Friday, November 06, 2015

The helling is over


So as I have mentioned before, last week was my hell(ing) week. Actually, it wasn't so bad; just very hard work, as usual. But one thing made life a whole lot easier: the weather. Normally the end of October is like what we've come to expect from summer - cold, wet and miserable, only with the added charm of short days, high winds and lurching leaves dive-bombing us from all directions. Contrary to all expectations, though, it was absolutely fabulous - in fact like summer is supposed to be (barring the short days and kamikazi leaves etc). We had wall to wall sunshine every day except Wednesday (when it dripped a bit), and once the early chill had lifted, the temperature was balmy and warm. I couldn't have asked for a better week. 

Koos saving me from chipmonkdom by spraying my bottom!
This unexpected bonus made life somewhat easier to bear once we were out of the water. Added to that, the good fortune extended to finding the hull almost totally free of mussels, although this wasn't so very surprising. It's only a year since the Vereeniging was last lifted out and the little varmints hadn't really had time to attach themselves and grow. As a result, Koos didn't need much muscle to spray off the mussels (sorry). It was after that the the rot, or should I say the rust, set in.

The first of the 5kilos of rust I scraped off the bottom
Once all was clean and dry, I set to work to find out what condition my bottom was in (remember the concern about the yukky rusty bits in my last post on the subject), and it was not good. The photo above shows the first of a pile of around 5 kilos of accumulated rust that I scraped off the inside of the hull's bottom at the stern end of the barge. I should say that once it was clean, the old iron looked okay, but I was worried about damp seeping from under the ribs that form the frame of the barge. There were also puddles of water originating from places I couldn't see under the structural plates, so I attacked those spots on the hull with a hammer from the outside. Even then I couldn't make any holes, but I was still worried by the seepage. It didn't seem to want to dry inside and I didn't know what to do about it.

That night I had an uneasy sleep. I dreamt about floods and rain, about being stranded in a boat going nowhere and all sorts of other watery nightmares. Of course I might just have needed the loo, it's true, but it gave me pause for thought. In the morning, I made a decision. I would have two plates welded to the bottom just for security. It would be expensive, but not as expensive as a real sinking feeling.

An old lady that needs lots of TLC

Picture pretty - all painted black
So that's what happened. While I rolled black paint onto the rest of the hull, my super trooper Koos and wonder welder Tim set to work. Over the next few days, the Vereeniging had two big sticking plasters of about 1 metre by 50 cms welded to her derrière. Koos cut, bent and positioned the pieces while Tim welded; a tricky job as steel on iron does not always make for a happy union. All the same, by Friday afternoon it was finished and I was able to paint the final sections.

Koos straightening out my loopy plank
Meanwhile, remember the story of my damaged gangplank? Well, we took advantage of being on the yard to get it straightened out. See photo above with Koos operating the massive vice that took the kinks out of one very loopy loopplank.


Smart as paint. Sunday afternoon and all the work done
This then was how things looked on Sunday. Koos and I were both exhausted but happy. It was a stunningly beautiful morning and I could hardly believe it was November the 1st. The surreal quality of the day was made more so by seeing a group of young people floating around the harbour in a mobile hot tub. It took a moment for it to sink (not literally) in that they were all wearing summer swimwear at the beginning of the penultimate month of the year. If this is global warming, I like it!



Anyhow, now we are back in the water, back in position and the weather is back to being November. We've had gales and rain for much of this week, so I  feel a bit sorry for the helling's current incumbent. I definitely had the best of it, and I hope my watery worries are now laid to rest rather than to rust…right, I'll shut up now...

22 comments:

  1. Well, I am very glad for you Val and hopefully those two bolster plates will cure the rust problem.
    Old boats are rather like old houses they need extra care and attention don't they.

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    1. They do, Mel...in some ways even more so, as they are a bit more likely to sink than most houses.

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  2. Hi Val - sounds like you've all been working really hard at getting her sorted out and ready for a lovely 2016 ... once you can move around again. Better to do things in advance of the necessity of having to ... good for you ... and isn't the weather foul - wet, gloomy, windy, but warm so far ... cheers and enjoy your week-end, after all that work - Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I must admit I'm moving a little more slowly now!

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  3. I'm glad the weather stayed nice for you because it must have been a hard job. Jim says do you put any rustproofing on the boat like special paint ?

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    1. Thank you, Anne. No, we don't put anything other than the black paint on as that's quite a good rust proofer. It's a modern substitute for the old tar or bitumen paint they used to use. That is banned now, but this is also pretty powerful stuff. I'm always glad it's totally dry when we go in the water as I cannot imagine it's good for the wildlife.

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  4. So glad the week went so well, and you are now safe and dry.

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    1. Thank you, Jo! It feels much better now :)

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  5. Did you paint the inside of the hull with zinc-oxide Val and do you have any sacrificial anodes on the hull beneath the waterline or an earthing plate ?

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    1. No and yes, Mel. I use grease on the bottom of the inside, not paint, but I have anodes at the requisite intervals all along the barge on both sides, and they work very well. I'm not sure about the earthing plate, but one of our friends is a boat electrician and he has ensured that everything is as it should be on board with regard to switches and earthing etc…electricity is a bit beyond me...

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    2. Grease is good it will stop the air from getting to the hull plating.

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  6. And.... rest. Well done, Vallypee and Koos! xx

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    1. Thank you, TT. I am definitely taking it easy this weekend!

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  7. I am so pleased all ended well for you Val. That is one big pile of rust you scraped! It sounds like an exhausting time for you, but you can rest easy now without fear of a dunking. Have a relaxing weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Patricia. It certainly gives me some peace of mind!

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  8. Sounds like hard work. I'm sorely tempted to mention how nice it must be now you have a clean bottom but I won't because that would be tacky!

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    1. You would never mention that, would you, Ros? Goodness, perish (or rust) any such thoughts.

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  9. That was some job! The Vereeniging looks lovely, shipshape and ready to go :)

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    1. Thank you, Cathy. I'm inordinately proud of my barge :)

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  10. Your Vereeniging is beautiful: both inside and out!! What a treat she is, Val and thank you from the bottom of my heart for introducing her to us. And for your treasured gifts. Vxxx

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    1. It was a truly lovely and very special evening, Veronica. I'm just so sorry you had all that pain to deal with. It must be so hard not being able to laugh properly. I am so pleased you came to visit and I really really hope we can do it again when you come back. Next time, we must add Petra and her husband to the group! Vxxx :)

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  11. What a worry it must be. It's bad enough finding damp in a house. More alarming in a boat, by far. Welding bits on the bottom sounds like a great idea. The weather was wonderful here, too.

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