Thursday, December 29, 2005

Don't laugh

Don't laughThere it is, the remains of my workbench.

It was a relatively simple, but dirty, job retrieving it from the mud, with the help of a chain block.

I'm not sure wether or not I should be pleased that there no pictures of me in my waders, all covered in mud. The worst bit though was definitely the smell.

That twisted blue metal you can see in the picture was once the frame, with what remains of the scaffold tubing, covered in mud, scattered about.

You can only just make out the broken bits of board, caked in mud, on the platform which itself is now slippery underfoot with that black mud.

I tried washing off the mud using buckets of water, but just made a worse mess of everything, including getting black mud on my new paint. I think a jetwash is going to be the only answer.

They say that pride comes before a fall, and I was once so proud of that workbench. Ah well, the next one will be better.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas prep

Christmas prepI don't know about you, but I'm all ready for Christmas.

All I need to do now is pick up the turkey I ordered and maybe get a few more bottles of wine, just in case...

Needless to say, blogging is likely to be a little sporadic between now and the new year.

A very happy Christmas/Holiday season to one and all.

Tim Zim

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Recovery one

Recovery beginsThe photo says it all really. This was taken from Lady Jane, looking down at the mud with the tide just starting to come back in.

Before even trying anything, I invested in a pair of waders similar to these. As it turns out that was a good move. You have no idea just how gross that mud is. It's jet black, thick, slimy and stinks unbelievably!

I previously justified the expense of the waders with the thought that they would be invaluable when launching and recovering the rib, as I inevitably end up wet on shallow ramps. Having only taken a few steps in the mud, buying them for this recovery operation is fully justified in it's own right.

I had to be hosed off like some big muddy thing afterwards.

Anyway this is recovery blog entry one, as I managed to get a rope on the thing that was my workbench, but failed to pull it clear using the boat and the rising tide. It's now sitting back in the mud, albeit a little bit higher than you can see in this picture.

For my next attempt I'll use a chain block. Something Robin suggested and I should have thought of earlier.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Grinding issues

Grinding issuesMy trusty ol angle grinder also broke last week.

I'm not really surprised at it having some sort of problem, as it has not exactly had an easy life, given that it's been used to wire brush pretty much all of the surfaces that I've painted so far.

After initially suspecting the switch, I finally traced the problem back to a broken wire in the power cord.

With a shorter cable and a new plug, purchased yesterday, all should be back to normal with the grinder.

I certainly hope so, as it's probably the most used power tool on board at the moment.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

A few problems

Now going whiteI've now started painting the wheelhouse white.

The difference, even with only a first coat, is amazing.

Things have been going too well for me just recently, but all that has suddenly changed.

Just as I was finishing painting with the batch of Hempel white epoxy paint I had mixed, the temperature dropped to below freezing. Common wisdom from the folks at the marina across from Lady Jane is that the paint won't set now, as it was too cold. I'm hoping otherwise.

To add insult to injury, I also discovered that my workbench had disappeared.

What I had done the previous day, before the tide went out, was to move the platform right to the back of the boat, to stop the tyres, which I'm using as counter weights to allow the platform to move up and down with the tide, from messing up that day's fresh paint on the side.

I don't know for sure, but I think the platform must have ended up under Lady Jane's stern, when the tide came in the workbench must have somehow got jammed underneath, then pushed over.

Once the workbench was in the mud, the platform must have settled on top of it on the next tide, as all I could see was a small patch of blue in the deep, thick, black mud.

Unfortunately the tide was coming back in, so I could not reach in to get a rope around the workbench to start recovering it, or even get a photo of it for that matter.

Anyway, the platform is in such a position that I should be able to reach the workbench next time I'm there and the tide is out, though I already know this will not be easy, as the bench appears to have been squished into the mud sideways and it's pretty heavy.

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Friday, December 16, 2005


PaulRemember Paul?

Here is a picture of a very much younger Paul on board the trawler he worked on.

He also very kindly also sent me a picture the boat itself, LT66.

Paul's shipIt's interesting to compare dear old Lady Jane with Paul's trawler, which used to fish out of Lowestoft, England.

To my eye, at least, there are a huge amount of similarities between the two trawlers.

Looking at these pictures, I can hardly wait to take Lady Jane out onto the high seas.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Z431 Judith

JudithI'm still chipping rust from the bow section of Lady Jane. It's a massive area, far bigger than I'd first appreciated, and is taking a little longer to chip than expected.

Here you see me working away right at the top of the bow section.

What is weird though, is that Z.431 - Judith is emerging from behind Lady Jane.

As I'm chipping away at the rust and old paint the name Lady Jane is disappearing and Judith and her Zebrugge registration number is beginning to show through, as her name and number were originally etched into the hull using a welder.

I know I also have Zeebrugge etched on her stern in large letters, underneath her current Southampton registration, which is visible in some lighting conditions.

