Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Its that time of year again

Well another year has passed since AmyJo was hauled out of the water for blacking, a term used for painting the bottom of the boat.  We have some non boaty readers who probably would not know what this all means so I thought I'd show the process we used at Tattenhall marina where we had AmyJo "Blacked" last week.

Previous years we had used a product called Keel Black.  This is a water based product that has the bitumen held in suspension.  When applied to the hull the water evaporates leving a coating of bitumen on the hull.  Unfortunately this was not very sucessful and when AmyJo was hauled out last year very little was left on the hull.

As a result, at the last haul out, we used a tried and tested product called Intertuf 16.  With this in mind we desided to haul out this year to see how it had faired.  Intertuf is very similar to the liquid tarmac you see being poured on the roads.  Blacking protects the steel shell under water and helps to stop corrosion.

The first task was to lift AmyJo out of the water.  For this the marina has a long trailor with hydraulic rear wheels.  I navigated AmyJo between the wheels slowly and onto the trailer.  When in position hydraulic rams force the wheels down which in turn lifts the trailer up under the boat raising it out of the water.  This is then pulled out by tractor.


Positioning Amyo over the trailer on the slipway

Lowering the wheels to raise the trailor bed under the boat




Once fully out of the water we could see how well the blacking had faired.  With relief we could see it had been more sucessful and was still in reasonable condition, though only after a jet wash could we be sure.


Blacking looks good and the anodes will last another year or two

Another good point was that the anodes were in good condition still and had a little more life in them yet whilst appearing to be doing their job.  Anodes are placed on the hull along the boat below the ater line.  Being made of softer metal the idea is corrosion will occur on the anodes and not the hull.


Tyhe blacking still looked good at the business end

Before being parked up, and whilst still wet, the next job is to jet wash the muck away from the hull.  This is a drty job, not a job I like doing, so pay the marina to do it.  They have very powerful jet washers that remove the muck and any loose blacking really well.  

Once complete we could see the true extent of the blacking that remained and were quite pleased it looked ok.  Some pitting had occured in previous uears but signs are this has not got any worse.  Pitting is where small areas the size of a nail head gets corroded away thinnning the steel.  Lucky for us AmyJo's pitting is light and not too deep.


Starting to jet was the muck off the hull, a messy, wet job.

The end result ready for treatment of new blacking

Pitting from previous years can be seen here as lighter spots, thankfully no worse than last year

Once completely jet washed down AmyJo is then moved to her hard standing birth so work can begin on re-blacking.  She is lowered onto large sleepers and the trailer pull out from under her.


Backing AmyJo into her hard standing birth.

A collegue guids the tractor driver as he reverses AmyJo towards the blocks she will rest on

All settled and now the work can begin

First I had to ensure all loose blacking was definately removed.  to do this I use a large scraper all over the hull.  This too is a messy job and I ended up covered in chips of blacking.  A much needed shower followed.

Any large areas of rust are then treated with Fertan rust convertor and left 24hrs to convert.  Once cured the first coat of blacking is applied.  It takes me about 4 hours to paint the whole boat with one coat.

First covering of blacking completed on the Port (left) side.

Over the next two days it rained solid but on Thursday the sun came out and I managed to get a second coat on.  I had also planned to give the gunwales a fresh coat of paint, thats the dark grey area above my head in the picture below but there was not enough time left nor was the weather favourable to do so.  This will have to wait for another day


Second coat of blacking being rollered on.

I also managed to give the tunnel bands at the stern another coat of paint to freshen them up too. For our non boating readers tunnel bands were used in days before boats had electric head lights and were designed to be seen in the tunnels when lit by a hand lamp so boats could see another ahead of them in the tunnels.  Nowadays they are more for show,  The traditional cream and red is now replaced with any colour the owner likes, or none at all.  AmyJo's are cream and Blue.


A nice new coat of paint on the tunnel bands

Once the blacking has been alowed to dry for 24hrs it was tine to put AmyJo back in the water.  The whole process is the reverse of that when pulling her out.  Finally when AmyJo was afloat I was able to back her away from the trailor and cruised round to the visitor moorings for the night.


Reversing AmyJo down the slipway

Slowly in she goes

backing away from the trailor