Thursday, July 28, 2005

The neighbors

Out for a spinAs I'm sure I've said before, one of the things I love about being on Lady Jane is the diversity of things going on around her.

I've chatted with some of my neighbors from the marina across the way from time to time, but have not really had that much to do with them.

This weekend one of my neighbors came over for a tour of Lady Jane, then showed me around his boat the next day. Although we both have very different projects, we have a lot in common.

You can see him in the picture, messing around on Fareham creek in my rib. I was introduced to everybody, but have forgotten their names already.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wood removal

Wood removalMick very kindly lent me his truck to get rid of some of the rubbish from Lady Jane.

Cheers mate, it will saved on the price of a skip or two.

Here you see it with a load of wood from what was the crew quarters. There is probably another load of wood of about the same size still to come out of there.

Mick said I could have got the lot on there, and that he hoped nobody he knew saw his truck with only half a load on it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

New workbench

I knocked up a workbench using my birthday present to myself.

New WorkbenchI had borrowed Robin's old welding set, but could not get it to work so, as it was my birthday last week, I thought I'd get myself a new set. I really did need it.

I plan to use this to stand on, as well as a workbench, instead of the unwieldy scaffolding I've got. Hence the short legs, designed to fit into scaffold tubing cut to the lengths I'll need.

It is really nice to be actually making something for a change. All the workbench needs now is a coat of paint, quick before Robin can inspect my welding too closely.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Crew Quarters

It does not seem sensible to do too much in the fish hold without a watertight bulkhead, just in case. This has led to me making a start in stripping out the existing woodwork from what was the crew quarters. There is masses more space than I realised down there.

Crew quarters

The picture shows the crew quarters before I started stripping it out, and progress so far. I'm sorry Kate and Dawn, I know it was cleaned not so long ago, but it had to go!

The place still smelt all musty, and staying on board down there was not too pleasant, so I thought I may as well get going on it. I also wanted to check on the state of the steel where the rear fuel tanks are, just to make sure I don't also have problems with leaky rear fuel tanks.

So far, the metal seems in fine condition, though there is some rust where pipes exit the boat from the toilet, shower and galley. I'm now pretty sure the musty smell is the result of water seeping down through the deck from where water has been collecting in a small section of broken planking on deck. All the chipboard in that area has crumbled away to almost nothing.

Another, different, big problem as the deck planks will need to be lifted, the rusty section cut out and new steel welded in place. The steel will then need to be treated then the wooden decking can go back down.

At least this problem is not as urgent as the leaking fuel tank was. For now, I'll just fill the hole in with concrete to help prevent any further damage.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Generator move

As part of the bulkhead project, we also had to move both the Generator move110 volt generator and the 24 volt generator to get the drive belts off. This is because they both sit right by the bulkhead and the drive belts for both of them would otherwise have simply been burnt through, with all the cutting and welding going on.

I sat on top of the 110 volt generator for this picture, to give you an idea of the size of the thing. The chains you can see in front of me are part of the big chain block I have on board, to lift heavy gear such as this.

It's going to be 'interesting' getting those back in place and the drive belts tensioned again when the bulkhead is all welded back up.

I'm not sure why I have such a goofy look on my face.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

A long day

Another day spent cutting back rusty steel from the engine room bulkhead.

You can see A long daysome of the engine room machinery through the hole cut into the engine room, while a tired Robin lies surrounded by smoking bits of metal which were part of the bulkhead.

The picture also gives you some idea of the scale of the problem.

It's not possible to cut one huge piece out, as care needs to be taken because of the machinery immediately behind the bulkhead.

There is still another day's cutting ahead of us, as a section from the starboard fuel tank needs to be cut out, as does the rotten metal down towards the bilge.

The new steel for the bulkhead is on order, so it won't be too long before we start welding new plate into the hole.

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Friday, July 15, 2005


I know I've already posted about cutting into the forward fuel tank, it's just that I got a few good pictures which CuttingI think you should see.

This picture shows Robin cutting from inside what used to be the fish hold.

We are actually using oxy-propane for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it's cheaper, easier to use on rusty metal and we didn't have a suitable oxy-acetylene nozzle. I just think oxy-acetylene sounds tougher somehow.

I would have posed for the picture myself, except that it would have been a little false. Anyway we have far too much to do, so can't waste time messing about.