I now need to decide if I want to keep the trace of her original name and number, or to get an angle grinder and erase all her original markings.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Steering room progress

Steering room progressAs I said in my previous post, it becomes hard to remember how awful things looked once they've been painted.

Click on the link to my last steering room post by way of a reminder.

Since that picture was posted, I've rubbed the whole lot down, put primer on the walls and ceiling, sprayed the steering gear with primer and given the walls a first coat of white paint.

I've still got to give the roof a first coat of white, then the whole lot a second coat. Once that is done, I also need to paint the pipes and brackets so the whole lot is looking smart.

I'll finish the steering room with a coat of green, non-skid, deck paint.

Oh yes, and before I go too far, I also need to remember to get the stern navigation light bracket welded back in place.

The light bracket was sacrificed as part of the job of welding up the holes in the back deck. That will impact painting both on the back deck and in the steering room.

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Monday, December 12, 2005


I know I've said many times that if I knew then what I now know, I'd never have bought Lady Jane.
Not that I've got any regrets about buying her or anything. It's just that it's so much more work that I was expecting, needing such a big commitment in terms of time, effort and money.

Maybe though, after fine days like we have just had I would still do it.

Or is it that now the memory of all that rust is receding, and I'm feeling so much better about the whole thing? I don't know.

Anyway, the onset of dusk provided an opportunity for a well earned break and a welcome cuppa after a full day of painting.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Garage mess

Garage messMy homework finally dried out, so I could finally get going with the gloss paint.

My garage is now a complete mess, with newly painted white planks for Lady Jane standing around drying.

I don't doubt the paint is going to take quite a while to dry, as it's pretty cold in the garage.

Ah well, it's a good thing I'm not in a rush for them.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another one

Another onePriceless.

I got an e-mail the other day entitled "We didn't mean to either".

It was from Ben and Gaelle who, by the sounds of it, are about to embark on an adventure very similar to mine with Lady Jane.

It turns out they had done a search for 'rust removal' and found my blog.

I've yet to actually chat with Ben, who is based somewhere in the UK, about his soon to be new ship - LV80, but I must say I'm very curious about all sorts of things...

Quite a club this is turning out to be: I'm sure all my regular readers will join me in wishing both Ben and Gaelle the best of luck with their new lifestyle!

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Monday, December 05, 2005


Work on Lady Jane took a back seat this last weekend.

RehearsalSaturday was the occasion of our annual Christmas dinner rehearsal, where everyone invited is given some aspect of a full Christmas dinner to cook.

For those who's culinary skills are a bit lacking shall we say, there are always duties such as organising the cheese board. Needless to say, I got the port in.

After the food, the entertainment consisted of jokes and stories, a quiz and various games, including messing about with balloons.

As you can see from the photo, a great time was had by all.

I know for sure I was not the only person taking it easy the next day.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Big stretch

I'm continuing to make good progress with priming the hull, though the wet, cold weather and Big stretchlack of daylight is starting to impact on progress.

Often now, because of the cold, it's too wet to paint until well into the afternoon, then it gets dark so fast it's hard to see the paint properly.

I've got most of the rust off the forward end of the starboard side, nearly all the way to the bow, and am almost ready to prepare this last stretch for painting with a wire brush.

Stretch being the operative word here, as I just can't quite reach the very top bits, even standing with my wooden box perched end on, on top of the workbench.

I know adding ballast would make the bow more accessible, but that project has taken a bit of a back seat for now.

Fred suggested a bosun's chair but the problem, as I see it, is that this section overhangs quite a bit, so it would be hard to get to like that, especially if I'm working alone.

I had started work on cutting longer legs for the workbench, which you can just see dwarfed against the side of Lady Jane. That will, as designed, give me that extra reach. Unfortunately it started to rain just as I started cutting, putting a stop to that for the day.

Next time, if the weather co-operates...

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Something different

Something differentArriving down at Fareham just on high tide, I was greeted with a view of something a little different to the norm across the way from Lady Jane.

Of course, I had to go for a closer look at this Landing craft. Apparently it has been on exercises this week.

Not a spot of rust in sight anywhere!

As it happened, I ran into Dave Hardy from Trafalger Yachts. A friend of mine, from the village I live in, has been on at me for a while to drop in and say hello and I've just never got round to it.

We soon got talking about paint and paint systems, as he is working on restoring a beautiful looking classic wooden boat. Dave is truly a mine of information and well understands my problems, as he apparently also has a steel hulled yacht somewhere in France.

That Dave, who works right opposite Lady Jane, is a friend of someone else in my village is another unreal co-incidence.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wheelhouse mess

Wheelhouse MessOk, so I know it's yet another grim picture of Lady Jane but, asides for the galley which is bad beneath the portholes, I'm slowly getting all of the worst stuff dealt with.

This one, taken recently, shows the state of the wheelhouse sides and deck just after stripping away the wood cladding. And no, I still don't know why there is an alumninium section at the front and top of the wheelhouse.

