Thursday, May 31, 2007

Main engine

Main engineHere is Lady Jane's main engine.

If it looks huge, that's because it is.

Every now and then, about once a month or so, I give it a bit of a run to help keep the cobwebs out.

Here is a link to a video clip I've made of the engine running. The clip will load, then play. I don't how to get the clip to play immediately, so bear with me.

Asides for a recent oil change, it's been a while since I've done any work on the engine at all.

I really need to give it a good clean and a lick of paint soon.

During the last run up, I noticed that one of the air start valves has become stuck. I've got some head scratching to do while I work out how to go about fixing that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Another wet, windy weekend has meant that progress on Lady Jane has been slow, but at least not nonexistent.

ScuppersI've not managed to make any progress on the painting of the port side at all though.

The next task will be to cut round the last of the rusted through holes to good steel, then fill in the resulting hole with new plate.

While I have the burning gear out, and before painting anything, I'll also have a go at freeing up the two seized scuppers on the port side. They are supposed to swing freely, allowing seawater to flow off the deck through them.

You can see the marks where I've been beating them with progressively bigger and bigger hammers, but to no avail.

The scuppers design prevents waves from coming back in through the sides, as they should close easily with the force of the wave.

At this stage, I'm not sure if they are simply painted shut, or if rust is the issue. In any event, heating those hinges up to cherry red will resolve the problem.

I have one scupper further forward that looks like it may need replacing completely due to the rust. I'll make that decision once I have it cleaned up a little better though.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Disappearing holes

I've now welded the patches into the side of Lady Jane, to repair the holes which have rusted through.

I'm quite proud of the result:
Disappearing holes
The first step was to 'tack' the new piece in place.

The plate is then welded in, all the way around on both sides.

Everything is ground flush, so the repair job effectively becomes invisible. If my welding skills were on a par with Robin's - I would probably leave the neat welding for people to admire.

Finally the primer, to keep the rust at bay until I can get to cleaning up and re-painting the entire area properly.

There is one more patch that I've found needing repair, then after that, so far as I know, the port side of Lady Jane is all good steel.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tool time

I'd say that the one tool that's probably been used the most on Lady Jane has been my trusty little angle grinder.

Recently the 'trusty' angle grinder started playing up, like it was running on weak electricity or something.

My thought at the time was 'what a nuisance, I've not finished this job', coupled with the satisfaction of knowing I had actually managed to wear out an angle grinder.

Anyway, time for a new one.

Tool timeAfter some research I opted for this DeWalt. It has a higher wattage motor than most of the others I looked at. The bigger motor also makes it a little heavier.

The down side was it was more expensive than most of the others, but then I believe you generally get what you pay for, and I don't mind paying a bit more for good tools.

In practice, the stronger motor makes a big difference to grinding performance, plus it has a long power cord which is surprisingly handy almost immediately.

As it turned out, with the knowledge I could not make things worse, I dismantled the old one, gave it a good old clean out, re-assembled it and now the 'trusty' old angle grinder works just fine again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Spring tides

Spring tidesThe recent low spring tide reveals why it's not always safe to take a short cut on the port side of Lady Jane.

People often take this route, presumably those in the know.

From time to time though, I do see people in quite large vessels whizzing across there at all states of the tide. They should know better

I suspect it's only a matter of time before I see someone suffer the indignity of getting caught high and dry on a falling tide.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I've been welding, no surprise there.

Welding on the side of Lady Jane is a lot tougher than welding on the flat. It's when you try to do things yourself that you appreciate how good a pro like Robin really is.

The molten metal of the weld has a habit of running away, downhill, making welding new plate into the side a bit challenging.

AshtrayAnyway, by way of reassuring myself I really can weld, I decided to craft myself an 'ashtray' from bits of angle iron I've got lying about, the angle iron happens to be the remnants of the first workbench.

That sucker is not going to fall apart anytime soon!

Anyway, there is a real purpose for the 'ashtray', I've been meaning to do something about this for a while, it's to collect the tail ends of the used welding rods.

Like so many cigarette butts, they seem to litter the place and elude even the most diligent efforts to get them all cleaned up.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Arklow Rock

The recent wet, windy, weather has meant progress on Lady Jane has been slow to non existent.

OK, I know I could have worked down below on cleaning and painting the engine room, but ...

Arklow RockThe weather also cuts back on the river traffic quite significantly, though most of the commercial traffic continues.

Here you see the Arklow Rock easing herself down the river Itchen (taken a while ago).

I see from the internet that her namesake is in trouble.

