Thursday, 27 April 2017

High and dry at Maryport Marina

Photo of Photo of Phil and a friend applying the new trident logo on Ravensdale's bow

Phil and a friend apply the new trident logo on Ravensdale's bow

Ravensdale is still high and dry almost five weeks after she was lifted out of the water for her spring beauty treatment.
We initially intended her to be out on the hand standing for about a fortnight – three weeks at most – to paint the underwater area of her hull with antifouling paint, check her anodes and to generally clean and tidy her up.
Photo of Ravensdale on stilts

Ravensdale on stilts

But she is still on stilts, making us very glad we decided to pay for the impressive scaffolding steps that enable us to get on and off the boat while her deck is around 14ft off the ground.
The alternative would have been to climb up and down a ladder, which would have been fine for a short while, or if we were staying elsewhere while doing the work, but not great when living on board, especially if you need to visit the marina’s toilet facilities in the middle of the night!
We’re also becoming rather accustomed to life on dry land – so much so that I’m wondering if it will be a bit of a shock to the system when we end being rocked to sleep by the waves again.
Other than the lack of a toilet we can use on board (my fault for being ill so soon after the lift-out), the biggest pain is that we have no wifi on the boat.
This means going to the customer lounge every time we want to do anything online and we have been too busy to do this by day and often too tired to go over there in the evenings – hence the lack of blog posts on my part.
Anyway, we’ve been getting on with the work we wanted to do and a lot more that we didn’t plan, or in some cases even think of, before the lift out on March 24.
Photo of Phil applying rubbing compound to the port side of Ravensdale's hull

Phil applies rubbing compound to the port side of Ravensdale's hull

Phil has spent days using rubbing compound on the hull to remove any marks and scratches, before polishing it to make her shine.
Photo of polishing the hull to make it shine

Polishing the hull to make it shine

He is also hoping to wax the hull before Ravensdale goes back into the water.
I’ve finished off cleaning the windscreen wipers, which were proving very difficult to get bright and shiny until I bought some Brillo Pads – now there’s a blast from the past! I remember cleaning pots and pans with them as a kid and had no idea they were still in production, but apparently they are and they’re brilliant!
We bought new blades for them and they are now back in situ so we’ll be able to see while travelling in the rain, which can come in very handy given the British weather.
I also touched up any areas of antifoul and boot top line that needed tidying up and put several coats of white gloss on two strips of wood attached to the bow (I still don’t know what they do, but they certainly look better now than they did).
And I used several more grades of sandpaper on the prop shafts to make them even smoother and shinier than I had achieved with my previous attempts.
Photo of me cleaning up the prop shafts

This image was taken when I started cleaning up the prop shafts

Meanwhile, Phil has sent me some photos he took when I started work on the prop shafts that I had completely forgotten he had taken.
Photo of Phil and Tony putting up the new bow logo

Phil and Tony putting up the new bow logo

Phil painted the blue lines around the top of the hull and the superstructure and sprayed a second coat of paint on the propellers.
He also set about applying the new Neptunus trident logo to the bow and, as it was the first time he had done this, he was very grateful when another boat owner here – Tony – offered his assistance and asked if I had a hairdryer they could use. And between the pair of them they did a great job.
We initially planned to use thin black tape for the lines either side of the blue line around the top of the hull, as that was what had been done previously, and ordered them from the same firm that supplied the trident logo.
However, when Phil started putting them on, it quickly became apparent that it was not going to work. We had measured the tape we took off, but had not realised it covered black paint that was thicker than the tape in some places.
Photo of applying the black vinyl tape

Applying the black vinyl tape

We considered ordering more, wider tape, but had already spent a lot of money on tape that we could now not be able to use, so we decided to buy black paint, tape the lines ourselves and paint them on and it looks much better than the tape we bought would have done.
Photo of painting the black stripes around the top of the hull

Painting the black stripes around the top of the hull

Another little job that I decided needed doing was to clean the fenders so I took them all down onto the hard standing and painted them with Chine Shine. I then gave them a good scrub and washed them off.
They’re never going to be perfect again as they’ve discoloured a bit over the years, but they look a lot better than they did and still work so will not be replaced at this stage.
The work we intended to do has more or less gone to plan – apart from minor delays caused by my being unwell and the days we have been unable to get on as we would like outside due to high wind and/or rain.
But several things have conspired against our getting Ravensdale back into the water sooner.
We have been waiting for MPM, the boatyard at the marina, to come and put in the outlet that will give us the ability to discharge the holding tank from one of the heads while at sea.
At long last, the part of the job that had to be done while out of the water was completed yesterday. It will be completed once the tank has been pumped out when we go back in.
Also, Phil had hoped to be able to get the depth sounder on the boat working in, but this proved impossible.
And, although we found a paddle wheel on the underside of the hull, which should provide information on speed and distance to a log, there is no instrument onboard able to receive this data, so we have now bought a dual purpose depth sounder/log that will need to be fitted before we can put Ravensdale back in the water.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of activity in the area due to a serious fire on a nearby industrial estate when a factory that makes artificial grass went up in flames on Tuesday of this week. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the building was destroyed by the fire.
Photo of the factory fire taken from our fore deck

