Blast it! I’m not swearing, I’m just identifying the problem. We have moved forward a little in that there seems to be little doubt that the best way to remove the peeling paint and loose rust down below, is to wet blast it. For those of you who have not come across this method, crushed glass is mixed with water and the slurry is propelled against the surface to be cleaned. On impact the glass breaks up further and is carried away, with the paint and rust particles, by the water. There is no need to wear a full breathing outfit as you have to do with dry blasting – a face mask will do. On the ship the used slurry/paint/rust mixture will find its way into the bilges. The bilge pump will have to put in some overtime, but at least there will be no sweeping and shovelling.
If that sounds too good to be true, it is! The blasting needs a compressor delivering over 150 cfm, which is far more than my DIY compressor can manage (14cfm). This job needs a trailer mounted compressor such as you see being used when the council digs up the road with pneumatic drills. Getting one of those out to the ship along the narrow walkway (Photo 1351) is out of the question. Does anyone know of a boat mounted compressor?
The obvious way to get round this problem would be to get the ship into a dry dock where the compressor trailer could come alongside. While it is in the dock we could apply some TLC the hull. There is a dry dock about 7 miles upstream from Simon, but the economics are daunting. In addition to the tug fees there and back, it costs about £400 to enter the dock, £400 a week while it’s in there and £400 to get out again and that’s before any work is done!! Does anyone know of an historic ship preservation fund?