More bitumen, 'Thomas' & 'Pride of Bristol'

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Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th February

The baseplate from the middle of Wye Invader Two to the bow has already had the rust and bitumen removed down to the steel and the first coat of new bitumen applied from the forward support trestle to the bows, about 2 meters in all.
The crew got stuck in with a 7 inch, 24 grit disc angle grinder and the remainder of the baseplate was down to bare steel. The next 2 hours were spent using the small 4 and a half inch grinder with a 24 grit disc, cleaning out the areas of rust in small holes and scrapes and then, the remainder of the baseplate had its first coat of bitumen. By 1800 hours, that was enough for the day, a quick clean-up and then adjourn to the Dockers Club!

Wednesday was spent on completing the second coat of the baseplate and then painting the complete hull all the way round, baseplate and bow to stern.

Saturday 16th February

The anodes were removed and the old welds ground flush ready to replace with new ones.

The top 30 centimetres of the hull down were painted with a semi matt black to finish the hull, then a water coolant leak was found on one of the pipes which will be replaced next week all in all, a busy 3 days.
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On Wednesday, as I was about to leave Sharpness, the dry dock had been emptied and blocks arranged on which the boats are lowered onto so they don’t sit on the floor of the dry dock and work can be carried out under the boat / vessel.

I made an enquiry as to what was due in, to be told it was the ‘Pride of Bristol’ an ex Royal Navy vessel for survey. The survey is required every 5 years and carried out by the MCA - Marine and Coast Guard Agency. On Saturday there was a crew of volunteers onboard, working hard trying to get it ready for the survey and inspection on Monday, at first glance they all seem to be at least as young as me and I’m just over 70 (ish!).
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Moored by the entrance to the dry dock is an old tug that goes by the name of ‘Thomas’. It looks in need of some TLC, I made an enquiry about ‘Thomas’ only to be told it is the last remaining tug used in ‘Operation PLUTO’, and used to lay a petrol fuel pipe line from England to Normandy for the ‘D Day’ Invasion of Europe in 1944, I was told people are trying to raise funds to save ‘Thomas’ and restore her.
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