Thursday, 28 February 2013

62 cm is simply too big

The ship interior is quaint.  Doors are small ship like things with brass fittings, the doorways are narrow and cause untold damage to shins if you are not used to it.  The stairs are all but ladders and take some getting used to.

All well and good until you try and fit furniture through the door.  There are NO sofas that would possible fit through a door that size.  Time to find some do it your self suppliers who will sell good build it yourself furniture (Ikea is obvious but their sofas really are not the right quality).

It also means that other stuff will not fit through the door.  One of the key things that I need to get through is the foam insulation machine.  It is 62cm wide and 70Kg.  Gulp.  It simply will not get to all parts of the ship.  Luckily it can be fitted with 150ft of hose (at a cost).  That should enable it to reach the parts that other spray machines just cannot reach.

The original challenge of heating tanks is also solved.  There are some great 'jackets' on the market now that heat the tanks.  That won't enable the spraying to be done in winter as the walls really need to be up to 21 degrees C too.  But summer is coming and that problem should solve itself.

I was fascinated to read the instruction manual on how to spray the foam.  It was clear that you have to let each layer of foam dry and cool before adding another layer to avoid spontaneous foam combustion.  I don't often read manuals (its a bloke thing) but perhaps information like that shows that it is sometimes worth the read.

So summer is the target.  By then I need to:

Batten all the walls ready for the MDF (or ply, undecided yet) and plasterboard
Put the first fix cables in
Lay all the pipe work for heating and water
Put in any air ducting for cooker vents
Dismantle all the cabin walls (where I will sleep during this process remains to be seen) and ceilings

Not much to do then.  But determination to get this all sorted over the summer is there.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Portholes going in

Returning home it was nice to see light from the ship.  It was a bit of a double take as I have not seen light on board for a long time.  The reason of course is that the portholes down one side have been fitted.  And of course Dave has done a great job, yet again.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Thanks to Keith

A quick thanks to Keith from Aquafax

I was passed their details by Mastervolt, the company who makes my isolation transformer.  Remember that saga?  Its the earth and neutral point all over again.  It turns out that I was right.  Their documentation (page upon page of how to bolt it to the wall and very little on the wiring) is basically misleading at best and wrong at worst.

The output of the Mastervolt isolation transformer does require the earth and neutral to be connected together on the output and both then connected to the hull.  I know it says it in the documentation but the diagrams say something different.

Big thanks to Keith for spending the time to help and you have certainly gained a new customer.

LED lighting

I knew I should have waited.  My DMX LED lighting idea which I spent a small fortune on and tested has now been simplified into a single light bulb.

Take a look.

Basically I can fit these bulbs into standard fittings and control them all via a wireless bridge.  Nice.  Overall hugely simpler as I do not now need the special kit and wiring.

But I now have £1400 worth of DMX controllers and LED lights.  Hmm.  I can still install these anyway.   Somewhere.


Ok, so its a galley if I am to be all ship shape about it.  But at the end of the day its the same place, a place to reheat my microwave meals and make coffee.  The original design for the ship layout was to have the new galley (kitchen) where the old one was.  There were some advantages to this approach namely I did not have to use my imagination.

But this would be a stupid thing to do.  The space is very very small and is basically little more than a corridor through.  I have also an abundance of rooms including the radio room that I was trying to invent uses for.  Hmmmm.  you can see where this is going.

Obvious really.  The radio room (large room) will become the kitchen and the old galley area will be a small seating area.  This will ensure that there is plenty of room for the required kitchen equipment.  

A microwave and a kettle.

The pontoon has been moved (thanks Dave) a little and tied up to stop it banging.  Hopefully the next bad weather will not be such a drama.  I simply cannot imagine what it must have been like on board with real waves hitting the ship.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Planning is everything, so I am told.  So I thought I would take a look at the options for the fire I want to install in the mess (and perhaps elsewhere).   I was a little fed up with the standard 'ye oldy stove' all in black and all looking very very aged in design.  What would look good in a country cottage would not work so well in a ship.  Something more special was needed.

