Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas

To all my family, friends and readers, wherever you may be, here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

The turkey is nearly done and I have a pint awaiting my attention...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dodgy pizza

Dodgy pizzaIt's my blog and I'll rant if I want to...

Look at the pepperoni on the pizza, then look at the window in the Somerfeld double pepperoni pizza box. Notice anything?

I promise I did not move anything before taking the picture.

I remember being similarly disappointed with one Somerfield's pizzas before.

Things like this put me off shopping at Somerfield.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beautiful wood

Beautiful woodThis wood cladding in the stern accommodation has so far exceeded my wildest expectations.

I was originally going to use plywood for this part, but am so pleased I did not.

Sadly, the photographs do not do it justice at all.

The beautiful curving shape in all three directions just does not show up in the pictures. I took a few to try to portray the effect, but it's just not happening.

This has truly been a team effort. Special thanks have to go to Andy, who toiled away until we were both completely exhausted.

Now I have the first part done, I'm really motivated to get going and get the rest of the panelling up now.

Once all the woodwork is done, and it's all sanded down silky smooth, I'll finish it off with a few coats of varnish.

Monday, December 17, 2007


FriendsSo I had a few friends drop by for a visit recently.

Seeing Rob, Steve, Andy and Lee again was a real pleasure, and an opportunity to utilise some willing hands to crack into a project which has been on my mind for some time - fitting the wooden 'skin' over the insulation down below.

The two main reasons for choosing this particular project being the cold wind outside, and the chop saw I had just bought as a Christmas present to myself.

Not surprisingly, none of us had any experience with a project of this nature, so after much discussion and planning we settled into it. With enthusiasm making up for any shortcomings in the knowledge department.

As it turned out, the only real difficulty was deciding the lineup of the initial horizontal planks of wood. This was done using a combination of measuring and an 'eyeballing consensus'. We had opted to start from the deckhead (ceiling) line down to the floor, as nothing else in there is really that straight anyway.

By the time we were done for the evening, we had a raft of wood 'floating' there looking somewhat akin to the Mary Rose

A meal and a few beers down the pub later rounded off an excellent day.

I'm extremely grateful for all the help. Thanks to Steve, Lee, Rob and Andy (in no particular order).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas lights

Christmas lightsSo, with Fred's help, I got the Christmas lights up on Lady Jane.

These are bigger, better, lights than last years.

Last years lights did not really show up that well from a distance, these have so much more of an impact.

The down side of the superior Christmas lights on the boat is that they drain so much more power, such that with the heating on as well I have to run the generator to keep things going.

The original plan was to just leave them on, with a timer switch. Sadly with that much power drain it's not really practical.

Ah well, always a compromise...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bow primed

Bow primedSo that's it, the rust busting on the port bow completed - at least the bits I can get to.

Here you see the bow with a first coat of primer down below, and that second coat of primer, the grey, up above.

There is still a big patch to be done that's in the shadow of the crane barge, that will need to be done after Lady Jane is turned around again.

Before I turn Lady Jane though, there is a small section of rust busting and painting to be done on the starboard stern and a tiny spot midships somewhere.

Not long now and the hull section above the waterline will all be the same colour - for the first time in years and years

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Exhaust stack

Internal workI know it doesn't look it from this picture, but this is one of those jobs that now, having done it, I find myself thinking 'I should have done that ages ago'.

I am referring to the straightening up, and putting back in place, the internal side of the exhaust stack.

It took a fair amount of 'persuasion' to get the steel back into position, initially using a chain block, then lengths of stout wood and finally a few firm blows with a hammer.

To be honest, I have no idea why the previous owners had undone it as they did, still it's all back together now and welded in place.

Once the whole lot has had a few coats of white paint, the place will be completely transformed.

Monday, November 26, 2007


SunsetSunday evening, after what was a long day slogging away over the side on the hull, I looked up and noticed this wonderful sunset.

Seeing this really buoyed me up no end, pity the camera does not do it real justice.

Anyway, the point is that this serves as a reminder as to what it's all about.

