The Little Boat

8 Jun

We’ve been thinking about a name for the concrete boat and have come up with several but, so far, nothing seems quite right.

In fact the only one that seems to have stuck is as in the title.  That’s how we refer to it so The Little Boat it is, until we get a better idea. We like short names like Hobo and Bella so I thought LB or Elbie but J is not convinced.

Girl’s names and flower names also good but haven’t found the right one yet.


Maybe you can help us here..

Please put forward your suggestions for a name in the comments section and whoever comes up with the one we like the best will win a trip up the river on her. How’s that?

Always assuming that she does float of course.

Second prize: two trips up the river.  And so on…

We’re a little way off the launch mind but we have been busy.

The first thing on John’s agenda was to get the back deck covered because a) to stop any more rainwater getting in and b) in order to get an idea of how to make the best use of the available space. This being at a premium on a 25ft boat.

John’s idea is to create another room – like a sun lounge/conservatory with fold down-able windows and greenery. Somewhere it would be comfortable and pleasant to be – sheltered if chilly and greenhouse-like if we get sun.

In an attempt at assessing the sort of space it would make, John assembled a makeshift covering. We’ve found it pays to work this way and, while living with the temporary structure, the ideas start to come and the whole thing evolves.

He started with the windscreens that were already made though never fixed in place…009_stitch

And then continued building a framework for the sides and rear… 021

Then cutting and rigging up pieces of the tarp that originally covered the roof…100_3186

Speaking of the roof; it is covered in canvas and painted. This has come away in several places so we’ve acquired some copper tacks to remedy this. It is now all pinned down neatly so can go ahead and apply fresh paint – before it all turns to powder and blows away.

The above image shows boarding ladder mk 3. It’s much safer and easier to use, providing you have really, really long legs that is. In the absence of these, I shall just have to get yet more agile. Good job I am practising Pilates then…

To the right of the leg-stretcher is John’s new workbench, from where he can operate his tools and craft all sorts of incredible works of art and useful contraptions – all made from items found on the slag heaps.

I’ll have to detail these and other goodies we have already unearthed (literally) and put to good use. Another time.

It really is a treasure trove right in the back yard! Quite a few items have found their way to the Hobo funnily enough.

John cleverly cut out a suitable picture by way of a muriel for the back end…



Remember, this is a temporary fix.

It’s working well though on a practical level, not to mention creating a lot of interest among the other boat owners here but, more importantly, demonstrating how the space will work.

And one thing is clear… 002 (2)

It won’t work very well with the tiller as it uses up the entire space just to operate the rudder…001

John ponders on this…061

And decides that a smaller rudder could be fitted and maybe operated by a wheel to save all that wasted space in the arc of the tiller.

She was once a sailing vessel it seems. We found some pictures on board and managed to salvage some – interesting – has a mast and that would be the reason for such a large rudder we think.

I wanted to scan them onto my computer so could share with you but my printer is misbehaving. It seems to have died on me but not before it tripped out poor Hobo’s electrics and giving me a fright as smoke puffed into the room.!!

It may be the transformer or plug but will have to wait for another day to get fixed I’m afraid.

Of course the little boat’s hull has to be top of the list for attention and needs to be watertight. Obviously.

John has just about been all around the wooden top with the sealer gun now and – fingers crossed – this seems to have stopped the majority of the leaks. The only one left to deal with (above the waterline) is from the poorly fitted chimney, which has now been taken out as needs replacing, along with the roof collar.

I’ve prepped and painted the little stove in the meantime but prefer to wait until re-installed with new stove pipe/chimney before I share the pics. But it is looking good so far.

John has also worked on the back doors, making them secure and fit properly. Long-term, we think bi-fold doors would be good and again, space saving. Easy enough to do for a man of John’s calibre.

He also sawed off a chunk of wood that hung from the centre of said doors; its sole purpose seemingly to provide the ideal object to clang one’s head on.

Several problem areas below the waterline have been identified.

Like this…100_3170

If you zoom in I think you will see those stalactites. Not good.

And this…100_3176

John has done a lot of looking on the internet and found the official ferro-cement boat site, which warns of spider cracks like these.

And this…100_3182

Being the inside floor of the boat.

This is what it should look like…


But only one of these metal supports still exist; the rest having been removed or rotted away. Without these, there is nothing to hold the hull together and leaves quite a cavity for water to find. John plans to clean these out and shoot in something – to be decided – in order to shore things up.

We’re thinking maybe fibre glass to repair/paint over the entire bottom with swimming pool paint and then a good coat or two of of bitumen over that.

So there’s a way to go before we can really get into the cosmetics, which is my department.

I need to break out the mouse and sand all the interior woodwork…011

Which, as you can see, is somewhat flaky. Then on with the paint, oil the rest of the wood…008


002 (6)Going to look so good.

Foam to be acquired for the bed/seating area and floor covering. John is in favour of a rubber type matting – there is precious little headroom so nothing thick and luxurious is an option.

We know that we should be concentrating on the hull but, all the same, John wants to make his little bolt-hole comfy. A place to chill, now that he is spending more of his time here – even taking on a little work on the farm.

You may have spotted one of John’s finds in the above shot. A telescope, brand new in the box. He just has a knack of finding treasure.

Don’t forget to submit your suggestions for a name for the little boat and indeed, if anyone has knowledge of these unusual craft, we’d love to hear from you too.



8 Responses to “The Little Boat”

  1. Lorna Pope June 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    I suppose Titanic would be too long???

    • Boatbird June 9, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Ha.. trust you..there may be some similarities of course..!

  2. Jose June 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    I fancy Gypsy to be a pal for Hob .. or failing that, Phoebe as a note of encouragement

    • Boatbird June 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Yes, we like these. I am now thinking ‘Borderline’ might be applicable….

  3. john shirley June 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Hi, MAINSTAY, a name I think is apt on many levels. Immediately recognisable by anyone who grew up in S Africa, Malawi, Zambia or Zimbabwe as being the brand name of a very popular Cane Spirit in those areas therefore immediately pinning John’s likely nationality, also the advertising jingle accompanying the launch was a very catchy phrase ” you con stay as you are or change to MAINSTAY”! Apt as I know that JP is undergoing some pretty heavy sea changes at the moment. The nautical meaning as well, being the stay for the main mast relevant as well as you have discovered that she was under sail at some time!
    cheers John

    • Boatbird June 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      We like and thanks for taking part. A & J x

  4. john shirley June 13, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    oops that should be CAN stay as you are not con

    • Boatbird June 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      And there’s me thinking it was dialect…!

      Thanks for following Mr S. and also for the puzzles – D.Mail my favourites – won’t have to buy the paper now!

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