight of the anthracite bags.

We then unscrewed the plywood again,

before painting all the beams with cuprinol

and the boards with bitumen

and finally laying the boards down again, ready to screw back together.

With everything tidied away and the walkway put back together it all looks very neat, and it’s much better to walk on. It should help to keep the rain out too, fingers crossed.


Despite the newly fibreglassed roof, we were still getting a couple of drips inside the wheelhouse when it rained on the way down from our old mooring. I worked out that the water was coming in through a badly patched hole (just a chunk of wood shoved in the gap) next to one of the beams that supports the roof, and possibly through the open front of the beam itself. You can see how it used to look in this old picture:

I decided to properly fill the hole, and fibreglass the fronts of the beams for good measure, both to stop water getting in, and to protect the beams themselves.

I mixed up some resin and fibreglassed a patch over the front of each beam, sealing them up

and at the same time, though I forgot to take any good pictures, filling the hole next to the beam with wood filler before popping in a bit of wood the right size as a front. You can just see it in progress here

and here it is tidied up and varnished over

Then, to tidy it all up, I painted a nice thick layer of bitumen over the front of the beams, further sealing, protecting and waterproofing them, and also making them look neater.

While I was working on the front of the wheelhouse I couldn’t resist giving the horn a good coat of bright red paint too:

Thursday, 16 October 2008

a boat by any other name...

Peter is no more.

We have been thinking for a long while about a name change for the boat, as Peter never felt like it was ‘right’ for a boat belonging to us. For one thing my brother is called Peter, and there’s only room for one of him in the world, and I have always felt strange referring to the boat as a ‘she’ and then calling ‘her’ Peter. Like the moorings manager here said, ‘it’s not a nice name for a great old girl like her’.

A name that encapsulated the state of being that we get from being aboard was called for, and Serenity fit the bill perfectly.

As we are on our new mooring, with change all around us and a new life in central London ahead of us, now seemed like the perfect time to change the name, especially as the name of the boat is now the first line of our address. So we are now signed up with the mooring as MV Serenity, and all that remained was to change the name on the boat itself.

The existing name was beginning to flake off anyway,

so it was easy to remove ‘Peter’ from the bows. We jet washed the whole bow, cleaning it down now we can reach it, and getting some of the paint off,

then Lorna got busy with the wire brush on the angle grinder and soon had the name erased (notice that the boat at some point was painted green),

I then had to go out for a couple of hours, and when I returned, Peter was no more and we were living aboard The Ship With No Name.

Lorna then found a great 1930's font and created letters the right size, which she cut out and taped into place, and then drew round with a chinagraph to give a guide for painting,

before getting out her best paintbrush and getting to work

Now we just need to redo the pattern on the front and she'll be done.