Being on board Lady Jane seems to bring me so much closer to the elements, and of course the wildlife around.

A lifestyle I really enjoy.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Paint experiments

Paint experimentsPaint has two functions - to make Lady Jane look good and, more importantly, to keep the rust at bay.

I'm continuing my paint experiments with various combinations of paint to try to find a happy medium between ease of application, price of paint and the longevity of the job once it's done.

I've discovered the bitumen paint works great for protecting against rust, but is messy to work with and tends to go dull after it has been in the sun for a while.

The big advantage of bitumen paint is that it's very cheap, however it's not practical to paint anything else straight over it without some kind of 'insulating' coat. By chance I found Rustroy seems to do this rather well.

Here, on the legs of the gallows, I'm trying a few coats of some cheap primer and will coat that with regular outdoor paint from my local hardware store - just to see how this compares with the coats I've put on elsewhere.

I'm planning on testing some of the very expensive primer I bought on the deckhead you can see in the top right hand side of the picture, as this is constantly under attack from condensation in the cold weather.

The learning never stops.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Inside work

Inside workSo the weather has not been too kind again this last weekend.

It's an opportunity to get going with some of the works inside again.

Here you can see a gap inside, by the shower room, that needs welding shut.

I have no idea why it's like that in the first place, but now with central heating installed it's suddenly become a priority.

It's such a pleasure being warm in there, so now I'm taking all reasonable steps to ensure the place is insulated properly.

No point in having a chilly draft coming in the place after a nice hot shower, is there?

Friday, November 16, 2007


ChangeFor keepsake I wanted to have a picture of the old and the new together.

As I said, I'm going to dine out on this small 'victory' for a while now.

It's amazing to me how relatively quickly this side has been done so far, considering both the man hours and elapsed time in comparison to the effort on the starboard side.

No time to rest on my laurels though - there's so much more to do.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Water pump

Water pumpAlong with the big stuff going on, there is the inevitable maintenance work to do as well.

This poor water pump has been demanding attention for the last few weeks, making it's presence felt with a loud knocking noise every time it runs.

Essentially all I need to do from time to time is to tighten the large nut at the back when it starts leaking, then periodically replace the packing inside.

I'm pleased to say I've finally got around to getting it all sorted out now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A big step

A big step

Ok, it's not often that I post bigger pictures here, because of download times, but in this case I think it's justifiable.

What a dramatic change after a mornings work for Fred and myself.

Yup, that's the port side you see all blue there.

Don't break out the champagne just yet though as there's still big section I'm working on up at the bow, and a section in the shape of the shadow of the crane barge that needs doing.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Engine room work

Engine room worksThere is nothing like a coat of white paint to brighten things up.

The freshly white back walls in Lady Jane's engine room demonstrate that fact very clearly.

Most of this work is down to Fred, who has cheerfully set about the task in hand. Make no mistake, this is a slow and surprisingly physically demanding job.

As the place improves, so I'm more motivated to keep going with the painting.

The results make the engine room a so much better place to be in than it ever was.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Those of you who read this blog regularly will notice a distinct lack of postings recently.

The reason is simply that I've been away.

Normal service will resume shortly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Detail work

Detail workThe painting on the hull is actually a relatively quick process, for such a dramatic overall improvement.

Now with the big stuff on the hull well underway, my eye is naturally drawn to the other areas of Lady Jane that are suddenly crying out for attention.

That stuff has always needed doing, it's just that as the big stuff gets finished so more and more of the smaller stuff shows up as needing doing.

It's the smaller stuff, the detail, that really takes the time, but it's that which really makes the whole.

Take painting that piping on deck for example, things just look so much better there all of a sudden, now it's painted red.

Now I'm not going all negative or anything here, just reminding myself that there is still so much left to do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Painting progress

Painting progressThe recent spelll of good weather has meant huge progres on the painting front.

Here you see a coat of grey up on Lady Jane's port bow.

That bald patch down the bottom there really stands out now doesn't it?

Not long now and I'll get to rust bust that section as well.

