Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bitts and pieces

Bitts and piecesNo not THE bits and pieces no, I'm talking bitts made from pieces - literally.

(Bitt - A post mounted on the ship's bow, for fastening ropes or cables.)

In order to fit the windlass up forwards, I needed to cut the bitts from the middle of Lady Jane's upper deck and replace them with two pairs, one either side.

I don't really know why there was only ever one set of bitts there in the first place.

Because Lady Jane is tied up using the bitts in place, we needed to make new ones before we could chop the old ones and mount the windlass.

Anyway, Seb and I had discussed how we were going to make the bitts, with the original plan being to have the two parts vertical, and mounted on a section of channel.

As things turned out, it made sense to copy the style of the existing bitts so things looked, and worked, the same throughout the vessel.

We got to discussing how we were going to mark, then cut, the correct angle consistently on all the lengths of pipe we needed. I suggested using a plastic box filled with water, then using a block we could put the pipe onto, then marking where to cut along the resulting sloping waterline.

Seb tried this, round about the time I produced my new set of welding magnets for him to admire. Call it serendipity, but Seb pointed out that the magnets had just the right angle for us to use for the pipes which would make up the bitts.

This explains the manic grin you can see in the picture, as things suddenly slotted neatly into place.

Using the magnets, we were guaranteed the same angle on both ends of the pipe, as well as across both sets of bitts we were making.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chain down

Chain downSo all that chain on deck you saw?

I can tell you it's much, much heavier than it looks.

Between Seb and I, and a lot of grunting and muttering, I now have one of the lengths of chain stowed down below, in the lower forepeak hold.

After discussion, it was deemed that joining the two chains together would be a little too much for the new windlass if it was to heave the whole lot up from a deep mooring.

Now the chain is out of the way, but accessible if I need it sometime.

Oh yes, and the chain makes for handy ballast.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chains and stuff

Chains and stuffHere you see the chain and one of the pair of anchors that were also delivered.

Seb enthusiastically set about flaking out the new chain on Lady Jane's deck, assisted by John and myself. As John, Seb and I can attest, there is miles of very heavy chain there.

With all the chain laid out, we discover there were two good long lengths piled in there. I'm starting to think about storing the one down below and, once the windlass is welded into place, connecting up the best one.

The anchor you see in the foreground is seized, so that needs some work. However the anchor Robin fitted is a similar size, so I'll continue to use that one and keep the others as spares for now.

You can also see a huge pile of boards on deck in the background there, Andrew chucked those in for free as he no longer needs them. Trouble is I've no space to put them, so will need to think about what to do with them.

I'm hoping the weather will be kind these next few weekends while I sort this all out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Windlass project

New windlassThis picture shows the culmination of a mass of organisation, and help from a lot of people, but by no means the end of this particular project.

This actually started back in February 2007, when I finally got to realise that buying chain for a windlass was not as straightforward as I first thought. Also, truth be told, that manual windlass has always been a little on the small side.

I've not worried too much about a windlass, as Lady Jane has not been out in the last year anyway, but Andrew Tognola, as the result of selling of his boat, asked if I was interested in his windlass before he put it onto e-bay.

After a trip to Oxford to check out the windlass, I decided it was too much money for the time and effort involved in getting it on board.

As things turned out, the windlass did not sell on e-bay so I was again offered it by Andrew at a much reduced price which I could hardly refuse.

The windlass also came with a big stack of chain and two anchors - all matching which, as I've discovered, is the important bit.

Getting the windlass from Andrew's yard in Oxford onto Lady Jane's foredeck has taken a while.

First I had to figure out getting the windlass on board. I ended up getting quotes from a few places near me capable of hoisting the hefty lumps on board. Doing a lift mid-river was just impractical.

Next was to co-ordinate with John, the skipper, for a suitable time in amongst his work commitments which would fit with the yard doing the lifting.

I also had to arrange for someone else to help crew Lady Jane - as you see from the picture, Seb from Wendy Ann rose to the occasion.

Finally was to arrange road transport with lifting capability at least on the Oxford end.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped with all aspects of the operation, especially Andrew for his help in loading the stuff onto the truck, John for a sterling job skippering in tricky circumstances and Seb for his tireless and cheerful assistance.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Still here

I'm still alive & kicking - just very busy on other stuff at the moment.

Please stay tuned, normal service will be resumed shortly...