When is a Lemon not a Lemon..? (An antidote to all those marvellous boat fit-out blogs)

4 May

This is what we hope to find out.

But first, we need to do a little detective work, solve a few mysteries and partake in some tracking and tracing.

Stop talking in riddles I hear you say. What on earth am I on about?

Let me explain.

John has bought a little boat. A 25 footer…002

Made of concrete, or more correctly, ferro-cement, which we hope isn’t, but fear may well be, a pup/pig in a poke/lemon.

I plan to chart our progress (or otherwise) with pictures and words so do stay tuned and follow this scary journey, this being the first instalment, I suspect, of many.

She was filled with water when we first looked at her; the tiny wood stove being knee-deep in it…100_3100

And there must have been a few gallons under the engine…100_3101

See the paint can floating just the other side of the cabin door?

As the stern was completely open to the elements all winter, despite (interestingly) the entire rest of the boat being covered in a tarp…100_3104

 

It’s hardly surprising.

That’s what we told ourselves anyway.

It’s a real pretty boat though…078

If not a little unusual…006

The wooden frames on the roof are actually the bones of a windscreen that was started (but not finished) by the last owner.They have – we think – been designed to fit onto the woodwork that is fitted all around the stern.

It’s a feature I’m not sure about and, for now, am calling the garden fence. Time will tell though and it could be that, when finished, it’ll be the bee’s knees (John thinks so) or maybe an abomination of the first order (I’m leaning this way).

Someone else’s empties by the way.

First job for the John was to syphon out the bulk of the water, then we could employ my marvellous aqua vac to hoover up the rest. At least we’d then be able to properly see what we were up against.

Then I (being Mrs. Sensible) declared that we must remove all the shite and detritis, which we did by tossing most of it over the side – to be sifted through and sorted later…002 (4) 003 (3)

Now whilst this may look like a heap of junk/untidy mess to you and me, believe me, this is not out of place in this marina. Fits right in with the character of the place.

It’s John heaven. He will have hours of fun going through this lot at a later stage, no doubt discovering many treasures and a whole raft of things he didn’t know he didn’t want. Trust me and watch this space for future finds.

With Health and Safety being on the top of John’s list, he being its most ardent exponent, he set about constructing a secure boarding platform…004 (2)

I doubt he would have bothered but, needing Mrs Mop here on board (in every sense), realised this was essential.

Naturally, I am now reassured so here goes…100_3099

Into the abyss.

We took these out before John started drinking…005 (2)

And this…081

Full of course.

So, that done, what do we have?

Well, there was an engine under all that rubble…077

An air-cooled Lister SL3, which may be overkill but can’t wait to hear it run, though bits are missing or not connected so could be fun. John has already made a smart cranking handle…002 (5)

As yet, there is no battery.

A cosy cabin…067

Dresser/desk…071

Cooker…065

That works!…076

Nice butler sink…068

Although no hole cut to cupboard below, let alone pipes.

Have you spotted a theme yet? As in lots of things started but not finished.

A future shower/wet room…070

Opening windows…066

And the stove may be tiny…064

And needing much TLC, not to mention some serious wire brushing and stove paint.

But it works wonderfully well…004

We are keeping it in as much as possible in order to dry out the boat’s insides.

It’s doing a damned good job of it so far, though some of the woodwork is going to need attention – nothing a good scrub/coat of paint won’t fix.

My home-making tendencies and talents are crying out to be employed – I can make this ship good and ship-shape, cosy and home – and am keen to get cracking on it.

But.

The water has been syphoned and hoovered but still seems to seep back into little pools on the floor.

This is where the detective work comes in. Is it just innocent and slow running, to stop once it is ready?

Or do we have a leak?

To be fair, the little concrete boat does have a bit of a history according to the boys around here that knew its previous owner. Apparently it cruised down from Bishop’s Stortford to here – no more than 4 miles – then was rather hastily hauled onto the slipway as was taking on water.

So, is it a lemon? Our latest discovery would have one thinking it is…002 (3)

The jury is still out but BB is getting that sinking feeling.

What do you think?

 

 

4 Responses to “When is a Lemon not a Lemon..? (An antidote to all those marvellous boat fit-out blogs)”

  1. Jose May 6, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    That’s one hellofaproject … you have to love boats for this one but will watch with interest as it is set afloat and off voyaging .. Does this boat have a name??

    • Boatbird May 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      Indeed… but enjoying it lots at the mo.
      We are thinking about Kecksy as a name, like the name and has connections. Could illustrate with cow parsley…
      Was originally called something unpronnouncable but as out of the water is ok to change it.

  2. Capt Ahab May 16, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    A fascinating project. The guys on Canal World Discussion Forum have some limited experience of ferro cement boats :http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=64742&hl=%2Bferro+%2Bcement
    I would worry about the hull first – Repairs can be tricky. Maybe coat the whole thing with Fibreglass and then paint? Attend to this before you spend time on the insides
    The Lister 3 pot should run. Noisy but bomb proof.
    Insurance will be tricky – but you probably only need 3rd Party Basic Boat Insurance (do a google search).
    Good luck. Andy

    • Boatbird May 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      Hi Andy, thanks for your interest.
      We are thoroughly enjoying the project and yes, hull first – we are thinking pool/pond paint maybe…
      Haven’t paid big bucks for the boat and thinking, worst case, the engine (when running) will more than compensate if sold separately. As you say, can’t go wrong with a Lister.
      But hope she floats, although will make a nice little place to live/garden shed/tool store if not.
      Almost ready to post the next instalment so stay tuned.
      BB

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