Sunday, 29 April 2012

Busy, busy, busy ...

 Thursday last week 08.26 and we're waiting to get into the dry dock at Stone Canal Cruising Company
The best laid plans etc... they weren't ready for us (having a cuppa before starting work); both docks still had occupants; the boat in the dock which we would be using has no rudder and tiller on it; the blue boat in the picture above (Four Seasons) is also waiting for a dock - and it was absolutely throwing it down!
A good start!
 First boat out is Jonpaul.  We'd seen this lady (trying to) take it up Stone Lock the other day  - anyone who knows the lock knows what good access it has.  Jonpaul is only about 30/35' long and she missed it - I even thought that she was trying to wind (turn) at one point instead!
Anyway apparently her husband has just had a major operation and couldn't do any heavy work for a while so it was all left to his lady who revved the engine like mad as she came out of the dock intending to turn left to go into the lock. She made a right hash of it and somehow ended up drifting backwards in the wind and rain straight towards us moored on the opposite bank!  George was ready to fend off but decided to get on board to help.  She said that the boat wasn't responding - so George took it out of neutral and put it into gear - it was much better then!  He steered her into the lock and helped her down - she was very grateful!
 The hire boats (I call these Stone's Ginger Boats) when at base are breasted together and tied off across the three docks, so they have to be moved en-masse across the canal ...
 ... to give access to the dock - NB Falcon is slowly exiting ...
 ... she's quite a long boat and also needs to turn left to the lock ...
 ... again George fends off - there was no way there was enough room to manoeuvre in the channel
 Ready to Rock n Roll - we need to reverse in ...
 ... beautifully done George!
 You have to hold on to the roof beams as the water is emptied to ensure that the boat doesn't move sideways and ...
 ... sits squarely on the plinths - RnR had grown a lawn along her waterline!
 George inspects the hull and bow thruster tube ...
 ... whoops a broken blade!Phone out, ring Kings Lock Chandlery ...
they've got a replacement - need it tomorrow - say it quickly - £118 - now received and fitted.
Condition of the hull not too bad - some pitting but to be expected
A couple of days ago George checked the weed hatch as the rudder was wobbling a bit - he found lots of strands of blue nylon rope wrapped around the split-pin holding the propeller on the shaft.  With all the rain that we've had the canal water was brown with silt and he couldn't see well enough to use his knife to cut it off so he was pulling it bit by bit - the split-pin had nearly come out and half of it broke away so George had hammered it around the nut so that we wouldn't lose the propeller to the bottom of the canal!  So that's another good job done!
One side, first coat of three of Comastic - the hoses ensure that waste water is channelled away from the new paintwork ...
... only another 62' to go (twice more) ...
In the evenings and any spare moments George is leading and painting the cratch window to replace the original
Beach umbrella's? No way!! 
Today the wind and rain is horizontal coming straight over the steps into the dry dock and wetting the only bit of RnR that still needs to be painted.  So we came up with this idea - we've tie-wrapped the umbrellas to the stern in an attempt to keep it (and George) dry.  It's at the stern where all the boat's colours come together - the tunnel bands (makes it easier when in a tunnel for the following boat to see you) in yellow and red, the rubbing strafes between them in black and where the final coat of black gloss above the gunwale needs to meet the red and yellow bands...
... and it worked a treat!!
All finished now except for that cratch ...
 ... and as I post this blog George is ...
... being artistic.  It's looking good!
The frame will get a couple of coats of Danish Oil this evening and once the cratch has been reassembled and refitted to the bow Rock n Roll will be looking her best once more (although as Bruce said about taking the boat back out onto the water after re-blacking - it's almost a relief to get that first scrape - then you can relax again!
After filling the water and diesel tanks tomorrow we hope to leave here late afternoon and cruise to Wheaton Aston Great Haywood (!!) for the night - but you never know ... best laid plans and all that!


  1. Are your tunnel bands also go faster stripes, as Wheaton Aston is about 18 hours away at normal narrowboat speed!! (But maybe you mean Aston, which is a bit more do-able).

  2. Hi Adam, thanks for that - you spotted my 'deliberate' mistake!! For some reason I always get Wheaton Aston and Great Haywood mixed up - I intended to say Great Haywood - now edited!

  3. Hi Guys
    What is the cost saving on DIY rather than the boatyard doing the job?
    How long do you get the dry dock for, and it ok to livaboard whilst it is in the dock?



    1. Hi you two - we paid £600 at Great Haywood Marina 2 years ago for them to do it - we lived aboard there too but had to use a ladder to get in and out of the boat. It was a good job that the weather was good at that time because we were open to the elements. Most boatyards do the blacking in 48 hours tops - out on the Friday say and back in the water on Monday - but this really doesn't give the blacking time to harden off - Comastic needs at least 48 hours to dry! We stayed out of the water on that occasion for 5 days (no problem because it was over the Easter Bank Holidays).

      This year at Stone we've lived aboard using a gangplank to get off - all services available whilst in the dock - cost for dock alone is £22 per day includes electricity hookup - then you've got to purchase the materials - paint and tool etc yourself. - approx £150 for us this time as we'd got the black gloss and other paint from last time. Much better option in my opinion as we were under cover and so could work as long as we needed to get the job done right- we came in on Thursday morning and will go out today - over 48 hours after the last coat of Comastic was put on. Hope this is useful to you.

  4. I've always wondered about this 'blacking' business. Good to have it so well illustrated and explained. And, Hell, George, that was pretty neat getting into that dock - and in reverse too. I'm well impressed, I'd struggle in a car! Hope you get some decent weather again soon.

  5. George will be struggling today to get his head through the door! We're out of here hopefully this afternoon and the sky is clear today - no rain forecast - but we'll sure get a drenching tomorrow! Have you ever been on a narrowboat Iain?

  6. Hi Both
    A good job done. Hope you got to Wheaton Aston.. oops - Great Haywood OK. Re the prop split pin - by "another good job done" I hope you mean you replaced it...
    See you soon, hopefully.
    Cheers, Geoff

  7. Hi Geoff, what I should have said was - another job well done!!