As I continue to clean the boat from all the grime that has gathered over the 10 months since it last sailed, I made note of a few areas that needed attention. Mostly this was just above the waterline where we had dinked and scraped our way through locks and moved back and forth against our moorings.
In my head, the boat is still in a ‘new’ condition although it was launched in 2018 and we have spent 2 summer cruising on the Thames and sailed it from the centre of London, across the English Channel and through northern France into Belgium and on to our winter moorings in Bruges.
Because I think of it as new, I have been reluctant to do anything at all that might involve drilling, hammering, cutting or altering anything unless I ruined her nearly pristine condition.
Well yesterday I proved the old adage that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ or in this case intervention! Let me explain. To aid getting on and off the boat when we are moored we have a passarelle, this is like a posh gang-plank, but Nicola gets nervous and a little touchy when I tell her to walk the plank and much prefers to disembark using a passarelle! Anyway, as you can see from the picture below the passarelle bridged the gap from the shore to the boat, resting nicely on the gunnels.
Yesterday I stepped on the ‘plank’ pushed it off the boat and ended up sprawled across the mooring, with Alfie, the Border Terrier, looking bewildered, and Nicola desperately trying to suppress laughter. As I lay there doing an impression of a floundering seal, formed the impression that I might need to do something to secure the passarelle to the boat ! Definitely a case of ‘pride after the fall’! Yes. It was time to loose my boat tampering virginity.
In the engine room I have a stock of spares and various parts, this includes a bracket for holding the passarelle to the side of the boat. It was time to get the drill out and fix it in place. Drilling through the immaculate paintwork, through 10mm of steel and bolting it in place. If I had 24 hrs to think about it I probably would have shied away from hurting the hull, but lying in a crumpled heap put everything in perspective and out came my nearly unused tools.
I’m not sure this will herald the dawning if a new era of adding to and altering the boat, but the mould has definitely been broken !