Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy new year

All that's now left is for me to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

LED glow

LED GlowAn update on my LED 'project' is well overdue.

As you can see from the picture taken yesterday, the LED is still going strong. Though it's not as bright as it was initially.

It's now over five month's solid that light has been on, using the same set of batteries.

I'd never have believed it would last as long as it has, and with more to go...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


GooduckenHere's the main component of our Christmas lunch.

Gooducken - Goose, duck and chicken. This was to feed six.

Along with roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, roast parsnips, brussel sprouts, peas, carrots, bread sauce and, of course, gravy, this made for a fine Christmas meal.

Did I mention copious amounts of champagne and other sundry liquid pleasures?

All very much appreciated by everyone.

Not much of the gooducken left, though there is still some of the Christmas eve ham still kicking about... Not for long I suspect.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

Here's wishing one and all a very happy Christmas, wherever you are and whatever your situation.

May all your wishes come true.

Here we have the food and booze in, and are getting geared up for what looks set for a brilliant Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wikileaks - what's the point?

Are we supposed to applaud the recent wikileaks 'cablegate'?

I, for one, do not, and feel this will have long reaching, and unintended, consequences. None of them positive.

It seems to me that the thinking behind releasing hundreds of thousands of supposedly secure US Embassy diplomatic cables by wikileaks is fundamentally flawed.

To release them and not hide sensitive names and information is plainly ludicrous for all kinds of obvious reasons, not least of which is humanitarian.

To release them, but subjectively redact information renders the cables and the wikileaks people pretty much superfluous.

We are now left to read cables and cable contents that the wikileaks people think we should be allowed to read - so far as I can see that's not much different to leaving the US government to decide what should be public or not, though the US government is likely to be better informed on the sensitivity of these diverse issues.

Besides, who's to say that the cables have not been doctored in some other way as part of the release process?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Last night, at 23:38, was the exact time of the winter solstice for us folks in the northern hemisphere. Summer solstice for you lucky people down there in the southern part.

It says so in the Astronomy picture of the day website, so it must be true.

It never really occurred to me that the solstice would occur at an exact time, but I suppose it makes sense if you think about it.

Actually if you look in Wikipedia, they have more information on it that you would ever actually want to read, unless you are either really keen or bored.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Wintry roadStill no boat news.

The cold and unpredictability of the weather more or less dictated I should not go down to Lady Jane during the weekend.

That inevitably means a few more non boat posts here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So simple

It often seems it's the simple things that make the most difference.

Ever since I've owned a digital camera, I've struggled somewhat with copying pictures from the camera or it's card.

The issue has been one of sheer tediousness, and the potential for missing pictures.

I have to go to the directory where the pictures are stored, then find the highest number image I've saved.

I then have to go to the camera or camera card directory, find the number after the highest copied.

I then have to highlight the un-copied pictures and drag/drop them into their final destination directory.

It's not difficult, I know, but tedious. I also suspect that I'm not the only one struggling with this.

While doing something else earlier, it suddenly occurred to me that I could knock up a program to do this job for me.

In fact, the program lists all the files in a destination directory, defined just once on the camera/card, and copies all the files that are on the camera/card that have not already copied.

Suddenly, this task is quick and easy - I should have done this years ago.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Robin dropping in for a snackThere is not much happening on Lady Jane at the moment, mostly because of the weather.

It's that time of the year when things seem so damp and miserable.

No boat action gives me the opportunity to blog about other stuff for a while.

Here is our 'tame' robin, dropping in for an early morning snack of meal worms.

This robin is often seen close-by when we are in the garden. I think it likes the company.

In the mornings he will often stand there, with me sitting close by, chirping merrily away.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Split 3

Split 3Here Split 3 makes her way up the River Itchen, past Lady Jane, on a Friday evening.

Split 3 is a regular visitor to these parts.

This emphasises a big difference I've learned between coastal shipping in the US and shipping here - known as short sea I believe.

In the US, because of the way the rules and regulations work, Split 3 would probably be a barge, with a separate tug to push it.

Here, in the UK, it's more normal to see small coasters or vessels like this, with no tug in attendance.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Skip boat

Skip boatSome time ago, when I was planning on getting rid of the wood from my deck, Rob suggested I float a skip across the river, fill it, then float it back again.

I think you guys in the US call skips dumpsters? I'm not sure.

At the time, I was taken with the concept. Not that I intended to do it though, on account of the dire risk of the thing tipping over and sinking.

The consequences and subsequent clean-up effort would have been unthinkable.

Today though, when I arrived on board Lady Jane, I saw this skip in the water just down the river from me (right there in the middle of the picture).