The factory fire taken from our fore deck

We had a clear view of the blaze from our boat and could see flames leaping as high as nearby trees, with clouds of thick, black smoke towering above them.
Firefighters were drafted in from all over Cumbria and, at the height of the fire, there were 12 fire appliances in attendance.
Photo of pumping water out of the marina

Pumping water out of the marina

As the marina is fairly close by – less than half a mile – from the fire, the fire service pumped water out of the marina along a pipe that stretched all the way to the scene.
We could hear the pump running all night and it was still being used yesterday as smoke continued to rise from the fire scene. Today fire crews are packing it up ready to take it away.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Feeling blue – quite literally

Photo of me sanding the antifoul paint

All masked up while sanding the old antifoul paint

I have spent the past week feeling very blue, but not because I have been unhappy.
My face, hands, arms, neck and even my fringe really were blue from sanding the old antifoul paint on the part of the hull that is normally underwater.
I was working in a very confined space, which involved kneeling, crawling or shuffling along the gravel on my bottom (although that method of moving around proved rather too painful to do too often J)
And a lot of the time I was working above my head so the thick blue dust was falling all over me.
An old woolly hat protected all but any stray hair that managed to escape from under it and goggles and a mask saved my eyes and stopped me breathing the dust.
I spent the best part of two days underneath the boat and was really pleased to get to the end of that task, as the cramped conditions left me with aches and pains in places I had no idea you could even get them.
Photo of Phil sanding one of the rudders

Phil sanding one of the rudders

Meanwhile, Phil used an angle grinder to clean up the propellers and the rudders.
He also rubbed down the painted blue lines around the hull ready for repainting.
Photo of Phil rebuilding the winch mechanism on one of the davits

Phil rebuilds the winch mechanism on one of the davits

And he has been working on the davits, which are used for lifting and supporting the inflatable tender at the stern. They had obviously not been used for years and were all rusty and had seized up.
Photo of a prop shaft - before and after

Prop shaft - before and after

I scraped and sanded the two prop shafts, chipping off years of crusty deposits and barnacles before sanding them with various grades of sandpaper until they were gleaming.
And Phil undercoated the propellers.
He also finished off the work to repair the damaged exhaust manifold, which is now back in place on the starboard side of the hull.

Photo of Phil sanding his repair to one of the exhaust manifolds

Phil sanding his repair to one of the exhaust manifolds

We were working flat out all day every day while the weather was fine promising ourselves a day off on the first wet day – but it didn’t rain.
Eventually, we became so tired that we just had to take a day off so we decided to have a “day of rest” on Sunday (it seemed an appropriate day to choose J)
And, as if to justify our lazy day, the rain started later in the day.
We used our day off to take a trip to Whitehaven to pick up our generator, which had been in for a service. It needed attention because, although it was running OK, it wasn’t generating any power, which is a pretty serious problem for a generator – the clue is in the name J
The rest of the day was spent buying a few more things we needed for Ravensdale from Maiden Marine Chandlery at Whitehaven and having a relaxing meal out before heading home to chill out on the boat.
But we were back hard at it on Monday morning feeling a bit better for our break.
Phil has been attempting to get the trim tabs working properly. The starboard trim tab moved slightly, but the one on the port side was refusing to move at all.
He removed one of the hydraulic rams on the jammed trim tab and released it because it was all seized up inside. It can now be moved manually, but is still not working when the switch is operated. So more work is required here.
Photo of the primer patches on the hull

Silver patches of primer applied to prepare the hull for antifouling painting

I painted antifoul primer on the areas of the hull where there were gaps in the previous coat of antifoul, mainly where my sanding had gone right through to the gelcoat.
This left the underwater area covered with silver patches.
I also spent some time stripping black paint of the stainless steel windscreen wiper arms and polishing them up ready to be fitted with new blades and put back in place.
By Monday afternoon, it became clear that we had reached the stage where we could apply the antifoul paint the following day.
Photo of Alex painting the starboard side