I had a good idea it would be like this, as the rust from here has been staining my new paintwork outside, but still the shock of seeing daylight underfoot through the deck has taken some getting used to.

I was not planning to start work on the wheelhouse so soon, but Shaun came down to help so I took the opportunity of cracking on with this. It was too damp to work on deck projects and painting inside was hampered by condensation issues.

I need to make sure I have below decks projects that don't involve painting, for folk who come to help. Most of the things I've got saved up are jobs like stripping the cylinder head on the donkey, which is difficult for non engineering visitors to get stuck in and help with.

There is always cleaning to be done, especially in the engine room, but I do feel guilty giving people cleaning jobs to do. Still, I suppose it's got to be done.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Bulkhead progress

Bulkhead progressWe are making good progress in the restoration of the engine room bulkhead.

This was all started as a result of leaking diesel, from one of the forward diesel tanks, through a very rusty bulkhead back in early July.

Robin is justifiably proud of his welding job, especially that section right down in the bilges there.

My role in this has mainly been stopping enthusiastic helpers from chipping rust outside the hull while Robin is working inside.

It won't be long before I get in there and paint that steel.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Accommodation issues

As work on the steering room is drawing to a close, so the focus on working on the aft accommodation is growing.

Accommodation issuesMost of the steel in the aft accommodation is in extremely good shape, with big sections completely rust free and like new.

Unfortunately however, like so much on dear old Lady Jane, there are a few places with 'issues'. The picture shows a section of plate from both above and below decks which has rusted through into the aft accommodation from the deck above (click on it for a larger image).

The pipe you can see is the drain from the shower room above. The box at the end is a one way valve, which stops sea water from sploshing back up into the shower room. This, along with the two other valves in the stern accomodation, sink and toilet, will also need servicing.

Due to a fairly recent liberal application of bitumen, the rusted through bit is dry at the moment. Thank goodness.

I still need to remove more planking to expose the rusted section. Though I can already see that this is going to prove a big headache, as the rusty steel extends beneath the concrete which lines the edge of the deck.

To do this properly is going to prove a nightmare for several reasons:
  • Firstly I will need to cover the entire deck, to stop water from elsewhere seeping into the accommodation space through the hole which will inevitably be exposed on deck while this work is done.
  • I will need to dig out the concrete from the edge of the deck to get to the underlying steel. This will then need to be replaced and sealed against any further moisture getting in.
  • I will need to take up more planking from the deck, to get to the steel below. Again, this will need replacing and sealing.
I must say, I am very tempted to simply overplate this section and rely on sealing up the deck against any further moisture getting in as effectively as possible, as I would need to do the sealing bit anyway.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

An interesting visitor

Working on Lady Jane is, surprisingly, often quite a sociable occasion, with friends over to help and occasional, welcome, visits from the likes of Paula, who comes down to survey at the yard.

The small marina across the way from me is also the source of a steady flow of shouted questions, comments and, occasionally, advice from the various boat owners and visitors there.

Just recently Paul, who you can see here in the picture, An interesting visitorshouted across some comment about the progress I'm making with the painting. Apparently he had worked on a trawler in the North Sea and Iceland.

With the opportunity to meet someone who had actually been there and done it, I immediately invited him, and his friend Pat, on board for a look around.

As it turned out, Paul had worked on a very similar trawler out of Lowestoft, England. I found it amazing to hear him describe how the various bits of machinery, now mostly removed of course, were used. Obviously, even though Lady Jane (Z431 Judith) was from Belgium, the methods used when trawling are almost exactly the same.

Meeting Paul, I immediately get the impression he is someone who has been a lot of places, and done a lot of stuff. In the short time he was on board, reminiscing, he had plenty of interesting stories to relate.

In the picture Paul is describing how, as trawlermen, they would get soaked when retrieving the nets from over the side, as the trawlers would be quite low in the water and beam on to the waves.

I very much hope we get to hear more from him.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I brought some more homework back from Lady Jane.

HomeworkThese are planks of wood, which together make up a box which the steering gear sits in. I also have a set of planks which I will use for shelving in the steering room.

The plan being to clean up the wood with the jetwash, then give them all a lick of paint.

The big problem I have at the moment is the cold. The hosepipe and the jetwash were both frozen, so it was late in the day before the wood even got cleaned up. I finally had to resort to defrosting the jetwash indoors.

Now, with it still being so cold, the wood remains obstinately wet. Painting has been out of the question so far.

My garage has no heating, and even I draw the line at taking bits of timber into the house to dry.

Maybe it's time to get a heater for the garage. In any event, this particular homework project will just have to wait until the wood dries out.

