Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Water and yet more water

You must all be getting bored by now with my musings on water systems.  I was looking piping and connectors yesterday (MDPE blue piping) and wondered whether I would trust the water system fully to drink from the tap.  Hmmm.  There will always be some doubt in my mind.

Its ok to feed all bathroom taps etc from the tanks (filters and UV will make it nice and pure) but I am in two minds as to whether I will drive the kitchen tap direct from mains.  There are a few challenges here. The first is that the water system does not always have the required pressure and so kitchen tap may not always have water.  The second thought is that it means the boat is not quite self-sufficient.

Maybe a further drinking water purifier under the sink would make me feel better.  There are some good ones around.

The MDPE piping looks quite good.  You can buy it in continuous 50m lengths which means that I can run water around the boat without joints (no joints, less leaks).  So I may use quite a bit of the piping in the boat as I lay out longer water runs.

Then there is the issue of stagnation.  I have found some good tank cleaning products (for drinking water) that will sterilise the tank and the piping.  Simply dump in the fizzy tabs and leave it.  Flush through.  Job done.  If I do that regularly (every year) and follow advice which is to regularly drain an refill the tanks then I think I will be ok.

Finally, research shows that using copper piping for the sewage would be fine.  The reason it is not used these days is purely cost.  But if you have it then its fine.  Yea!

Monday, 28 May 2012

More tanks

Sunday was spent clearing the boat further and some cleaning.  May be boring but has to be done.  All UPS boxes are now dismantled and out of the wheel house.  Dave has fitted all the windows and its a different room with all the windows in.  Completely different.  The ship originally had a complete set in and without them is felt a little odd.

The pictures below now show the new windows in place.

Dave had also taken out the second bathroom door and welded a plate over.  Great job.

Now we have one big bathroom.  See the welded door on the left.  The centre dividing wall removed,  this room is now plenty big enough to put in a walk in shower and the rest of the normal bathroom furniture.  The shower going on the end as you look at the picture immediately below.

The view from the shower end.  The original issue was that the two original rooms were not individually big enough really to put in a shower in each and a sink.  

I did manage to do a survey of the tanks to make sure I could do what I needed.  Turns out there is a lot to work with in terms of piping.

There are two basic circuits connecting each tank.  One large pipe comes from the deck and runs around each tank as was used to fill each tank.  The second circuit pipe had a spur off it into each tank and a pipe that reached into each one to extract water.  This pipe then goes through to the engine room and the existing water pump.

This is good news as these pipes can be used and the more reuse the less additions I will need.

So the plan is

The first two tanks (at the rear of the ship) that will be fresh water will be disconnected from the two main circuit pipes (fill and empty pipe to give them crude names).   I will then use the existing tank draining valves at the bottom of the two tanks to connect to the water pump (s eventually as I will fit two).  There is a clear stand for the pump in the hull.  So that should be easy.  The only consideration may be the noise of the pump so I will need to look at that (test when I get the pump) as the tanks are below the cabins.

The other two tanks will reuse the piping in place.  The current exit pipe (currently used to feed the water pump in the engine room) will be used to pump out the grey water and macerated sewage.  This piping is in good condition and runs through to the engine room.  From here (taking out the old pump) I can put a three way valve.  This will let me direct the raw material out one side of the boat (the engine room has handy exit ports on both sides) or the other or direct it to a pipe that will have a coupling that will allow me to connect to a pump barge.  This will future proof the system.

The existing fresh water filler pipes will also remain.  These will only feed the sewage tanks and allow me to flush fresh water into the sewage tanks to clean the out.  That pipe is up in the rear deck. So it enables me to put in cleaning fluids etc without having to access the tanks directly.

Two challenges to look into.  The first is whether the copper piping will handle grey water in this way.  Sewage piping is normally plastic and there may be a reason for that.  Of this is the case then the piping will need to be replaced.

The second challenge is venting.  There will need to be a fresh air vent out to the sides of the boat to ensure that there are not airlocks and that the tanks can breathe.  I have been led to believe that build up of gases etc is not good and actually tanks smell less if they are able to breathe.  Getting an air pipe down there should not be a major problem.  There are two sounding pipes into those tanks which could be intercepted and fed out to fresh air.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Oven ready

The hot days have brought back memories of past suffering.  A 600 ton oven baking in 28 degree is not a place one would want to work for long periods.  Especially not while doing grinding and welding etc.  So commiserations to Dave who has reported in this morning that despite being cooked at gas mark 8 for 8 hours a day this week he has completed a load of work.

