Two months hard labour

Time passes so quickly – I didn’t want to tempt fate by blogging about the day to day repairs.  Suffice to say that they were done, albeit over a longer timescale than I had first imagined.  Zulu spent just over two months out of the water giving me a chance to get to know her a lot better.

Craned out for repairsHer survey, commissioned by the previous owner, was very thorough and required that urgent repairs were undertaken to the steelwork, so we lost no time in having the anodes removed and new 6mm plating to the front 10 feet – new sides and bottom, and around the stern.  Thank goodness I didnt hit the front anodes too hard on the way up, as the survey proved accurate and there was actually a hole the size of a ten pence piece where the welders torch burnt straight through the non existant metal.

What a relief therefore to see the new shiny steel plating being fitted.  That should give another thirty years service, I hope. WIth steelwork completed I was able to spend a couple of lovely days wire brushing the rusty bits back to shiny metal and then three coats of blacking.  What a transformation!

Turning our attention to the other points on the survey, the diesel tanks looked pretty thin and required further investigation.  When I say looked thin, I really mean it – the holes in the top of the starboard tank allowed daylight through so with great reluctance I heard myself agreeing to have the two tanks removed and new steel tanks made up on site.

Looking better by the dayWe baled out 140 litres of diesel into every spare container I could find.  It was everywhere but at almost a pound a litre it was definitely not going to be wasted!  The old bilges were foul full of oil and mud.  Now they were topped up with a layer of spilt diesel as the old pipework was removed.  Harborough boats had a port and starboard diesel tank with a balancing pipe connecting them, which is impossible to remove without a mess.  To cut a long story short, I spent a lot of time myself, and paid a lot of labour charges too, to have these old tanks removed.  The whole aft deck framework had to come out and overall the mess was unbelievable as we baled out buckets full of diesely gunk from the bilges followed by two bin liners full of soil, wood, screws and worse.  It took a weeks worth of pressure washing and more baling before the mess was gone, but the good news was that the engine bay is now largely free from the years worth of mess which had accumulated on every surface and most of the metalwork was relatively rust free after years of oily coating.

Would I do it again? I guess if needs must, but I can’t think of a worse job.  The cost was also quite enormous – the boatyard made a splendid relacement tank for a reasonable price but it cost a lot to fit it, so in damage limitation mode we have only fitted the one tank.  It took every drop of the 140 litres of recycled diesel, so I can’t see this being a problem in the future.

Other work was more pleasant – a bit of painting, some electrics – in fact quite a lot of electrics – to be continued later. And the last big job was finally completed when the metal front well deck was returned to cover up the old water tank and welded in place.

She floats!And so it was with great relief that on Wednesday 11th June – two months after being lifted out, Zulu Warrior was returned to the water.