Friday, 30 September 2011

It's Too Hot!

Only kidding.
Like everybody else I’m making the most of this warm spell. Been down to the boat twice since the bilge was pumped out and each time there has been another couple of gallons to remove with the mop. This must mean that the ends of the floor bearers are pretty well clogged with rubbish and the water is just seeping through. No rain to speak of lately so don’t think it is fresh. Checked under the bed at the hatch I had cut some months ago and confirmed that the hull is dry at this point but it smells a bit musty so have left the hatch off but being basically dry would indicate that there is no leak from the water tank forward. Think I’ll install a fan in the bow and duct it under the decking. I’ve got plenty of old computer case fans and will have to add that into the loom when I get round to the wiring.
I have decided the priority is to get the boat as watertight as possible before winter so am concentrating on the wheelhouse doors where most of the water comes in now, since removing the skylight. Trimmed the port door down to measurements and took it to the boat to try for size and it fits fine, just got to do the rebates for hinges and lock. Starboard door next. Door tops have been given their first coat of varnish and are looking good. Not much to show at present but I think it’s one of those times when everything will come together in a rush.
Even so I found time to visit Newark Air Museum with some old work colleagues and luckily for us the Vulcan was open for viewing – all I can say is the five aircrew must have got on well together.
Thanks Al it was a grand day out and have a long and pleasant retirement.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Woodwork and Other Things

While I am waiting for the BMEA codes of practice to arrive there’s no point in being idle. Set to designing and making the tops for the wheelhouse doors. The plan is to reduce the height of the wheelhouse by about 5” because at the moment there is loads of headroom and to my eye it looks out of proportion and too flimsy. Also at the moment if any of the Perspex gets damaged the only way to replace it is to dismantle the framework.
Made the new door tops shorter  and slightly heavier in the wood work but the reduction in height should balance out the overall weight. These will set the height for the new wheelhouse. I also made the tops of the window with a slight arch so that they are in keeping with the style of boat and main cabin windows. At the moment the framework has only just been assembled so there is plenty more to do in the way of sanding and varnishing. Pespex ordered online from Screwfix just before starting this blog entry.
The edges are rebated to marry with the wheelhouse sides when built, you can just make it out in the photo, the reverse side (inside) is rebated to take 10mm beading to hold the Perspex. The top bar stands out by 8mm to anchor the canopy and hold it away from the woodwork. The bottom bar has a lip on the reverse which reflects the top of the door bottom so that when folded down it will provide me with a 6” wide ledge to lean on or gongoozle from. Not a single screw used in the construction so far but of course they will be used for the hinges and to hold the beading in place, Never realised how much thinking can go into a simple frame!
Spent last Thursday down at Woolsthorpe helping to tidy up the old BW depot with some other chaps from GCS, left plenty more to do for the others coming on Saturday. It’s all in preparation for a discovery day there on 9th of October, looks like there should be quite a bit happening.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ben Harp Strikes Again

Put quite a lot of feelers out to see if the wiring colour coding on Trudy-Ann was acceptable. Well, I’ve had it confirmed by British Marine Electrics Association that the wiring does not comply with regulations. At this stage all I have done is to order an interactive copy of BMEA codes of practice from the British Marine Federation but it certainly looks like I am going to have to rip out all of it and replace the 12V wiring throughout the boat, possibly rerunning the 240v circuits as it is all bunched up together.
As I understand it, 12V wiring should have a black negative though it seems there can be variations to the positive, the norm is to have red as the positive at least as far as the controlling switch and then the appropriate colour code to the lamp / motor etc. may be used (but no colours used in the 240V system) with a black return wire. If I have got this information round my neck feel free to correct me. Also the 240V system should be kept separate from the 12V. None of this is happening as you can see from the picture.
I asked the question during the build and was told this was the wiring code that applied. This has now been shown to be incorrect but it means that he has probably wired other boats to this standard.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Bilge Pumped Out

Down working on the boat for couple of days since the last blog entry. Cut a hole in the cupboard floor nearest the engine bulkhead and pumped out the water in the bilge as far as I could with an old Hippo pump meant for topping up the fish pond.
For cutting panels out in awkward spaces you can not beat this type of saw.
The last 8 gallons was removed by mopping and the bilge looked much drier.
We will have to see if it stays like this as there is so much rubbish down there it may have blocked the vent spaces in the floor bearers.
In the engine bay the holes through the engine bearers have been fitted with grommets, the brackets fitted which will take the box conduit to support the cables and protect them from damage when working around the engine.

