Tuesday, June 30, 2009


On the harbour side, the superstructure is taking up quite a bit of space, but some work has been going on; the door at the back of the bridge has been beautifully constructed in aluminium and the exhaust casing which runs right the entire way up through it has been fitted. This will take the engine exhaust up from the engine room below the water line to the funnel on the very top of the bridge.

The exhaust casing has been made in steel because aluminium is prone to melting (at about 660 Deg C). Given that the super-structure is aluminium, how will they join the two things together? Steel and aluminium cannot be readily welded together, so, how to join them? Using a bought-in strip which is an exploded-together sandwich, a physical join where the metals just melt into one another.

The steps up to the bridge are made, in aluminium and will be teak treads, beautifully crafted by the metal workers at Coastal Marine.
This is not a good representation, but gives an impression of the strength and usefulness of the steps.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Down Below

The main business of the day, if you will forgive; we have new bogs. Our racing friend from Germany, Marcus, has kindly made available to us these top-notch Italian electric flush lavatories which incorporate a bidet, which is pretty fantastic, but is hot and cold too! This will make a huge change from Wickes black buckets on the fore-deck (when at anchor) or in the deckhouse if in harbour. It was one of the most trying things about being in harbour, people always trying to look in when one was busy…

In the engine room the steel deck-beams and their supports was needle gunned and treated with something like Rustbullet (don’t know which one) anyway, a rust inhibitor, a treatment which says it chemically stops rust (we would welcome feedback from anyone who has used stuff such as Rustbullet, although there are several others out there.)

The deck-head beams and bulkheads have been painted gloss white before the fuel tanks were fitted and fixed, each 4000 litres. Also before the tank were installed, all the frames and insides of planks were treated with black bitumen probably called something like Shoopaglopp, which manages to be sticky as well as slippery when trying to stand on it to take photographs. The “black” (“brown”?) waste tank has been safely installed in the lowest part of the bilges and a new Beta 44kw generator installed athwart-ships and is total man-bling, I think, the amount of polishing and showing off it gets.

The gear box has been installed and aligned, and the mountings welded to suit but at present there are these two foot-high white brackets where the old gear box was which have annoyed me until I knew what they were because they are ain in exactly the position of the downstairs shower, and they are going to be cut back. Someone's old stripey pants are going to have to be moved too.

There is a local fog phenomenon called the "harr", which is pronounced sometimes in Eyemouth in the same way as Marlon Brando delivered Kurtz’s last line; “horror”. This mist is a real treat for those of us who burn in the sun (and all its myriad glittering reflections in the sea here) we are going about without sun-block and enjoying a bit of cool.

In the harr, the big fishing boats were moving it was great looking down the harbour seeing the dark silhouettes dissolving away to sea. Today there is a huge amount of prawns being off-loaded from the night fishers, although usually the high-tides keep the shellfish in their burrows. I asked someone when the local herring season started, and was told they don’t arrive until after the “4th drink of May”, so I still don’t know when we’ll see the silver darlings.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bosun's Locker and A Mediterranean Dream

Right at the pointy end of the boat there is a handy compartment where we can store ropes, spare anchors etc. and this is called the fo’c’sle, or Boatswain's Locker. The hatch here has had the combing (the bit that sticks up from the deck to stop water washing down into it) shot-blasted and galvanised and the lid has been re-fitted with new hinges, and with a super new handle so the skipper’s man-icure doesn’t get busted when opening it to get to ropes and things.

The main mast is now made and lying inside the boat shed, but won’t be stepped until the boat is launched - it is pretty tall. There are lots of sound-looking brackets for our navigation lights, and because of Heroine’s length we have to carry an extra light for “not under command”. The skipper says he’s also going to fit me with one of these. The mast also has nice welded-on alternating rungs for climbing, for locating coral shoals and sandy atolls. Although probably not in the North Sea, we’ll settle for shoals of herring.

Down below the mast is going to be the saloon, the main cabin and its huge bathroom; the Collingwood Suite. The cabin has its own hatch and the combing has been shot-blasted and galvanised to, so no more will flaky bits of salty paint will fall on our faces while we sleep and get in our open, snoring mouths.

Arthur the Engineer has built a new lid for the hatch, with a cunning stay and it looks as if we will be getting a beautiful brass porthole to set into it, to allow sun-light to flood into the cabin. This is the hatch to which we intend to fit a large wind-sock, so in a crystal Mediterranean bay a gentle offshore breeze will be funnelled into the boat, scenting it with pine, bougainvillea, barbecued lamb and Greek shepherd’s sweat. And here is another picture of Arthur at his bench of legend with the Skipper adopting a suitably reverent attitude towards the new hatch cover.