I thought that was just too priceless a photo opportunity to miss!

Thursday, December 02, 2010


CisternI swear, in total I've spent more time on this toilet than almost any other single thing on the boat.

It's forever giving problems, and usually at the worst possible times.

Captain Bob, who travelled with us a while on the Wanderbird, says he is going to write a book about marine toilets and the problems he's had. At least I'm not the only person suffering.

The setup I have is, I think, very simple. I pump seawater up to a header tank above the toilet. This water can then flow into the cistern in a similar fashion to a normal household toilet.

What could possibly go wrong?

The disconnected white pipe you can see is the freshwater feed, for when I'm alongside and water is in plentiful supply. The wooden block is to hold the broken flusher mechanism in place.

Anyway, I quickly learned that if I let the header tank run dry, I'd get fine silt into the cistern as soon as the header started to fill and the silt got stirred up.

I know a simple filter would most likely fix this, but I've never got around to doing it.

The silt either blocked the filler mechanism, meaning there was no water for the next flush, or prevented a seal being made after someone flushed, meaning all the water from the header would then leak out.

The toilet inlet mechanism had eventually got so full of silt that it took ages to fill the cistern between flushes, then causing blushes.

The silt situation got slowly worse until the inevitable running dry of the header and subsequent complete blockage of the filler mechanism, despite 'gentle persuasion' with the handy piece of wood.

After a spell of bucket flushing, I finally managed to put in a brand new filler mechanism. A better one which should not be as affected by silt. After that and because I'd bought the parts online, I keep getting ads for plumbing supplies and toilet flushers when I visit some of my regular sites. Like I really need reminding of this!

A few weeks after fixing the filler, the pump I use to fill the header tank went on the blink. Standing in the freezing cold cussing some, although satisfying, did not help the situation one bit.

Now, with it being at or below freezing on board, the water in the filler pipes will have frozen - thus forcing me back to using a bucket to flush when I'm next down there.

Ahh, this glamorous millionaires boating lifestyle....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


WeatherNow all the travel is over, and I've had a chance to recover from the jet lag, you would expect things to be getting back to normal here.


It seems the weather has other ideas.

Suddenly, over the weekend, it's got really cold here - just on or below freezing during the day.

With icy patches on deck, and the prospect of snow on the horizon, it's hard to muster the enthusiasm to get back to the rust busting the deck project.

Or any projects on board for that matter, with it being so cold.

Here you see Fred posing, just before he starts his journey home. Potentially through ice and snow, which we are not good at handling here in the UK

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Home at last

For those of you who don't know, I'm home again, at last.

As a matter of interest, the LED I've been blogging about is still shining brightly!

It's been a very slow weekend for me, as I've always found travelling back from the US hard jet-lag wise. Consequently I spent most of the weekend recovering from my adventure (read sleeping) & managed no work on board.

For now, I'm still playing catchup at work, so am somewhat busy right now.

Normal posting will resume shortly, as things get back to normal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


TugsterLife is so strange, you could not make some of this stuff up!

Here you see Will, aka Tugster, at work in one of his New York 'offices'. This one has a canteen just a few doors away which served us a fine lunch.

I've been following Tugster's blog off and on for the last three or four years now and, likewise, Tugster has been following mine, with occasional comments.

It seemed rude to go to New York, and not to let Tugster know I'd be arriving on Wanderbird.

With emails back and forth, and phone calls the day before arriving, Tugster was at Hell Gate to welcome us into New York with a big cheery wave as we steamed past.

The next day, Tugster took me to a few of his favourite ship/tug spotting locations, where we hung out watching the shipping world go by. Great fun - thanks for the hospitality Will.

Tugster has produced some fine posts on Wanderbird, here and here.

If you follow boats, and tugs in particular, his blog is worth checking into, as he posts regularly.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Queen Mary 2 in New York

In New YorkThe Wanderbird was tied up at a place called Atlantic Basin, in New York.

During the early morning on the day following our arrival, the Queen Mary 2 arrived just over the way from us.

A few minutes walk provided the perfect photo opportunity, with the Statue of Liberty framed under the bow of the Queen Mary 2.

It shouldn't do, but it was a bit weird for me to see the Queen Mary 2 there. Just like being in Southampton docks again.

Like so much I've experienced with boats - I again had that feeling of things being the same, but different.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New York

New YorkHere we are on the Wanderbird, cruising down New York's East River towards Atlantic Basin, where we will tie up alongside Cape Race.

For those regular readers, I know this post is a little late. I can only blame Barry, the barman at a most unusual pub, The Bait & Tackle, here in Red Hook, New York.

