Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Platform repair

PlatformAnother of the before and after pictures I'm so fond of.

The top image shows the platform after the corner was crushed by the Humber Star.

The bottom shows it after the new woodwork was completed last weekend.

I know it's taken months to get this done, but the weather and all sorts of factors has caused no end of delays.

Now though, I'll be able to fetch water and work alongside again.

I'm pleasantly surprised at how well the repair has turned out - far better than I'd expected.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Scary sight

I see all sorts of unsafe stuff on the river, but this is probably the most shocking yet:

1) Count the children.

2) Count the lifejackets.

3) Count the supervising adults.

How can someone, as skipper of a boat and therefore responsible for so many kids, be so careless?

Another boater noted they didn't even have a dingy on board.

The what if's don't even bear thinking about.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keeping me honest

Keeping me honestThe picture you are looking at is of the bulkhead up in the forepeak, looking back down towards the stern of Lady Jane.

The inside view of the deck plug-in point now installed on the boat.

The point of the picture is the cable tray, and accompanying cable.

If it was not for Andy keeping me honest, I would simply have left the cable dangling, or maybe cable-tied to whatever was handy at best. One of the 'I'll do it later' jobs I'm so good at.

I know it all needs painting, but that is just the icing on top of a solid cabling job there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

White primer

White primerWhat a gorgeous weekend all round.

There's no better weather than warm sunshine, with no wind, to slap on a bit of paint.

On Saturday, between Fred and myself, we took maximum opportunity to splash it all about. Most ended up on the boat, and slightly more on Fred than on me (sorry Jenny).

A slight lapse in concentration lead to me causing more primer to be mixed than was intended.

It all worked out well though, as there's never any shortage of things to paint.

Oh, and that wine bottle you can just see on the deck there had nothing to do with my lapse of concentration. That was rescued from the river earlier.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Battery monitor

Battery MonitorAs many of you regular readers will know, I spend a lot of time fussing about my battery bank.

With good reason I justify, it's my primary source of power on board.

I often, almost obsessively, check the voltage on the battery bank. To see how it's doing given the amount of wind, or which devices are running.

Recently, I came up with the idea of creating myself a monitor, where I could automatically track the batteries voltages over time on a PC. The image you can see is the result.

The green line, at 25.6 volts is when the battery refresher starts working on my bank, so it's good to be above that.

I am quite surprised at the voltage trace over the course of a day. I had no idea that's what was actually happening to the battery.

The initial slow downward curve, with some troughs, is the battery coming down from a full charge from the previous evening, while powering the (90W) monitoring PC. The periodic troughs you see there is the fridge kicking in.

The peaks you see are from running the generator for various tasks on board during the day.

You can also see there was a bit of wind about during the afternoon there, not much, which helped the overall voltage situation.

All the jagged stuff after 16.00 is made by the heating system producing hot water for my shower later, along with the fridge at the beginning there. The very last trough is the shower room light at about 18.30 or so.

All very fascinating. Well fascinating to me anyway.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goodbye Arthur

Goodbye ArthurLast week, when I finally got on board Lady Jane, I saw all sorts of activity and lights on Arthur, who was moored astern of me.

Such activity is extremely unusual. In all the time I've been on the Itchen I've never seen anyone on Arthur.

Arthur, an ex MTB or similar, is the blue hulled boat in the middle there. The picture was taken quite late in the evening, hence the shakiness.

Some time later I heard the sound of engines running - it could have been one, or more, of Arthur's engines, or a big generator on the green hulled boat next to Arthur.

I'm told that Arthur has four powerful engines, which must have made it a pretty swift boat in it's time.

Anyway, the next morning both the green hulled boat and Arthur were gone.

Monday, September 15, 2008


PopcornAbout the only thing I ever use the microwave on board for is popcorn, which I REALLY enjoy.

For some reason, could be my lack of patience, the small generator does not seem to have enough puff to drive the microwave.

For all kinds or reasons, in the past it's been too much effort to crank up the microwave using power from the big generator.

Now though, with Andy's help, I have a 16 amp (easily upgraded to 32 amp) mains input plumbed into the forward bulkhead, under the whaleback.

Now either of the generators I have, or shore power for that matter, can be plugged directly into Lady Jane's mains power supply via the switch we installed some time ago.

