Saturday, 15 October 2011

Friday, 14 October 2011


After all of the welding was completed we had to paint Serenity. We went for 2 part epoxy and lots of it to offer the greatest protection we could afford.
We hired airless spray equipment and I took on the job of wielding the spray gun. Hired from the wonderful

It was SUCH a satisfying job to do.
It took about four hours for each coat of primer with 10 hours revolt time between each. My old days spent airbrushing on a technical illustration course came in very handy.

Steve designed the cutoff line for the black topcoat so that the red primer peeks up above the waterline at the bow and we set about masking it with newspaper and masking tape. After 3 consecutive days of spraying primer, I handed the spray gun over to him to add the finessing black layer of UV resistant topcoat whilst I headed topside with a roller and a dusky blue shade for the top strip.

We had originally intended to keep the colour scheme black and white like before, but during our hours of labouring thought we needed to mark our efforts with a new look.

As soon as the last pot of paint arrives I'll be painting her name back on, but this time with the Gold that she deserves.

P.s. apologies for the random order the photos are appearing. I'll rearrange them tonight if I don't have anything more useful to do.

We moved a wall

Our carpenter friend visited in the early days of drydock and so we decided to move the wall between our old bedroom (now bathroom) and the living room a whole 7 inches.
Looking back, it seemed a little bit OTT to go to so much trouble but we had reasons for it.
We wanted to be able to secure the big water tank to a wall that was attached to the RSJ rather than just wedged in.
Aesthetically it would also look nicer in the living room with the end wall meeting up with the RSJ.
It would make our bathroom a tiny bit bigger in order to accommodate the water and waste tanks.

Nothing is ever simple on a boat though and if all took longer than expected.
We had to demolish the massive wall hung shelves and rehire everything on them. Construction wise they were somewhat of an Escher drawing with screws that could only be unscrewed when you first unscrewed another screw which could only be unscrewed if you had unscrewed that first screw...

There was then the ridiculousness of the wiring to sort out. Both mains and lighting.

A massive radiator to unplumb and drain.

Those brackets to support the new stud work had to be welded in.

Next the plywood to cut to shape- every piece unique.

New wiring to go in.

And the massive pile of rubbish out of there.

Decorating will have to wait until we have finished some of the more pressing renovations but I've got exciting visions for this wall.

The moment we realised it was worth it.

So there were times pretty recently when we wondered about leaving the boat and moving into a flat. The toil, stress, anxiety and above-all expense were getting to us.
But then something pretty cool happened. On our journey back from drydock, our skipper suggested getting a few hours travelling in then mooring up overnight in a creek. We tied up in the middle of this big empty expanse of water to a lonely old lighter and ate dinner on the roof as the sun set and the seabirds jabbered.
As the night crept in we discovered phosphorescence (as if being out in the middle of nowhere wasn't magical enough).
And we realised that we'd been doing it all wrong. We'd been trying to live in Serenity as if she were a house. All the boaty things had been annoying inconveniences. We were idiots and she showed us on that trip homewards what she was capable of if only we let her be herself.
It sounds silly, but I don't think we had grasped the full scale of what we were taking on when we made our home inside a ship. I had confessed in the past that growing up in a fishing town had lead me to not even like boats.
Until now. Now the possibilities of taking her out for weekends of adventure have been planted like seeds in my imagination. We've got a lot of learning to do before we can make that a reality but we do enjoy learning.

P.S. I reserve the right to change my mind about whether it was all worth it at any time and without notice.

Bilge scraping

One of my main jobs at drydock was scraping out the rust from the bilge in the (old)bathroom. Job number one was hoovering out all the water that was sat in there. It looked like the plumbing had been having a good go at filling the bilge with water. If you've ever seen the film 'scream' you'll know that only a fool blinkers themselves into thinking problems come from a single source.
When we ripped up the floor we found that several plumbing joints were leaking, the central heating system had dumped some of its contents in there and there was a mysterious pipe coming from a mysterious place in the Fo'castle that was constantly dribbling water in there as well.

Of course, the rat's nest of pipes were tangled under the floor joists, and the secret dribble pipe was located behind the built in/tiled shower. So out it all came so we could do a proper job of it.

We spent a few hours working out what all the different pipes were hooked up to and I made a fun diagram on the wall so we could keep track.

As soon as we got the water out I set about scraping with a spokeshave and a coal shovel. There is no way my nerves could have stood doing this job if we weren't at drydock. Once I had painted it all with Vactan and finally Jotun 87 primer it looked a thousand times better.

Oh! And I almost forgot! That mystery leaky pipe appears to be coming from some kind of water tank in the ceiling of the Fo'castle. We thought the ceiling was directly below the deck but further investigation has it about a foot lower. And the pipe from it going straight into the bilge. I'd be interested to see how the original setup worked and why anyone would build a bathroom On top of these weird pipes with nothing on the end. I'm sure we'll find out more when we strip out the Fo'castle anyway.

Johnny Punk

One of the things that reminded us daily of how lucky we are throughout our time at drydock was the local wildlife.
Trekking off to the shower block at the end of a hard day I'd often see a rabbit dart through the grass.
We also had some wonderful ducky neighbours. One of which had a wicked Mohawk and scruffy white and brown feathers. We named him Johnny Punk and it was a pleasure to see his silly head each day.

The wonder of animals is how little stuff they need to get on with things. That makes me pretty happy.


I told you these posts would be slightly Stream Of Consciousness.
Here's a picture of one of the brackets I welded to the RSJ in the roof to help support our new water tank. I was pretty pleased with how my welding turned out. It is surprising how much easier it is to weld 6mm steel to stuff than it is to weld the stupid 2mm thick galvanised brackets that are our wall supports. If I'd've realised at the beginning I probably would have done the whole lot with chunks of angle with holes drilled rather than flimsy shop-bought brackets. Next time.

Let there be light!

One day in the many that have passed, Steve wired some lights for the living room.
In the daytime, the large number of skylights give us a lot of light in the boat. Nighttime, the previous setup of a few rubbish up lighters not so much. In fact our first night of owning the boat I recall us switching the lights in the living room on as dusk approached and it getting lighter by about two candle-power.
Our new ones are awesome. Halogen spotlights that we have replaced with 7W LED bulbs.


When we arrived at drydock, we arranged to have the area up to the waterline sandblasted back the bare metal. Simultaneously, steve set about using a Perago disk and drill to strip the area above the waterline.
Ideally we would have had the whole lot sandblasted but it was such a slow process that I'm glad we did the top half at the same time.

Mucky pup!

Check out this mucky pup!
Steve complains that the boat blog makes it look like I do all the work because I'm in all the pictures.
Here he is after many days Perago-ing bitumen off the hull.

Have you been on holiday?

I've been asked so often whether I've been on holiday. Drydock has actually been the opposite of a holiday, but now that the cool weather is settling in I am pretty happy that I could graft and grind and paint in the outdoors for two months. Dosing up on vitamin D despite wearing goggles, breathing apparatus and ear defenders day after day. It's been like some kind of sensory deprivation experiment.
I'm not convinced my current skin colour is melatonin but rather a layer or bitumen and oil.


Miles, however, is taking it all in his stride.


He's a bit pooped from all the action around here.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Front deck: Old pictures

Flicking through this blog I was surprised to see that you've never seen our lovely blue deck. The Jotun 87 paint we used has been in mint condition ever since we painted it and I couldn't be happier with how well it has performed over the last year. We put three coats of primer over the bare steel and then finished it with Jotamastic Hardtop paint.