We have been feverishly preparing for the grand relaunching – all the external paintwork has at least had one good top coat, the windows have been cleaned, curtains washed and the last input from out trusty friend Laurent is almost done… almost! One has to be patient.
Laurent seems to have had Piedaleau as his project. He has done all the various works we required – from welding the underside to painting the sides and now fitting Adrian’s toy (fish finder gizmo that plots where we are and what the river bed looks like) and my toy (rudder indicator so I don’t have to keep pulling the wheel round 3 turns to work out where we’re pointing).
So, fingers crossed all will be well and floating soon…
We have certainly learnt some stuff about this boat over the last 6 (!) weeks. Adrian even now knows where some of the cables go.
Laurent is a really nice guy, a very big guy, but quite a joker with us. At one point he asked us to lower the anchor when he was painting the hull. Easy enough you would have thought – not so! Whilst there is a foot switch to raise the anchor there isn’t one to lower it (as on Misty Morning). Big hunt for the manual handle – eventually found. But there isn’t enough room to turn the blessed thing in the bow! So, with a ‘push-me-pull-you’ type approach, we eventually got the damn thing down but not before Laurent warned us that we must hurry as the ‘barrage’ was fast approaching! Before replacing our exit ladder at the end of his day he would always ask us if we had been ‘sage’ (good) today & therefore warrant getting off! A bit of a comedian but he works hard and does not mind advising and explaining things to us.
And then on Friday Simon was ready to put Piedaleau back in the water! Yippee we cried and rushed around trying to get everything ready. Main thing we forgot was the table on the top roof – the crane gantry threatened to flatten it at one point but was saved in the nick of time! A few marks on me paintwork though.
It’s quite nerve wracking watching your precious, newly painted boat be put on a trailer, fitted into the crane slings (exactly the same method as I used to use with immobile patients – just much much much bigger), lifted up, crane moved closer to the edge of the dock, gantry swung round and lowered down into the water close to the dock! All 30 odd tons of her! Adrian jumped on board to check there was no water coming into the bilges before the slings were removed.
When she was lifted out we had an audience of Kiwis – Martin, Jackie, David, Sue & friends – this time we had Murray and Gail, also Kiwis!
And when we went out for dinner that evening to celebrate our relaunch more Kiwis joined us! It really has been the year of ‘the kiwi’ this year!
So now we are in the water again. Its great to look out the windows (they are sooo clean that Adrian tried to lob an olive stone out the window not realising it was sht!) and see the river and the trees. You do have to position yourself carefully not to look at the floating wrecks and the cranes and general paraphanalia on the dockside, but we are floating again!
Putting up the biminis required another celebration with Gail & Murray yesterday evening! Any excuse I hear you cry, and you would be right!
Simon Evans came to join for a beer and it was really interesting to learn more about him and his background. Most of the ‘wrecks’ around the boatyard belong to him, it seems. some acquired because the owners have walked away and owe him mooring fees, some given to him for restoration when he can get around to it. He has a particular interest in restoring old lifeboats and promotes the French lifeboat association.
So we hope that Laurent will soon complete the rudder indicator installation so that we will finally be ‘free’ to go…….. don’t hold your breath or count your chickens etc etc etc