Getting an initial coat of primer on has to be the most satisfying of all the painting jobs on the boat, asides maybe for that final coat of finishing paint.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wheelhouse radiator

Wheelhouse radiatorThere is still work to do on the heating system, something I suppose will never be finished until the whole boat is properly done throughout.

Here you see the wheelhouse radiator in the process of being plumbed in.

You can see the relative sizes of the old, gas, heater and the new radiator.

That gas heater could only just keep the place warm, so I'm expecting great things of the new radiator.

I got the new radiator all mounted, all the pipe work plumbed in and routed down to the main feed for the central heating, then realised I was short one tee piece to connect the whole lot together.

Doh! Ah well, Just one more thing to finish off.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bow rust busting

Bow rust bustingSo with the painting well underway at the stern, the rust busting and cleaning up at the bow end has begun in earnest.

Here you see the entire top section on the port side of the bow has now been cleaned up, and is ready for that all important primer.

This does not look like that much, but I recall how long this all took on the starboard side, as that area is deceptively huge.

Reach was always a problem before, which explains the step you can see by the way, though this time around the crane barge has been of enormous help.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lady Jane grey

Lady Jane greyAnother coat of primer - this time grey.

A while ago I inadvertantly discoverd that Hempel do both a grey and a white coloured primer. That coupled with a comment from Seb, from Wendy Ann II, has changed the way I paint the primer onto Lady Jane slightly.

Now I'll put down an initial coat of white primer, followed by a coat of grey then another coat of white. The idea being I can always tell exactly where I've been with successive coats of primer.

Where patches of rust bleed through, I can then dab these patches with grey and follow that up with a second coat of white, to make sure I have a good coating over the whole lot before I put the finishing coat on top.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Robin welds

Robin weldsWith the rust busting at the stern completed, attention now turns to the bow.

Here you see Robin putting the finishing touches to the plate he welded in in January.

I know I've been doing some welding for myself, but when it comes to doing a proper job there's nothing like getting an expert in.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A big jump

A big jumpWhat can I say?

Even I find myself amazed by the sight of white primer down to the waterline all the way to the blue painted section at the stern.

You can also just see Fred up the ladder there, tidying up the mess I made installing the rain cowl.

Got to get those layers of primer on, before the rust can get back in there.

I feel another dose of painting coming on...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Whaleback painting

Whaleback paintedSo there you see a first coat of finishing paint on the whaleback and rails.

It's always so amazing to me to see the difference a coat of paint makes to the overall look of Lady Jane.

All the hard work in preparation is soon forgotten when you see the results.

I'll have to keep a long pole on board to fend off potential passengers trying to board, thinking Lady Jane is a cruise ship about to depart for the Med!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Rain cowl

Rain CowlSo that's the rain cowl for the central heating system finally welded in.

I think the picture came out looking quite good in the end.

The fact that the rain cowl was put in at all was all down to Fred's encouragement. Left to my own devices, I would have sloped off for an afternoon nap!

I had originally planned to just bolt it on, not having the confidence to weld that thin stainless steel plate.

In the end, the steel where the rain cowl was to go turned out to be overplated (new steel simply welded over rusty steel below), so I had little option but to weld the cowl in place.

Bolting it would not have worked at all as it would never have made a proper seal against the rain etc.

Next I'll need to seal the joins in the rest of the pipework with silicone sealer, and put in a series of self tapping screws to hold the lot securely in place.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


HovercraftSo this hovercraft came past the other day.

No it's not the start of a joke, it really did swing by past Lady Jane.

Now piloting that looks like a load of fun to me, though I'm not sure what the fuel bill must be like.

I've always found hovercraft to be fascinating.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another radiator

Another radiatorSo I've got another radiator plumbed in.

This one is in the galley.

It was originally going to be under the table, but when I rested it temporarily to the side there it just seemed to make perfect sense to mount just where it was.

It won't be long before we are grateful for this warmth in the galley.

Next will be the radiator in the wheelhouse.

Monday, October 01, 2007

More templating

More templatingHere Fred practices his templating skills, making a template for the deckhead ply 'skin'.