It's not as if this will hold me up or anything, as I've still got plenty of work to do before the steering room is ready for the painted timbers:
  • Painting the steering gear itself
  • Painting the room with finishing paint
  • Colour coding the piping (blue for fresh water, yellow for oil)
  • Painting the shelving brackets black (for effect)
  • Cleaning the steering room deck thoroughly
  • Filling in the holes in the deck
  • Painting the steering room deck with non skid paint

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rowing machine

When I first bought Lady Jane I was told there was a rowing machine somewhere in the steering room.

Rowing machineThere was so much stuff piled in there I had not really paid much attention to it, other than being aware of an old hessian sack full of steel rods and things, which I presumed was it.

When I had to clear the steering room, so the back deck could be cut and welded, I dragged the sack out and decided to take the rower home for a closer inspection, rather than put it into indefinite storage.

The next day, in the privacy of my home, I put the thing together and gave it a try.

What torture!

A few hours and a couple of photographs later, it was for sale on eBay!

Phil, who bought it a while ago, finally came round to pick it up this weekend. He plans to use it as part of an exercise routine, recovering from a car accident. Good luck to him.

A few more quid for paint.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Under pressure

Under pressureFred has stuck with it, continuing to help on Lady Jane.

At present Fred has taken on the job of rust busting, using a selection of rust chipping tools.

It's not always possible to reach into some of the tighter spaces with a chipping hammer, so here Fred is experimenting with my pressure washer. It takes the paint and rust flakes off ok, but does not seem to get the tough rust out.

The search for the ideal rust removal tool continues. The current favourite being a masonry chisel on the end of a broom stick (more duct tape).

There is no doubt that I would not be nearly as far along with priming on Lady Jane without Fred's help.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hull priming

It has been cold, but dry. This has meant I've made good progress with getting Hull primingmore primer onto Lady Jane.

Here you see a relatively small, but very significant, patch of primer on the hull. Provided the weather holds, I'm planning to grow that patch significantly over the coming weeks.

It's getting the first coat of primer on which is proving to be the toughest job, on account of all the preparing of the underlying steel which has to be done. Once primed, the actual job of Painting Lady Jane should progress fairly rapidly. Weather permitting of course..

With all that rust finally beginning to disappear, I'm feeling so much more positive about this whole project. This really motivates me to get on and achieve even more on board.

Of slight concern is that no matter what I do, in some places I get small patches of rust seeping back through the primer, for no apparent reason.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Swan activity

This last few weeks I've been noticing a lot more swan activity on the creek than usual.

Swan activityJust the other week there were six swans a swanning about, but George saw them off.

Swans apparently pair for life, so presumably this is the time of year for pairing and finding a nesting site.

Here you see a group of four swans which were gliding by behind Lady Jane.

I tried enticing them closer for a better picture using McVities orange flavoured chocolate digestive biscuits, but they were having none of that.

I know swans like bread, but I thought something a little more up market would have them flocking to me. Obviously they had more important things on their minds.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Primed back deck

At last! - I've got a coat of primer on the back deck - a first coat at least, though you can see the stern part has Primed back deckhad a second coat, as it's looking a bit shiny there.

Looking back, this particular project started six months ago. I was expecting something pretty straightforward then.

I had no idea of the ripple effect this project would have:
The last of the welding on the back deck was finally completed during October. Since then I've wire brushed the back deck, again, and have now got that all important first coat of Hempel primer on.

Worth it? I think so.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Steering room

I've been working on cleaning up and painting the steering room, which is tucked away in Lady Jane's stern. This room also doubles as a store room which was hastily cleared when we started patching the holes in the back deck.

In the grand scheme of things, once the welding on the bulkhead is complete, we can start work on the anchor project, which means I need to clear out the forward storage hold in preparation for cutting and welding all the necessary stuff to install the anchor and winch. All that stuff in the hold has to go somewhere.

Steering roomHere you can see a picture of Lady Jane's steering gear.

Right at the top of the picture you can see the motor for the hydraulic system, with the pump itself just behind it. With this system Lady Jane can be steered electronically, though I've still got to get one of the solenoids sorted out. At the moment, using the electronics, she can only make turns to starboard.

Looking at the state of the antiquated auto pilot system, I'd be surprised if it worked at all. To be honest I've no idea how to test it, asides for simply giving it a whirl when I finally get to take Lady Jane out for a voyage, possibly during summer 2006.

You can also only just see some grey hydraulic pipes all the way to the left of the picture, these run up to the wheelhouse and provide the steering via the wheel in the bridge. This system works perfectly fine, and is what we used when we brought the boat up from Southampton to Fareham almost a year ago now.

I also have a huge big lever which fits over the rudder axis - the big brown lump you can see at the front left of the picture, this can then be used to steer Lady Jane manually if all else fails. I'm not so sure I'd like to try it though.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

The creek

The creekIt was one of those moments, with the day's objectives well in hand and a nice cuppa tea to hand, the view down the creek at dusk perfectly reflected my mood.

The picture says it all really.

This is as close to pink as it gets Karen.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Clear decks

I've spent some time clearing the debris which has been accumulating on deck, much of Clear deckswhich you can see in this picture.

