We’re currently just past the halfway mark with our boat conservation work and despite some rather thundery and wet conditions last week, our conservation and volunteer team were able to crack open the paint cans to begin giving our boats some new colour.
(Above: Notice anything slightly off colour with Coronation? Don’t worry, she’s just received an undercoat on her normally cream tea part as our team prepares to give her some new colour all over).
However, before any new paint could be applied to Grace, our boat team had the important and challenging task of marking out a new waterline.
(Above: Kelvin and Jay had a rather snazzy piece of equipment – a laser maker pen to ensure that Grace’s new waterline was accurately marked out).
The waterline is the line where the hull meets the surface of the water. This special marking is also known an international load lime or plimsoll line – more so with larger boats or ships (we use water line), that acts as an indicator to the legal limit in which a ship or boat may be loaded to safely maintain a buoyancy. In a sailing boat, the waterline length can change significantly as the boat heels, and can dynamically affect the speed of the boat. The waterline can also refer to any line on a ship’s hull that is parallel to the water’s surface when the ship is afloat in a normal position.
The difficulty lies in marking a straight line on the surface of compound curves found on clinker boats like Grace. With Grace upturned, her keel was exposed so that the area to be marked out was fully visible and accessible. Each will have their own method for marking out a waterline and this is how Kelvin does it on a boat:
By using a laser on a tripod, Kelvin was able to ensure that the waterline was drawn accurately. Having coated Grace with an primer undercoat, her original waterline was no longer visible and therefore this made the task even more challenging.
(Above: Kelvin and Jay working together to ensure the waterline is accurately marked out in chalk first).
It required a steady hand and for the boat to as level as possible across the beam and for the laser to be at the same height as the waterline and also horinzontal. Kelvin then took control of the laser, whilst Jay marked it out in chalk on Grace.
(Above: A masterclass in marking the waterline)
(Above: diagram showing how curved angles on boats make it a challenge when looking to mark a straight water line and therefore additional support is required to get the perfect angle).
Once her waterline has been successfully marked out, there was just enough time to get a layer of red onto Grace before the heavens opened.