The antifoul that I put on in December was originally meant for the weedy needy River Crouch where practically the moment you put the boat in the water are the various weeds and cunning water creatures working out who is having which bit of this new surface area territory that has landed in their world.
The south coast is a slightly different kettle of fishiness. My soft easy wearing East Coast antifouling has picked up weed, then been blasted off and then the weed decided to have another go, this time sticking itself to the epoxy hull where the antifoul paint has worn away. Where the sun hits the boat the most on the current mooring is right up at the bow (pointy bit) and the boat has developed a green goatee. (or a Billy)
|A green goatee|
This means I either get the boat lifted, jet washed off and a quick top up with antifoul more suitable to the South Coast, which will cost me around £170 for the lift plus a can of antifoul. Or find a scrubbing post and attempt to balance the boat alongside so I can jet wash and touch up antifoul that way, which is a cheaper method. Or, even cheaper than that, I don my wetsuit, go for a swim and get scrubbing and give Boogie Nights a wet shave to knock back the goatee and buy me some more time between lift outs and more importantly, save me some money.
"Cost - nowt but a couple of hours swimming about."
Banjo was unaware of my plans and looked on slightly worried as I wriggled and cursed, started sweating profusely, wriggled and tugged whilst jumping up and down and cursed some more as I lithely slipped my old wetsuit on. (most recently worn a couple of years or so ago when I had to go in to clear the prop)
These things must shrink in the cupboard.
It was like a neoprene corset when I finally zipped it up. The label inside says SM, it should read BDSM.
|A scrubbing brush and a crepe spatula - the perfect tools|
I rummaged around in the lazarette and cutlery drawer finding practical tools for shaving a boat-goatee and discovered that my crépe spatula is just the job for giving Msr Weed the Gallic shrug.
Despite the hot weather, it's always a bit of a breath taking moment when we first lower ourselves down the bathing ladder. Good job my tight wetsuit rendered me incapable of breathing in much more which made the visiting neighbour boat occupant, who was watching me, think that I'm much harder than I really am.
|cleaning the rudder with my feet|
|The black part near the surface of the water is where weed sticks the most|
It's trickier than you might imagine scrubbing and scraping a boat bottom whilst bobbing around, highly buoyant in a wetsuit. The technique I had to use was to swim toward the hull whilst going at it with the scrubbing brush or crepe spatula.
I slung a strong line from the front of the boat, just hanging above the water and then tied off half way down the boat. This gave me something I could hang onto and use to brace against.
I also took a buoyancy jacket in with me. I wasn't wearing it, but used it as a float to lean on to keep my arm from getting tired while scrubbing.
|A buoyancy aid makes a good low level assistance float|
It's quite a sobering position to be in actually, (in the water) it's a good reminder that should I ever fall overboard, it would be impossible to get back on without help or a ladder. The sides of the boat loom over me. I can't imagine what it must be like trying to get back on in rough weather.
After nearly two hours of turning pruney I decided enough was enough. I've done my best. Sure there's still going to be some hairy bits here and there. But it's now looking much smoother around the water line. The goatee is gone.
|The antifoul is almost all worn off at the bow|
Since it was such a lovely warm day, it was a good opportunity for a team building exercise.
Banjo was unimpressed with his enforced swim.
"Come on it'll be good for you. Character building" I said.
His life jacket does a good job of floating him but ideally there should be some sort of chin flap to help keep his head/nose out of the water. I might have to modify it.
|Reluctant team swimming|
Best get packing all my shit away again!
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