Boat Blacking

Blacking of the boat is something we do every couple of years and we were due to do it this year so we duly booked our slot on the marina slipway. We had not done the water tank and the boat was now four years old so we thought that we should also do this at the same time. In fact it is almost a necessity to do the fresh water tank when the boat is out of the water else the tank never dries. Frances refused point blank to climb into the tank and paint it so we had to have this done by the marina.

On 16th April 2008 Darren the marina engineer took the boat out of the water for Blacking. On the way wto the slipway the engine juddered to a halt and when Darren hauled the boat out with his tractor the problem was discovered. The boat had picked up a spare tyre. The tyre was just about legal and fully encased the propeller, however it was surprisingly easy to remove.

Boat on slip way - Car tyre fully encasing the propeller, the treads are just about legal

Boat on slip way - Car tyre fully encasing the propeller, the treads are just about legal

Blacking involves power washing off all the crud and barnacles and painting on thick layers of bitumen, some of which goes on the boat. It is, despite the graft, a very satisfactory job especially when you end up with a shiny new boat.

To begin with you can see the nature of the beast, thick gunge all around the boat at and below the water line.

Boat viewed from the front showing the crud that has accumulated below the water line

Boat viewed from the front showing the crud that has accumulated below the water line

This is first cleaned off with a power hose followed by some serious scraping, Frances usually does the scraping; it is in her blood.

The boat after power washing shown with Frances scraping off any excess

The boat after power washing shown with Frances scraping off any excess

There is some evidence that I was doing some work and it can be seen below, although I had already finished the power wash and this shot is obviously a set up.

Alan power washing the boat

Alan power washing the boat

We even managed to rope our son Michael into helping with the painting and a fine job he did too. The boat is 57 feet long by 6 feet 10 inches wide so with about 3 feet of height for the bitumen that makes for a fairly large area to cover with two coats of Bitumen.

Our son Michael painting the boat

Our son Michael painting the boat

Well the end of the first day and we have applied one coat and the boat is already beginning to look smart, and the relief can be seen on some faces.

First coat on and relief for Frances

First coat on and relief for Frances

Just look at the shiny new gloss paint work and as usual Frances is applying the final touches; she is a grafter and hey someone has to take the photographs.

The gleaming new stern with Frances appling the final touches

The gleaming new stern with Frances appling the final touches

Well I should have thought to take more photographs with Mick actually doing some painting but here he is looking cool with his hands in his pockets again. In actual fact he did a lot of work but try taking photos with your hands thick with bitumen and em Frances lurking in the back ground driving us on with her strong focused will.

Michael looking cool after applying second coat of Bitumen

Michael looking cool after applying second coat of Bitumen

Well all things come to an end and we finally completed the task at the end of day two, we are all deserving of a nice refreshing pint. I don’t think that Frances belongs to the masonic lodge or some south London gang but the symbolism of having one trouser leg rolled up escapes me.

Job completed and the three proud coworkers stand before their completed task - the boat

Job completed and the three proud coworkers stand before their completed task - the boat

8 Responses to Boat Blacking

  1. Lynne says:

    Hello Alan and Frances – grafters the lot of you!

    Frances – re: rolled up leg:

    I found this concerning a US patent for sports clothing.

    “A sports player is often seen playing with one side of his or her shirt sleeves or trouser legs rolled up to allow his or her most effective limb more freedom of movement.”

    So had you just or were you just about to kick someone into perhaps applying a little more blacking? LOL

    Love Lynne

  2. barry says:

    Hi
    how did the bottom of the hull get painted, I’m asking because I need to do this job soon
    many thnaks
    barry

  3. nblazydays says:

    You don’t have to do the bottom because it never gets exposed as it is always under the water (usually).

  4. john says:

    Hi, could the bitumen be applied by using a wide paint roller? just a thought as i am about to black my own & thought this would be quicker/easier process.

  5. nblazydays says:

    Hi John

    Yes that is how we do it but it is important to follow behind with a brush to fill in the bits you cannot get at with a roller.

  6. Dean says:

    Hi,
    We’ve just got a car tyre around our prop! I’ve been trying to shift it, but no luck. I notice you say it was surprisingly easy to remove the one around yours. However, we’re in the water at the moment. We COULD get towed to a boat-yard, but we’d be gutted to have to pay to be hauled out just to remove the tyre. I’ve been looking online about how to cut through a tyre, but most reports are that this is a heavy-duty job (and power tools don’t work well under water!). So I’m hoping that if I actually get in the water I may be able to do something from there. Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Dean

  7. nblazydays says:

    Hi Dean

    Yes this sounds tricky, it was easy for us as the boat was out of the water. We spoke to someone recently who had the same problem and they said that it was an awful job but they did remove the tyre without coming out of the water. I can’t think who it was but I will ask around.

    Good Luck

    Alan

    • Dean says:

      Hi Alan,
      Thanks for your reply.
      After much effort yesterday I managed to get it off – and yes, it WAS an awful job! I ended up having to get in the water (which is my first time in 8 years of living aboard, so I guess I can’t complain). After a ridiculous amount of pushing and pulling and levering with my wife in the weedhatch and me underneath, I finally got it out. Turned out to be a truck tyre, not a car tyre, and was wedged between the prop and rudder. Quite how it got into that position I’ve no idea. Still, all’s well that ends well…
      Thanks again for your reply.

      Dean

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