As we were travelling through New York, right by Manhatten, all the passengers and crew had big grins on their faces.

That last streach of our journey easily surpassed all expectations I had of arriving in New York by boat like that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Next stop - New York

NewtownHere's the Wanderbird, neatly tucked in alongside a fishing wharf in Newport, Rhode Island.

We got in fairly late last night, but not so late as to miss last orders at the Black Pearl, just a few hundred yards from where we were tied up.

This mornings departure was somewhat tinged with sadness as we said goodbye to new friends Steve and Dianna and the larger than life couple that are Bruce and Sheila from 7-C's Charters.

Such is the nature of boating it seems, always saying farewell to friends new and old.

Right now, as I post this, we are just entering Long Island Sound.

If all goes according to plan, we should be hitting the approach to New York sometime around dawn.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Through the Cape Cod Canal

Cape Cod Canal

Live, right now, we have just called up on the radio and cleared ourselves out of the west side of the Cape Cod Canal, now in buzzards bay.

The whole day has been sunshine, no wind and pleasantly warm - especially when sat out on deck in the afternoon sun.

The wonderful weather and pleasant companionship on board the Wanderbird completely cancels out the miserable cold and the lumpy seas of the last few days.

We steamed down from Gloucester yesterday afternoon and evening, after a few hours wait for the seas to settle down somewhat.

It looks like it's going to be good weather and calm seas all the way through to New York Now. Tugster, we are on our way!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another day in Gloucester

Gloucester from the WanderbirdWe are still here in Gloucester.

The picture you see is as of right now, while writing this blog entry.

While it looks sunny and warm, it's actually very windy and cold out.

Gloucester is very much the centre of a lot of US maritime history, including the perfect storm.

In fact we drank at the very bar that was part of the whole story. This gives you all somewhat of a clue as to why I did not post yesterday!

If the forecast stays accurate, we will most likely be leaving here tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Gloucester - twin lighthouses

Twin lighthouses Glouchester.jpgThis was a welcome sight for many of us on the Wanderbird this morning.

We sailed all night through some pretty rough seas, which persisted for the entire twenty or so hours of steaming all the way down from Rockland, where we had taken on some diesel yesterday afternoon.

After an initial delay due to cooling problems, the engine did not miss a beat the entire way.

As before, when travelling on the Wanderbird I find myself thinking there is no reason Lady Jane can't be doing the same thing.

We are now snug inside Gloucester harbour, and are likely to be holed up here for the next few days on account of the weather.

By all accounts, this is not a bad place to be stuck, as there is plenty to see and do hereabouts.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The start of an adventure

Wanderbird in BelfastHere you see the Wanderbird, nestled in her home port of Belfast, Maine, USA.

Right now, I'm sitting high up in the wheelhouse - dashing out this blog entry!

The sense of excitement is slowly building here on board.

In a few hours, we set off for Rockport, for fuel, then onwards in easy stages down to New York.

Our actual destination today really depends on the weather, and the sea state, as it was pretty windy last night.

As captain Rick says, safety is everything.

It is such fun to be back on board the Wanderbird, with friends both new and old.

More on this great adventure as it unfolds..

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Work has been a bit mad, so no time for me to post.

I can tell you that the LED is still going strong. That's more than three months solid it's been lit now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Central heating upgrade

Central heatingIt's time for an upgrade to the central heating system.

The wheelhouse does not stay as warm as the rest of the heated areas of the boat, mostly because the radiator in there is comparatively small.

What I'm doing in the picture is installing pipes underneath the wheelhouse deck, so making underfloor heating.

The new system definitely works, though I'll need to spend some time balancing up the rest of the system, as now the galley is not as toasty warm as it used to be..

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rusty deck

Chipping deckHere's a view of the deck before rust busting started.

So far, I've got the whole of the port side chipped, all the way round to the back door, and the main part of the deck on the starboard side chipped (thanks to Steve and Lee of course).

Work on this project has been a bit slow of late, on account of other jobs taking priority.

If the weather holds this weekend, I'm hopeful of getting the next section wire brushed and primed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Peak Bergen

Peak BergenHere the Peak Bergen executes a rather neat pirouette right by Lady Jane.

That's some impressive piloting, turning such a long vessel in such a small space.

I think the Peak Bergen is probably carrying grain.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A rant

A few weeks ago I had to buy razor blades for the razor on the boat. Easy you might think....

First of all, the supermarkets would have you believe there are two brands, Gillette and Wilkinson, but their blades all look the same to me.

So far as I'm concerned, a razor comprises two parts, the handle, which is basically only a small stick, and the blades, which just have to cut my facial hair and not me. Beyond that I don't really care.