Alex applying antifoul paint to Ravensdale's starboard side

A friend who was visiting us that day volunteered his services and turned up early on Tuesday morning ready to help. Alex has done this many times before so he was really useful to have around.
Using four inch rollers on long handles, Alex painted the port side and Phil did the starboard side, while I crawled around under the boat with a brush touching up any difficult to reach areas or bits that had been missed by the rollers. I also painted the rudders.
This was a big day for us – at long last we were putting paint back on rather than taking it off and preparing for repainting. It finally felt as though we were actually getting somewhere.
Photo of Phil painting the boot top line

Phil painting the boot top line

We have since painted the boot top line – a line of darker blue, harder antifoul along the water line.
Photo of removing tape after painting

Removing the tape

We collected the new boat logo and black vinyl tape, which we are hoping to apply very soon. The tape lines will be applied after the blue lines around the top of the hull and the top of the superstructure have been painted.
We considered paying the firm that made the Neptunus trident logo to apply it the bow, but it would cost more than the logo and they assured us that it is very simple to do. Guess we’ll soon find out whether they are right about this.
And, if it doesn’t go right the first time, we have a spare. When we went to collect it, they told us that they were able to cut two out of the same piece of vinyl so they gave us two for the price of one.
Photo of scrubbing the deck of the fly bridge

Scrubbing the deck of the fly bridge as part of its spring clean

Yesterday was spent cleaning up the fly bridge using Chine Shine, which did a fantastic job again.
It started out looking very sorry for itself and ended up quite literally shining.
I’m really looking forward to being able to go up there in the sunshine while at sea.
And the best bit is that the seats on either side of the driving seat convert into sun beds, not that I’m planning to do any sunbathing. I just think they’re pretty cool J

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The clean up moves on with a vengeance

Photo of sanding the boot top line and antifoul paint

Sanding the boot top line and antifoul paint

Ravensdale’s spring beauty treatment is now well underway, thanks to some lovely dry and sunny weather.

I am now fully recovered from the dreaded lurgy that stopped me in my tracks last week and, thankfully, Phil didn’t catch it so it’s full steam ahead with work on our boat.

Photo of painting Chine Shine onto the stern

Painting Chine Shine onto the stern

We have continued cleaning the whole of the hull and the superstructure with an amazing product called Chine Shine, which is painted on, then left for around 15 minutes before it is washed off.

The dirtiest job I have had so far was sanding the boot top line – a line of hard antifoul paint along the water line – and the blue antifoul paint on the hull below it.

Photo of removing the old paint ready for repainting

Removing the old paint ready for repainting

I was wearing a mask to stop me breathing in the blue dust and goggles to protect my eyes, but ended up covered in thick dust, leaving me looking a bit like an overgrown Smurf J

Photo of applying fibreglass to broken exhaust manifold

Phil applies a fibreglass repair to the broken exhaust manifold

Phil has been carrying out fibreglass repairs to the starboard exhaust manifold that was damaged during the lift-out operation.

And the one on the port side needed some minor repair where it caught on a pontoon the first time we moved the boat to pump out the holding tank.

Photo of sanding a gelcoat repair

Sanding a gelcoat repair

Phil has also been carrying out repairs to Ravensdale’s gelcoat, which is the outermost structural layer on a fibreglass boat hull, designed to protect the underlying fibreglass layer.

When it was dry, it was my job to sand it with wet and dry sandpaper starting with 400 grit, then 600, 800, 1,200 and 2,000 grit to get a smooth finish.

Phil has been carrying out a similar operation on the whole of the hull, sanding the gelcoat all over the hull sanding with 1,000 grit, then 1,500, 2,000 and finally 3,000 grit – a laborious, time-consuming job, which will hopefully provide a lovely smooth finish for polishing.

Other jobs have included running a sharp chisel over the rubber strips between the timbers on the aft deck. This was necessary because the wood had worn away creating rubber ridges, which made brushing water off the deck very difficult.

I volunteered for this job, which involved spending long periods on my knees. Initially, I was kneeling on an old seat cushion that was donated by a friend, but my task became a lot easier when we bought a pair of strap-on knee pads from Lidl.

Photo of chiselling rubber strips on aft deck

Chiselling the black rubber strips between the aft deck timbers

Photo of Neptunus logo

Neptunus logo

We are also in the process of stripping black enamel paint off the windscreen wipers, which we had intended to repaint until we discovered they were stainless steel so we’re planning to leave them unpainted now.

We also measured up the damaged Neptunus trident graphic on Ravensdale’s bow and have asked a local firm to make a replacement, which we are told will be ready in a few days.
The weather forecast is reasonable for tomorrow so we will be back out there doing more of the same. Really hope we get a good run of fine weather now so we can get finished and back in the water asap.
We initially planned to be out for a fortnight, but it is looking as though three weeks will be needed to complete the work.