The debris consisted of a mixture of stuff, including rotten wood, concrete and steel from the fish hold and flakes of rust and old paint, the result of chipping rust from Lady Jane.

There is still plenty more to come out of the boat, starting with more wood from the stern accommodation when I take the rest of the ceiling and then the floor out.

Unfortunately clearing the debris, along with topping up the fresh water tank in the stern of Lady Jane, has had the effect of canceling out the last load of ballast I'd put in a few weeks ago. Lady Jane's bow is now riding higher in the water.

The deck does looks so much better without all the clutter, so the effort has been worth it.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Just a quick update...

NoIt's a no from the BBC's DIY SOS team. Apparently they think a project on Lady Jane would be too much work.

Ah well. It was always a long shot, but worth a go.

Not that I'm bitter or anything, but Pudsey is getting nothing from me this year.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

New steel

I'm now the proud owner of a new sheet of 4mm steel, and it feels curiously good.

New steelThe thing with my new sheet of steel, unlike the stuff I bought for the bulkhead, is that it's been ordered for no particular purpose, other than unspecified future projects.

Now I know that not everybody is likely to be too excited by this, but to me the possibilities are endless. I suppose it must be a little like a clean piece of paper to a writer, a new canvas to a painter, or even a new program to a developer, in that I get to actually create something from this blank sheet.

On a more practical note, I feel a brand new hatch cover coming on, to replace the rusty old one covering the fish hold at the moment.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Faithful donkey

I took the opportunity of a break in the recent wet, windy weather to hose down my deck with salt water, using the bilge pump and a new hose I've bought. Salt water is apparently good for the deck planks.

Just as I was finishing hosing the deck, Donkey enginethe donkey engine started making even more noise than usual. A quick dash down into the engine room showed the exhaust manifold had worked it's way loose.

A loose exhaust manifold presents no real problems to fix, but closer inspection of the front exhaust port reveals a build up of carbon which should not be there. It looks to me like the exhaust valve is probably at fault, which would explain the reduced compression in the front cylinder that I've been aware of ever since buying Lady Jane.

My thinking is, as the exhaust manifold is off anyway, it's time to give my faithful old donkey engine some tender loving care, and sort out the exhaust valve issue at the same time. It is, after all, one of the ways I produce my electricity.

For those who are interested, the donkey engine is an air cooled, two cylinder 21.5 HP Lister. Although a little noisy, it has so far proved to be very reliable.

Hopefully, as so often seems to be the case, this does not lead to more problems.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The kayak

Here you see Andy posing beside the kayak which has been kicking around on Lady Jane's deck ever since I bought the boat. The kayakIt's mostly just been getting in the way.

I've been calling it a canoe all this time, but have now been put right on that one.

I've only had it in the water once before, to investigate the platform which you now see alongside Lady Jane.

Andy is a keen canoeist, so was up for taking the kayak out for a proper spin.

Not even one minute into our adventure down Fareham creek we were suddenly both grateful for our life jackets. Not that we tipped over or anything, but it was very very close!

Asides for the occasional perilous wobble, with accompanying splash of cold water, steering the thing was our biggest problem (mainly my fault). Anyone would think we had been down the pub before we set off.

We got back to Lady Jane some time later, tired and pretty wet - despite the waterproofs.

It was fun though, and I'm resolved to get some proper covers for the top of the kayak (spraydecks I think they're called), so I don't get so much water in, and give it another go.

My poor aching muscles....

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Friday, October 28, 2005


The nights are drawing in, and this weekend the clocks go back. Now it's time to think about floodlights on Lady Jane, so I can continue working on deck when it's dark.

I've thought long and hard about floodlighting, and opted to go down the low energy floodlighting route.

I've chosen the low energy floodlights simply because I can run them from the battery bank anytime I want. I have no worries about the amount of power they drain, as the wind turbine will easily be able to keep up.

I've yet to mount my forward deck floodlight, but have finally made the decision to take down the working 110V DC deck floodlight from above the wheelhouse and replace it with a low energy floodlight. The difficulty, in my head, being I'm doing away with a perfectly serviceable floodlight, though in truth it can only be used when either the main or donkey engines are running.

I had a similar issue with cannibalising the tripod Floodlightingthe two 500W floodlights, which you can see in the picture, were mounted on, in favour of one low energy floodlight, but that's done and I'm pleased with the result. Now I have a portable floodlight that I can use almost anywhere without being concerned about power consumption. (26 Watts versus 1000 Watts).

I also have an old, but very sturdy, camera tripod which I'll try and mount a third floodlight on, this will then be used mostly below decks as a replacement for my leadlight, which I've never been happy with.

In power consumption versus light produced I'm definitely gaining. In available light to work by I'm slightly down, but not by any really serious amount.

