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

Friday, 24 June 2011

All quiet

Not been on board working now for quite a while.  Guests last weekend and father's day gave me a weekend off.  But back to the grind tomorrow.

Have acquired some hole cutters to cut 20mm, 25mm holes in the steel for the electrical conduit.  Looks like it could be hard work.  Lights are due to be delivered on Tuesday which will give me a few days to sort out the wiring.

Jobs for this weekend will need to include a go at mounting the load ballasts for the fog horns and lights in the radio room and then buy some junction boxes to reconnect all the wiring up.  Depending upon the weather I may well start to thin out the wiring going up into the lantern.  That would bring the radio room into a ready state like the mess where I can start to put things back together.  If I achieve that (unlikely) I will relocate the remaining batteries from the battery room, remove the fire supressor and have that room finalised for the rebuild.

That would leave some minor bits to remove from the wheelhouse and a few bits to get out of the kitchen and the boat will be mostly ready to start the fit out.  Eeek.  no pressure then.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Test Lights

I have ordered the first set of RGB LED lights and controller and also the iPad to control them.  Should arrive next week.  I think I will do a dry run in the mess to gauge the wiring needed.  Then I will sort out a test rig for the KNX.

Lots to do.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Tidy up

Sunday is a day of rest.  Not for me though.  But the rules say no noise on Sunday's so that means a day off power tools.  I spent most of the time this morning marking out the new hatch between the mess and the galley.

As I explained before, it is almost impossible to mark out on the wall.  So I bought some grid marked (mm grid) and used a long rule to cut out a perfectly square and measured piece of paper to stick on the wall to show where the hatch will go.  It looks a little out when compared to floor and walls and ceiling but at the time the boat was floating and the door steps were all perfectly level.  So if the door steps are level then making the paper level ensures that the hatch will match (sorry) the doors when floating.  I can then align the ceilings and walls to make things look square.

The afternoon was spent draining the muck out of the battery room.  The downside was that the flood occurred all over the really really heavy nicad batteries.  Nice combination of very very heavy batteries (3 times that of typical car battery) covered in diesel water, silicon grease and battery acid.  They had to go.

So a hour or so of carrying 19 batteries out onto the rear deck and then covered then in ply to keep them out of the sun.  Then mopped up the flood and left it to dry.

Final job was to pack up all the tools and the boat is back to clean and ready for the next round of fun.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Rubble Trouble

The kitchen floor came up easy.  The rubble it produce filled 20 rubble bags.  That really finished me off.  But the kitchen floor is now visible for the first time in over 50 years.

The job.  These are the kitchen 'before' photos.

I have to say that I expected some chisel bits a LOT smaller than what I found in the box.  I serious think  you could dig up your road with this thing.

I started in one corner and tried to work my way out.  There were some awkward bits because some of the original shelves and boiler stands were welded to the floor and then concreted in leaving the stubs in the concrete.  But this corner took no more than about 10 mins work.

Eventually all the floor was turned to rubble. Lots and lots and lots of sharp tile filled rubble.

Time for a break and off to buy 20 rubble sacks.

The swan swimming around outside reminded me why its good not to dump diesel into the water.  Its not a great photo but it was perfect white against the grey of the day.

Many hours of clearing rubble and hey presto!  A kitchen floor.

The down side of the tool is the blisters.  This one is my record!  And this was with wearing heavy duty gloves.

Some of the kitchen floor was quite rusted.  Not a surprise really.  There was no moisture barrier between the concrete and the metal so water that did get under just sat.

This is the old raised cooking area.  I think this will need to be removed.  It will make life much easier when it comes to doing the kitchen.

One of the parts of the floor had delayered quite a lot.

Some of the original shelving metal that was embedding in the floor.  This will all need to be cut off too.

Who needs gyms

Kitchen floor cut to pieces. Lunch. The Titan jackhammer is as the Americans would say awesome. 2 hours and about 2 inches of tiles and concrete destroyed. Along with me. I did no appreciate how heavy a 15kg tool was. I can hardly stand. There are some lessons learned though. Things they don't tell you in the manual. First if you get your technique right it cuts through effortlessly. If you don't you can grind away for ages. If you give the concrete somewhere to go it will just fall apart. If you don't it will just slowly chip away.

Luckily had all the safety gear. Ear defenders curtesy of CIL from the engine room. A full filter face mask and my full face mask screen. Tried goggles but they mist up and don't stop sharp flying tiles from hitting the rest of the face. They are easier to swivel up to inspect what you are doing too.

All I need now is a hundred rubble sacks to clear the rubble this afternoon.

But I have to say the tool is the best one bought to date. If I had paid someone to do that job it would have cost me a lot more than the tool.


A good night last night. Getting used to the place and sleeping all night. The trick is to make a grab for the heater and jump back in the bag first thing to take the edge off the cold. For the second time on this trip I exited my bag in a huge explosion of feathers.

My northeast bag had split along the seam, again, releasing the contents into the bag!!

Photos taken, complaint heading to northface. I have only slept in it 10 nights max. It may be Many years old but it should last more than 10 nights.

Right, breakfast and then time to attack the kitchen floor.

Friday, 10 June 2011


There is no question about it.  Diesel is one of the worst substances known to man.  I would rather clean a public toilet without gloves on than repeat today.  Yuk.

