Thursday, 23 April 2009

Keeping the canal on the outside of the boat

Over the last few months we had noticed that there was rather too much water collecting in the bilges. Being a bit new to narrowboats I made two assumptions, both being totally incorrect. Assumption 1 All boats leak at the stern Assumption 2 The Stern gland was leaking and only needed a bit more grease or the packing tightening. On a closer investigation we found that the leak was from the hull to the stern tube, and not from the gland at all. This meant that we had a prospective major problem that had to be sorted. It was only a drip but if left it would no doubt get worse and if the battery or the automatic bilge pump failed, it could compromise the boat. After seeing the workshop chaps, one came to the boat, looked at the problem and said that the tube just need pinching up a bit. He tightened the stern tube a little and the leak then became faster. He gave up and said he would have it in the workshop as soon as there was space for it. A few days later we took Daddy Cook to the workshop. This time he undid the tube as far as he dared with the intention of applying sealant to the thread. This failed and the leak became a little worse. It was then decoded that it would have to go to dry dock to be done. It was not a big job once out of the water and should take no more than a hour to complete. Two weeks later on Monday evening, we went to the dry dock some four miles along the canal. The boat was put into dry dock on the Tuesday morning. We left the site and spent the day shopping near by. I deiced that it would be best if I leave the car at the marina and cycle down to the boat so as not to have a car left at the dry dock. When I arrived at the dry dock i found the boat still in dry dock and it was obvious that it was not going anywhere for the night so I cycled back to the marina to collect my car so that I could go to work in the morning! Now you must take into account that I have not used a bike for over 2 years and am completely unfit. The ride to the dry dock wore me out, the return trip dam near killed me! We spent the night in dry dock. I went to work and during the afternoon the boat was removed and moored against the towpath. When I returned from work, again I cycled along the towpath so as to not have to leave my car at the dry dock, this time warm in the knowledge that the job had been done. I arrive at the boat and was disappointed to find that there was still water in the bilges. Up with the covers again, only to find that, yes - it was still leaking just as much as before. I don't know what worried me most, the idea that I still have a leaking boat or the thought of cycling back to the marina to pick up the car! The owner of the marina has assured me that the boat will be sorted and water tight before the weekend. I don't know why I should but I do believe him. If nothing else I am always the optimist!

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