Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Winches, Paint and St Brit

Now that the deckhouse is on, the whole boat feels like it is not far from being ready for sea, poor fools that we are, there is so much more to do, not least the painting of the outside of the hull. We have got used to the silver primer (it matches the superstructure) and so it was quite a surprise to find the white water-line in place this morning.

The picture of the hull here shows that start of the top coats of paint, starting with the water line, a difficult thing to nail at this stage because Heroine floats in about 2ft of water, instead of what the scored marks on her hull indicate which is something like 3m.

There is still some tidying up of the hull to do; where various dents and old nail holes have been filled again after the anti-foul coat, the filler shows up white, but the hull is looking much more like it should and it is such an encouragement after such a long time in the shed. The anti-foul makes Heroine look like a boat rather than just a hulk.

The skipper has decided to see what the doors might look like, so we spent a happy morning with chalk and tape sketching the shapes on.

The view of the inside of the deck-house gives us an idea of what it will be like to live and work on board, the deck is looking rather better now that the Sikaflex is in place and mostly sanded. Although the inside of the aluminium structure will be insulated and lined with some kind of wood panelling, and we have yet to add the rest of the windows.
The latest bit of kit to be hoisted on deck, is the rather handsome windlass (well, I think so) from Spencer Carter, which will pull the anchors up and down and will also enable us to use the mast for getting dinghies launched.  The winch works by hydraulic power, the pipes for this will run all the length of the old fish-hold, via the captain's bathroom (gurgling and load shifting all familiar territory here) and will be connected to a pump which is mounted on the front of the Caterpillar. So, dear seaperson or armchair-mariner reader, I hear you ask, how will you lift the anchor if the main engine fails? Well, we won't be able to move the boat without the engine, but for an emergency tow we would disconnect the bitter end of the chain, connect a floating fender to it and chuck it overboard, to get it later, and there you have it. Now I have written this, the skipper looks over my shoulder and thinks he can connect the powerpack from the steering to haul the anchor, I'm in favour of cutting and running if we are in trouble, but  we can argue that another day when we are stalled on a lee shore with a force 8 coming in fast. Or get a second main engine. Or just stay in harbour.

Not a very crisp photo,above, I'm afraid, but the inner black reels are the chain gypsies and the outer black reels are the warping drums. This is yet another example of how nothing at sea is as simple as on land, and furthermore, all this extra lingo, all the terminology, is the signal to a merchant selling this kind of gear to stick a zero on the end of the price. Don't turn up in a Musto jacket and Dubarry boots, but instead wear your old jacket on which the dogs have been sleeping and muddy wellies and then you'll be in a  much better position to negotiate. Be sure to feign ignorance of port and starboard, call it "bogs" instead of "heads", refer casually to the "sharp end", and you might make some savings. If you phone a supplier of insulation say, and they ask what it is for, if you say it is for a boat, down the phone you will certainly hear the dry rasp of their hands being rubbed together as they anticipate making their monthly sales targets in one go.

The scaffolding shows that there is going to be some serious painting going on soon, which fills us with hope for a launch.

Shortly after this picture was taken the other trawler under conversion in Eyemouth was brought up the slip to just behind Heroine. Here is the St Britwin, a lovely oak-on-oak Danish trawler with hugely strong construction. She is destined to be a dive boat and her owners Graham and Gail have been very helpful and incredibly kind to us, not least in stopping work for a chat when we are the 100th party to walk down the harbour and stop by the boat that morning, and we are interrupting them the same as everyone else does.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Exhausts, doors and a hole in my boat

The boys have got on with the engine room connections now that the deckhouse is on, and we can see a little bit more how things are going to shape up indoors.

Here is a bit of the skipper standing next to the Caterpiller (main engine) exhaust pipe (left) all primed in red and the exhaust and silencer (right) for the generator. As you can see, the Caterpillar's exhaust is a fair size and both these exhausts will be in a steel, fire-proof conduit taking them, and the surronding air up and out of the back of the bridge. Our reader who is, no doubt, highly intelligent and observant will have noted the skipper in shorts, this is not because Eyemouth is enjoying a warm winter but because the cook is behind with the blog. Sorry.

The steel conduit runs like an internal chimney up and out of the engine room, so that any fumes from the machinery will be blown up and out of the top of the boat. This will also help to cool the exhausts, although they will both be mightilly lagged, to keep things cool in the rest of the boat.
The right hand part of the conduit (a narrow section) will be a separate bit for running all the power and control and data cables from the engine room upwards. This will include all the helm and engine controls as well as all other essential information from the engine room - oil pressure sensor, oil temperature, spin speed, baby alarm etc. We plan to incorporate the structure into the deck-level cabin - there have been many discussions and sketches about how to get the exhaust up and out, mainly because it means sacrificing a space 3ft by 2ft from the valuable deckspace, but as compromises go, I think it will be okay. Part of it forms the corridor running to the access to the old fish hold and the rest is part of the walls of the cabin and heads.

