Thursday, 21 February 2019


Over the last few weeks we have been busy removing bitumen from the hull of Wye Invader Two, and running the engine to top up the batteries. A couple of weeks ago after I removed the diesel spill mats from under the engine bilge, not only did we have a small leak of diesel but also antifreeze. On further investigation the coolant was coming out of the water pump from the fan bearing, so I’ve now replaced the water pump. At the same time, with the bilge mats removed, the diesel leak became more apparent, this was traced to the main fuel pipe from the filter to the injection pump so a new fuel pipe and copper washers have been fitted.

Monday, 18 February 2019

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

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.


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!).

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.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Old bitumen, new bitumen!

Spring is only just round the corner, and work on Wye Invader Two continues. On Monday 7th January we pressure-washed the baseplate, the following weekend we used a heavy duty angle grinder with a 7 inch disc and 25 grit grade paper discs (not fibre as they are more expensive and clog easily when used on bitumen), we’d soon removed all the bitumen from the front section, and then we used a smaller 4½ inch angle grinder with a 36 grit resin disc to clean the steel baseplate before applying the first coat of new bitumen. The weekend of 2nd February we again used the large angle grinder to remove more old bitumen and yesterday the 6th February, we finished just short of the mid-line with the first coat of new bitumen.