Take a look at some of these

There are some very cool fire places here.  One for the mess and I really do like the ones suspended from the ceiling.  That would work wonders in the big lounge which will be the old chain room.

Lots of very nice options. Now where did I leave that winning lottery ticket?

Waves waves waves waves waves waves

Last night's weather was horrible.  Driving rain and strong winds from the river meant big waves in the marina.  I am not of course talking North Sea type waves, but the first set of real choppy water I have seen.  Gannet of course moved.  Ever so slightly.  It takes monster waves to bother her.  But I had never felt her move at all.

I have learnt long ago to bungee the back door to stop in banging in the wind.  But what I had not counted on last night was the pontoon on the river side put there temporarily to enable Dave to do the portholes was not tied up well enough and bashed into Gannet.  It sounded inside like someone taking a hammer to the hull.  This persisted from 2 am to 4 am.  I even got up to take a look what was going on.  Of course, outside you could see it just touching and hardly making a sound over the wind and rain.  Time to get that sorted.

The work in the ship progressed last night.  Bed boards were constructed for the cabin bed (final set) and the place cleaned (my OCD kicked in again).  The remaning time was spent moving my stuff out of rooms that have portholes to fit to enable Dave clear access and in the case of bad weather, stopping it getting wet.

I also managed to sort out the huge pile of keys I found around the ship to try and see if the locks on the cabin bed draws can be locked (or in two cases unlocked, I dread to think what is locked in those two draws).

Next job is to fit the carpets in the last two rooms and try and fit the ariel.  But that will require daylight so its a saturday job.  I have been drying to try out my iphone locator app.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hmmmm warm fire

With the effort focused on the mess tonight I have managed to get the fire going.  Hmmm.  Warmth.  Lol.  Not really.  The heat loss from this room is significant and the fire keeps you warm if you sit by it but not much more.  What should I expect, this room is 6 metal walls 3 of which are external.

The prep for the portholes is now all but done.  They are clear of stuff so that Dave can get in and do his magic.  They are desperately needed as you can fly a kite from the draft from some of them.

New toys were de-boxed (I know thats not a word) tonight.  A pillar drill and a big saw.  One has a laser on it so it must be good.  I am now prepared, when Dave has done his bit, to start on the wooden walls and start to lay cables and piping.  Exciting times.

Monday, 11 February 2013

New lows

Its a shame I have not managed to find a thermometer to measure the temperature on the ship.  But it must be between 5 and 10 degrees inside.  Its hard living but you get used to it and whats more when people at work complain a room is cold I barely notice it.  Everywhere is warm by comparison.

The best way to avoid the cold is to work and so onwards with the real matter at hand; the ship.

This evening was about further cleaning.  The portholes are back on the ship and ready to be fitted.  But too much junk was still in the way of progress and had to be cleared.  Tonight I realised that months of work on the ship had led to the extension cables used to light and power the tools had been moved so many times and plugged and re plugged in different combinations that the end was result was not too disimilar to the maypole.

Job 1 was therefore re run all cables.  About an hour's work so no issue here.  The second job of the evening was to tackle the mess as it was covered in dust and paint from where the portholes surrounds had been stripped.  This also was not major work but I also cleaned the fireplace ready to go tomorrow.

I noticed that the wood covers on the porthole holes are blowing a gale.  Refitting the portholes must now be a priority as it will make the ship airtight again which will help with the temperature over the next 3 months.

The wireless network is now up and running.  My time capsule backing up the mac as required.  Given the temperature and the sensitivity of batteries to cold this is not too soon.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Hot spots

Yesterday I acquired one of those new 4GEE hotspot wireless gadgets.  So this is the first blog entry on the train.  Very good it is too.  Where have you been all my life.  The last week on board has helped out with a few things in terms of understanding the boat and what needs to be done.  Great piece of advice - before starting the rebuild of a boat live on it.  You will discover so many things about day to day life, where to put stuff, where to put plugs, lights, etc etc that you will make fewer mistakes when the real build comes along.