I'm pleased about the pictures though.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bulkhead project started

Work on sorting out the bulkhead between the fish hold and the engine room has now started.

Cutting the fuel tank openI cleaned out and jet washed the port side fuel tank, ready for working on it safely. As I expected, it was a laborious, dirty job.

As always, things did not go quite according to plan. My old jetwash died the evening before, so I had to rush out and buy a new one to get the job done.

A section of rusty metal from where the fuel leak had occurred has now been cut out, ready to have new plate welded back in.

The picture shows sparks flying about inside the fuel tank as Robin cuts with the Oxy-Acetalene torch from the other side.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A new neighbour

When I was last down at Lady Jane, I found this small yellow A new neighborboat tied up in front of her.

I have no idea where it came from or who's it is. No doubt I'll find out in due course.

I'm sure it's owner is very proud of her, but it just looks so tiny against Lady Jane.

You can also just see my rib nestled up against Lady Jane's starboard side.

Finally, a big welcome to Jules and family in New Zealand. They have finally found my blog.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fuel tanks pumped

The two forward fuel tanks have now been pumped out.

After some discussion with the folks at my local chandlery, Marine Warehouse, in Fareham, I bought a Whale Gusher for just over forty pounds, less discount which I get for being an all round good chap. I suspect almost everyone gets a discount, for that feel good factor that keeps you going back, anyway they are friendly, helpful folk.

The pump turned out to be truly remarkable which, after mounting onto an off cut to help hold it down, pumped the remaining diesel from the forward tanks into the rear ones no time at all. I've no doubt at all that pump will come in useful again.

Fuel tankThe picture shows the starboard fuel tank, with it's inspection cover off. That hole is easily big enough for me to climb through to work inside the tank. I was draining the dregs from the system back into the tank, to ensure diesel did not get spilt elsewhere, just before taking this picture.

Yes, that whole thing is one fuel tank. That exposed machinery on the left is the main bilge pump, which normally sits behind a guard rail which I've removed to ease access to the tanks and bulkhead.

The next job will be to cleanup the bulkhead, and try to work out exactly what metal is good, and what needs to be cut out and replaced. Then I'll know if I only need to clean out the port tank prior to welding, or if I'll have to do both of them.

I'm hoping it will only be the one tank I'll have to jet wash, but I know, I just know, it will be both of them. I'll stink so bad after being inside those diesel tanks that I doubt Kate will let me in the house for a week.

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Friday, July 08, 2005


I'm soon going to have a massive amount of woodwork to do.

WoodworkI'm planning on different types of wood paneling in all of Lady Jane's accommodation space. This picture of what was the fish hold, and will now become cabin space, gives you an idea of the scale of the problem.

Fortunately, just this week I caught up with a friend of mine who I've not seen in a while. During conversation it turns out that he has a woodwork shop, fully loaded with all the tools, which he is happy to let me use whenever I want.

He has also promised to teach me as much as I need, to be safe and get the job done.

This offer could not have come at a better time for me. Cheers Mick, good one!

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Some people....

I just can't understand people sometimes.

Some peopleI heard this little inflatable whizzing past Lady Jane the other day, it was not so much the speed, but the fact the tide was well on it's way out and the boat was nowhere near the main channel that caught my attention.

There was nothing I could do, but watch the inevitable. Sure enough, the boat came to a sudden stop in the water as the prop hit the bottom. The people on board quickly lifted the engine and paddled back a bit, before lowering and restarting the engine then setting off back down the river at a very much slower speed.

I really don't know what was on their minds. Had they not looked at their charts? Did they check their tide tables? Did they even have any of these things? At least they had life jackets.

One day, a fair distance out in the Solent, I saw a tiny inflatable loaded up with two adults and two children, none of whom had a life jacket. They seemed completely oblivious to their dangerous situation. I quietly watched them safely back close inshore.

It was a little like watching a baby playing with a loaded gun.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fuel leak

As I could not work on the back deck, and because it looked like it might rain, I opted to get started on working on the hull from the inside, in the space which was the fish hold. It's hard to tell from the picture, but you can just see the sections I had been working on to the right of the picture.

By working, I mean I was beating back the rust with a chipping hammer, a slow, dirty, laborious job. It's quite rewarding work, as the results of my efforts are easy to see as work progresses.