The double doors are now installed and they are just beautiful. They are teak and were once installed in what might have been a man-o'-war, the brass plate on the inside describes their origin as a torpedo room, and not the only torpedo room but number 2, so at least two torpedo rooms with doors this size, impressive. They need some prettying up, but the sheer quality and weight is impressive. We treated the doors to a bit of bling (which since installation need polishing) photo to follow.

This is a  rare picture of the marvellous Arthur (whose arms are not really that long), a master craftsman and who has been a great source of advice and inspiration, so many of the key components that have been made for Heroine have turned out so much better and faster than we could have imagined. Arthur's experience has saved a great deal of time and worry.

The side doors have been installed and while we were initially worried that the extra corridor, "athwartships", will take up deck-space, we have it from a good source that the extra ventillation makes summer in the Mediterranean bearable. I should imagine that the sunshine, blue skies, peace, quiet and cheap wine will help too.
This is the starboard door and the port one is very similar except it has a larger port-light. We were thinking about making them match, but have decided it is not noticeable, you will see for yourself when you vist. Both of these doors are teak too and are tough as anything, the construction is beautiful and we do not need to do anything more to them, finally, one part of the boat which is finished.

Half of the original number of solid oak cleats have been re-installed following paint stripping, the other two were too far gone with rot and damage, but here is the reconditioned port-side cleat re-bolted to the bulwark stringer, also in solid oak. I think we will be painting the stringer (bit at back) but keeping the cleat plain wood, but oiling it or something. It seems a shame to have so much beautiful oak around and then to cover it all in paint. 
Here is JP installing the new oak cleat on the starboard side, it looks identical to the old ones (see previous photo) but without the rope marks cut into it (you can just see this cross marking in the centre of the cleat) and why shouldn't it? The same man made and here installs the new ones as made the originals, but 40 years ago, and he doesn't look old enough, does he? What's your secret JP?
There is a rather worrying chute right through the boat - this is the way the anchor-chain comes up and then enters the bosun's locker. When the winch is installed, between the hole and the tube thing, the chain will be come up through the hole and over the winch, leaving the anchor on the outside. The chain runs around a toothed pulley on the winch so it can drop through the rusty tube into the chain locker which directly below the deck here.
The skipper has a plan to get the chain clean as the anchor is winched in; the chain is likely to emerge thick with stinking mud and debris from the sea-bed in various bays, and I think that the plan requires the cook to leave the galley, put on overalls and squint into the murky spray-back as she holds the high pressure hose to rinse the chain before it is stowed, the skipper is at a safe distance operating the hydraulics. Well, the skipper's plan might get re-thought while he chews on his sandwich of burnt bacon...

Here us the general arrangement taking shape - just before the is put in place, and the foremost hatch is visible. Behind the winch will be the mast, and all of the plate will have been galvanised prior to installation, including some Sikaflex sealing to get it to stick properly to the deck in a water-tight way.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The skipper is going to hate this...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Deckhouse On!

The crane has come back (after removing some un-licensed building's roof in the next village, they don't mess about here) at at 9.30 we are all ready for the big lift.
First thing is to get Heroine out of the boat shed, and she seems reluctant, modest almost. The tyres on the forklift were smoking by the end but then she was in position on the slip-way.

This is a good opportunity to see her beautiful shape before the superstructure covers it.

The original shipwright from 1970, James Tarvit, says that it was important to keep watching and checking as the ribs were cut and shaped and the planking installed, he had to make sure that it was, as he says "eye-sweet". It was his skill which won us so much praise on our travels, and none more so than when we first arrived aboard her in Eyemouth, where Heroine had not been seen for nearly 40 years. The next sequence of images do all the talking...

To get from the onboard position to when the guys stood back took a good 20 minutes, adjusting the position to get the 5 1/2 tonnes of aluminium in exactly the right position.

The deckhouse looks very big to me, and it never did before, I think it is because we are so used to seeing trawlers everday now that Heroine looks unusual. Not compared to Malahide trawlers though...

Now the superstucture is on, Heroine is pulled back into the shed, and we get a chance to clamber around and have a look. Suddenly H looks like a proper boat, and strangely, the yard seems to be taking us a bit more seriously now we have a bridge and deckhouse...

Once the mast is on, and all the windows are installed it will look very different. At the moment the front of the superstucture is a huge blank of aluminium, and this (I am telling myself) makes it look big. Anyway, the boys from the FMA have had a word with us and they want us to scumble the wheelhouse, in the traditional manner. I am for it, the skipper is not, on account of his (yet uneducated) taste in this area.

Here are some bits of video, and I will be adding more as I get them onto the PC.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Deckhouse Going On...

