Friday, June 21, 2019

Fenders up or down?

We just got the quote for having our boat blacked and at first sight it's um, eye watering.  Why so? Well this time we asked for them to rub down and repaint the gunnels in black gloss.  For many years now I've been touching up the inevitable battle scars on the gunnels, but it's time to get back to square one with a deep rub down all over and some decent layers of anti rust primer and top coat,  hence the extra cost.

Did I say inevitable battle scars?   You might say we shouldn't hit anything if we were good drivers, but I reckon we're as good at steering into locks as anyone else. Lets face it, boats have rubbing strakes and fenders for a reason. Boats have to come alongside brick and concrete walls, metal piling which is often buckled and jagged etc etc.  Contact at some point is inevitable.

 "Well that's what fenders are for," I hear you say. 

No, not that sort of fender you idiot.

Well for good or ill, we choose not to deploy fenders of any type while the boat is moving.  Plenty of boats have the reverse policy in order to protect their precious blacking and gunnel paint, but I've seen no end of them get stuck in narrow locks in the process.  Somerton deep lock is a favourite for this.  I wouldn't like to count how many hours I've lost at this lock because of people with stuck fenders, and in other places down the canal where a bit of a fallen branch gets under or behind the lock gate so it won't fully open.

So normally our fenders only get deployed when we are tying up for the night.  Maybe there's a half way house and we should drop the fenders over before we come in to moor.  That might save a few scratches.  Or should we have them down most of the time and only take them up before entering a narrow lock?  I would value your opinions.


Jennie said...

Hi Neil, on narrow canals we travel with them up. The rest of the time it can vary, but for no particular reason. Jennie nb Tentatrice

Chertsey Sarah said...

Blacking right up to the gunnels, side fenders just to stop annoying banging and scraping noises.

Halfie said...

Like you, we only have side fenders down when mooring against piling or concrete. Never in locks of any width. The only time we might move with them down is if we're travelling a very short distance from one mooring to another. (Love the shot of the dangling Fender, by the way. You wouldn't do that with David Gilmour's £3 million Strat, I dare say.)

Pip and Mick said...

Fenders raised except whist moored. I've had loads of those pipe fenders round the prop picked up in locks.
Pip uses Epiphanes matt paint on the gunnels. Apparently it's easy to apply. I wouldn't know, I don't do painting.
NB Oleanna

Oakie said...

I always used to leave the fenders down when travelling Neil, as most boats on The Wey and Thames do, but having caught one on the chains in Blisworth (the line broke with one hell of a bang), I decided to do as most of the Midland boaters do and lift them. When mooring I use a couple of balloon fenders to cushion any blows against the bank by speedy boaters. I always use a spring line too to stop sliding back and forth along the bank. If they are going that fast, then they should consider buying a motorhome!

nb Chuffed said...

Like Pip and Mick we always travel with them lifted, having had one round the prop (and fished one out of the cut for a spare). Dave always drops the stern one as we come in to moor, even a lock mooring, but lifts it again before going into a lock.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Always up - unless we neglect to lift them in preparing to move off; in which case, as soon as I notice, David goes along the gunnels and does the necessary.
Cheers, Marilyn

Adam said...

No side fenders while travelling for us either. Even if they were down, what would be the chances of them being in just the right place? Plus the fenders swinging takes the paint off in an arc pattern. We also have blacking right up to the gunwales.

Boatwif said...

We leave fenders down. narrow roller type. No problem in 25 years. However, we are very aware of any narrow locks, chains, gates not fully open and the fenders come up for all of them. Yes I have recovered other peoples lost fenders from the prop - they have made good spares.
Gunnel painting - we use Andy Russel's Gunwale paint - black, semigloss, no primer needed and sets in 20 minutes. I have repainted a gunwale whilst waiting in a line for a lock.
Ken (Boatwif's other half)