Brownian motion-type musings on barge renovation, life and other bits of flotsam.
If the title confuses you all will become clear. Let's put it this way, if I hadn't decided to make a change to the hull, it may have sunk. Simples. But let's not dwell on the potential down sides, let's talk about dry dock....
We finally got into the dry dock with our berthing partner (not to be confused with 'birthing partner', that's something completely different) the Oldenburg, a ferry vessel which runs to Lundy from the South West. This should hopefully mean we have less of a bill at the end of the dry dock which is a good thing.
The dry docking was fairly painless although as we didn't know the exact depth of the keel there were some assumptions made (on the safe side) but this meant that someone had to don a dry suit and chock her in the cold, brown sludgy water....
Once she was drydocked the business of stripping the top sides was continued. After a ridiculous UHP water blasting quote, I felt the need to do as much as possible to reduce the bill. Unfortunately, shot blasting outside in the rain is a miserable experience and covers the entire barge in a grey, muddy goo.There are now some gaps around the wheelhouse door where rust has taken its toll.
The Skipper's cabin also got shot blasted. Not back to silver steel but just to take the crud and peeling paint off and to find any weak areas. And there were some of those...
So here's the thing. If you don't allow a 'mouse hole' for water to run away somewhere were it can do less damage or be siphoned away at regular intervals, it just sits. And rusts. And rots. And then you end up with holes in the barge and holes in your wallet. I will not be welding the steel floor to the hull when replaced and will be using a rubberised mastic type adhesive with the odd mouse hole in. Additionally, the walls of the hull will be spray foamed which creates an air tight bond with the steel which means you don't end up with condensation problems as you often do with traditional (read 'cr@p') methods of insulation.
I spent today cleaning up the blast media from the Skipper's cabin and as the light failed (and the 240V!) I decided to start rust treatment. The Vactan seems to do the trick although there are some areas which will still need wire brushing to get back through all the flake and scale to fresh steel (or fresh air).
I spoke with the dry dock's chief fitter, Jim, about some mechanical and welding work which he has started today. He removed the 4 outfalls for the old sinks and showers, the poop tube (since he was there it seemed logical) and also the sea cock. After his apprentice cut around half the base of the sea cock and gave it a little tap with a hammer, a finger sized hole opened up on the stem of the sea cock, between the hull and the valve. Once removed from the hull we could see how the wall of the pipe had corroded to the point where failure and ultimately flooding (possibly uncontainable) would only have been a matter of time.
Again it would appear that the surveyors in Holland, Selles and Van Dijk, are nowhere near as thorough as they should have been. Jim also raised the spectre of more welding due to delamination of the steel on the bilge floor (which I already knew about) and an old depth sounder mount is seriously corroded. I will be spending the next few days clearing the cargo hold of about 2 tonnes of blast media and wire brushing areas of concern.
I have a surveyor coming on the 29th Nov to carry out a thickness survey and highlight areas which do/may/don't need plating. Since Zeelandia will never likely be at this stage of undress ever again in my lifetime, it is worthwhile being thorough. The end of the hard graft is not in sight. In fact, my to do list keeps getting longer as the days to leaving dry dock diminish. D-Day for refloating is the 7th Dec. I am confident we can do it. Whether I will be breathing will be another matter completely... (sniff, drama queen...)