After trials, at 26 Watts the low energy floodlights put out an impressive amount of light. Certainly more than enough to work by. I realise though that I won't be able to make toast by them, unlike the pair of 500W lights, but then I've a toaster on board for that.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Trolley commissioned

The trolley has now been commissioned and it passed Trolley commissionedit's initial test with flying colours.

The next test will no doubt be Robin's close inspection of my welding which, even though I say it myself, is pretty damn good!

Here you see it earning it's keep already, with yet another load of stuff for the boat.

I can already see that this is going to be one of those times where I'll be thinking 'why didn't I do this sooner'.

I did start work on a drawbar, but wanted to do some trials to see how it handled first.

Unsurprisingly it handles like a shopping trolley, so maybe I'll switch the back wheels to fixed wheels rather than castors. If I do, I'll will loose the turning capability, which I quite like on the confined dock.

Shifting loads like you see is effortless except, I've discovered, when trying to cut through a sandy bit.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More destruction

The wheelhouse ceiling has been the latest victim in the quest to seal the boat from the elements, as winter and it's accompanying wet and windy weather will soon be here.

More destructionI've known there were holes in the wheelhouse roof for quite some time, but have not worried about it so much as I thought they were fairly insignificant.

Fixing the holes in the steel presented no major problems, asides of course for the necessary damage to the ceiling.

For some strange and unfathomable reason, the front and part of the roof section of the wheelhouse is made from aluminium (aluminum for you guys in the US), which is riveted to the steel section behind and below. WheelhouseYou can see the join line in pictures of the outside of Lady Jane. Anyway, since a portion of the ceiling had to come down anyway I investigated the leak in the aluminium part of the roof a little further.

It turns out, assisted by a convenient rainstorm, that the joint in the roof between the aluminium and the steel in the roof is leaking quite a bit more than I thought. This explains why the wheelhouse deck is rusted so completely through to the outside, where it overhangs the deck.

It would be bad form to loose one's skipper through a rusty bridge deck, so obviously I need to fix this. That will also help protect my precious new paintwork below.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane has been a hive of activity this weekend, with most of the focus on getting the wheelhouse block sealed and painted.

Lady Jane GreyHere are Pat and Fred hard at work painting the rear of the wheelhouse. You can see Fred going grey before your very eyes, though it's not age that's doing it to him.

It makes such a difference seeing Lady Jane finally emerging from behind the patchwork of colours and rust which I've become so accustomed to seeing over the last year and a bit.

I often find myself thinking 'why didn't I do this sooner?'. The reality is that I've put a lot of work into providing the infrastructure that now makes the painting possible, and have spent a lot of time learning for myself exactly what needs to be done in the battle against the rust. Remember the footings? Wow, I see I made that entry in February. I'll need to re-visit them and finish them off properly now I know so much more.

I also enjoy the benefit of Fred's steady progress, chipping away at the rust on various parts of Lady Jane in advance of rubbing down, priming and painting. Without this extra motivation, I very much doubt I'd have achieved even half of what we have done in the last few months.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Why the ballast

I've had several people, including Rik, who has an excellent blog over at Garfieldt's blog, ask me why I'm putting more weight into Lady Jane.

On the face of it, adding weight to the boat doesn't make sense. However the driver behind the ballast is to get Lady Jane's trim correct.

Lady JaneIf you look at this fairly recent picture of Lady Jane (click on it for a larger image), you can clearly see the line made by the muddy water in Fareham creek, and the horizontal line of the rubbing strakes which run down the length of Lady Jane. These lines show roughly how Lady Jane sits in the water at the moment, compared to how she should sit.

Lady Jane has had masses of material removed from her. According to the previous owners, they took off roughly thirty five tonnes of steel and concrete when they had her. I must have subsequently removed at least another five tonnes so, although I've got tonnes of ballast to go in, it's nothing compared to the overall weight she has lost.

Almost all of the weight removed was from forward of the engine, which is a huge lump fairly far back down the length of the boat, this has had the effect of bringing the bow up and lowering the centre of gravity.

While lowering the centre of gravity is a good thing, there are problems with having Lady Jane's bow so high:

The first being that everything on the boat is at an angle when Lady Jane is afloat, making things a little uncomfortable - sleeping for example.

The second being it is hard to see over the bow from the bridge, making skippering Lady Jane in confined spaces that much more difficult.

The final reason is that with the stern so low in the water, the propeller will tend to push Lady Jane slightly upwards as well as along, wasting fuel and therefore money.

The ballast right down in the bow of Lady Jane will lower her centre of gravity, making her even more stable in the water, and, along with the anchor and winch to be installed, will fix the trim issue.

In the future, when I build forwards, I also have a several tonnes of water in a bow storage tank which I can use to compensate the trim. If need be, I can also move, or remove, the ballast I've put in as it's all in small, manageable, blocks.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Almost complete

Work on the new trolley is almost complete. It's turned out a little heavier than I expected.

