Tuesday, 20 December 2011

XMAS recap

Merry Christmas to all my followers.

And to Clive who kindly sent me a card he had produced using Gannet Photo.

Thanks Clive and Merry Christmas to you.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Lesson in concrete

I suppose it is obvious when you think about it but concrete is hard stuff.  In some ways.

Last week Dave kindly removed the metal lid off the floor area in the kitchen where the cooker was housed.  Removing the concrete around that metal was awkward but what we found beneath just raises one question.  Why?  Why on earth did they need to fill the metal surround beneath in more concrete.  Not the weaker stuff they had skimmed the kitchen floor with but full on nasty hard stuff.

The issue in this case was that the concrete was within a full metal surround.  The last time I worked on the concrete I found it broke up easily provided that it had somewhere to go.  Essentially, concrete is excellent under compression but not under tension.  Trying to break this stuff was hard because it had nowhere to go.  It meant that the first hour was spent turning a few square inches to dust.  But as a gap appeared the rest came away easily.    Job done now and Dave can now cut the remainder out.

The radio room cabling is now all but done.  The fog horn amplifiers now just need removing from the wall allowing me to strip back the final woodwork.  

Dave did clean down the wheel house very well.  That room is now clear for a rebuild.  Still in two minds on whether to put back some of the missing portholes in that room.  They are square and I suspect that it will be very hard to find any matching ones.  Pipes now shifted from the kitchen (bilge and sea water) and from the mess.

Monday, 28 November 2011


I was doing some research on lightships tonight and found LV15.  I thought all trinity ones were different to mine but LV15 looks to be identical in every way other than the room over the windlass (which I know to have  been a later addition to Gannet).  Looks to be moored in Essex.  I have contacted them to try and get a visit.

I will keep you all in the loop!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Hatch bolts

Dave had done a fine job last week fixing some sliding bolts to the emergency hatches on the cabins.  He also managed to cut out a good chunk of the bilge pump pipes from the kitchen.  This has been a big help to open up that area to reuse for cupboards etc.

The day's work consisted of clearing out the remainder of the main deck's wiring and pulling through to the engine room.   Also managed to clear the mess of the remaining furniture.

Not a lot to report despite a hard day's work.  Just more stripping out does not make an interesting blog update.  But we now have two rooms cleaned and awaiting Dave to remove all outstanding metal work.

That will leave three rooms and the corridors to clean before I can finally start the rebuild.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Fuse box fun

Had a good time on the boat today removing the fuse boxes.  The large grey old style fuse boxes were in excellent condition but had to go.  They were ugly and place in the most inappropriate places.    The other issue was that they had wired live and neutral the wrong way around.  This did not matter as all connections had fuses on both.  But still not good.  The boxes were fiddly to remove but came out ok.  Now we are just left with the main feeder cabling which is so thick it will need to be cut to remove.

Dave had done an excellent job at removing the metal base of the cooking area.   However there was yet more concrete underneath so that will need to be broken down and removed before he can clean off the remaining metal.  That's a saturday job though due to noise.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


A busy day on the boat yesterday.   The strip out had started to stall as the remaining wiring and bits that need to be removed were still in use.  So I took the plunge and headed for screw fix.  With a handful of new extension cables and half a dozen site lights I set out a new ship wide temporary lighting scheme.  I cannot recommend these lights more highly.  They are ideal for the purpose.   Firstly, they are cheap.  The 120w version (good for lighting a room) costs less than a tenner.  The 400W version costs £11 and the twin lights on tripod stand costs around £26.  They are excellent value for money.  The second up side of these is that they get really hot.  Not good in summer but they make a big difference to the heating of the boat.  Heat and light in one cheap solution.

With the ship lights now sorted the remain cable came out quickly.  Now all but the 3 main consumer unit feed cables are out and clear.  Next job will be to physically remove the old lights and consumer units.   With a new set of cable cutters which I bought a month ago for the data centre strip out it was fast work.  Blisters and hacking with normal wire cutters used to take about 30 secs to a min to cut through.  These new cutters cut through the wire like scissors through string.  Anyone doing boat work should get some of these.

