Saturday 6 October 2018

Down below

As well as the horizontal surfaces, I'm painting with gunwale paint the top couple of inches below the stern deck above the drainage channels – the channels themselves are done with bilge paint.

That led me to lift a couple of the deck boards to do some preparation. Which (inevitably!) led on to other things…

In the A-shaped cavity you can see the drive shaft, lubricated as it passes through with water drawn from the weed-hatch above the propellor. The first ring through which it runs is a seal to keep that water where it should be.

The seal has a screw on top, which you remove to give it an annual squirt of silicone grease. I'd done this a couple of weeks ago, but noticed that there was a small puddle on the floor below it. I thought I probably hadn't squirted enough, and that I should turn the propellor as I did so to spread it all around. So, off came the weed hatch to give access to the prop. All went as planned with, hopefully, no more drips.

However, I noticed that the top of the weed hatch cavity was showing signs of a bit of corrosion. Since I had the Fertan handy, I painted some all over the upper surface and edges. But that left me with another problem. The Fertan took longer to dry than I was expecting, and I wanted to run the engine to give us some electrons and some hot water. The second quickest way to sink your boat is to have the weed-hatch open with the engine in drive. I would be running the engine in neutral, but accidents happen! I thought about leaving the deck board up all night as a check as to remind me – but the rain was coming and the side panels of Erin Mae's stern pram-hood (you may remember) were lost to the wind a couple of weeks ago.

In the end I dried off excess Fertan with a paper towel and then left it to dry for a bit longer before putting back the weed-hatch cover before starting the engine. Better safe than sorry. But I haven't yet checked to see whether the Fertan has (a) glued the cover in place, or (b) destroyed the seal on which it sits…


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