Fred insists on wearing that hard had when working inside, as he keeps on cracking his head on the steel beams you can see.

All this work is directly related to the central heating system installation on board, as I don't see the point of heating a space without making a reasonable effort to insulate it.

This inside work is on account of more miserable weather down Southampton way again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Arklow Rally

Arklow RallyA big fish in a small pond.

The Arklow Rally dwarfs all the boats on the river as she makes her way up to the scrap metal yard further up the river.

You can just see a tug in attendance on her port side there.

I wonder how long it will be before we see her sister, the Arklow Raider, up this way?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mad Mariner

I've made it to the big time, with an article that I wrote for Mad Mariner magazine published today.

It's interesting to read my story after what seems to be a considerable amount of editing work.

I suspect my original authoring took far less time than the editing for the finished product.

I'm not sure that my overall enjoyment of the whole experience, and satisfaction for the things I have achieved came over all that well.

Oh and apologies to Robin who didn't get the credit he deserves, I didn't see the completed story until after it was published. All the cutting and welding of the big section of plate below the water line was done by him.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Barge conversion

HouseboatWell it's one way of instantly converting a barge into a floating home, this just a short distance down the river from where Lady Jane is moored.

At least this method skips all the messy work below decks, and provides a house on the water with almost no effort at all.

Coming out the front door of a morning seems fraught with all kinds of problems though.

I must say, this would be ideal for living in while actually doing a conversion. Oh the pleasure of somewhere clean, dry and warm to live while all the dirty work is being done.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Insulated wall

Insulated wallThe forecast for the weekend was not that great, so it was an opportunity to crack on with inside projects.

In the event it hardly rained at all, so I feel I wasted a bit of an opportunity to work outside on the hull. Anyway there is no shortage of things to do, inside or out.

Here you see the progress so far with finishing the insulated wall where I've put the radiator.

There is still the window frame to go in and the insulated piece of the deckhead (ceiling) to complete.

A final lick of paint or two will have this place looking like new.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Whaleback paint

This picture turned out much better than I was expecting.

Whaleback paintingNote the red oxide primer around the edges of the deck there. This is the start of a lick of 'beauty paint' on Lady Jane.

The idea being to just slap paint onto Lady Jane, with the minimum of preparation, in the places where it's likely going to be a while before I get around to doing it properly.

This way Lady Jane looks a lot better quicker, and helps preserve what is already there to some extent.

I know I'll have to rust bust this space properly, at some point, but at least it doesn't look so bad in the meantime.

Also John would prefer Lady Jane to look good when he takes her out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rust busting

Rust bustingThe hot water and central heating system is now in and working, though not complete yet (flue rain cowl and more radiators to do).

Anyway, with the immediate hot water issues out of the way, attention is now focused back on rust busting the hull.

The picture shows progress at the stern. Here you can see that I've rust busted the top section all the way back to the newly painted bit at the stern.

The observant amongst you will also note the progress I've made, with Fred's help, getting a coat of white primer a good way towards the stern.

I'm motivated to finish off rust busting the rest of this stern section, down as far as I can reach towards the waterline, and just need some co-operation from the weather,

Monday, September 17, 2007

Farewell QE2

So we took a special trip down to Southampton Water, to see the Queen Elizabeth 2 off on her 40th anniversary round Britain cruise.

Farewell QE2

In the picture you can see the spray from the monitors of the tug leading the QE2. Look at all those people on board.

Quite some sight to see from way down there in the rib (hbi).

In November next year she will be retired off to Dubai, to become a floating hotel. I bet that last yoyage will have a big send off from Southampton.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Diesel connected

Diesel connectedSo connecting up the diesel is the second from last piece of this huge jigsaw puzzle that is the heating system.

The brass dome you can see on the diesel line, before the filter, is an overheat shutoff. It is connected to a sensor which is positioned above the boiler. In the event of a fire, it will shut off the diesel supply to the boiler.

The last piece to go in is, of course, the flue.

I just could not wait, and so briefly fired up the system without the flue.

To my amazement, and delight, the burner worked just fine first time.

