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