There has been a distinct lack of dredgers alongside so I presume, like the Donald Redford, the adverse weather also keeps them idle.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Clean, fresh water

While on the subject of fresh water conservation.

The recent, and continuing, rains had me thinking about using rainwater for general washing and cleaning, saving the boats main water supply even more.

Fresh waterFirst off, I got a water butt and immediately tried filling it from water off of the front deck. While this worked efficiently, unsurprisingly, the water I collected is just too dirty to use for anything.

My next move will be to build a plinth for the water butt to stand on, then set about filtering the rainwater I'm collecting.

I'm thinking that Brita filters connected to the pipework somehow (probably with duct tape) will do the job with the least hassle.

I'm not after drinking water, just clean water for washing hands and stuff on the boat, so the filters should last for ages.

When it doesn't rain I could augment this supply with water brought across from the marina, if need be. That way my main water tank is kept clean and healthy, with no risk of contamination, and I have plenty of clean washing water.

Of course the best thing is for me to travel more with Lady Jane, and use the on board water maker I'm planning to buy, or fill up at places we stop in at.

Reality check - we are going nowhere until that port side is painted!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Flush header

Now Lady Jane is back in the middle of the River Itchen, conservation of the boat's fresh water supply is a keen issue.

Flush headerHere you see the header tank I set-up some time ago to provide flushing water for the throne. The biggest user of water on board by far.

All I need do is fill this with seawater from time to time, using one of the pumps I have on board.

This was the easiest, and least expensive, way of providing a saltwater flush system and thus saving fresh water on board.

If I want to I can easily switch back to the freshwater flush system, and use the boats pressurised fresh water supply, once I'm alongside some place.

So far, it has worked out surprisingly well.

Monday, May 14, 2007

There she is

There she isI've finally got around to taking a picture of dear old Lady Jane from the quay, after turning her around.

I now say, when chatting to the folks at the marina, "mine's the blue one, out there in the river".

You have no idea how good it feels to say that.

Friday, May 11, 2007

More holes

More holesThe port side has a few holes that need to be dealt with before painting starts in earnest.

The left part of the picture shows new steel being cut to fill the holes, while the images on the right show the most troublesome of the holes (they are not terribly big).

It's easy to see, from the top right image, why I'm so keen to get any welding done before starting to paint, as the process of cutting and welding makes such a mess of any paintwork.

It is true to say of the starboard side that in places the paint is thicker than the steel plate.

Hopefully, once I'm done with welding these new patches in place, the same cannot be said of the port side.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A start

A startNow I have access to the port side, the rust busting can begin.

Here you see the first section, well underway.

Fred did the initial chipping, both above and below the rubbing strake you can see there, then I set about cleaning up the surface with a wire brush.

I've not got to cleaning up the remnants of rust below that strake yet, as too much else was going on at the time.

This is all so much easier than the starboard side though.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


It's happened!

Turned roundLady Jane has now been turned round, thanks to John, the skipper, who orchestrated the whole thing first thing on Saturday.

Fred, Patch and I have found the whole orientation thing quite unnerving. Suddenly everything's back to front. For example I have to walk towards the Itchen Bridge to get another rag, rather than away.

It's quite weird, even more strange than the feeling of everything being the same, but different, after arriving from Fareham.

Anyway, look at all that work that needs doing, I can hardly wait to get at it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Small thing

Small thingIt's a small thing, I know, but nevertheless important.

Here Fred has constructed a shelf to go on top of that plinth, remnants of the fishing gear that had been cut off by previous owners.

The idea is that the shelf will protect the paintwork from the heavy 'bits' being dragged across the handrail.

The sharp edges of the fuel tank for the rib has been the biggest culprit so far.

Looking at it, I see the shelf could benefit from having edges added, to prevent hungry Neptune from consuming smaller items which could otherwise roll off.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

First stanchion done

First stanchion doneWell, that's the first one done...

The toughest part was the initial cutting of the hole in the deck. I was committed then.

The steps you see in the picture are:

  • Cut a hole in the deck, back to good steel

  • Grind the edges of the hole for subsequent welding

  • Cut and grind a plate to fit the hole

  • Cut the footer plate from a template I made (Thanks Rob)

  • Weld the new steel into the hole

  • Tea break, to let the steel cool

  • Check for defects/leaks

  • Weld in the stanchion (straight as possible)

  • Weld in the new footer plate

  • Weld the stanchion to the footer plate

  • Paint primer on the whole lot to prevent rust from setting in

  • That's the first time I've tried doing anything like that, so am quite pleased with the results. It did take almost all day though.

    Although the welds on that one are fine, I'm intending that the welding on the next one will look a lot smoother.

    Six more to go...