Things I have learnt this week.

1)  The beds are cold because behind the beds is very little other than a few poorly fitted boards and the hull.  I took the draws out last night to inspect.  Action - when insulation goes in, some effort behind the cabin beds will pay dividends.

2) Heat sinks.  The wardrobes are equally poorly dealt with in terms of wood between them and the hull.  They get very cold and attention will be needed here or they will simply act as heat sinks.

3) Floor - very cold even with underlay and carpet.  Remember that the ship has no form of heating at the moment but still the floors get very cold.  Under floor insulation (always planned) is a must.

4) Lights - it surprised me how little was actually needed.  The low energy light bulbs that seem to do a poor job in houses do a great job on the ship.  All the rooms are quite small and the ceilings low.  Single low energy bulbs do a great job.

5) Everything not secured makes a noise outside - tie everything down.  Bungees on the doors as well.

But overall I have been quite content there is week.  The whole ship is now relatively clean and tidy and the second set of cabin bed draws cleaned and stuffed with stuff.  There is a lot of storage in those draws.

Some photos

The new shelving with tools now arranged to ensure I know where everything is.  I appear to have more hammers than B&Q.

Moving my 1950s horse.  That caused quite a lot of laughs.  Everyone remembers these at their school.  What people do not realise is how heavy they are.  Makes sense when you think that it could be hit by a fat kid at 10 miles an hour and has to stay in place.  This is one horse that you won't find in a burger!

And finally the cabin (home).  The wood cleaned up nicely on the beds.  New bed boards were built to enable the mattresses to breath better.  Not a difficult job.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Summer Winds

The summer winds are NOT blowing in.  Leaving the ship at sunrise is bad enough but the chill of the ice winds blasting the UK are not funny at 6.50 am.  But it can only get warmer.  Conditions on board are improving slowly.  Over 6 months of mess needed clearing and so I started in the chain room.  Putting all the tools onto the newly constructed shelves in the chain bucket has gone a long way to sorting out the chaos.  Note to self, stop buying dustpan and brushes.  I have enough to open a small Woolworths for some reason.

My theory that a couple of hours work each night will make a difference is clearly right.  By 9.30 pm I had managed to clear all the tools and make progress emptying the old bathrooms of junk.  I predict that another couple of hours tonight will see the main deck cleared and hoovered.  It will simply be easier to live on with all the rooms and corridors clear.  When that is done Dave can come on an fit all the new portholes at which point over half the ship will be air tight and the ship will not be so permanently dark.

Talking of dark, I managed to blow the fuse again sat night.  This is the second time I have popped the fuse on the marina and I need to understand why.  With a supposedly 16 amps to play with I can't see I have this high a demand.  A move to low energy bulbs from the big site lamps will help but even these are not big enough to pull that much power from the marina.  I will need to find a 'gadget' that will tell me my power consumption.  I think the Mastervolt thingy has a network connection that will allow me to monitor it.  I will check.

Luckily I had a torch hanging from the emergency ladder at the bottom of the stairs.  Its an interesting experience I have rarely seen.  When the lights go out on the ship it is not dark.  Not as we would normally experience dark.  It is that kind of darkness which is a complete absence of light.  Total black.  You cannot see your hand in front of your face.  Feeling my way across the room to the ladder highlighted the need for a clean floor policy.

More cleaning and tidying to do.  Then the proper unpacking can start.  Hopefully real work can start next week.


With so much going on its hard to know where to start.  The move went well and relatively smoothly.  Luckily the majority my stuff had already been moved and so only 1 full Luton van was left (gulp).  Not easy though.   Moving the stuff into the van was the usual game of Tetris as the van was literally full floor to ceiling.  The next step was to exit the stuff from the van which was easier.  Simply open the door at the other end and some of it left of its own accord.  No damage.   To me or the stuff.  

