Hatching a plan…

As usual,the weather put paid to my plans for my boat time this weekend.
On Thursday I got a lift down to the boatyard with my eldest sister,I had a car boot full of accumulated swag from work to take down with me,so that was that sorted. By the time I’d given her the guided tour and gone for a cuppa with her,it was lunchtime.
In the afternoon,I walked to the local ‘wickes’ and picked up another batch of tongue and groove cladding. I’d heard weather was going to be iffy so wanted to make sure I had the necessary materials to hand if the forecast was right and we got rain. Forward planning……
Friday was dry and sunny,so I thought I’d crack on with trying to get the  deck ready for paint.Started off quite well,stripping remaining paint and fibreglass from around the anchor locker and Samson post. Found a few small holes,but they were drilled,not rust,so I decided best course of action would be to fit nuts,washers and bolts to seal them. I might find out what they’re for at some point.
Onto the foredeck proper,out with the grinder-mounted wire brush to remove any last bits of paint and to get rid of any loose, flaking rust. Discovered a few more holes and a few places where the steel is very heavily pitted. Originally,I had thought I would smooth the pitted areas with a bit of filler,but on reflection,I think it wisest to cut them out and let in fresh steel. I’ve already accepted the fact that the boat won’t be afloat this year,so for the sake of an extra day or two welding,I might as well get it right.
Which brings me nicely to my next dilemma!
The forward hatch is a mess. It’s very heavy,the perspex is shot and there’s a fair bit of rot  around the framework attached to the boat. Around the aperture is an outward facing flange and  most of the rot is that area.Impossible to get to without removing the whole framework.
So,after much contemplation(and tea!) I have decided I have 3 options.
1: Strip it all out and redesign/rebuild it.
2: Remove it totally,plate it over,and try and find a suitable used purpose built hatch.(this is probably the favourite option at the moment) or
3: In a moment of madness, I have considered rebuilding that whole section. Follow the line of the cabin roof and sides and square off the front of it. This would vastly improve headroom in the v- berth area and a portlight could be installed in the vertical( or nearly so) front section.
A lot of work!
So, there we have it, no painting! In next post,I’ll show what I did instead!

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Born to be……mild.

Being at the mercy of public transport for nearly a year has taken its toll, I’ve bought myself some wheels. Only 2 as opposed to 4 though. I couldn’t really justify the expense, or even afford to run a car, but I just had to be more independent again.

So, I’ve bought myself a 125cc scootimage

er! Economically it makes good sense, it should save me about a tenner a week(I currently spend £30/week on bus fares) but far more importantly, it will save me a lot of time. It’s a 2 hour bus journey to the boat, I hope to be able to halve that.And with lighter evenings on the way, a midweek trip down there becomes feasible.
If I choose I can stay over Sunday night and still get to work on time Monday morning, that’s currently impossible.
The bike itself is nearly 5 years old, but was in storage unused for most of that time, its only got 400 km on the clock and is very tidy(never been dropped!). Its a Chinese import, which I said I’d never buy, but I was swayed by the condition, mileage and PRICE! I particularly wanted a Honda, but everything available in my price range was rough/battered/thrashed. The engine is a clone of a Honda one…….
So, after a break of over 30 years, I’ll be a bike rider again. I know, it’s a scooter, I was always more of a rocker(still am!) than a mod back in the day, but I didn’t particularly want to proclaim ‘ mid-life crisis’ by having a sports bike.
Now, where’s my parka……….

Rockin’ all over the weld!

Finally,spring seems to be starting to make an appearance,and most welcome it is too!
Just had the most productive weekend on the boat for quite a while,amazing how a bit of sunshine and warmth can motivate you.
The past month saw very little progress, I had a week in Wales in middle of February,so lost that weekend. The following weekend,after getting to the boat Friday evening,raring to go,I woke up on the Saturday morning in absolute agony with a bad neck so came home early. Took 4 days and diclofenac to shift that!  And the last 2 weekends have been cold and damp and although I still spent them aboard, not a lot was achieved! Hugging the wood burner and drinking tea mostly…….
This weekend though was a whole new ballgame! I confess,the lack of progress recently had made me start to question whether I had bitten off more than I could chew, and the odd doubt had crept in. I gave myself a stern talking-to more than once.
I woke up bright and early Saturday though to early spring sunshine and my spirits soared,it was a lovely day.
The morning and a lot of the afternoon was spent removing any remaining paint from the port side deck, cabin side and half the coachroof. Hot air gun and a selection of scrapers did the trick.
Later in the day, plates were cut to size for the necessary repairs and the areas of rust cut out ready for welding, which was done Sunday morning. To date I’ve used a 1m x 300mm sheet of steel, another the same should take care of all the remaining deck and coachroof welding. The port side is close to being ready for paint, along with the foredeck. A few minor plates left to weld. I’ve a feeling the starboard side should be quicker, there doesn’t seem to be as many holes, but don’t quote me on that one! The more welding i get done, the quicker and neater it becomes, by the time i get to doing the few areas of the hull that need sorting, I’ll be almost proficient!
Hopefully, Easter weekend will see some paint going on, I’ve got 6 days off so we must get a day or two of painting weather,surely?