If the blades are coated in lark's vomit, or whatever it is the manufacturers claim, I just don't care, I consider Mine is an average face which merits no special attention, other than cutting that stubble.

Anyway, I bought Gillette blades (£ 10.00 for eight I think) . When I got on the boat I discovered I had a Wilkinson razor and the Gillette blades, of course, would not fit (packaging opened - so no return possible).

This was not the end of my world, as I've been through this cycle before, and I've the other brand at home - Even though I don't need blades for it for the foreseeable future.

The next week I bought some Wilkinson blades, another £ 10.00 or so for eight of the things. Of course, when I went back to the boat the next week I discovered the blades did not fit the handle. It seems that every few years the design changes so now, like it or not, I more or less had to go and buy a new Wilkinson razor.

Back to the shops for a new handle the next week - £ 11.00 or so for a handle and a few more blades.

Now I'm over £ 30.00 quid down and awash with spare razor blades and I just know I'm likely to repeat the cycle in a few years time, when I finally run out of blades again.

To add a final insult to this whole sorry affair, I slashed my hand when I was opening the new razor packaging.

On reflection, it seems far more sensible to consider going electric in future.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Second coat

Next coatHere's the next coat going on.

The creamy look I'm seeing heralds a good paint job on the deck.

Experience has shown that it's vital to get that second coat on as soon as possible after the first, while allowing 24hrs for the first coat to cure.

What seems to happen if the second coat is left too long, is that the rust manages to bleed through the first coat fairly quickly.

I suspect there are micropores left in a first coat that are only closed with a second coat.

A third coat will go on soon, though this third coat is just by way of making sure the steel is well sealed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paint on

Paint onSo this post should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has been following along.

As things have worked out, the weather has so far been really kind to me with this phase of the deck project.

It looks like I'll get by this next weekend with no rain, and therefore no pools of water on the deck.

The significance of this is I should be able to finish rust busting and initial priming of all of the port side of the deck, so I don't have a pool of water, and the subsequent mess, half on and half off my newly primed section of deck.

Once I have the deck completely sealed with primer, I'll start work on getting rid of the surrounding concrete, and so get rid of the cause of the pools completely.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Shiny steelSo here's a view of the section of deck I've just finished wire brushing and cleaning up.

Pete in answer to your comment, I've learned that exposed steel starts to rust almost immediately, unless the atmosphere is completely dry. So the trick is to get a coat of primer onto the bare steel as soon as is practical.

Needless to say, the very next thing I did, after a cup of tea, was to get going painting with the primer.

All this work makes for filthy dirty bath water once back at home!

Monday, October 11, 2010


DifferenceWhat a difference a few days hard graft makes.

Here, the picture shows the two phases of my rust busting process.

The first layer (top) is the original rusty surface.

The second layer shows the steel after chipping with the Hilti TE104

The last layers shows the steel after attention with a wire brush.

After a really good clean, with brushes, vacuum and rags, the steel is then good to paint with the Hemple primer.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Switches and sockets

Switches and socketsMore sockets are a sure sign that Andy has been.

Here you see the improvements to one of the two bunk spaces in the form of a mains socket and a switch for the main light for the occupant(s). Thanks Andy.

The fortuitous purchase of an additional light switch means the crew space down below now has three light switches - one by each of the bunks and one up above.

Trying to think through, without looking at a diagram, how two switches work together so either switch turns the light on or off is hard enough, but how three work together is really tough.

Fortunately we have the internets to help us figure out how stuff works.

Like so many puzzles, the answer is easy when you can see it before you.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

LED still going

Somewhat predictable I suppose.

In other news, I've updated the temperature and voltage trackers so it's possible to scroll back through time.

I've sill got to fix the internet access reliability issue I'm having, when I get the time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


There is nothing like good customer service.

Some time ago I bought some, very expensive, waterproof boots for the boat.

My original plan was to get a pair of cheap wellies. In the event I was persuaded to buy a pair of Sebago boots.

Now I really don't mind spending good money on quality stuff, especially when my own comfort is involved.

Anyway, the supposed waterproof boots leaked, so I took them back. The people at the shop were very good about it, but made me feel it must have been me that was wrong, or that I had done something to them.

The shop replaced the boots with another pair of the same type etc.

Some time later, when the new boots were needed, I discovered that they also leaked. Because of the journey involved, and the fact that it seemed to be my fault, I did not take them back.

Recently, at the boatshow, I spied the Sebago stand and went and asked one of the guys there if their boots were really supposed to be waterproof. He seemed a bit surprised at the question and replied, yes - absolutely.

