Friday, 20 December 2013

LV12 - Welcome to Radio Seagull

Lightship owners are a rare breed, up there with windmill owners I suspect.  I was recently contacted by Sieste Brouwer who is the owner of LV12.

It is great to see a ship which looks to be the same model as Gannet.  Photos of the ship in the Ship section and in their Gallery section of their website make me smile a lot.  It is great to see one of these ships being restored and looked after.  It is even better to see it out at sea again where they should be.

Makes me wish I still had anchors and chains!

I note that the ship is down to 8mm steel.  Gulp.  I know how thick that started out as.  That's half the steel gone.  I look forward to discussing this with Sieste.

I hope to meet Sieste over the holidays if I can arrange my complicated Christmas schedule.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bang on

For nearly a year I have been disturbed by an incredible banging noise which sounds like someone hitting the hull with a steel hammer whenever it is windy.  I have been out at 3am in stormy winds in a dressing gown trying to determine what the noise is.

Everything is tied down. Everything.  In the end, I thought I had got the noise down to the gangway catching.  The issue is that no noise can be heard outside, only inside.

Tonight I solved it.  Mainly because the tide was out and that mean no gangway movement.  It turns out that two of the arms that hold the nets on the helipad move still.  And in the wind, now and again, they get push in and bang.

A few wedges in the gaps and hey presto.  No more banging!

Porthole and floor pics

The toilet floor.  All clear

The new portholes in the bathroom to be 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Time for reflection

Every now and again I try and look back at what has been achieved and what is left to do.  This is not always an easy job as there is always more to do than already done.

What has been achieved?

All original portholes were removed and restored and refitted.
This was an expensive (to say the least) exercise but one that will be worth it for years to come.  It was a now or never job.  Now seemed better than never.

All main ship strip out finished
Well not quite.  95% is done.  There are still old cables that need removing from the old radio room that went up through the ceiling into the tower.  This is a warm weather job and will not hold back other work.

Cabins habitable
This was the main achievement for two reasons.  The first was that I had somewhere to stay on board and live.  Not a palace, but comfortable if you ignore things like temperature.  The second benefit is the biggest though.  If you are going to convert a ship to live on, you need to live on it.  Otherwise your designs and ideas will be guesses and it is invaluable to get a feel for what is needed to ground your ideas and designs.

Mess woodwork done
The walls and ceiling of the old mess room were done.  This was a learning room and taught me a lot about what works and what does not work.  It was useful to get the nail gun and a few other tools to speed up the process.

Electrical and plumbing
Lots of planning and thinking here but none done because the rooms were not ready.  But the wiring in the cabins is sound and working fine and my ring mains worked well.  It did help highlight the challenges of earthing the kit so again some useful lessons learnt.  None of the water tanks were progressed sadly.  So the water pump and filter systems remain in their boxes.

So not as much progress as I would have liked lately but progress none the less.

I think the immediate focus will be to get the front locker cleared so that Dave can remove the metal lockers down there.  If I can source some portholes (I have some) then that will be the last major engineering job.  Apart from the other cabin portholes which I need 8 of and still have not managed to source.  But that is another £2k-£3k just for those to buy so they can wait until later next year.
One key lesson is that it is not worth progressing rooms too far before engineering work is done or the mess can be too damaging to the work done.

Finally, I have to get the woodwork done over winter if I am to have a chance of doing the insulation next year when the temperature is right.  Thats lots of work to do in a short time.  Gulp.

New portholes

The new portholes look amazing.  Great job again.  Fitted in 1 day, this must be a record.  Thanks Dave.  Refitted waste pipes and ariel lead.  I will take photos when I am next on board in daylight.


I was working in a company on Monday who make a very innovative set of products.  Based upon Nano technology.  They make a coating which is hydrophobic.  It will prevent corrosion on bare metal, can be pained over paint, a version for wood and a version for stone.  Amazing stuff.

The applications are of course extensive.  Marine usage would be huge as would painting of brick and blocks on housing.  If the water cannot soak in then it will not absorb heat as it evaporates and dries.

Clever stuff.

Portholes in

Txt just in.  Portholes fitted.  Can't wait to get home and see them.  But that means Dave is done at this end of the ship for now.  So cleaning duties here we come.  Fingers crossed its not a big job.

Next stop, front locker room door.