I could not run it for long as, even though well ventilated, the engine room was filling up with fumes.

Obviously this is now a big motivation to get that flue in and sealed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Radiator in

Radiator inOn the continuing saga of the central heating system installation...

My first radiator is now plumbed in. You can see work in progress in the picture.

I'll leave plumbing in the other radiators for wet days, as this one is enough to test the rest of the system.

I'm just conscious of how many sunny days have been lost to installing this central heating and hot water system.

For hot showers on board and the comfort of a warm, dry boat I'm convinced this time spent, at the expense of working on painting the hull, is worthwhile though.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


BatteriesSo I've spent a fair old while fussing with my battery bank just recently.

What prompted this has been the new central heating system.

It turns out that the central heating system will only run off of a pure sine wave inverter, not just any old inverter.

Inverters convert battery power, in my case 24V DC, into mains electric power, 230 V AC here in the UK.

My current inverter is a pseudo sine wave inverter. So called because the power it produces is not exactly the same as mains electrify, rather a rough version which is good enough for most electrical devices. They are also cheaper than pure sine inverters.

Anyway, I had to splash out on a new pure sine inverter, so turned to Sterling Power who have done me proud in the past.

While on Sterling Power's web site I also stumbled across their Battery Refresher, which sounded just the ticket for my poor old battery bank.

The battery refresher apparently rejuvenates batteries by removing the sulphate build up on battery plates. This build up is the reason batteries no longer hold their charge, which is exactly the problem I believe have.

My time was spent on giving the battery bank a good clean, and pumping charge into the batteries so the battery refresher could work, as it needs 12.8V to run. Something the batteries can only do with the aid of plenty of wind, or the generator, at the moment as they don't hold their charge. I am hoping this de-sulphation unit will resolve this issue.

I know I need a second unit for my 24V battery bank, but my empty wallet dictates at present.

I'm also lusting after a power management panel and a 230 volt crossover switch from Sterling, as they sound just the job for a quality boat such as Lady Jane.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Welder gone

Old welderSo the welder I extracted from the depths of the engine room, to make room for the central heating system, has finally gone.

For the princely sum of £10.00 (US$ 20.00 or so).

Good luck to the guy who bought it, then drove five hours down to Southampton from North Wales to fetch it.

Apparently it's destined for Zambia, Africa.

I really hope he gets it running without too much trouble. The guy did promise to let me know, so if I get any news I'll pass it on.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Andrew visits

LaunchesI had the pleasure of welcoming Andrew Tognola, from the Strathspey II, on board Lady Jane on Saturday.

Andrew arrived just in time to miss a rather impressive parade of launches, such as the ones you see in the picture, making their way up the River Itchen.

After the obligatory tour, we spent a while comparing notes on our various projects.

It is obvious that, although we have many common problems, Andrew has some very different challenges to me.

Update: It looks like the motor yachts in the picture may have been from a Rampart Owners Club outing.

Friday, September 07, 2007

St Anthony and Newfoundland

An email from Tony, who I met when I was in St Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada, prompted me to write this rather belated post on St Anthony and Newfoundland.

Water bomberTony had sent me this picture of a retired water bomber which has recently arrived in St Anthony, seen just down the road from his house.

Also note the cruise ship lurking in the background there.

Newfoundland is a unique place, the half hour timezone difference to the rest of the eastern seaboard gives a clue here, and one which I certainly look forward to visiting again. Maybe next visit I'll also be able to make it to Labrador as well.

The one thing that really stood out for me was the concept of the crown lands there. It seems that the local residents are entitled to arbitrarily put in vegetable gardens along the side of the road, in what is crown land, so as to grow their own vegetables. Potatoes being the most common.

Apparently the soil is best along the side of the road, as it accumulates there. The gardens are denoted by rough fences, which are constructed to keep the moose out as they graze on the vegetation gowning on that same rich roadside soil. Moose are a real hazard for drivers at night in this part of the world.

The gardens are interspersed with log piles as apparently locals can also cut wood for their personal needs from the surrounding countryside that is crown land.

