The general theme of this blog is ‘doing up the good ship seahorse with not very much money and a bit of time now that I’m “freelance”‘. In January 2010 we acquired the handsome dutch barge named Seahorse, after selling the much loved Pennie, moored in Southall. The new boat is on the Thames and has beautiful views. It was a big stressful thing, we had started looking at bigger boats in June 2009 and saw many we didn’t like, one we loved but couldn’t afford and then Seahorse- which we kind of loved but which smelt weird and had very bad curtains. We put in an offer and it was accepted and then we had to deal with the separate issue of the mooring and securing that. Oh, and then of course we had to sell our old boat and get a ‘marine mortgage’ for the new one which involved lots of form filling, a lovely broker who helped us a lot (www.londontideway.com) and a nice long chat with the owner of the finance company about how we (me and Pat, not me and the man on the phone) would one day sail to france (but that’s a long story).
The major part of the sale process was having the survey done. This happened in late November and was expensive and eye-opening. The first major discovery was that the tanks underneath the main living space were horribly rotten and rusty. So there was water leaking down into the bilges (that’s the bottom of the boat (the hull) on the inside). And of course this is a terrible thing for a boat. And it’s also nasty because the leaking stuff can be water, black water, diesel and all of that gets mixed with rust and makes this beautiful orange coloured goo- which you can see pictures of in earlier posts.
So the revival process was going to be a bit like saving a big rusting hulk from extinction (PHASE ONE!). And the first phase would have to be getting the tanks out, cleaning the horrid bilge and painting over it with rust converter. But the good news from the survey was that the hull itself had been completely re-plated and needed no work doing to it (that can cost a lot of money- thousands of pounds). So the tanks was the biggest problem, and as well as that the boat itself needed a lot of structural work done to make the living areas work better. For this we enlisted the help of talented ‘design-space-living-guru’ Nick Radclyffe (also my dad) and a highly recommended boat fitter called Tom. So that would be PHASE TWO! and then the final bit would be making it look nice – PHASE THREE!- which is too far away to even imagine and will probably involve Pat and I spending every waking moment sanding and painting and trying to convince our friends to help. And there will probably be a whole lot more phases in between. I”m going to add a page called ‘What we’re doing’ to this blog and then you can see the bigger picture. And I can stop writing now.