The windows are now in the wheel house!   Can't wait to get a look on Sunday and get some photos.  The bathroom is done (previously reported) and he has removed various bits remaining on ceilings etc. Dave has also started on the portholes in the windlass room (removed bolts etc) and will do the removal and plating when he returns from a well deserved holiday next week.  I'l  keep the oven warm for you Dave :->

The other news (yes, things are really starting to move again after some low levels of activity) is that we have found a company that will strip the gunk and paint from the portholes for £15 a go.  Wow.  Seems too good to be true so they will get one to prove themselves first before they get the rest.  But great price if this works out and no doubt lots of business will flow their way as I will have Dave strip all holes out, get them cleaned and then replaced.  It will look fantastic to have the brass or bronze (who knows whats under all that paint) portholes restored in that way.

This weekend is going to be about removing the last clutter (the other UPS systems) and emptying the fog horn boxes out to enable me to rehang them (yes, another re change of change of change of mind).  If that is completed I will head down to the water tanks and start to plan the pipework for them.   The water feed is to the back of the boat from the marina.  So I would like to pipe it down through the rear deck locker and into the boat that way.  However ...

There is one challenge that makes me nervous and involves the very stories that I have laughed at in the past.  The issue is that if I feed mains water in without protection then if there is a failure (tank sensor fails) then the tanks could fill and overflow and start to fill the hull.  Very funny when it happens to others.

The tanks will hold 6000 litres each so they will hold enough water to last for a long time.   But actually a regular flow would be better than fill and leave standing for months.  So a system that keeps the tanks quite low would be useful, say 3000 litres each (still a lot of water).  The idea of having them this full is they weight many tons (up to 12 if both full) which will help balance the boat.  So I think it would be good to have the water feed manual (always off) and requires positive action to have it feed the tanks but still have a cut off mechanism to prevent over filling in case I forget (I am getting on a bit you know).  That should do it.

The next challenge of course is to get the tanks (a pair) to work together.  Ideally it would be good to have two pump systems eventually, one from each tank, feeding the pipework.  This means upon a single pump failure we have a back up.  We then need to balance the tanks so that both tanks are filled and drained at the same rate (do not want 6 tons of water on one side of the centre of gravity).  Will need to think that through this weekend (always one more worry).  Would like to solve that without the need to worry about further transfer pumps etc.  But would rather not drill through tank walls to make them one tank.  That risks water moving to one tank tipping centre of gravity and pulling more water across etc.  So keeping the tanks both isolated and feeding and draining at the same rate will be interesting.  A dual feed (one from each tank) with non return values into a single pipe fed into a pair of pumps configured in parallel (but only one to start with) would probably do the job.  Then twin feeds into the tanks with independent ballcocks to bring both tanks to the same level should help.

Next job then, buy shed load of piping.  As with everything, that is not a simple choice either!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Water filters

The solution (one of them) has been located.

What I need is one of these

followed by one of these

That just leaves the pump.  I think I will need one of these

The above thingy looks pretty much like the very old version of the one already in the ship.  So I may be onto something.  The pump would pull from the tanks and then push through the filters.

Finally, the sewage solution is likely to be one of these

or perhaps two (one for each tank).  But lets start with one for now.

All in all the whole set comes in around less than what I was looking at for a single water tank improvement.

The water system will be pushing through at mains pressure and good flow rate.

So that job is all but done.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Tanks 2

It looks like there may be easier ways to crack this nut.  The tanks themselves are not in bad condition. They would probably be ok but there is always the worry of dirty water issues.  With new piping in place what else could be done.

Well, it turns out that there is another solution.  Use the tanks as they are (check they do not leak) and then feed the tank output through a water treatment solution.  There seem to be a lot of these on the market using different mix and match technology.  A relatively simple filtration system to remove solids followed by an inline UV system to kill off any bags would do the job.  And at a fraction of the cost!

More to follow

Friday, 18 May 2012


News from Dave today.  The wall in the bathroom has been removed and the door plated over.  Can't wait to get down and see his handy work.  I have been busy too.  Looking at the issue of water tanks again. 

