I've just got back from four days at Uplands Marina attending to Starcross' needs.
Wednesday: Caught the bus to Preston, called in at the optician to get my new glasses adjusted (still not right!), picked up some food for the next four days in the market, spent an unnecessary £7.60 on a train ticket to Warrington that nobody from Virgin Trains even looked at, caught the 46 bus to Anderton and got to the boat by mid-afternoon.
The Fertan rust converter that I'd applied on my last visit seemed to have done it's job and it was just a case of brushing off the black powder from the rust patches and giving the gunwale a sanding-down before applying a coat of primer.
Thursday: The Fertan had left some black marks on the paintwork avove the gunwale, presumably where the rain had splashed it, so I cleaned these off with soap and water. Then I got a coat of non-slip paint down (which you can't really apply very quickly). After that, I put a coat of bitumen on the bit of the hull that Uplands Marina hadn't covered with the two-pack.
After lunch, I turned the boat round so that I could start work on the other side. As with the first gunwale, the old non-slip came off easily enough where rust was present but the majority of it had to be chipped off laboriously with a paint scraper. By now though my technique was improving and I got about a third of it cleared in time to apply the Fertan. Shortly afterwards it rained a bit, but the Fertan needs to be damp to work so I felt that was alright!
Friday: A second day of chipping away at the non-slip. There wasn't a lot of rust on the middle section and it seemed to be taking for ever, but towards the stern the coating started to come away more easily and I noticed that the undercoat was of a different sort and colour to the rest. I could then apply the rest of the Fertan.
Saturday: I began by applying the bitumen to the hull to give the Fertan more time to complete its work on the gunnel. Then I brushed-off the Fertan, sanded down and applied a coat of primer. At this stage I made the mistake of going over to the adjacent jetty to admire my handiwork on the other side of the boat - so was able to see all the bits of blacking that I'd missed! (In my defence, the jetty is at exactly the wrong height for where I needed to be to do a good job). There wasn't much else I could do as the primer needs to be left overnight, but after Saturday afternoon there would be no more buses from Anderton until Tuesday because of the bank holiday, so I packed up and went over to the service block for a shower. I found it occupied (why would anyone want a shower at 2.00 in the afternoon?!) so came back to have one on the boat, whereupon the gas cylinder ran out half-way through, leaving me to finish off in cold water!
So, even after four days I still haven't finished the job - but then with a boat you never do - and in any case it's late August, the weather's good, the cut will be busy, there'll be queues at locks, and nowhere to moor, won't there?. . . .won't there?!