It doesn’t seem possible that it’s nearly three years since Wrens-Nest was dry-docked to be ‘blacked’ (painted below the waterline) at Langley Mill at the top of the Erewash Canal, see blog post here but it’s a fact and the time has come around again as two to three years is the recommended frequency.
So it was arranged for Jer & Louise to share the dock with us here at Stourport. They arrived on Thursday with Iona who had joined them for the journey as it was half-term and on Friday morning bright and early we went into the dry dock and the water was drained we were ready for the boats to be pressure washed, which is part of the docking arrangements.
The sharp eyed among you might notice that we are next to a fairground, Stouport’s Treasure island which has been run by the Danter Family for many years and Iona enjoyed a brief visit before going home on Sunday.
We had a site meeting where a couple of faults were identified. The cup which holds the bottom of our rudder was badly worn so Ben, the welder, proposed a course of action which we agreed upon, the propeller was also deemed to be too near the rudder.
During the afternoon both boats were wire brushed & loose paint removed, we opted to pay to have ours done, but Jer did his himself but wished he hadn’t!
Ben then welded on new anodes (which help to prevent corrosion) meanwhile I discovered that the propeller shaft had slipped in it’s coupling and that was the reason it was too near the rudder. I was able to correct this and hope that it will improve the heavy steering experienced while under power.
The weekend and Monday were spent applying three coats of blacking, the first coat came out of the tin like treacle, so we learnt to keep it inside the boat overnight to raise its temperature.
On Tuesday Ben arrived to perform surgery on the rudder and a new section of lower rudder ‘stock’ was grafted in and a new cup welded on. Much cutting, grinding and welding took place and the video below shows just how much wear there was.
The rest of the week was spent painting the ‘Tunnel Bands’ which Jeremy helped me with and Louise did a fantastic job repainting the decoration on the bows.
The dock is equipped with hand-railed walkways to safely get on and off the boat but Joy was upset that she couldn’t manage the steps to get down to the bottom of the dock to help with the painting, but she was able to paint the back deck with paint we had mixed for the purpose.
I also had the routine task of fitting new O ring seals to the gearbox oil cooler, I always have spare ones in stock so thought it would be an easy if messy job, but I struggled to fit them and ended up with a worse oil leak than before. Eventually I concluded that the O rings (purchased from eBay) were the problem and as Jer had to go to Gloucester on Tuesday he picked up some genuine replacements from Beta Marine, which did the job with no problem.
A lot of work was done during the week and I fell into bed early most nights and by the end of the week I was aching all over!
We very much appreciated the help from Jer & Louise and early the next Friday morning we were ready for the staff to flood the dock and us to return to our mooring whilst they headed back up the canal.