Dust, Dirt and Lots of Spent Grit.

Our lives have taken on a new dimension this past week – a mixture of living off the water and unfamiliar surroundings is taking some getting used to. How do people live on dry land?

End of week one and the yard has made us as welcome as possible under the circumstances. The boys carrying out the grit blasting are demonstrating every care in their work, which is more than welcoming, practising more haste less speed to ensure only remove that of which has been applied to protect this 91 year old ladies dignity.

Our VRIJHEID is proving prudish to giving up her clothes in preparation for our surveyor to inspect any blemish on her riveted iron skin. Apart from those areas of double plating the hull is constructed of riveted iron plates connected to ribs or the ships skeleton. It is essential every care is exercised, especially when grit basting, to only remove that of which is other than the original iron.

Port_Medway_Dry_Dock_VrijheidAssuming there would be lots of spent grit and dust generated in the coming week or so, the weekend prior to commencementof works found us removing to interior storage all external fixtures and fittings and sealing all the windows, using that inexpensive secondary glazing material applied with double sided tape.  We also began using the on shore bathroom amenities. Thankfully there is no change of the necessity of midnight dashes to the on shore loo as we can still use the onboard toilet.

Each day, commencing at the bow, more and more of the original hull has been exposed until by week end the boys had reached the three quarter stage. Like kids eager to get out to play after school , when we arrive home from work each day, eager to catch the last light of the day to see hull history has unfolded each day.

We are for the first time now seeing the bare hull that to date has every four years just been gently water blasted and retarred. We have found what appears to be the original loading marks running from the chine all the way up to the gunnel. Overall we have the greatest admiration for the quality of workmanship invested by that boat builder’s way back in 1922 in creating this ship. As a child would fold paper they have worked the steel using limited machinery and jigs to create such a beautiful and graceful three dimensional shape. FOr an instance the so even spacing’s between the rivets is so precise and the shaping of plate to overlap leaving one in wonder to the quality of the craft.

Bruce & Neil had a yard meeting Wednesday to inspect the hull progress and to agree water blasting instead of grit blasting rudders and keel cooling. I also did my best to locate on the outside the depth sounder transducer position and failed miserably. The follow day one of the boys found it using a strong light.

By Friday even the air about the dry dock smelt of dust – we have survived the week living onboard. Neil assures us all should be completed in readiness for John Heath, the surveyor Thursday. We cannot say goodbye to the dust and dirt soon enough, with this hurdle soon over the next follows – possibility of double plating.