You may recall these pictures of one of the tanks.  They are un the bottom of the hull accessible through a 1m square hatch in the lower deck floor.  Then the hole to get into the tank is quite tight.

The problem is that I would not trust water out of these tanks.  Not to drink anyway.  So I need to get them sorted.  It seems that while we can put a man on the moon and visit the deepest parts of the oceans there is no simple way to do this job.  I would have thought (but turns out I am wrong) that there would be some paint that would be able to go over the existing covering which is approved by WRAS (DWI) for potable water.  But no.  That would be too simple.

There are therefore 2 main options.  The first is an epoxy covering.  Either spray on or paint on.  But it will only work on metal.  The insides of the tanks would need to be sand blasted.  That would be like trying to sand blast the inside of a telephone box on its side while inside it and the box at the bottom of a coal mine.  Nightmare.  I have looked into this and it is doable but will be a horrific job.

The second approach would be to use a lining.  But again this is complicated as there are baffles in the tank (to stop the water sloshing about too badly).  These make the job difficult. 

I think the solution will be to remove the baffles to make the tanks able to be lined.  I will survey them when I am next down.   I suspect I will line two tanks for drinking water and then paint the others with some other covering that is chemically resistant for the waste tanks.

The final alternative would be to fit new tanks but they would need to be fitted on one of the decks and there are advantages to having that weight in the hull and not higher up as it makes the ship less likely to lean.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


The first day of no rain for longer than I can remember it seems.  So it seemed fitting to spend the delayed first good day of spring catching up with the spring cleaning.  Lots of work has been completed by Dave over the last week or so.  The radio room and the battery room is now cleaned out and is ready to go.  The hatch covered up nicely too ensuring when the walls are done there is no risk of leakage.

The best news was that the first new window was fitted and it looks great.  Note the new window on the right of the wheel house.  Two further windows will be fitted in between the three existing ones.

Now that the majority of the cutting is done (ok, two more windows to go) there was a clean up to do.  The ship was cleared of junk to the deck and the two old UPS boxes (nobody wanted) were dismantled to lighten them enough to shift from the wheelhouse.

It did enable a bit of planning to be undertaken.  A few decisions resulted from some consultation with an interior designer.  The original idea to keep two bathrooms for two shower rooms will be changed to one shower room.  So Dave has been asked to take down the wall between the two existing rooms.  This will leave one entire room as a wet room for shower and the other for sinks etc.  We will also be sealing up the second door (Dave to remove and plate it over).

The second good idea to come forth (and one that was so obvious I kicked myself) was that there are 11 portholes in the windlass room which is totally unused and the cabins have none.  Hmmm.  What should we do.

Dave now has instructions to remove the portholes and fit them into one set of cabins (8 portholes).  This also means that the cabin portholes will be opening ones and they are an exact fit to what was removed in the first place from the cabins.  10.5 inch at the glass, 13 inch bolt to bolt (centre).

The ship is now close to clean enough to start the rebuild.  Some planning is required first of course. There is probably a few more days work on the clean out side (Dave has also got some minor holes to plug and bits to sort).   The layout of the ship is now decided.

Battery Room -> Utilities etc
Radio Room -> Lounge area
Mess -> Dining room
Galley -> New kitchen
two old bathrooms -> one big shower room
two toilets -> two toilets
Wheel House -> office area
Chain room -> large lounge area
Front locker -> master suite and ensuite
Cabins -> Cabins

The first job will be to prepare the cable run plans.  The decision to use radiators for heating means that the pipe runs will also need some careful planning.  Fire places will need to be fitted.  Two new fireplaces are planned.  One on the wheelhouse to warm that room when winter kicks in and one in the radio room.  This one is likely to have a back boiler as it is next to the utility room and can feed hot water tanks (if I get a dual feed tank).  The boiler (yet to be determined) can be put in the windlass room.  Two new chimneys will be needed therefore.  Not a problem for Dave.

The third fireplace will need to go in the dining room.  Further examination of the stove currently there shows that it is not going to survive.  With a new room in place the stove would look old and rusty and the cost of restoration would be prohibitive.    It also has a very small fire in comparison to its size.  So it will need to come out (not just yet).  Given that NOBODY seems to stock this make or model anymore parts will be near impossible to come by.

It was good to be back at the coal face again today.  I have plans that will hopefully speed things up over the summer.  But we will have to see.