The barge has been 'dressed', moved, filmed, undressed and is now ready for dry dock. Friday coming the dry dock will be empty and the blocks will be set for her. Hopefully if it all goes according to plan Zee should be in dry dock in a week's time or so. There are a few days set aside for work to get Zee back to her white painted self but we hope to be able to run some tests on the weld integrity and strip the paint from the edges of the plates. If the water got in, it will have to run out so hope to be able to see where it's coming from and remedy the situation.
Unfortunately, whilst I was locating the water pump on the generator I looked down and what should I see coming in from the bilge next to the engine room bulkhead in the cargo hold? Yep, water. Bleedin' water. I hadn't touched the plate from where the water was coming so god knows how it started. It has definitely delaminated so I suspect we will need another plate to go under it. Arse.... It got to the point where I had to put a concrete plug over it to stop the leak getting any worse. One of the guys from the shipyard came over and in his opinion it looks like it is tracking from somewhere else. Where that somewhere else is, who knows, but hopefully dry dock will reveal all. Maybe. I will be going over the entire bilge again with the pointy end of a chipping hammer in order to locate any areas which have been missed. It may seem like overkill but having been assured we 'got everything' last time I really don't fancy another trip to Sharpness (delightful as it is).
Another concrete plug in place to stop a leak...
Having invested in Jenolite which proved not as user friendly or as good at rust converting as Vactan, I purchased some more of the latter and decided to use it in the airless sprayer. What a revelation. I managed to apply anti rust to the entire inside of the hull in a day. The results were as good if not better (and much faster) than application by paint brush.
Walls all rust treated prior to primer
Having already applied a couple of coats of primer to about a third of the walls I went to Avonmouth Paint Supplies to stock up on their high build Zinc Phosphate primer. It's pretty good stuff and cheaper than Screwfix zinc oxide. I purchased 25 litres of grey and 25 litres of white so to apply the grey first, then at least when the second coat goes on I can see where I have missed a spot. A decent mask is a must - I used my old military mask which worked a treat, but I think an air fed full face is the way to go if I were to do much more of it.
It looks a lot better although painting the roof was pain with all the stuff getting in the way and needs finishing. I have the remains of the roof to do with the second coat but at least it is an improvement.
The area on the starboard side which hasn't been painted still needs stripping of the oil/gunk which was applied. It will take a few hours with the angle grinder and a variety of abrasive tools but that delight is for another day.
I also managed to apply rust converter to most of the lower portion of the skipper's cabin as well. I went right into the stern of the vessel to apply it and whilst there was confused by a lighter patch at the rear. 'Strange' I thought to myself, 'I wonder why there is some white paint right there... Oh hang on. That's light coming through...' Sure enough there is a hole at the very rear of the barge. It will need plating but I am surprised nobody saw it when she was in dry dock the last time. Shouldn't be too much of a nightmare to plate as long as the steel onto which it is being welded is thick enough. It is on a seam and has obviously been repaired before so would appear to be a weak spot. A generous few coats of jotamastic is in order once plated I feel.
You can see the little blue 'tail' coming out of the back of Zee is where the hole is. It's probably 6 to 8 inches in length but definitely needs overplating. Don't be shocked by the colour - this was applied for the filming by the BBC and will be put right in dry dock.
I am also hoping that when she is dry docked the blocks are set in slightly different positions so that I can get to the area of the hull which wasn't stripped and painted last time. I can then wire brush back to bare metal and hand roll on a few coats of Jotamastic 87. I suspect there will be plenty of seams to be repainted and if possible I want to get some a complete coat on the topsides, possibly to the white Jotamastic which is before the final layer of Hardtop goes on. It will need a good pressure wash prior to application though.
Before she gets pressure washed I will go around the barge and find the areas where the paint hasn't quite got into all the nooks and crannies. These are fairly easy to spot as they have a brown trace or rusty water running from them. I will make a not and get a brush right into them with the paint. If I can get the portholes welded shut in dry dock at the same time that will be a bonus. I can tell they will be long days in dry dock. She will be in for a limited time so I need to make the most of them.
On a final note I must apologise to my partner in crime Andy - sorry I didn't drop you a line about coming up. Time got away from me and I forgot. I should be up next week before dry dock at some point but will give you a bell...