I was also told how, for a small application fee, residents can be granted space to build themselves a log cabin in the woods.

Except for the harsh, cold, winters where even the sea freezes over, this sounds almost idyllic.

There is, of course, much more to St Anthony and Newfoundland. For example, I always find myself thinking of the early explorers and the like when visiting such remote places. Wilfred Grenfell is just one of these characters who is famous in those parts.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Heating wiring

Heating wiringSo that's the wiring for the heating system and it's various sensors and controls all connected up.

Andy, before you have a heart attack, I promise I'll label them all and tidy the cables up with the new cable ties I just bought (I then almost immediately found the missing cable ties I already had).

The wiring has proved to be relatively straightforward, with that 'pre programmed' junction box making life a lot easier than it otherwise could have been.

I must say I've blindly followed the directions, and have not yet taken the time to sit down and logically work through how the whole lot works for myself. Though I may never get round to doing that.

I've not switched the system on yet, wanting to get the diesel piping connected and at least the first radiator dressed and plumbed in first.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Beautiful yacht

I so love just sitting on deck, chilling out and watching life go by.

Beautiful boatOccasionaly a boat goes by that really stands out from the crowd.

This yacht is just one such example. Something really special, and obviously either very well cared for or brand new.

The photo does not really do it justice, as that wooden hull simply gleams.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Radiator installation

So I knew I had to install a radiator in the space above the engine room, by the shower room, what I had not thought through was just how I would do it.

Radiator installationBefore starting this phase of the boat central heating installation, I had that all too familiar dawning realisation that things were not going to be all that straightforward.

I first had to put in battens and insulation, covered by plywood and then painted before I could finally mount the radiator.

No point in just hanging the radiator on an un-insulated outside wall is there?

I know me. If I don't do a job properly the first time, it will be forever before it finally does get done. If ever.

Obviously there is more insulation and panelling to go in, but that can be done later.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Putting it all together

So the job of installing the boiler, pressure unit and hotwater tank is done.

Putting it togetherAs you can see in the picture, the system is pressurised so things all appear to be ok there.

I know the Speedfit plastic pipes look a little squiffy. With 10/10ths hindsight, I should have bought some straight lengths of pipe so everything looked smart. No matter, it all works just fine.

The next tasks are to plumb in the radiators and wire up the various controls to the boiler. After that will be the diesel feed and the exhaust to fit and the job should be done.

In the meantime, I've had a hot shower from the new hot water tank using the immersion heater I've wired up.

So far so good.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A delivery

My new central heating system arrived in a huge box, much to the disgust of the TNT delivery guy who had to get it off his truck and to the front door.

A deliveryAfter a flurry of unpacking, here's what I got from the nice folks at Harworth Heating.

The core of the system is the 17.5KW diesel fired boiler you can see in the front there. This should be more than enough to keep Lady Jane cosy and warm this winter, with plenty of hot water for showers.

To that pile needs to be added piping, connectors, valves, wiring etc. etc. to make the whole thing work.

I've never done anything like this before, so anything could happen.

Oh yes, and I'll need a flue for the exhaust gas.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cormorant fishing

So I stumbled out onto deck first thing in the morning, with a cup of tea, to be greeted with the sight of a cormorant (or great cormorant to Cormorant fishingbe more precise) wrestling with a rather large fish.

That poor fish was putting up a big struggle, time enough for me to dash in and get my camera.

It took a while for the cormorant to subdue the poor fish then, in one gulp, the fish was gone down the cormorant's neck.

When it got around to it, that bird had to take a good run up on the Itchen's surface to get itself up into the air again, off to dry it's wings on a nearby buoy.

A pretty amazing sight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


PlinthHere is the plinth that the central heating system will sit on.

This picture was taken after I'd finished welding it in place, but before cleaning it up and giving it a touch of primer to protect the steel.

I'm quite proud of how this turned out, as I think fabricating this up is an achievement for me in it's own right.

This will provide a solid base for the central heating boiler and the hot water tank to sit on.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Engine work

While Andy was working away on the wiring, assisted by Patch, I got stuck into the air start problem on the main engine.

