Its three and a half years since the bottom of Wand'ring Bark saw the light of day and with the best will in the world, the last DIY blacking had past its best.
The rugged look
That said, it was standard Spencer Coatings Sealex bitumen and it had lasted far longer than I had expected. Almost no flaking but an accumulation of scrapes had started to tell.
The boat was craned out of the water in Phil Jones yard in Calf Heath but by a most unfortunate coincidence we also moved into our new house on the same weekend. The result was a frantic weekend with time divided between boatyard and all those packing cases at home.
Martin pressure washing
Fortunately I have some help in the shape of Mr Whateley who gamely pitched in and help with the blacking process, wielding the pressure washer as I worked over the hull with a Tercoo Roto Blaster dics. Between us we made a very thorough job of stripping the hull back to steel / primer and by the end of the first day we had a first coat of blacking applied to the section above the waterline.
A clean hull ready for a new coat of blacking
This is the second time I have used a roto blaster and at £50 for a twin disc its is a great investment as the key it offers to the blacking stretches the replacement period by at least a year. However, it is an incredibly dirty job and resulted in a very black face which resisted all but the most vigorous washing to make me respectable for a posh meal out in the evening.
The boat is now 12 years old so I was on the look out for signs of significant pitting but thankfully it was made of good British steel and what rust there was was very shallow and we don't forsee any significant problems for over 15 years.
The end of day one
The following three days saw repeated visits to the boatyard to apply further coats of blacking (in the end we applied 25 litres to the 42ft boat) and then to undercoat, topcoat and anti slip the gunnels.
The end result was very satisfying. A thick coating of bitumen to the hull and a revitalised red band round the boat. The only thing which had to be delayed was an internal repaint of the water tank in the bows. It proved to be a job too far and will have to wait for another day.
You may wonder why I do a DIY blacking. The answer is that I like to keep an eye on the state of the hull and I also like to know that the protective layer has been applied thoroughly and with a very thick protective coat. Yes, a lot of effort but well worth it.