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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