With all the wire now out the remaining rooms can be stripped down pronto.  It will soon be time to start planning the build.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


When I was done tonight I locked up and spent a few mins enjoying the views from the ship.  One thing I noted was what looked like the head of a seal bob up in the mariner.  It was over by the yachts so could not see clearly.  Then it disappeared and bobbed up again.  It soon became clear that it had a fish.  But what caught me by surprise was when it turned on its back and pulled at the fish with claws.

I have never seen an otter in the wild and never expected to see one dining in our marina.

Back in the kitchen

It was time to get out the power tools again.  Big grin.  Always fun.

Remember this?  Its the raised chunk of metal on concrete used to hold the old cooker.  It has to go.

Underneath the metal appeared to be a lot of concrete.  To enable us to cut it out it had to be dug out.  A job for the jack hammer.

Not an easy job.  But given an hour or so I managed to cut it all out to find it sitting on a large metal base.  Dave has given it the once over and is now ready to use cutting tools on it.

Once removed it will provide a large level area (with the rest of the kitchen) to fit out with whatever it is I put in the kitchen.

I also made the decision to remove all the bilge pump piping for a number of reasons.  The first is that it is old and ugly in its current routing.  The second is that now the ship is not out at see it has less use.  But the main reason is that it is driven by a very large and old pump which is unlikely to ever work again.  There will be a need for bilge pumps but I can fit modern ones below and use other routes for the pipes.

The other pipe in the kitchen was the green sea water pipe which is connected to the hull below the water line.  Its a pipe that makes me nervous if I am honest.  Its only use was to pump in sea water to push through the fire pipes.  Again the pump is the non working bilge pump.  There is simply no need for it.  So the plan is that, rather than risk removing it, Dave will weld a plate over the outside and we will cap it off in the engine room above water level.  Belt and braces.

I got to meet the neighbours today.  A nice couple (Ian and Sue) who have bought Onward Mariner.  So I was lucky enough to get another viewing of a ship I nearly bought.  It looks like a great project and the ship is in great condition.  They are new to this too so we will be sharing the little knowledge I have to date.  Good luck Sue and Ian.

Apart from some tidying up and getting all tools back to the main workshop (they were everywhere) it was a quiet day.

But good to be back.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


I have just about moved office which included the closing down and stripping out of our data centre.  Managed to pick up some spare electrical components (Merlin cabinets of MCBs etc) and a pile of heavy duty (high current) cables.  Not long ones but perfect for using to join the main components and batteries.

Just need to find the time to get down there and start to finish some of the rooms.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lucky escape!

A great day back on the ship today.  Dave had delivered the anodes and nice and shiny they were too.  Thanks Dave.  Note that Dave is no longer 'Dave the welder' and all references to this steel miracle worker as such have been removed from my blog (not Dave, just 'the welder').  We had a laugh today and he (jokingly explained) that someone had wondered why I had got away with calling him Dave the welder without finding my landrover welded upside down to the side of my boat one day.  (and if anyone could achieve that, Dave could).  I had an education on the proper hierarchy of steel working and Dave is actually (official title) Dave the Fabricator.  It does not have the same ring to it but it does better represent the skills of an engineer who can weld rather than a welder.

Dave, consider myself educated! Lol.  And please don't weld my car to my boat when I am not looking.

Anyway, joking aside, I did do some light work today as I had friends and their parents (other keen blog followers) over to give the tour.

I am now getting close to having all the walls of all the rooms cleared of bits and bobs that prevent the insulation going on.  I need to clear all the rooms of stuff so that Dave (no longer the welder, now the fabricator :->  he is going to kill me..) will be able to remove the various brackets from around the ship in one go.