Freezing fog

I awoke for the second day running to freezing fog.  My gantry was less of a walk way and I would have been better equipped with a pair of skis and exited to the sound of clanking cow bells (Ski Sunday memories).

It was not a good morning.  It all went wrong last night.  'Can you remove the waste pipe running through the porthole cover please' says Dave in a text.  No problem says I.  Timing is everything.  I did not want to be without facilities this morning so everything just needed to be prepared so I could pull the pipe through this morning.  In the dark.  In the freezing fog.

I make few regrettable stupid mistakes but last night I realised I had made one.  When I went to prepare the pipe I realised there was also a black wire running through the hole.  WTF!  Oh crap.  I have wired the TV ariel from the front of the ship all the way down the shop cable tied and through the hole and then all the way through the ship to the TV room where the coax terminated.

Sigh.  45 mins later the cable had been threaded back from the TV to the hole and the job was done.

I can only think that once the ariel was up, the excitement of getting imminent TV was too much and  brain function shut down.

Note to self:  Don't do stupid things.

The second thing that did not go my way last night was the cold.  I ventured into the old TV room (one of the cabins on the sleeping side) to do the ariel lead.  There was a howling gale through one of the ceiling vents of freezing air.  I had to venture to the top deck to work out why when all the horns were covered.  Or should have been.  The one on that horn was a rubble sack taped on (did not have proper covers for all) and after the storm it had ripped.  But this time of night it was simply too cold, too foggy and too dark to do anything about.  That will be a job for tonight.

I have to say, on nights like that, having watched the film the fog, standing on a dark dimly lit ship alone was a little creepy.  But its an amazing place at night and the lights of the other boats through the fog, the moon on the pond still water and the silence was incredible to see.  But also creepy so I did not stay out long to watch it.

Monday, 9 December 2013


Now the floor is sorted I can turn my attention to putting up the woodwork.  I originally moved onto the ship to help speed the process up.  The theory being that a little bit every day will be a big step forward quite quickly.  It did not work out due to work levels.

But I do now have a small room to put woodwork up in.  So I am back to the sanatogen approach.  One a day.  Tonight I will clean up all the room from grinding dust and start to fit 1 piece of work a day (or maybe a few).  Getting into a routine - eat at lunchtime, home by 7, get changed, 1 hour's progress.

Let's see how that works out.  But it should mean I get the toilet done in 7 nights as its not that big.  Once that is done, Dave should have fitted the bathroom portholes (fingers crossed) and that is a much bigger room and needs some thinking about in terms of the layout.

I have been re studying techniques for sorting the walk in showers.  The walls are easy, the ceiling sort of ok but the issue is the height of the room and the depth of the floor required to do the drains.  I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the shower will have to drain into the floor below.  Or I will need to lose another 10 cms in height to fit in.

Another attempt at the front locker ceiling last week saw progress.  The ceiling panel was inch thick marine ply.  Useful bit of wood.  That's half the ceiling down.  2 panels to go then just the walls!  Easy.  hmm.

As soon as Dave has finished the portholes then it will be time to cut the doorway between the chain room and the new master bedroom.  That will help as at the moment the only access is from deck.  That is a real pain for working as I have no light or power that far forward anymore.  Cutting the door will help access and will mean I can work over winter more easily at the front.  It is a great storage place too.

Toilet floor 0 Dave 1

It's done!  The floor toilet stands are gone.  Well done Dave for another fantastic job.  This is a great way to work.  I do all the jobs I can, Dave does all the jobs I can't.  Note, not won't.  I am not a big fan of outsourcing jobs because they are messy or hard.  I may as well just project manage then.

Dave will now be turning his attention to the remaining portholes and the anodes.  Its a useful job Gannet.  Most of his work is outdoors and I know he likes my work as when the weather is bad and he cannot work outside he can come be productive on Gannet.  It helps him up his utilisation and helps me spread the costs over a longer period.

It all works very nicely for both.  Dave is not the cheapest guy to do your work but he charges the going rate for someone of his experience and skill.  There are cheaper but needless to say a man with a welding machine does not maketh a welder.  Dave is the best and I firmly believe that you pay for what you get.  I know that I can trust Dave completely on my ship, that it will not burn down (he is very safety conscious), the work done will last the life of the ship and I will not (and never) have to have him back to redo anything.

Anyone who needs any form of metal work, fabrication etc done on their ship/home etc give Dave a ring.