Preparation Is The Key. 20th April


We didn’t quite manage to leave the house at 8.30am, but soon after with another boot load of things including a set of steps. Goole Boathouse will be blacking Oleanna for us, but I’m going to be doing above the top rubbing strake on the gunnels and refreshing the tunnel bands whilst she is out of the water.

The chaps had started to abrade patches where the blacking was flaking. We headed into the office for a catch up. Whilst cleaning Oleanna off for blacking they had been surprised at the amount of the previous layer that had been coming off her, certainly the area on the swim looked like it hadn’t been prepared properly.

The big patch

Boats tend to be grit blasted after construction to get rid of mill scale which happens when the steel is rolled at the steel mill. This then gives a good key for the 2 pack blacking to stick to. It looked like either she hadn’t been grit blasted or a layer of grease had been left on her in places.


We talked through solutions. Not everywhere was flaking, some of the original layers had stuck as they should.

Today ground back as best they could

The best course of action would be to get her grit blasted and start again, but they don’t offer that service in Goole. For this we’d have to go elsewhere. We’d thought about using bitumen to give her a coat of something, then finding a boat yard for this time next year to get her sorted. But this was seen as a step backwards, even if we’ll end up getting her grit blasted next time she comes out of the water.

After the first coat of 2 pack

In the end we decided to carry on with the chaps removing as much of the loose layer as possible and then 2 packing over the top. She won’t look as good as she should but will have the best protection she can get right now. We’ll think about when and what to do over the next few months.

Time to get going on the gunnels. Dungarees on, tools at the ready.

Attachment of Doom

We’d brought along our cordless drill and attached what I call the attachment of doom. One of these worked wonders on Lillian’s roof years ago, I was wanting to get back to the steel where rusty patches were. However our drill batteries are seriously on the way out, so after ten minutes the drill didn’t have enough umph anymore.

Angle grinder of Oblivion and my Boaters PPE gloves

I was loaned an angle grinder with an attachment of Oblivion! A disc with a thick wire brush, this worked a treat. I was warned of the dangers by one chap, then the other suggested I should wear gloves. As I’d really rather not loose any more digits Mick hunted round for my Boaters PPE gloves which have leather fingers.

Now power tools are made for male hands, heavy and bulky. So two hands were needed at all times. I worked my way round attacking any rust spots getting them back to shiny steel. The chaps (I’ll try getting their names tomorrow) worked from bow to stern with the first coat of 2 pack. Once the catalyst is added there is an hour and a half in which you can use it before it goes off, so no stopping. I did feel a touch bad as their lovely coat of black then got covered in dust.

A bit dusty down the sides

Then followed a little break, blimey my shoulders were aching. Time for lunch before starting with the orbital sander. The gunnels and tunnel bands got a good sanding back, I was glad I’d overestimated the number of sanding sheets I’d be needing only ending up using half of them.

Ground and sanded ready for fertan

Next a wash down before some fertan was applied to the areas I’d attacked the most. A misting of water back over the top of them to help the fertan do it’s job in killing off any remaining rust. My job list for the day was complete. It may take my hands, arms and shoulders a while to recover though!

Whilst I was busy working and topping up my vitamin D Mick was busy inside. He’s been wondering for a while why the Alde boiler doesn’t show up on any of the Victron statistics. It is of course a gas boiler, but when we’re hooked up it can work off the electric. So far we’ve had to be careful with what else we use at the same time. The electric kettle necessitates the boiler to be off. Mick had a good look round in the electrics cupboard and thinks that if the boiler was wired in a different way he’d be able to keep an eye on things better.

Blacked Bow thruster tube

He checked in the cabin bilges by moving the fridge out. All was lovely and dry down there. The front step where the water pump lives was also checked, also dry. He pumped the accumulator up.

A mission to find a 20 litre container with a lid is on going. Before we head out onto tidal waters, Mick is wanting to check on the anti-freeze problem we had when on the Thames two years ago. A load of clinker/stuff clogged up cooling system and we don’t want this to happen again. If the coolant is okay it would be nice to be able to put it back into the system, saving replacing it and also the problem of disposing of it.

With the freezer having been empty for months the drawer has got stuck. Last time a few biffs on the back of the drawer (accessible from under the dinette seating) got it freed up. But this time it was being stubborn. More time is required for this along with a better solution to the problem of condensation.

New charts

He also had a chat with the chap from Goole Boathouse regarding Trent Falls. Choosing the right day and weather is the key. He would anchor rather than beach a narrowboat as when the flood comes in a wave can build up against your boat if you are beached. If anchored you still need to be ready to lift it and be on your way. A new copy of the Boating Association charts was purchased which means we now have charts from Naburn all the way to Cromwell.

A good day with lots of jobs ticked off the list. Loads more for tomorrow!

With regards to the scrapyard fire, there was still smoke coming off the site today, white and far far less than yesterday. Wonder how long it will be before it is fully out?

Everything ready for the next stage

0 locks, 0 miles, 1st coat, 2 pack, 2 gunnels prepped in 1 day, 1 attachment of doom, 1 attachment of oblivion, 1/3rd sheet sander, 2 numb hands, 2 aching shoulders, 1 pooped Pip, 20 litre container needed, 1 obstinate freezer, 1 lonely Tilly.

PS For those who get the blog by email, are the photos appearing normally? Or only partially and in a line? Please let me know.

10 thoughts on “Preparation Is The Key. 20th April

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you Duncan. I’m surprised you hadn’t mentioned it!
      Do you have an iPhone or an android mobile?
      Pip x

    1. Pip Post author

      Thanks Paul. Do you view the email on your phone? Is your phone an android or iPhone?
      Cheers Pip

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Pip good effort there, phots were split vertically in a line today I can see them individually.

  2. Karen

    Photos look great on my laptop….thanks for the interesting posts.
    Living on a narrowboat would certainly fix anyone’s boredom problem during this pandemic!

  3. jennie230

    We receive your blogs via email, Pip, and all looked normal to me. Jennie x

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