I managed to removed the various signs, the engine room vent fans, 2 bells, 4 fire alarm buttons, the control panels and lights by the back door and a few other bits like the wiring.  Its fiddly work that takes time but does not look like one has done much when one has finished.

The various FM200 (previously Halon) gas fire suppression tanks could be triggered by these buttons.  I have removed them for now as I need to sort the walls out and then decide whether to refit or modernise.

The engine rooms have some major fans and air ducts running down there.  Not sure if they suck or blow.  But the control panels are on an external wall of the ship and if I leave them on in this position then the insulation will be impossible to fit.  Most of this kit will need to be rehoused (if needed at all) in the old battery room.

Next to the door was the original manual/automatic switch panel for the halon tanks and controls.  Sensible as I would assume the idea was to be able to switch to manual when on board and automatic when off thus reducing the risk of being in a room when one goes off (and killing you).  Not needed anymore as although I may have the bottles in the engine room stay in place I would want the controls modernised and probably manual only.  As I will only ever run the generators when I am on board it seems pointless to worry about the automatic sensors.

A few notice boards gone (in the store now).  Not that interesting a photo I have to say!

It is coming to the point where I will have to start fitting alternative lights (temp) while I strip out all the old electrics.  That will be fun :->

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Anodes on their way

Its holiday season so not been on board much.  Not lost interest but needed a break.  The new hatch being fitted was a milestone.  It gave me the confidence that there was little that could not be authentically put right.  So the pressure was off to try and protect certain rusting parts as I know they can be replaced and look a million times better.

Apart from the hull that is.  So Dave has ordered a buch of zinc anodes to bolt on to help protect the hull.  That will help.  The transformer protects it to some extent but insurance requires me to fit these things.

I still cannot find anyone interested in the large battery chargers.  Which means it may be time to cut them up to dispose of them.  So if anyone knows anyone who wants some let me know!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Just about done in the wheelhouse

I was working to complete the wheel house today.  Cleaned out the remaining wiring which included the lights and sockets.  It struck me today that to get the ship to the position where it can be insulated I will now need to strip out the remaining electrics including lights and sockets.  This means I have to put in some temporary lights and cabling to keep me going in the mean time.   Should not be too difficult.

So the only remaining cable in the wheel house is now the single cable feeding the standby foghorn.  This just needs to be neatly run along its current route and then insulated.  I only now have to remove the remaining furniture, get Dave to cut out all the bits still on the walls.  Then that will be 2 rooms ready (mess and wheelhouse).

The second job was the removal of the foghorn ballasts (those odd wire mesh heating elements).  If the horns are to work these will be needed but I do not want them where they are now (were) and will move them over to the windlass room.

The battery room still needs to be cleaned of its batteries and some lights removed (a day's work) and that will be room 3.  The final room will then be the radio room.

The galley still needs the cooking platform removed (so out with the concrete breaker, big GRIN, he he).

All lights now removed.  Just the ceiling wiring trays to remove (Dave)

The 4 foghorn ballasts

One was under the water tank that fed the bilge pump.

One was by the burglo alarm (that was its brand name for the burglar alarm)

Two were in the main area by the mess and the bathrooms.  They were really ugly so it is better they are moved from this area.  The two distribution boards will also be gone.  Just need to put in alternative light circuits for a while so I can remove these.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The joys of part time work

Well, after some time away I found myself back on the boat and knee deep in wiring again. The news for today was that the new hatch was fitted. Dave had done a superb job producing an exact replica of the original and putting back the original porthole and weights. It now opens like a dream.

I manage to clear out the remainder of the wheel house fire systems and strange brown wooden box. Makes a big difference to the space. Cleared out much of the fire system wiring. So some progress was made again today. The battery chargers are unshiftable alone. The transformer itself can only just be lifted but not moved and the cabinets are similar. I have no idea how I managed to get them off the wall in the first place.

Introducing Dave.  Miracle worker in steel.  Thanks for the new hatch Dave!