Almost completeWe have been having pretty poor weather in recent evenings, this has slowed down production dramatically. The idea of grinding or welding inside a garage loaded with petrol for the rib and paint for Lady Jane just does not appeal to me, for obvious reasons.

As Dirk suggested, the sides are removable. The wheels also have brakes, which should help make loading and unloading stuff easy.

All I have left to do on the trolley is a little more welding, some grinding then finally painting. Probably another few evenings worth of work.

This has been a homework project for me, for all sorts of reasons, though I'll need to think carefully about doing any more homework like this, as it's quite noisy work and maybe a little unfair on the neighbors.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Another Tonne

I've added another tonne of ballast to Lady Jane.

Another tonneThis is what a tonne's worth looks like, stacked on the quay.

I've now loaded nearly three tonnes of ballast, about the weight of two compact cars, into the depths of Lady Jane's bow, but have still only made about 5 or 6 inches difference in her trim.

It was on my mind to arrange the blocks in an artsy manner for a cool blog photo, but after carting the stuff about the yard I was in no mood to do so.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Meet Seb and Becky

Ok, so I'm not Becky and Sebalone in the 'it would be nice to have a boat, let's buy one and do it up even though I don't know what I'm doing' stakes.

This is Becky and Seb who are the proud owners of Wendy Ann 2. An ex tugboat with what sounds like an interesting history.

They are planning on using theirs purely as a houseboat, so have an advantage over me in that Wendy Ann 2they do not need to be concerned with the engine or any kind of boating qualifications.

The little yellow marks you can see on the sides are the hull thickness readings, some of which read zero!

Good luck to you both Seb and Becky, it's a great adventure. Keep in touch.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A new creation

Hauling all this ballast around to the boat has prompted a new creation.

I have now started work on building myself a trolleyA new creation, which I can use to wheel all this heavy stuff about the place. It's not just the ballast, there always seems to be stuff to cart between Lady Jane and the truck, or from Lady Jane to the skip.

The basic frame is now welded together and I have castor wheels on order, hopefully they will be delivered in the next few days.

Next I've got to weld the uprights on, these will hold the wooden sides in place.

I'll get the wood for the base and the edges once I have everything else welded together and the wheels bolted on. This is mainly so I can accurately measure up the sizes I'll need.

I don't know why I didn't think about this earlier. Needless to say, the new trolley will be blue.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

A backward step

Hmm, I've had to take a bit of a step backwards.

A backward stepThis, that you can see, is a hole I've cut into the roof of the shower room. To do this I've had to take out the shower fitting and all the associated plumbing. This is because all the piping and fittings were plastic and I did not want to risk melting any of it when cutting the hole.

I know I could have put a bucket of water up there when cutting with the oxyacetylene, but better safe than sorry.

There was a vent up there, but it had rusted almost completely away. For now, I'll simply weld a piece of plate over the hole and see how I get on. This will also mean that once the galley vent has been repaired, painting on the back deck can finally start.

If condensation becomes an issue, I can always replace the vent sometime in the future.

I will also weld some much needed new metal in the skirting of the shower room at the same time, as the metal there has rusted away quite badly.

Anyway, the plumbing is not too hard to replace and I can finally plumb in my much needed new sink at the same time.

After re-painting, putting up new shelving and the new mirror, which has been floating around for a while now, work in the shower room will finally be complete - for now.

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Painting preparation

Do you have days where you are busy the whole day, but have nothing much to show for your efforts?

I've had one of those days just recently.

The reality is I spent the day preparing for painting, Painting preparationmostly cleaning up where welding has been done, or cutting and grinding off odd bits of metal that were sticking out all over the place.

The bits that were sticking out are the remains of structures cut off, but not cleaned up, by the previous owners. There are plenty more of these odd 'protrusions' to get rid of. I'm just dealing with the worst, or most dangerous at the moment.

For example, the bottom part of the mast has now been cleaned up, though there is still a little more work to do on this. It was getting late and I was physically too tired to finish off wire brushing the remainder of the bottom of the mast in preparation for painting it.

Hopefully I'll get a break in the miserable weather we have been having recently, so I can get on with some serious painting over the weekend.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005


Mark guides Robin in the diggerBallast as Robin eases the forklift attachment into my truck to remove another load of ballast for me. Each one of those triangular blocks of iron weighs 18 kg's (about 40 lbs).

I've added 1,764 kg's (4,000 pounds) of the toblerone shaped ballast into the bow of Lady Jane, right down in the bottom of the boat for increased stability. The sad fact is that one and three quarter odd tonnes of ballast has only brought Lady Jane's bow down a few inches. I reckon the bow needs to come down at least a foot.

I sit here completely exhausted and covered in bruises, as maneuvering that ballast in the confines of Lady Jane's bow is not easy, thinking I've got to do at least another eight tonnes of this stuff.

Oh yes, and at £200.00 (US$ 350.00) a tonne, this is not a cheap form of exercise either.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Good weekend weather meant it was time for some fun for a change, so Dale and I went fishing.