After I explained my issue, he gave me a name and number to call at Sebago to arrange a replacement.

Because of my holiday, it was only after I got back that I called the Sebago folks.

With absolutely no argument, and an apology, they arranged for new boots to be despatched to me. Apparently there had been a faulty batch and I was just unlucky.

After initial testing in the bath last night, my replacement Sebago boots seem just fine.

Ahh - comfy waterproof boots at last!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Help rust busting

Rust busting continuesHere you see Steve taking a turn on the Hilti, while Lee manages the broom.

Taking turns on the Hilti really helps get the job done.

Between Lee and Steve, a good portion of the main part of the deck has now had the first stage of rust busting completed.

The difference between the cleaned up steel and the rusty steel is very obvious in the picture.

The next stage will be to cleanup the rest of the surface rust with a wire brush, then get some paint on as quickly as possible after that.

The work continues....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Apologies to one and all for my recent silence.

It's just that I've been away on holiday in Greece with Patch this last week.

Pictures are on their way soonest.

We arrived home yesterday to find the LED still lowing brightly - That's more than two months solid it's been on now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rust busting

Rust bustingWith the wood gone, attention now turns to the real job - rust busting the deck.

Here you see the first section cleared back using my trusty Hilti TE104.

This needs cleaning off with a wire brush and then priming so the rust cant get back on.

So far, the rust has come off relatively easily and the underlying steel seems in surprisingly good shape.

A long way to go though...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wood off

Wood offThings have turned out pretty well in terms of getting rid of the wood that was on my deck.

As it turns out, Graham, the owner of the barge, said he would take the lot as he needs ballast.

Because the barge is right there, it did not take nearly as long to get rid of the wood as I had initially feared.

What I opted to do in the end was stack the wood into an upturned table, without the legs, so that if some numpty came speeding by, the wash would not cause me to lose a stack of wood into the water.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The LED is still going strong.

Maybe snowbiker will be right with his 5000 hours guess?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


BargeI have a new neighbour.

Graham, the guy who owns Lilagina, also owns this and had it brought round last week.

The plan is this barge will hold his other boat, not Lilagina, so he can work on it.

It doesn't look much, but it has potential.

One big boat project is normally enough for most people!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bits and bobs

Bits and bobsI'm still working away on the electronics front as well, I've just not blogged about it much.

The image shows a chart comparing the last 12 hours of temperatures in the wheelhouse with those 24 hours previously.

The chart you see is from a website I've created, which is sent data regularly directly from Lady Jane.

There is not much going on with the rest of the website, which was actually originally setup for something I'm looking at for work,

If you are curious, the temperatures as at 5.30 yesterday are here: and the voltages here: (note that if you are reading this some time after the date of this post, things may well have moved on a bit).

This, in effect, opens up the way for any of Lady Jane's vital statistics to be made available real-time on the internet.

The possibilities here are endless.....

Work on this is on hold at the moment, hence the frozen time on the website, as I've been distracted with something else.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hydrogen fuel cell

Hydrogen fuel cellsSo yesterday was my chance to visit the Southampton Boat Show.

My main interest was to start looking into the various options for Radar on board Lady Jane.

I know it's a while before I really need it, but I figure if I start research now, by the time I actually buy we will be in good shape to travel anyway.

The one thing that caught my attention was an operating display of a hydrogen fuel cell generator by Toomer and Hayter who, curiously, promote themselves as quality marine upholsterers.

I've seen and heard snippets of hydrogen fuel cells, but have never actually seen one in the flesh.

I must say, the idea of a generator which has water and heat as it's only emissions, coupled with the fact that it's virtually silent, is certainly very interesting to me.

Looking on the BOC website, they say that this technology is scalable, so presumably any amount of power can be produced with sufficient supplies of hydrogen.

So couple the concept of a hydrogen fuel cell generator with a hydrogen generator on board.

This idea sounds expensive, but an interesting and very eco friendly possibility - effectively free power from water!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


No time for a proper blog entry today.

I'm at the Southampton Boat Show.

A full update tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

LED is still on

This is getting a little repetitive, I know.

Thing is if I don't mention it, people will think it's dead.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TLC for the rib

TLC for the ribIt's time to give the RIB a little care and attention.

This time it's the electrics that need attention again.

Intermittent problems with both the pump and the nav lights have now been traced to the switches and connectors on the dashboard.

Handily, a visit to the Southampton Boat Show later this week should save me a trip to the chandlers for shiny new switches.

If I get the chance, I'll also see about getting a new waterproof junction box.

With new switches fitted, and good connections, this should mean the end of a long standing problem with the RIB lights, and me set for the darker months ahead.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dawn on Lady Jane

Dawn on Lady Jane

Another day breaks over the River Itchen.