The wheel house cleared of the old wooden box

And fire systems

The transformer still here because it is unliftable!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Birthday Venue

Well today we were back on the boat. Not to work, but as the venue for the birthday party. It was way to nice a weekend to do any work. So happy Birthday Dad. I hope you liked the day.

Next weekend may be the first I have back on the boat to work. So looking forward to that. Lots to do. Need to complete the wiring in the Radio room and start on dismantling the battery chargers into smaller bits to enable me to carry them off the boat.

Hopefully back to a 3 day work week in a few weeks time leaving 4 days clear (probably not every week) to get on with the job.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


I spent the morning trying to sort out why the system would not light up.  It turns out the connections are not as intuitive as I thought.  But a few words of advice from Martin at www.ledlightingproducts.co.uk and it all lit up.    Getting the enttec ethernet DMX controller recognised was difficult but it turns out the MAC firewall was blocking it from being seen.  Quickly resolved that and then had the lights going on and off from the laptop.

A transfer of the whole system onto the wireless network and downloaded the luminaire software for iPad.    Now all the lights are happily working from the iPad.

Thanks for all your help Martin.  I am sure I will have another million questions when I start to extend the whole thing to multiple rooms.

And check out the movie below

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lights, action, camera

Firstly welcome to my new followers.  At 7 its not quite up there with Stephen Fry's following but its a start.

At home is sitting a box with some goodies in it.  Should be the ethernet controller and the lights.  Can't wait to get home, unpack it and see if I can set fire to the flat :->

Ipad at the ready.  Some test software at the ready.  Hopefully there are some cables in the box!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

First hot day

And boy was it hot on the ship.  What I experienced in the cold is nothing compared to the over the wheelhouse turns into when it is sunny!  Insulation should help fix that.  And perhaps a reflecting paint on the roof.

Not a lot achieved today.  Completed the labelling of the cables and they are all ready to go in the junction box.  Cannot believe the cost of the label cartridge.  £19.  If you buy one.  Or, you can buy a completely new labelling machine AND it includes a label cartridge for £17.  Unbelievable waste and Brother should be prosecuted for encourage such reckless consuming.

So I now have two label machines.  And no doubt in the near future 3.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

What no tape!

My heart was not in it today but I went anyway.  I thought I would have a go at some of the radio room.  Stopped off at B&Q for some 10mm bolts to bolt the ballasts on with.  I also purchased some different sizes of trunking and flexible conduit to see what would work on the ship.

Managed to bolt the ballasts on.  Not too difficult.  Drilling 10mm holes with my new drill bit went relatively straight forwardly and mounting them was just an exercise in brute force to lift them and bolt them on at the same time (could do with 6 hands to be honest).  But it went ok.  I then placed the large plastic junction box in the appropriate place and ran all the cabling down one wall.

But to cut the cables at the right length I had to relabel them.  And as usual, just when you need it, the tape ran out!  So that was the end of that exercise.

Next up to the wheelhouse.  Time to move the power supplies (battery chargers).  I had tried already but they were simply too heavy to even move due to the VERY large transformers.  So I stripped out the transformers ensuring I labeled the cables and photographed the layout.  With these removed (I could just about lift one on my own it was so large) I could move the cabinets albeit not very far and certainly not down the stairs and off the boat.  But they are now away from the wall so the brackets can be removed.  It also freed up one of the portholes.  I now have the choice to fit 2 more square portholes on that side.  Decisions decisions.

The last bit of good news was that the mess hatch had been cut by Dave and he had filled most of the small holes.  The hatch really does make a big difference to how open that space now feels.  I was nervous about it but it turned out to be a good call.

The load ballasts now bolted to the wall.

Cabling now run down to the new junction box

Cabling starting to look a bit tidier.  Time to get out the cable ties and then it will look a whole lot better.

The transformer layout in the power supplies

The chargers now free of the wall

Spent an hour removing the old fire systems.  

Option to put back in a porthole or two