Friday, 29 May 2009

Evidence of Global Warming

Crocs in English river!


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Sunday, 17 May 2009

31 Days

Well, that was an interesting 5 weeks. Real went into dry dock to be cleaned up, have a bit of welding done and a new coat of paint. This was originally intended to take two weeks and during that time we went to stay with my Mum. The work did indeed take two weeks, with a couple of days added to take into account the Easter Bank holiday, but…

When she went back into the water she sprung a leak and had to go back up the slip to have it fixed. Unfortunately no one called us to let us know and when Maureen called to check that everything was OK we got the bad news. By this time Maureen was staying with friends as it was much easier for her to get to work and I stayed on at my Mums, but this made communication both between us and the shipyard a little difficult and complicated.

A few days later having had her little leakage problem sorted out Real was ready to go back into the water and once the tides were right she did. But the old lady decided she didn’t want to go back and sprung another leak. So it was back up the slip again and lots of conversations about not only fixing the new leak but what we could do to prevent any more problems. It turns out that as she came down slip the stern began to float earlier than expected which meant she was basically balanced on the stern and bow and was flexing in the middle, something she was never designed for, as there is no real strength end to end. But there wasn’t really an answer on how to prevent this happening.

By this time we were both beginning to feel a bit stressed and checking on the prices of scrap steel. Seriously, we were.

The tides weren’t going to be right again for another week and a half, which not only meant we were basically homeless but there was a queue forming for the slip with other boats moored in various places waiting for Real to leave. We moved home again and stayed at an empty houseboat that belonged to a neighbour at the marina. Together again at last!

Two days before launch day we were let down by the towing company who wouldn’t be able to tow us back to the marina, so after discussing the problem with various people we came up with a plan. I’d take the day off and armed with broom handles and quick setting concrete Real would go back into the water however much she protested. The broom handles would be used to plug any new leaks (although judging by the previous holes pencils may have been better) and then concreted in, and we’d deal with the problem later. As far as towing was concerned after many frantic phone calls and favour asking, a tug was found that could do the job. But not cheap by any means. The tug was big, too big to get us into the marina, so we were going to be assisted in by a couple of small workboats.

Launch Day III. I arrived at the shipyard armed with hole plugging equipment and waited for the tide.

The tug arrived, it was huge, probably about two-thirds the length of Real.

Paul arrived with workboat number one.

The tide came in.

Real moved slowly down the slip and into the water.

She didn’t leak. It must have been the good talking to that I gave her, or that fact that the previous two launches had found all the weak spots.

We were on our way. Backwards. As the tug was so big it didn’t really matter which way we were towed and it meant less manoeuvring if we were tied up along side and taken as we were.

So I had a river trip in our home, checking for any leaks along the way.

As we’d left the slip at high tide time was now against us to make it back to our berth in the marina. The tug made good time, very good time, I think we may have arrived before we left. Now came the tricky bit, towing her in with two little workboats against the tide. This is where I felt particularly useless, people were running around with ropes, shouting instructions and getting the job done and all I could do was watch. I was given a tyre on a bit of rope to use as a fender, and as chief tyre on a bit of rope holder I did a brilliant job. Maybe not so good using it as a fender, but excellent at holding it and then being told to run down the other end and hang it over the side. Real was finally stuffed into to her new berth and the workboats took off at high speed whilst I helped get her tied up. I later found out that there was actually quite a lot of panicking going on, the tide was going out fast and there was a serious risk of everything getting stuck on the mud. Hence the rapid stuffing into the berth.

Our home was back.

The following day she was turned around, as all our waste outlets were facing the pontoon. This would have meant a bit of re-plumbing, which I was OK dealing with but the offer to turn her was made so we took it.

During all of this I had no real opportunity to take any photos but fortunately one of our neighbours did, and took a series of Real pirouetting into place.

We’re now in the process of unpacking everything again, and getting back to life aboard and the rest of the work we need to do.

photos will follow shortly, as soon as I've worked out how to get them in the right order etc etc etc.

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