There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a still, calm, dawn. Especially while on board Lady Jane.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Waverley engine

On my last post on the Waverley, I fear I did not do the old girl full justice with that little video clip from the engine room. I liked it as it showed the engine going in both directions, in response to the telegraphed commands to the engineer from the bridge.

This is a better clip, taken from the other side, showing the Waverley's engine in action while she is properly under way. You can also see the three engineers in attendance.

We were apparently doing about 14 knots when this was taken.

If you stood this close to Lady Jane's engine at 14 knots, you would not be able to hear yourself think!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

LED (again)

Yup, the LED is still going strong.

It's been well over 1000 hours on the same set of batteries.

I really did not expect it to still be going after all this time.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Waverley engine

Gleaming engine roomSo this is a shining example of how I'd like Lady Jane's engine room to look.

In my dreams!

If you look carefully at the picture, you will see that absolutely everything has been polished up. Even the various funnels and containers they are using.

The Waverley has a handy gallery from which you can view the engine running, so tourists like me can hang over the rails and gawp at the engine running.

The video clip shows the engine going both astern and forwards, in response to telegraphed signals, as the skipper manoeuvers alongside at Yarmouth pier.

FYI - the whoooo noise you hear in the video clip is apparently the used steam return pump operating and is completely normal.

The engineers and crew can be justifiably proud of how spick and span that engine room looks.

Monday, September 06, 2010


PS Waverley

By way of a complete change, Patch and I took a spin on the Waverley this weekend.

We had been invited down by friends who travel over to Yarmouth for Lunch on the Waverley every year. They've been doing it for the last ten years now.

Travelling on the worlds last seagoing paddle steamer is quite something, and an excursion I can highly recommend to anyone.

As it turned out, the former owner of the Waverley, and the man who made it all happen, was on board and is good friends with John, who had organised our trip, so it was very interesting to chat to him.

Being in Yarmouth with a group of friends for a good feed and plenty of drinks only added to the experience.

Thanks for the invite John, from both of us.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cutting and grinding

Cutting and grindingWith all the studs cut off the deck, I've now made a start on the cutting off of some of the footings which were on the deck.

The concrete footing you see in the foreground will also go sometime soon.

The silvery bits in an otherwise bleak picture shows where I've been cutting and grinding what were steel posts which stood slightly proud of the wooden deck.

I'd cut four of them off, and ground flush two and three quarters of them, while feeling all my energy draining away from me between grinds.

You know the feeling, when trying to finish something physically hard. The rest breaks between goes gets longer and longer...

Anyway, at one point I turned round and suddenly remembered, to my disappointment, that I had another two of these posts to cut and grind at the top end of the deck.

At that point I gave up, packed up and went home!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

LED update

Led updateTime for an update on the LED, which is still shining as bright as ever some 900 hours later.

The picture shows three of the LED's from the bottom, side and top respectively.

I put a few, normal sized, pins in the picture to give you an idea of just how tiny these lights are, and hence why I keep banging on about them.

Now bear in mind that there are actually two lights in there - a green one and a red one - amazing.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


StudsWith the wood off, I can now get going with the work on the steel deck.

The first job, after cleaning up, is to cut back all the remaining studs.

Some of the rusty studs had been 'popped' off when the wood was ripped off, some were rusted away to sharp points on the deck, while the remainder were in pretty good shape.

All the studs needed cutting off before doing anything else, as they had a nasty habit of catching the unwary out underfoot. Especially the sharp ones!

Cutting the damn things took ages, with me finding the odd one long after I thought I'd got the lot.

A curious by-product of the cutting process was smouldering piles of sawdust in several unexpected places on deck, started by the sparks from the angle grinder (it's almost impossible to sweep sawdust up effectively in a strong breeze).

Maybe Ray Mears would be pleased to hear of one more method of making fire without matches? That may well come in handy - up in the Arctic tundra for example.

Not so good on deck, obviously.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Clear deck

Clear deckSo that's it, all the wood is now stripped from the deck.

All things considered, this part of the project went surprisingly well.

There is no doubt in my mind that the chainsaw route was the way to go, and along the way I learnt a fair amount as well. Most notably how to sharpen a chainsaw chain effectively - get those angles on the file just right!

The big four foot crowbar I bought also helped make light of what I thought was going to be a mare of a job with those last, difficult, sections of wood that needed prising from around their studs.

Now I've got to get rid of that wood.

Just to make life that much more interesting for me, the folks at the marina I use have refused to allow me to keep a skip there for the few days it would take to ship the wood ashore.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Tranquil settingKnee deep in dirt and completely exhausted in the evening, it's easy to loose sight of the bigger picture.

