Weesp, NL: Consigning ourselves to the big shed!

In our last blog we mentioned Stewart was going to be using a fork lift to be able to get off  and on Endellion whilst in the shed. We can happily confirm that all went well…

Victor and Joop with Aart driving the fork lift.. Stewart’s method of exit and entry to Endellion during our stay in the big shed.

Victor (with cigar) making sure Stewart stays safe on the fork lift going down.

For reasons we don’t fully understand it seems our boat builders whose names we no longer mention, took a shortcut with painting the roof and the bottom of our dear ship Endellion.

What a terrible sight .. for Stewart to look onto and for me to work from!

Over the three years since we first came on board in August 2008 we had been seeing rusty stains on the roof. “Oh it must be filaments from work on the other boat we were building at the time yours was being painted” we were told before we’d left the building yard. This turned out to be (more) Mirfield codswallop.

Time and again as the rust spread and the remaining paint lifted off in pieces bigger than dinner plates we were advised we had only one coat on the top and no primer, not the three or more coats we should have had.

So, what to do?

As we headed off from Paris in March we optimistically thought we could put off the inevitable re-paint til 2012. However as the roof got worse and worse we realised it was essential to find someone this year to quickly do the job. We started inquiring at shipyards we passed as we went along. But time after time we got nowhere. Even when they said they would come and see us “tomorrow”, no one turned up. Finally, on the Vecht canal, through chance we happened to meet Joop; a Tjalk owner and professional house painter who offered to tackle the job.

Chinks of light come in through the cracks on those fine days when we were in the big shed. No neighbours except the very silent yacht beside us.

This is the space we filled for almost two weeks, inside the big shed.

So in early September we found ourselves back in lovely Weesp, but in a huge dark shed two metres above ground on blocks with Joop and his friend Victor frantically scraping off the remaining paint on the roof until it was shiny new steel.

Joop tackling the big white space of our roof.

As well as tackling our roof we discovered when lifted out of the water that the blacking on the bottom hadn’t been adequately applied. So Joop and Victor donned space suits and thoroughly painted the flat bottom (which was never painted as in the UK this is not standard practice) and applied five coats of blacking to the sides. And in their very thorough approach they replaced the only three years old anodes with eight new ones, plus a new one in the bow thruster.

Lars works on cutting the floor and reshaping it to become an automatically lifting ramp.

We took the opportunity while high and dry to have some other jobs done as we found ourselves right next door to the very capable De Bruyn Water Sport Services.

The most important task for them was replacing our single fuel separator with a double one to ensure the engine is not going to stall if a bunker station empties the dregs of a tank into ours again!

However, the biggest job was having a section of the wheelhouse floor made into an automatic lifting ramp. We gave Marco De Bruyn and his team a rough plan of what we had in mind. Basically slice out a section of the floor, put a steel frame under it with a ram or two and hey presto by remote control wheelchairs could go up to the stern deck without having to put down a portable ramp. True independence. Over the following 10 days Tyse and Marco refined the concept. You never know, this automatic ramp may feature one day on ABC’s New Inventors TV program!

Look at that shiny white roof and our new mast with flags flying. No rust – what joy!

The De Bruyn team also fitted a handsome flag mast and we had the name Endellion painted on the bow to make it easier for the excellent lock keepers to spot us as we approach. The sign writer for this task, recommended by Joop had spent 30 years in the Netherlands, speaks excellent Dutch  (we think) yet retains a true Brit accent.

Endellion being lined up for the slings to go back into the water, at last.

Five coats of blacking and the name ‘Endellion’ now added to the bow.

As we mentioned in our earlier blog .. the original canvas cover for our stern deck was destroyed by a low bridge going into Amsterdam. Nothing to do with our judgement of course! A new canvas cover was made by Herman, expert sail maker, who at first said it would take six weeks (a normal turnaround) as he also had other projects on the go. However when we said we couldn’t wait that long as we needed to start back for France he said he would try to have it done in a week.

Endellion’s new canvas cover is brilliant, even better than the one now in the Herengracht canal, Amsterdam.

What a professional .. sure enough he just met with us in Utrecht and fitted the new ‘room’ (which is how it feels having the cover back) and he’s done a brilliant job: bigger windows than the originals and it folds down more quickly and easily. It’s of the highest standard from design to material and fitting.

We’re now heading south feeling proud and excited about our new look Endellion and it’s improved functionality.

See more about those who helped us here:

Marco De Bruyn
De Bruyn Water Sport Service BV
Boat Repairs, Vetus Dealer, Automatic Lifting Ramp expert!
Herman Jansen
Sailmaker and Canvas Awnings Specialist
Karel De Leeuwen
Boatyard and big shed owner
Marine Joiner Cabinet Maker
Terry Berrington
Painter Decorator and Sign Writer
Our next major destination is Lille in Northern France.  From there we will leave Endellion to head back by train to  Cornwall for the marriage of nephew Ben Hawkey to lovely Nicola – where?  In the church of St Endellion of course!

About Lesley and Stewart

Loving great waterways of the world.
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