Moving things onto the boat was easier than expected.  The portholes (I think we had about 12) are now all on board.  As we were stacking them a car pulled up and asked if they were for sale.  Hmmm, now let me think.  That would be a no.  But you never know, no harm in asking.

The boat cabins are now liveable.  Clean (but not yet tidy).  One has to get used to living in a very small space though.  The cabin beds provide copious storage in HUGE drawers (4 per bed).  So that deals with most of the stuff I have.  The wardrobes do the rest.  But everything is still in boxes so it will take time to sort.  I planned the move well and started a month ago to pack etc.  But the problem was I did not plan time off to unpack.  Ho hum.  Never mind.

With such changes come problems.  Or challenges more like.  This is not like moving house (well, it is as well) but a change in life style.  Things need to be done differently.  For example, the place gets untidy instantaneously if you do not put stuff away.  There simply is no room to dump stuff.  None at all.  So you need to be disciplined.   Want a cup of coffee, wash up the spoon and the cup immediately and put the jar away.  Otherwise, all your space is gone in one spoon!  Not quite but it feels like it.  The second challenge (found out after first night) is that with no portholes in the cabin areas it is permanently night.  So when I awoke I had no clock and no idea of whether it was 4am or 9am.  As it turned out it was 10.00 am.  This is hard to adjust too.  But it was better this morning.
The final challengette is radio signals.  There aren't any.  So a clock radio DAB that takes its time from a radio signal is 0 use in a large tin can.  No signal penetrates that far into the boat.  No signal, no clock, no radio, no alarm.  Luckily I had the ipad.  But even mobile signals are touch and go on that deck.

As a Londoner (for the last 14 years) of course I am programmed to think that everywhere is like London.  Ideally I was looking to do the dry run to the station etc yesterday.  Things took over and it never happened so this morning was a voyage of discovery.  I awoke, did morning ablutions, packed bag (note to self to pack bag night before, but to be fair it was 1 am before I hit the sack) and headed for car.  No coffee yet, no functioning brain, sun just about up (7.55) and ice cold wind trying to scratch the skin from my face.  Trip from boat to car, 5 mins, so far so good.
Next stage was to find Chatham station.  Fully expecting traffic, queues, and general scenes of streets full of angry car drivers.  Nope.  Nothing.  Out of Hoo, no traffic, onto main roads, no traffic, roundabouts all had feeds off so that you did not have to even stop at them.  All the way to the station, no traffic.  Straight into car park (not quite true, into permit holders car park and then corrected into pay through the nose car park) and 6 min wait for train.
The train was empty, almost new, clean and warm.  I have 3 seats to myself and room to write the blog entry in comfort.  Off to LA fitness at Victoria for my morning shower.  Yep, don't panic, I am not going to be exercising.  The lifting of portholes etc etc at weekend nearly finished me off proving the dangers of exercise.  I joined LA fitness simply as a cheap place to have a shower until the boat is ready.  They supply towel and shampoo etc etc.  All good and for only £50 a month (use any location).

I am not going to be doing any work on the ship this week as over the last 6 months the ship has turned to chaos with tools and stuff everywhere while Dave did his good work all over the ship (that is not his fault, its just not really worth doing while every room is being worked on. This week's evenings will be spent

1) Moving all tools into chain room onto the new shelves in the chain buckets.  I keep finding duplicate tools I keep buying because I am not organised (I used to be very organised but as I said above, things got a little behind).

2) Put improved lighting around the ship with energy saving bulbs.  New clip on lamps are just the job.  Cheap and very effective.

3) Clean the ship.  Just to get the grime out from months of work.

4) Remove rubbish bags from around the ship.  Lots left in corridors.  Very handy while working, nightmare to move around on though.

5) Put up TV arial.

That should keep me busy.  5 may not get done due to wind and darkness but the rest will be done.  I will try and take photos tonight of the new living space.  Cosy.