Anyway, I cannot recall having a go Fuel leakat the rust on the bulkhead you can see at the top of the picture, however just as I was getting ready for lunch I was cleaning out some of the rubble I had generated when I noticed a small black patch on the bulkhead, right by the port, forward fuel tank. All I can think was the vibrations from the banging knocked off a final flake of rust, causing one of Lady Jane's main fuel tanks to be ruptured. This was the start of what turned out to be a long and messy day.

To explain, Lady Jane has four main fuel tanks, each capable of holding about eight thousand litres (2100 US gallons). I have about seven thousand litres (1850 US gallons) of fuel on board, divided roughly equally between the rear two fuel tanks. It's stored like that simply because that's where the fuel was when I bought the boat, and I've not really had any reason to change things. The point being, the two forward tanks were supposed to be empty. I know because I bolted the forward tank inspection covers in place myself.

I tried plugging the hole with the nearest, small, piece of wood, but that just made the hole bigger and the black patch was converted to a steady trickle of diesel. At this point I'm confused as the tank is supposed to be empty. Anyway I got a bigger piece of wood, no good. I then got the biggest piece I could manage and rammed that in and managed to stem, but not stop the flow.

With the flood of diesel slowed, I scrambled around and found just about every container I could and chucked them into the hold. By pulling the plug out and letting the diesel flow into my washing up bowl, I could then start filling the various containers, using the wood as a plug between fillings.

The picture was taken after the flow had ceased to a trickle and I had done a bit of siphoning (yuck) to ensure the fuel in the tank was below the level of the hole. All together I think I lost about twenty liters (5 US gallons), spilt inside the hull, and saved about eighty litres (20 US Gallons), which has been poured back into the rear tank through a makeshift filter. This does not sound much, but diesel works out at about US$ 6.00 per US Gallon here in the UK (90p per litre).

I took the inspection cover off the breached tank, about thirty big bolts, to see just how much fuel was left. I estimate there is still another two hundred liters in there, but it's in between spars that run inside the tank, and all under the level of the pipe where the diesel would normally be pumped out using the boat's fuel pumping system.

I knew the tanks had a bit of fuel in the bottom, but had not realized it was that much. Now I have several problems:

1) The remaining fuel must be pumped from the breached tank
2) There is still a big mess to clean up
3) The starboard forward tank will be in a similar state.
4) The tanks will need thorough cleaning before doing any welding
5) The bottom part of the whole bulkhead will need to be completely replaced
6) While I'm confident the rear tanks are ok, they will need careful checking.
7) The hold is not watertight so, although unlikely, a similar hole in the hull would be a disaster.

Under the circumstances, with the exception of fetching a fire extinguisher, I don't think I could have done any better. All in all you could say a bad day at the office.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Back deck progress

On Saturday I was motivated to get the whole back deck stripped of paint and rust, ready for wire brushing and priming. Sort of a catch-up after the previous Back deck progressweek's distractions.

I had been going at it with gusto for just over an hour, using my compressed air tool, when one of the old boys from the small marina across from Lady Jane complained about the noise, so I had to stop.

The picture shows the progress I've made, I'd say about 1/5 of the deck has been done so far.

That air hammer is very noisy, I understand that, but you would think a few hours on a Saturday morning would be ok. It's not as if anyone was trying to sleep or anything. Anyway, I have no desire to upset any of my neighbors, so will restrict myself to doing the noisy stuff on weekdays, where possible.

The rib benefited from my not being able to work on the back deck. It now has a new battery and the fuel tank sorted out. After a quick spin down to Portsmouth and back, then testing the voltage, it seems that all is well.

Next will be to fit some switches on the rib's console and install that bilge pump.

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Friday, July 01, 2005


Pipit is now 14 weeks old, and still growing fast.

Pipit poses

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Work on Lady Jane has ground to a halt with the advent of the rib (hbi) on Lady Jane. It's proving to be too much of a distraction.

I just had Gone fishingto take the rib out into the Solent to fish, justifying the move with the thought that I could do with the practice, and the rib's engine needs to have the cobwebs blown out. The upshot of the day was just one mackeral caught and a load of petrol wasted. It was good fun though.

Our recent experience with the rib has confirmed it needs a new battery. That will take time out of the back deck project, and it will all need testing at sea of couse.

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