Engine workAs ever, things are never as straightforward as they first seem.

In this case I had to take the diesel injector off before I could get to the air start mechanism, then I had to take off the instrument panel so as to get to one of the nuts right at the bottom there.

Anyway, the air start valve is free, but looks like it could do with some adjustment. I'm not sure what happened to the underlying spring there.

I'll also need to get some valve grinding paste, to make sure that valve is seated properly in the future.

I'm learning lots as I go.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Watch this space

So the central heating plan is starting to take shape.

Watch this spaceHere Patch worked hard at cleaning up the space where the new boiler and hot water tank will eventually go.

In the meantime, I removed what was an old belt driven welding machine which had been lying there for quite some time with it's insides hanging out.

I have no idea if the welder ever did work, but it's on eBay now so I'll see what happens.

Anyway, it's a good sized space that I can use for the heating system there.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wired Andy

The spell of awful weather continues to dog progress outside.

AndyStill it's a chance to get some of those inside projects rolling.

Andy, who you can see lolling about on the wheelhouse floor, spent the day tracing the wiring from the stern and galley through to the switches in the wheelhouse.

You could do worse things than idling away some time looking at the collection of Andy's pictures over on his website.

This patient work is going to pay dividends, as much of the wiring has been summarily cut back without so much as a note to say what it used to feed.

One of the first advantages of knowing where everything goes will be a light in the head (toilet). Now we know where the wire terminates, the job to get it connected up to the 24v system should be fairly straightforward.

In the not too distant future, I see outside lights and all sorts being connected up....

For those of you who are really interested, I've put pictures of the electrical wiring and switches etc. here in Flickr. The pictures were posted mostly for Andy's reference for when he starts to draw up that all important wiring diagram from the copious notes he took.

I haven't told Andy about the wiring in the engine room yet!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hot water

Solving the freshwater water supply problem has had an interesting side effect....

Immediately before leaving Fareham, my gas fired water heater had finally gave up the ghost. Asides for the timing, it was not something I was terribly unhappy with as it struggled to heat water sufficiently for a decent shower anyway. Especially in winter.

Hot waterTo get around the immediate problem of the dead heater, with Malcolm's help, I installed a hot water cylinder which could be heated with an immersion heater or a central heating boiler.

The 2.3KW immersion heater obviously sucks a lot of power.

As part of conserving water on board we have been showering ashore at the marina where the rib is kept, so water heating has not really been an issue.

Now showering on board is possible, and preferred, I need to run the big generator to heat the water. This is not a problem if I need to use a generator anyway, but otherwise seems noisy and a hassle for everyone, especially on what would otherwise be quiet and peaceful evenings.

Thinking forwards to winter, now seems the perfect time to get my diesel fired heating system installed. This should mean no more noisy generator running before shower time, assuming the central heating system pump etc. will be able to run off of my battery bank, and a warm, dry boat for the winter.

Co-incidentally, it has been almost exactly a year since I was last at this juncture.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big push

As you know, I have been plodding away at rust busting on the port side.

Big pushHere you can see where I've been making progress towards the stern, with the help of Willcarry 1.

The plan right now is for a big push, to rust all the way to the painted blue patch you can see right at the stern.

What I'm thinking is to join up the top section, the easy bit, then work my way forwards down by the waterline later in the day.

It's usually calmer later in the day, with little or no boat traffic, so hopefully working at the waterline should mean I remain relatively dry.

It doesn't look like much to do, but experience has shown there is a deceptive amount to cover there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


WorkbenchMy poor, long suffering, workbench has been resuscitated.

It took some friendly persuading with a lump hammer and a quick bzzt or so with the welder.

All is now well again, as you can see in the picture.

The plan is I'll need this workbench to put all my tools and things on whenever I'm working standing on the platform.

The reason being that the boats that whizz by often make a big wash, which can slop over the top of the platform. Not good when I'm using power tools, obviously.

The workbench will also be useful for shipping stuff across by platform where the stuff should not get wet.