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.


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