The jet washing went ok.  But it was rather like trying to remove thick grease with water.  Well, it was exactly like trying to remove grease with cold water.  But it did shift a lot of sludge off the hull and I was able to suck it all up with the Big Brute.  I manage to get the bottom of the bilge near as damn it dry.  But the parts under the engines are just not accessible so no doubt there is going to be some left down there but not a lot.

The morning was spent getting the remained of the gunk out of the engine room.  The afternoon was dedicated to trying to clean everything without a single drop going over the side of the boat.  No mean feat I can tell you.  The main issue was that the half barrels two of them in the boat that were full of thick sludge would not pump.  It had reached a consistency of thick choc milkshake.  Real thick.  Bugger.  Too much in the barrels to move them.  The next trick was to empty half a load of washing up liquid in and some degreaser and then fill the barrel with water (the other half at any rate).   I had 4 barrels outside to fill up and after that I was in trouble.

I started the pump and hey presto after a about 30 seconds of thinking it started to pump out.  For a while.  Then science took over.  For what was in the bottom of the barrel was easy to pump water.  The other half, you guessed it, now floating on the water, was the sludge.  And the pumped stopped and all I had done was half filled an outside barrel with water.

Anyway, cutting a long story short, I got the sludge out in the end.  I also managed to spend 3 hours cleaning the hoses into the barrels and then clean the 2 big brute barrels using tissues and cleaner.  It all worked ok in the end and I still had one empty barrel to spare.

Only one incident which resulted in no major spillage.  To clean the last in-boat barrels I filled them with water and washing up liquid.  In goes the pump.  Now the outside barrels were cunningly placed on the starboard side which is the opposite side to the way the boat leans.  I figured that it might help the lean if I had the 2 tons of liquid on deck on that side.  It did help.  The downside was the only way to get the pump hose to the barrels was through the battery room portholes.  This had worked for 6 of the barrels fine.  However, on this occasion, as the pump filled the pipe I could hear splash splash splash.  Rather louder than normal.  Even for an empty barrel.  I rushed to the battery room to see the hose had come back in through the porthole and was merrily pumping the water and brown sludge residue everywhere in the battery room.

So I finished the pumping.  Closed the door and will tackle that mess tomorrow.

I am very pleased though.  I am not a big environmentalist but I took great lengths to prevent a drop of that crap going into the river.  And I succeeded.  I think if more than one drinking cup of liquid went in then I would be surprised.  If I had ever switched on the bilge pumps the devastation to the surrounding wildlife and the river would have been terrible.  What was in the bilge was the devils on engine sump.


Tomorrows job will be easier.  I have to dig up the kitchen concrete floor.  That's bound to hurt and deafen but at least I wont have to swim in diesel.  Small mercies I am sure.

Van diesel

A chilly night last night. Curry dinner on board warmed things up a little though. Not a bad meal. Anyway, breakfast and coffee at the cafe and then it's back to pumping. Jet washing the bilge to try and reduce the sludge level. Also enables me to push some clean water through the system to clean the pump which is well smudged up at the moment.

Hopefully that will be the dirt diesel work mostly done.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Over a barrel

I thought I would have an easier day today.  No hope.  I wanted to take advantage of being down during the week and headed up the road to pick up a couple of barrels.  I needed them to empty the bilge under the engine room which appears to be a mix of diesel and water.   I picked up a couple (they are a chemical company and are happy to sell off used ones) and was happy to find the Landrover carried 2 perfectly.  Each barrel is about 210 litres.  Big blue plastic things.

I kicked off by using my standard water submersible pump.  The pump line should raise the liquid 8 meters which would be enough to get up the stairs to the main deck.  So I move a couple of empty barrels into the ship and started to pump.  10 mins later I had 2 full barrels!!  Damn.

So back to the company and bought another 8 barrels.  These barrels are not that heavy (you can easily carry one at a time).  But of course I am 150m along the pontoon.  I realised today that I had done 10 round  trips and carried 10 barrels.  That works out like carrying one barrel of a mile and then walking back.  It was knackering.

I cut the tops off the two barrels full on the ship and moved the pump into each in turn and emptied those into the other barrels outside on the deck.  The bilge levels dropped (400 litres down) to a point where the sub pump would no longer work (too shallow).  So out with the uber vacuum.  I set it up, went and bought an extension lead and started the job.  Wow.  This thing is amazing.  The liquid in the bilge was no longer brown water at this stage but thick like chocolate milkshake.  But it did the job and by 18.30 tonight (a long 10 hour day again) the bilge was basically empty.  However the sludge is now so thick that the sub pump struggles even to move it between barrels.

Diesel is a horrible horrible liquid.  I wear plastic gloves even when I fill up the truck.   But today I was up to my elbows in the diesel mix.  What is worse is that it is amazingly slippery which is no help when trying to get quickly up the engine room stairs to check the barrels.

At the end of the day though mission accomplished.  Not just moved the liquid but did not spill a drop into the river.

Barrel at the top of engine room stairs taking the first test load from the bilge.

8 blue barrels needed to store the liquid in

Sucking out the sludge and liquid from the bilge

Big brute pipe on the right.  Sub pump on the left.

Bilge was full of sludge.  It will need to be jet washed and degreased to do the job right.