The really key thing here is no more extension leads trailing through closed, supposedly watertight, steel doors.

Now it's a doddle to plug in the big generator and have sufficient power at the socket where the microwave sits.

It seems such a small thing, I know, but it's hugely significant.

Needless to say, this momentous occasion was celebrated with a freshly microwaved bag of popcorn.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Galley mess

Galley messWhat a mess.

It looks worse than it actually is, but even so the job of wiring in a mains plug for the fridge caused more than it's fair share of mayhem.

Another case of two steps forward, one step back.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Paint delivery

Paint deliveryAnther delivery of primer.

Here you see an array of tins of two pack epoxy primer from the nice people at Hempel.

For those of you who are using single pack paints like Hammerite, two pack epoxys are worth looking into. Both for the quality of the finished job and for the price you end up paying.

I personally prefer Hempel, but Jotun and International also do good stuff. I know Seb swears by International paints.

I'm using the smaller 5 litre tins, as it's a little easier for me to work with than the big 20 litre tins.

You can see I've sprayed each of the tins with blue paint, to denote primer. A quick, easy way of avoiding mixing some other type of hardener, or thinner, with the primer.

You can also see letters stencilled on the big tins, to easily identify which colour is which.

The idea is to use a first coat of red, then grey and finally a coat of white primer. This way I know exactly what has been painted and how many coats it's had.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Warning.... Smartwater

Warning.... SmartwaterAs time marches on, so I've been buying more and more tools and equipment to get the job done. Some of it pretty expensive.

As a result, when I'm away from Lady Jane I've been getting increasingly worried about being broken into, and having my tools and stuff stolen.

Which is why I finally got around to buying a Smartwater kit.

It looks like an excellent option for me:
  • It acts as a powerful deterrent. As evidenced by the warning signs you can see, which are now on all Lady Jane's doors.
  • I am more likely to get anything stolen back, because of the security coding which is unique to me.
  • It's likely to result in the conviction of any thief, or handler, caught with my stuff.
  • It should mean some kind of reduction on my insurance.
I had blogged about Smartwater back in February 2005 but, if I remember correctly, it was quite expensive then. Now it's only fourty odd quid per year, so well worth it in my opinion.

It's been interesting work gathering all my bits & pieces for dabbing.

Most stuff is now done, and certainly all the good stuff is well marked.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Foul weather

Foul weatherThe recent foul weather gives me the opportunity to catch up on internal tasks.

At last, I've made a start on building on all Andy's good work on the electrics.

Amongst so much other preparation, the key thing Andy had done on his last visit was to setup a proper mains electric distribution board.

Now, for the first time ever, I have mains sockets properly wired into where they are most needed inside Lady Jane. The picture shows a socket being installed in the wheelhouse.

The actual connections are pretty straightforward, following Andy's example. The hard part is getting the mains cables neatly through the various nooks and crannies set aside for that very purpose.

Obviously this is all very much a work in progress, until it can be checked over by someone properly qualified.

Those sockets make the place so much safer for everyone, certainly when compared to the extension leads I had snaking about the place.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weather station

 Weather stationAnother gadget.

I got this idea in my head, mainly prompted by the wind generator, to get a weather station.

Now I can tell wind speed, rainfall, temperature inside & out, humidity inside & out, and therefore wind chill and dew point (whatever that is). I suspect the rain gage is not working, though it may just be a faulty connection.

My original thinking being I could tell the wind speed, and therefore see if the wind generator was doing what it was supposed to be doing. Which it is by the way.

Actually it's been quite fascinating having this new toy.

Mostly I'm surprised at the humidity readings it's been producing. They are much higher than I would have expected.

That's the first time I've actually paid attention to humidity, as now I have some means of measuring it.

The other morning it was sitting on a very soggy 88%.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Scupper replacement

Scupper replacementThe scuppers on Lady Jane's starboard side have been in poor shape since before I bought her.

It's time do something about it, before they fall off on their own accord.

The picture shows one of the scuppers after it's been cut off and turned around, to reveal how bad things really are. The tape marks you can see, if you look closely, cover holes rusted through the plate there.

It should not be too hard to fabricate new ones, but for some reason it's been a big mental challenge for me to actually make that initial cut.

Once the job is complete, it should mean the end of those ugly rust streaks down the paintwork as well.