Here Patch and I relax with an evening meal at the Jolly Sailor in Bursledon, after skimming round from the River Itchen in the rib (hbi for you guys in the US).

You can see the rib floating in the river there.

It's a lovely, tranquil, spot well up the River Hamble, and I can well recommend both the food and service there.

Getting to do this kind of thing is what it's really all about.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going equipped

Going equippedHere you see the state of the deck after most of the wood has been prised off.

Now I need a bigger hammer and more powerful jimmy to get the last, tough, pieces of wood up.

The crowbar I was using seems to have got itself somewhat bent so, along with an 8lb hammer, I've also got myself a gorilla bar, which sounds apt really.

I also bought a bigger bolster, kind of a big chisel, as the other smaller one has been very handy, but was just not quite man enough for the job. Having two now will be the business!

It would be laughable if, with all these new toys in the truck, I was done for going equipped while on my way down to Lady Jane.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LED still on!

I'm a bit busy at the moment, so no time for a post.

Just so as you know, the LED is still on and seems as bright as it ever was.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pieces of deck

Pieces of deckAnother hard day at the office :)

Here you see the wood so far hacked from my deck, all piled up ready to be taken ashore. There is also another pile at the back, just visible to the left of the crane there.

The small chunks you see in the foreground are the bits prised up from around the studs which did not 'pop' off the deck with the aid of a crowbar.

In volume terms there is not that much more to come off, but the last bits are going to be the toughest, as the difficult to remove bits have been left in favour of ripping out the easier stuff.

My original idea was to take the wood to the tip in my truck, in several loads, which is why it's all cut to such neat lengths.

In reality, seeing the wood stacked like it is, this is probably going to cause issues for me with the tip people when I try to dump such a large quantity of wood.

I'm now thinking of hiring a skip, which would cost about one hundred quid. The skip would save me, and the truck, a fair amount of work and hassle.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boat issues

Boat issuesOne thing I've found: No matter how much of a state things get for me, there is always someone worse off.

This was towed past Lady Jane a few days ago.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lights on

This is getting a bit repetitive, I know, but the led light is still glowing brightly.

It's more than three weeks (500 hours) on the same batteries now, pretty amazing I'd say.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monster big crane

Monster crane

This monster big crane showed up on Sunday afternoon.

It was shepherded up the river on Willcarry 1500 by two tugs, making an appropriate amount of noise for such a big piece of kit.

I've no idea what the steelwork they hoisted onto the barge is intended for, but I bet that operation did not come cheap.

Interesting to watch though. I found myself thinking 'that must be a fun job'.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Filthy mess

Filthy messThe deck project continues.

All those tiny pieces you see had to be smashed and prised out from the surrounding studs, as the wood and studs there were in relatively good condition.

My original idea of cutting the studs through the wood with a big angle grinder cutting disk was a non starter. Because of the very real risk of fire from the hot sparks produced.

At the moment, it's impossible to avoid tramping mess into the galley, and also the rest of the boat. Especially when it's a bit wet underfoot.

I'm sweeping up as best as I can as I go, but the rusty deck needs proper rust busting before the dirt is finally gone.

I also notice that the pristine clean, white, bulwarks are now spattered with brown stains from the chainsaw or splashes from the inevitable puddles on deck.

The impact of all this mess, everywhere, is hard to describe.

Visitors on board would, quite rightly, be wondering about my sanity from the look of the place at the moment.

Friday, August 13, 2010


VoltagesI've also been steadily plodding away on the electronics front.

The picture shows a clip from a web page I made, which is available using a wireless connection in and around Lady Jane.

With this setup, I can now see the voltage any time I want on my mobile phone.

The good bit is I can also start and stop the generator from anywhere on board using my phone - provided I'm within range of the wireless router of course.

You do need to be logged in to do this, as I don't want people cruising by switching the generator on during the night!

Later this will be extended to include other data of interest on board, such as engine temperatures and pressures.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cross section

Cross sectionThis cross sectional picture gives you a good idea of how things were done, and what lies below.

The cut piece you can see is from the aft piece of deck, behind the galley door.

The wood here was in relatively good condition, as it was always a little sheltered here.

You can just see there is a line of studs on the other side of where I'd cut with the chainsaw. All this stuff still has to come out.

The routine we fell into was to cut the wood down as close to the steel as possible, in sections, then break and prise the wood away piece by piece.

Often, the underlying studs would just pop off at deck level as they were so rusted. Occasionally, like this section, where the studs were in better condition, we just broke the wood away from around the studs with a crowbar and big lump hammer.

