The ship’s welding is done and dusted, everything’s waterproof and we now just have to paint the base coat, then the dock work is done. Unfortunately there’s no sense in doing any painting with the cold, wet weather we’re having, so for now we’re taking a break. A good opportunity to give a bit of background information.
The ship is made of steel. When water comes in contact with iron it forms a galvanic cell (just like a battery), whereby acid comes in contact with the iron and corrodes it and then the steel gets corroded and rusts. All that from water touching steel. Steel and water simply don’t get on; and then sooner or later, the steel is worn out.
To prevent that from happening, we’re attaching so-called “sacrificial anodes” to the ship. In plain English, they’re simply lumps of low quality metal. As the name would suggest, they sacrifice themselves. They get eaten away first and that means that the ship’s steel is protected.
Usually sacrificial anodes for sea-faring ships are made of zinc and for fresh-water ships of magnesium. Magnesium anodes can also be used in briny (salty) water. They offer full protection but are corroded faster than zinc anodes.
The sacrificial anodes (the grey lumps on the picture above) are going to be attached to the outside of the ship every few metres along. What’s more, we’ll be giving the ship a coat of a conductive underwater paint containing metal, so that the sacrificial anodes take the strain.
A few things have gone wrong with my ship. I suspect that the last time there were lots of people on the docks, a few new anodes were attached. It’s just that some heroes have covered the ship in a mixture of zinc and magnesium anodes. They counteract each other. What’s more, the ship wasn´t given that special coat of paint. The result: the corrosive process was in full swing.
The stern (rear part) of the ship usually suffers the most, and here the steel was fairly r
uined. Just a millimetre thick in some parts or completely rusted through – the simple act of hosing the ship down on the docks punched new holes in the steel. The stern was the area that was out of bounds when I went to visit the ship before purchase. Since the quality of the steel ranged from good to excellent in other areas, we hadn’t expected the extent of the damage and got a fairly nasty surprise.
Now everything’s been welded. Next on the agenda is a second coating of underwater paint. The paint has three layers. A conductive primer (first layer), then the paint itself and then marine anti-fouling paint, which stops mussels and algae from clinging to the boat. Then we’ll be attaching new, good quality sacrificial anodes to the ship – and then it’s Easter…
But in a symbolic sense too, for me, renovating the ship has become an interesting parable for life. All of us are sailing our ship of life and sometimes the waves we hit are rough, sometimes stormy. Now and then we spring a leak when we hit an ice-berg or ram against a cliff. But disasters of that scale are thankfully rare.
Far more often, our steel skin is attacked by inner strain. We’re hard-wired with stress, and if we can´t channel it off; it eats away at us. Sooner or later.
But then someone comes along who offers himself up as the sacrificial anode. I’m there. I’ll channel all your stress and pain, anger and frustration away from you. But we throw the sacrificial anode over board. We think we can handle things on our own… until our steel is attacked or corroded or, worst case scenario, our leaky tub sinks.
Redemption means…. that someone offers to repair the damage caused by rejecting the sacrificial anode. That can be painful. You have to cut, grind, hammer and weld, until the ship is ready to sail again.
Easter means: I’m given a new start. The option to be lovingly and protectively enfolded by the Holy Spirit (a new coat of paint)… the opportunity to have pain and strain conducted away by the redeemer (sacrificial anode)…and finally, with a good captain at the helm and a new ship-owner, to set sail once more.