There has been lots going on recently and the deck is looking clearer - the aluminium plate to hold the deckhouse on has been cut and laid in position. It is only screwed into the wood at this stage and will be bolted on later, after the deckhouse has been welded onto it. The difference in the new and old deck is visible here, along with old bits of deck where oil has been spilled, which we might never get out. We are considering using linseed oil to treat the whole area, which would make it all darker and so more uniform.

The nearest converted trawler, our friend, the St. Britwin, recently had her decks oiled in this way, and I must say it did smell really lovely and look very authentic and traditional. Here is a picture of St Brit on the slip with us (she usually lies outside the Eyemouth Maritime Museum:-
One of the best things about having professionals working on our boat is that they do things very ... well, professionally, not only properly, but well.. professionally, and also fast. We are so lucky to have the yard on our side, they have invaluable experience, and use this to guide us through the decisions we would bungle if left to ourselves or, worse still, would never realise we needed to think about anyway, and find ourselves miles down the line re-doing all sorts of tasks. Taking advantage of expert guidance has probably saved us decades of work, not so say huge amount of money. The skipper often consults with Arthur, here seen again at his bench of legend and this is where ideas form and are made chalk before being made aluminium.
The deckhouse has been so long waiting to go on because we needed to get all the big bits of machinery down the hatches, the great sheets of steel for the water-tight bulkheads, etc. One of the prettiest things to happen is the new woodwork around the access to the forward accommodation; all in oak and will be the surround for a new sprial staircase. Although we have lost the view of the original carved beam with the tonnage, the new oak is very beautiful. The decking on either side is pale too, so it is difficult to tell the woods apart without a closer look. The staircase will probably have an aluminium frame and oak steps, with a rounded wall all around. If the wall is close enough to the steps it will make using the stairs feel much safer when the boat moves. In fact, the stairs up to the bridge are only about 2ft wide, and although this seems mean in a house, on a rolling boat the idea suddenly feels very snug and correct. All of the deck outside of where the wheelhouse will be has been recaulked and sikaflexed, and where the sikaflex overflows the gaps this is all tidied up when the whole of the deck is sanded. We chose Sikaflex (which is rather yachty and therefore a bit of a departure for us) instead of the traditional tar. If we were sure we would be staying in cool Northern waters we could have stayed true to the original, but tar will melt in the heat of the Mediterranean sun, and stick our bare feet to the deck. The new larch smells wonderful, compensating for the lack of a tarry scent. All the tools have now been cleared away, the sawdust swept, the crane is on the way, the sun is shining, the and today's the day...

The crane's job is to move the deckhouse from one side of the Eye Water to the other, where Heroine lies. Inbetween the start and finish position is a pontoon and a steel barge, the "Rosamund", so the structure will have to be lifted over these. The distance is not inconsiderable either, so, rather to our surprise the first task of the crane is to lift the deckhouse into the river, which is at low ebb, owing to good planning on behalf of Jim, no doubt. While as Coastal's Manager he has the power to levitate staff ("Jump!"), the tides and rivers are not under his command so the timing was important.
On the left of the crane are the offices of the company who used to own Coastal Marine when it was Eyemouth Boat Builders. Alongside the deckhouse is a lovely coble, another traditional boat owned by the Eyemouth Maritime Museum, I'd love to see her in the water and to see what she does.

Coming into view (photograph taken from the "Rosamund") is the underneath of the deckhouse and the strengthening bars underneath.

Off topic: A note on the pantiles, these are very traditional in the area, but not a local product. Because of the centuries-long trade with the low-countries this kind of roof is often seen on the East coast and is present on some listed buildings too.

Back to the main business - this is all happening fairly early in the morning on a week-day, so there is no crowd gathered.

Although we know that the deckhouse will be sitting in the river for a bit, it is still un-nerving to see our new house being put in this position.

Two of the lads from Coastal Marine taking advantage of the task of un-hooking the crane to catch the sun and enjoy a new view of the town and the river.

The crane drove away back up the road and came back down Brown's Bank to take up the new position, to fetch the deckhouse from the river and put it onboard. The man in front would traditionally be carrying a red flag, but we are a more modern town now.

This shows the "Rosamund" on the left and the deckhouse approaching.

The stern of "Heroine" is visible now behind the "Rosamund" and the deckhouse is approaching.

At this point, I was not sure where the deckhouse was going...
As soon as it was set-down behind "Heroine" I had an idea that the operation was not going to be completed now in "one".
There is a bit of discussion going on and some plan is being worked out. The crane has other bookings for the day so unless we get the deckhouse on soon we will have to let him go.
One last attempt at getting the deckhouse on, but because of the restricted space and the roof of the boat shed, the job will have to be left now until we can re-book the crane.

The skipper looking a bit disappointed on the deck. So near.