Saturday, 5 March 2011

So much water and yet they still manage to burn their ships

It was a little startling this morning to arrive at the marina and see from the road the boat 2 along from mine burnt to a crisp.  My heart stopped.  I could not see any damage to my ship from the road so I was hopeful. Just my luck I thought as I was arranging insurance this week and was going to get the forms sent off early next week.

Gill from the marina office stopped as she was driving by.  Looks like the owner (who was not on board at the time) had been complaining to her that he thought the marina electrics were iffy as his fuses kept blowing.  Turns out it was not marina.  He had fitted sockets or wiring behind his wood burning stove/fireplace type thingy.  Too close in fact and had started to melt the wiring.  Arse.
The first people knew of it was the place was just filled with smoke with small amount of flame though one of the portholes in the hull.  The fire brigade turns up, kicks the door in and apparently it was like a scene from backdraft.  The whole thing burst into flames with the newly arrived oxygen.
They managed to put it out in about 15 mins and sprayed the boats next to it.  The poor guy next door had his windows blown in and the whole side of his boat trashed (he has one of these wooden houses built on a barge hull).  Between me and the burning boat was Onward Mariner.  Luckily an all steel boat (a barge tanker).  It had some of its paint bubbled in the heat.  But for that boat it would be an improvement and hard to notice any damage.
The only issue for me was that my boat (with many of its vents from deck to the interior open) had a smoke residue which is like black grease all over the outside of the boat, in the light tower and in some of the areas inside.  No damage but a lot of cleaning to do.

The day did not go to plan either.  The drain clearing was difficult.  The first one was ok.  Turns out the drain snake is utterly useless in these conditions and was trashed within 10 mins.  But the first drain did start to run so that was ok.  2 more to go.

Drain 2.  Hmmm.  Some idiot has also tried to unblock the drain with a long piece of wood, jammed it in and then snapped it off in the drain pipe.  Drain 3 is inexplicably blocked and will not budge.  The only route for these two is to get the pipes cut off and new ones put on (an easy task apparently).

The next job was the hot water heater tank in the galley.  A copper water tank with some lagging type stuff and then a sheet metal riveted surround.  All pipes going in and out had huge nuts for which I had no spanners.  What I did have though was a drill which got off some of the rivets nicely and a drill attachment sheet metal cutter which I bought when I was 18 to do car body work with.  I never used it until today.  It cut through the meal like a hot knife through butter.

Managed to get the cover off, the wiring out and so there sits a pinkish water tank (will take down scrap yard as copper is worth money these days).  I tried to cut through some piping with a hacksaw but realised the futility of such activity (for futility read laziness and dislike of cutting stuff above my head).

So off to B&Q and come armed tomorrow with a new set of plumbing wrenches, a huge JCB demolition crowbar an electric saw that will cit through 20mm of steel.  I wont need to worry about the rusting bolts etc or the weird crusty pipe lagging they seem to have used.  I'll just cut the lot out.  Easy.  I hope.  By tomorrow I will be rid of the tank, the cooker grill, all the hot water piping, the kitchen sink and board, hopefully the baths and showers too if things go well.  Shame but they are unsalvageable and disgusting.

The light tower is now securely padlocked too as is the rear hold.  Tick.

The final thing I did today was wander around some of the stuck hatches and tapped them in the right places with a hammer.  They all moved fine so violence does seem to be a good solution to steel work.  I have a new rubber hammer so as not to dent stuff (don't mark the face :->).

Met with Dave.  Long chat about burning boats.  He was pleased to point out he had only ever set fire to one boat in his career (he is now 65). I think thats good, although 0 boats would have been better.   We agreed the design and he will fit the gangway platform on the boat this week and then get on with the gangway itself.  Its going to cost a packet but there is no choice.  It is inaccessible to all but someone as agile as me a the moment.  And getting stuff on an off even for me is a risky business.

The good news is that the relentless attack on the iffy looking toilet seems to be paying dividends.  I squirted water down it again this morning and while the erupting smell still tried to make me revisit my breakfast it was not as bad as it has been.  You can also now clearly see the 'black stuff' gathered in the bottom now rather than the whole bottom  being coated in black.  Another go tomorrow.  I will not let this crap defeat me!

I was lack on the photos today.  I will get a load to capture the work in hand on the tank tomorrow.

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