09 Jul

The resurrection of Daisy

As you all know by now Daisy holds a special place in all our hearts at the FVA , not only is she our oldest boat ( 102 ) she comes with a fabulous history and pedigree that few boats no matter what age can match.

That is why my heart sank on a Thursday morning at 4 am when I got the call from fellow FVA committee member Pete that every boater dreads. " Andy , Daisy is in trouble ".
Daisy was moored near Droitwich Spa marina and although I knew the engine wasn't working and she needed towing she had never shown any signs of water ingress.

Fearing the worst I jumped in a cab from Sawley to Droitwich , I arrived shortly before 6 am dreading what I was about to see. I trudged slowly up the footpath to be greeted by Pete, " how bad is it " I said " I've seen worse," replied Pete. Knowing that Pete was a very experienced boater I wasn't filled with confidence. Then I turned the corner and saw Daisy sunk up to the Gunwales and sitting on the bottom of the canal.

Perhaps sensing I needed it Pete put his arm around me and said " don't worry mate it's never as bad as it looks ". That's when our saviour and hero Tushka Horton of RCR swung into action. A quick phone call and within 2 hours we had 2 very helpful gents armed with pumps and floats on the scene. They too were very matter of fact and reassuring and 30 minutes later Daisy had risen from the depths and appeared to be floating on her own again.
We all agreed that we would come back the next day and leave her with a emergency pump connected to a long life battery overnight. At this point I have to thank my workplace Reckitts . They were very understanding and let me have a emergency day.

The next day we  - Pete, Lizzie and myself arrived and although Daisy was still floating it was obvious that she needed help as she was listing badly. With Pete on his trusty tug Kinver and with what can only be described as the most impressive manoeuvrings I've ever seen we got her back down the 2 locks and into Droitwich Spa marina.

The Marina although welcoming would of been quite apprehensive to get a 70ft half sunken boat into the marina. The marina owner then fetched a tractor  ( much to the annoyance of his wife ) to drag Daisy out and put her on blocks so she could have her Hull properly inspected.

Daisy's Hull was very much as advertised, galvanised steel plate , Not a mark on it. Looking further into it we discovered a pencil width hole in the base plate which may well of bee caused by a sharp object on the bottom. While looking round for other issues we saw she desperately needed help on her stern.

The 100 plus year old wooden planks from the original Hull were visible and slowly rotting away. The decision was taken that the whole stern would need covering and treating. Lizzie was left in charge of this project as she lived closer to Droitwich.

Now, thanks to the generosity of supporters, veterans and steel fabricators,  Colin and Sarah, and the hard work and determination not to be beaten by our welder, Neil - NB Daisy is almost ready to go back in to the water and being in the next stage of her varied life.

Andy Flint, founder and co-chair, The Forces Veterans Afloat Charitable Trust 09/07/2023

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