Friday, 25 November 2011

Update 2 Cloths , strings and huge bangers.

(12th & 13th Nov 2011.)  Spent all day Saturday in the garden so of no interest here! Sunday morning we were up quite early and by 10.00am we were off down to the boat as there were quite a few jobs I wanted to do in preparation for the winter (being as Darley has a Petter PD air cooled engine no need to winterise that, Hooray!) When we got to the moorings, Dawn went into the farm shop and came out with homemade ‘farmhouse sausages’ (mmm very tasty) and a small, still warm, crusty bloomer ( mmm very very tasty)  Dawn disappeared into our ‘galley’ under the cratch and set about cooking breakfast, while I started stripping out all the cabin brass and lace ready to bring home and clean, wash and polish.

All the cabin brass polished at home
 With everything packed away into a large plastic ‘recycle’ box Dawn called to say breakfast was ready.  These sausages were huge big fat buggers and full of meat.  Dawn said that no fat came out of them at all while being cooked.  We sat in the back cabin and stuffed our faces while Bruce drooled.  Suitably fed and watered, we then set about clothing the boat up to keep out rain and leaves.  Dawn spent the next hour sweeping the hold out, again, as we moor with the bows under a huge willow tree the hold was full of wet leaves. I placed the top planks on top of mast and stands then got the top cloths out and put them on the bank ready.  Next I got out all the uprights, 14 in all, from under the cratch.  Have never understood why there were 14 of these on Darley as you only need six, a pair positioned in the middle of each room, I was soon to discover why.  On close examination they were of three differing lengths, 4 short, 4 medium and 6 long.  Upon trying them none of them fit as the longest were too long and the medium too short.  The next hour was spent adjusting their length and re cutting the vee to fit.  With these all fitted my next stage was to untie all the knee strings holding the side cloths rolled up.  Upon unrolling the side cloths for the first time since purchasing Darley, I discovered that they did not have any strings tied to them so my first job was to find some suitable rope, tie and splice side cloth strings, 20 in all. At this point Dawn had finished sweeping the hold and came to me asking “is there anything I can do” I just answered “can you splice? I spent the next hour teaching her to splice some ends of some scrap tatty ropes I had whilst I made up the side cloth strings out of anything I had to hand.

The temporary set of side strings
 The result of this was that I didn’t get the side cloths up until late on , so with no time to put the top cloths on we just loaded them back into the hold and finished for the day.  On getting home I ordered 100 mts of 8mm Hempex from Rope Services which arrived by the middle of the week and so I spent the next night splicing up 20 new side cloth strings.
SIDE CLOTHS : (Originally canvas but nowadays mainly man made material) Approximately 3ft wide Tarpaulins running the length of the hold with  one edge fixed to the gunnels with oak strips, the other edge having brass eyelets every yard. Thin ropes, called strings, are spliced through the eyelets on the one set of side cloths which are passed over the top of the top planks and through the eyelets on the opposite side then back up to the top planks where they are tied off securing the side cloths.
UPRIGHTS:    Lengths of 3x2 timber with a vee cut in each end, one sits on the top of the gunnel and the other on the edge of the top plank, which work as a diagonal brace between the top planks and gunnels half way along each room.
ROOM:            A working boat’s hold is divided into four rooms sectionalised by the cross beams, so from the bows to the mast, mast to the first stand, stand to stand and from the stand to the back cabin.


  1. Blimey Blossom, Just what sort of a mees will we be getting into once our new cloths arrive. At least we have got the Hempex for the strings but I imagine the lot will overwhelm us and the cloths will end up on the bonfire.

  2. Oh ever the optimist. We are going to do them with blue string pudding first just to get them on while I perfect (or try to remember) my splicing skills for the proper ones.