FishingHere you see the rib being recovered from the Solent after a day's zooming around on flat calm water, interrupted by spells of fishing.

A combination of low tides and a flat piece of slipway, boat ramp for you guys in the US, ensured I had to reverse the truck halfway into the Solent to recover the rib. Even then I had to winch the thing all the way up the trailer.

No fish died in the making of this picture, though a few did get fed.

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Fuel pump

I've not said too much about the engine, or any engine room operations for quite some time. This has mainly been because I've got so much else going on and the engine is in pretty good shape, relative to the rest of Lady Jane, so is low priority.

Fuel pumpThe engine does need to be started, and run, from time to time though. I try to do this about once a month, though I suspect with winter coming on I'll run it more often as it's a great heater.

For a while now, I've known of a small diesel leak in the return pipes from the injectors. I finally got to have a look at this a little more carefully.

To explain the problem means explaining a little about how the fuel system works:

The diesel is stored in one of four tanks in the engine room. These tanks are only for storage, and do not feed either the main or the donkey engine directly.

To get fuel to the engines, diesel is pumped up to what is known as a 'day tank', this sits above both the main and donkey engines. Diesel is than gravity fed, through filters, to each of the engines as required.

Any unused diesel fed to the main engine is circulated to a smallish diesel return tank, below the engine room deck plates, from there it is pumped back up to the day tank by means of a continually running fuel pump. This is the normal mode of operation for the pump when the engine is running.

To pump more diesel into the day tank when it gets towards empty, one of the four fuel tank valves needs to be opened, depending on which tank is to be used, and the diesel is either manually pumped into the tank, or is pumped using the diesel return pump by setting a valve to the correct position. Once the day tank is full, the fuel tank valve is closed and the retun pump valve is set back to the normal running position.

You can see the diesel return pump just to the left of the picture.

The problem I have is that the diesel return tank is full, hence the leaking pipe. What I don't know at this stage is if the pipe from the tank to the pump is blocked, or if the pump itself is broken.

I'll need to run up the main engine again, with the valves set to pump diesel from the main tanks, to work out what the problem is.

Either way, as you can see, it's going to be a dirty job to sort it out.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

(H)arry Pound's

Paula, who came to survey the yard, caught Robin and I sitting about on deck, drinking tea and trying to avoid doing any work.

To be fair, I had been rust-busting on the outside of the hull and Robin had just arrived to help with welding on the back deck. At that point the sun was out and it was very pleasant to just sit about and chat.

Later on in the day, after some welding on deck, conditions became unpleasant with a cold wind picking up from the south, so we opted to visit (H)arry Pound's.

Arry Pound's, which is essentially a ships breakers yard, is an amazing place on a scale which is hard to imagine. It is apparently a shadow of it's former self in busier times when the military was actively downsizing.

The scenes outside, with people standing, shrouded in smoke, cutting up massive sections of some poor ship lying in the dirt, is reminiscent of a Steven Spielberg movie set. There are anchors and the detritus of ships from a bygone age scattered everywhere. I also saw old army tanks, beat up cranes and ships and boats of all sizes. There are even a few submarines tucked away somewhere.

Inside the massive warehouse there are rows and rows of all sorts of interesting 'stuff' (H)arry Pound'sstacked right up to the roof, all covered in layers of dust gathered over the years. A true grown boy's heaven. I truly doubt that anyone knows exactly what's in there anymore. Most, but not all, of the stuff is ship and boat related. Everything is for sale.

The point of the visit was to find some much needed ballast for Lady Jane. After enquiry, and some rummaging around, we found some three and a half tonnes of the stuff. Toblerone shaped pieces of cast iron, apparently out of submarines, each weighing exactly 18 Kilograms (roughly 40lbs).

The 'Toblerone' ballast is perfect for what I need, being light enough to manhandle down into the confines of Lady Jane's bow, but shaped so it can be packed in neatly and securely. I don't think that three and a half tonnes is nearly enough, but it's a start.

Now it's just a matter of getting it all from arry's into the bowels of Lady Jane.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005



This photo montage shows the transition from O 431 Judith, a North Sea fishing trawler, to Lady Jane, a partly converted live-aboard.

Believe it or not, they really are all pictures of the same boat. If you are interested, click on the image, then click on 'all sizes', then click 'original' to see the detail.

The first picture must have been taken when she was still being used as a fishing trawler.

The second must have been taken when she was first moored in the River Itchen.

The third was taken in the Solent, when I brought her round to Fareham.

The last one was taken in Fareham a few months ago, after I had spent a day rust-busting on the hull.

I am grateful to Jean-Pierre Van Elverdinghe for sending me more pictures of Lady Jane, including a few black and white ones which must have been taken when Judith was practically brand new.

I am hoping to add another picture in the series, showing Lady Jane completely painted in grey primer, with no rust showing, before too long.

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