Needless to say, none of the wood is re-usable. Even if it was not all hacked and broken by us, much of it was rotten through and badly stained by the rusting steel from below. Sadly, it's not even in a fit condition for me to use in our woodburning stove at home.

The biggest surprise was the steel beneath, in that there is absolutely no evidence anywhere of any kind of protective treatment for the bare steel. Presumably the people who laid the deck were that confident of the watertight seal they would make, they did not feel it was necessary.

The state of the rusty steel you see in the foreground of the picture is representative of most of the rest of the deck. Save for one or two places where there is evidence of much more severe corrosion.

The exception to that is the section of deck which had a gap in the planking open up some years ago. I poured quite a bit of bitumen into the hole, until eventually it made a seal there. This section of deck seems in better shape than elsewhere, though it is coated with bitumen which is going to be 'interesting' to get rid of now!

I'll only know the true state of the steel once it's all been rust busted.

Oh - one last thing - I, as yet, have no idea what to do for the re-laying of the new timber deck. There is plenty else to get done on this project before than, so I have time enough for proper research and a solid plan.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LED light

The light is still glowing brightly - some 360 hours later.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Big progress

This pictures shows just how much progress Seb and I made on the ripping up the deck project, all the way round from the port side.

Big progressWe got this far ripping up the main boards before blunting the second chainsaw chain. It refused to cut any more, only producing a plume of smoke from where we were trying to cut - not good.

You will also note that the sacrificial decking, the planks laid on top of the main deck, has also been removed.

By three o'clock on the second day of this, neither Seb nor I could stand anymore as we were that tired. Time to stop before one of us got hurt.

Now it's just the wood on the main part of the deck that needs lifting, and some tricky bits we left at the edges to lift.

I know it does not look much in the picture, but we have achieved a fantastic amount.

The chainsaw made it all possible, but the crowbar, now a bit bent, was the real star of the show.

Monday, August 09, 2010

No going back

No going backThe great 'replace the deck' project is now finally underway.

Seb, from Wendy Ann, dropped by to say hello and got roped into helping. Some six hours later he was still at it. Thanks Seb.

The ripped up section you see is the result of our combined efforts after a few hours.

I opted to start cutting where I was most concerned about the state of the underlying steel.

With the technique a bit better refined, our work rate soon accelerated and we had the wood removed all the way to just the other side of the stern section by the end of a long, and physically hard, day.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that without the chainsaw, which you can just see in the picture at the back there, we would never have got as far as we did.

The underlying steel, so far, looks in better shape than I had dared hope. I'll only really know once all the rust busting and painting has been done.

Friday, August 06, 2010


ChainsawSo here's my new toy.

It turns out that it's extremely hard to rent a chainsaw in this country, so I bought one.

The guy at the hire shop tells me with a big grin "Probably on account of all the fingers and toes that get chopped off".

Oddly enough, the safety gear cost more than the chainsaw. The helmet & stuff I can certainly re-use on other projects, but the hefty leggings - probably not.

This puppy is the smallest in the Sthil range, but will apparently be more than man enough for the job.

The circular saw used to be my scariest powertool. Not anymore!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My troublesome deck

My troublesome deckIt's rotten and it's all got to come up - whether I like it or not.

Sitting looking at it is not going to get the job done.

Talking about it is not going to get the job done.

Thinking about it though, now that's a start.

After much thought and contemplation, I think the easiest way of getting this deck up is with a chainsaw.

The issue is the deck was bolted down on rows and rows of studs. The studs and nuts that hold the deck down have mostly rusted, such that the nuts are never going to come off without cutting the studs. Some nuts have rusted so much it looks like they have castellated themselves.

I also suspect the deck is held down with pitch, or maybe glue of some sorts, in places as well.

It sounds radical, I know, but with a delicate touch I think the chainsaw is going to be the best tool to use to get the job done.

After all, there are people out there who produce beautiful carvings with a chainsaw, so cutting the wood on my deck should not be such a big deal.

Oh yes - and plenty of new safety gear of course!

Once I've cut through enough wood, but not into the steel, I reckon I can prise the pieces up easily enough.

With some wood out, I can then get my big angle grinder in under the wood to cut the studs - and so get the whole lot out. Oops - I forgot my big angle grinder is broken, so that also has to be taken care of.

The reason I'm thinking chainsaw rather than circular saw, or a petrol disk cutter with a wood blade, is that the tip of the chainsaw is much smaller so, oddly enough, I should have more control over exactly where I cut - and how deep.

A clear mark on the chainsaw blade will, of course, give me a safe depth to cut to.