Page published 30 July 2023
It was Friday 28 July and in a series of sessions at the boatyard I managed (it is only five minutes drive from home) to get the new name applied to our boat, fit the new wiper motor and get it running. I also found out that the gearbox was ready to be installed in the boat.
The new name now appears on the stern with the Broads registration number to starboard.
Deciding exactly how to centre it was the first issue with the boat's name. I had been wondering whether the eye might want to centre the name between the outer vertical bars of the flanking notes or the feet of the notes, which would push the design across a bit. Eventually, my decision was to centre the name on "the Blues" as, for me at least, the notes appeared as additional decoration rather than part of the name.
Then I struggled a bit applying it. I started from right to left and paused at the half way point, just to the left of "Blues", to trim off the excess and now unwanted backing paper on the part of the name already applied. As I restarted pulling away the remaining part of the backing sheet, I failed to notice the the first "n" in "Singing" had stayed with the backing sheet rather than the front sheet, so was then facing the wrong way. In trying to peel it off the backing sheet and then to get it in its proper place on the front sheet, it got a little stretched and distorted. Look at it closely and you see the left leg of the "n" is splayed a little compared with the following "n".
By comparison the next job, fitting the registration numbers, was the simplest of tasks as I wasn't applying individual characters but a simple rectangular label with the letter and numbers already neatly spaced out. I didn't check the spacing between the characters on the new labels, but as I lifted one of the three supplied by the Broads Authority up to the hull I discovered that the new one would not fit on the transom where the old one had been without a bit of trimming. That's because there is an additional eye to port. The simplest solution was to apply it on the other side so that's what I did. Incidentally, in spite of the extremely dark cloud to the north work on the transom was completed in bright.
The registration numbers at the bow were originally placed where fenders made them illegible.
I made changes to the position of the registration numbers on the bow as well. I had planning to move them forward of their original position as they were sited immediately under one of the eyes from which fenders would be hung. However, once I had removed the original labels it was a surprise to find that they covered the remnants of the original painted registration numbers. It took a great deal of effort to remove enough of those remnants so the hull there was as clean as the rest. The hull may appear close to pristine in photographs but the reality is that eight years of being operated as a hire boat leaves many scars.
The new labels showing the registration numbers have been fitted further forward than those they replaced.and will longer be half hidden by the lines holding fenders.
The next job was to try and sort out the wiper motor. The report from Marlex Marine said a new motor and switch would be required. I had taken that to mean a second switch in addition to the one of the body of the motor. I thought I had been incredibly fortunate to find a motor on eBay that seemed a perfect match for the one on the boat.
Old and new wiper motors, showing the difference in the length of the shafts. It was just enough not to leave enough protruding to attach the wiper arm. Everyone around seemed to be packing up for the weekend so I dropped into Moonfleet's worshop to see if there was news of the gearbox.
However, when it arrived it turned out the shaft was a little shorter than the original. Perhaps that shouldn't have been a surprise. It was sold as a replacement for the wiper on a Willy's Jeep, and their shafts don't have to pass through both a glass fibre superstructure and laminate covered plywood linings. However, the solution was simple. Switch the back plates and shafts of the two motors. It turned out there was another subtle difference. The pitch of the thread on the shafts were different. So I couldn't use the new nut on the old shaft.
Fitting the motor was simple enough. The bit I struggled with was getting the motor to run. I took the metal plate off the bulkhead that had the broken switch but that wasn't connected to anything and none of the wires on the other switches matched those one the motor. I checked the fuses. The labels indicated that the horn and wiper were on the same circuit and the horn was working. Then I had a brainwave! The horn button was on the instrument panel and there was an unlabelled switch on the panel too. Sure enough that was the wiper switch. By then it was too late to consider fitting the wiper arm. I had forgotten to bring any spanners anyway.
It appeared to be the gearbox from our boat that I spotted in the open doors to Moonfleet Marine's main workshop.
I thought the gearbox lying on the ground at the entrance to Moonfleet's worshop could be ours so I popped in to ask Kathy how work was progressing to have it confirmed that the gearbox I'd seen was ours and that it was ready to be fitted into the boat.
That would only leave the Boat Safety Scheme examination to be completed and we'd be ready to have Singing the Blues launched. Being optimistic it should only need a new fire extinguisher to pass. Kathy confessed that she had not yet rang their usual guy to book an examination, but said she'd do that right away.
Kathy had one other question. Would I like the gearbox to be painted to match the engine. Having seen the gearbox fully assembled at the entrance to the workshop, I turned the idea down. While it might look pretty with a new paint job, I figured it would be quite an expensive job if it was to be done well, needing it to be taken nine tenths apart again. I hope I don't regret that decision.
Now read about getting the Wiper to Work.