Sunday, 14 December 2014

Life of a boat builder Part Four

The Spring came around and like waking from a long sleep the river came back to life. As the days got long and the weather started to warm up and stay drier fro longer it was possible to start painting and varnishing the hire fleet. This was a bit of a hugging act, getting the boats painted and varnished and doing any small repairs that could not be done when the boat were not dry enough during the winter. The main problem at this time of year is not appearing to have enough hours in the day to get all the work done, but it always got done some how. The best lesson I learn during my early years of working for this company was how to mix different oil stains to get the right colour match to varnish boats and also how to mix up different types of filler using paint and chalk and how to make paint not leave and dry edge when hand painting a 30+ft boat by yourself in temperatures which would otherwise cause this to happen.

So as the spring moved on the calm of the winter was a thing of the past and the speed of the boatyard got back into full swing. So as the days moved on to weeks it was a madhouse of varnishing painting and launching the fleet of boats as quickly as they were finished and then refitting the boats and recommissioning the engines in the motor cruisers and the motor launches. Then re-rigging the half deckers. Then getting them ready for the first hirers of the year, this was normally the Easter weekend each year.

At the same time as this was going on, there was the boatyard clients boats to get ready at the same time. Some of them wanting their boats at the same time as the hirer fleet, However, there were not so many of them, which was a blessing as being a small boatyard not was not always easy to fit them all in at the same time. More often than normal, many of the owners wanted their boats in for Spring Bank Holiday so we had a bit of a breathing space between getting the hirer fleet re-commissioned and getting the clients boats done after we got our boats afloat and commissioned.

While all this was going on there was normally a new build being built either a fishing boat, a launch or sometimes a new dinghy, it really depended on what was being asked to be built that year. So as apprentice boat builder you would move from job to job, So that you could learn as much as possible and get to learn as much about the different parts of being a traditional boat builder so it was exciting times learning new skills every day.

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