The batteries have been installed in the battery box but not connected in. It has come to light that colour coding of the boat is suspect as both 12V and 240V use brown and blue as positive and negative. I can see the sense in this argument and have been trying to get it confirmed. As of yet all I have found is that ISO 10133 states that negative shall be black or yellow except if black is also used in the 240V system when it must be yellow. So it looks as though the whole boat may have to be rewired, but before ripping everything out I want to be as certain as possible. If anybody knows the appropriate legislation I can refer to please let me know.
On a lighter note – had a pleasant day out at Foxton on Sunday watching the Vikings getting beaten up by the local kiddies before a wander round the museum. Pity we couldn’t get here by water. To cap it all had a very pleasant supper with friends Tony and Les.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Jobs Done - Jobs To Do

A bit more done on Trudy-Ann, the battery box has now been lined and painted, just the front to refit after the batteries are installed.
Slapped a bit of paint round the holes I have just cut to carry the main battery feeds through the engine bearers.
Not a pretty bit of painting but it’s only to protect the bare metal (Which is more than the builder could manage as any holes drilled have been just left to rust) and I just happened to have a brush handy. The bearers are in two parts so the hole has been stepped to accommodate the grommet better as the total thickness is some 16mm.
Whilst I’m down there daubing away I’m looking at this cats cradle and thinking if the jointing is anything like I have found so far I will all have to come out and be redone. Perhaps try and find out whats's what and add a few labels.
While I am at it I think I will move the central heating room sensor from the outside of the cabinet and site it in the living area. After all isn’t that where it should be?
In the galley area the splashback has been modified to vent the fridge from behind and all that is left is to seal it to the worktop.
A hole has been cut in the floor at the back of the fridge space to fit another vent space but in doing so I find at least an inch of water in the bilge sloshing about and all the while various pieces of flotsam and jetsam floating in and out of view, some of it quite large. I wonder now if it was to stop me seeing all the rubbish under the decking that no bilge access was provided.
No point in plating this hole until the water has been pumped out. Some wetness had been expected but not to this extent, if as I suspect it will be the same as far as the skylight which had been leaking right from the start until it was sheeted down, there could be up to half a tonne of water washing about under there. It confirms my thoughts that all the flooring will have to come up between bathroom and engine bulkhead. Get it dried out, Waxoyled and replace the water with fixed ballast.
Sitting there at finish of work taking a breather, enjoying the evening, before returning home I couldn’t help thinking that boating is a relaxing way of life, and some waste of space toe rag isn’t going to spoil it.
I wonder if he will show his face at Foxton this week-end?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Hopes Dashed

After all the testing the batteries were holding their charge and things were looking good but my crossed fingers did no good. I applied a small load of 4.5 amps to the six domestic batteries in turn and they soon started to flag, after two hours each was down to less than 10 volts. Not much point in taking specific gravity readings. Battery number 7 the engine battery is holding up fine as far I am aware this battery was not run to complete exhaustion. Off to Multicell in Broughton Astley near Leicester with the intention of replacing with the same make and model as I prefer a lead acid battery you can monitor. Yeah I’m an old stick in the mud, so what. Duly loaded up 6 FLA110 and got talking as you do, and it appears that they have been trying to contact Ben Harp for some time without success. Not another company he hasn’t paid – surely.
This week hasn’t been a complete waste of time, while the batteries are out I’m re-routing this mess of wires.
At least I have just spotted where I left the jack after I raised the engine.
The intention being to run through the engine bearer as on the other side, like this it’s a failure waiting to happen.
While this is going on the Battery compartment is being lined out to prevent terminals contacting the steelwork, holes being made in the floor under the fridge and the galley splash back has been removed in readiness to install the high level vent . More pictures on completion.
Back home the fridge cupboard door has been modified top and bottom to allow more ventilation.
On the family front, we had an enjoyable barbeque at brothers to see nephew Andrew off on his three year trip to New Zealand’s south island, studying and monitoring the fault line. Don’t envy him the flight.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Retail Therapy

Every now and then you get a blinding flash of the obvious. Bruce’s suggestion on the last post is one of these. The fridge has been removed pending a hole being cut in the floor at the rear of the refrigerator recess. Once cut it will be covered by a stainless steel vent plate solely to try and stop that accumulation of detritus that you get under fridges dropping into the bilge. The plans to allow vent space in doors and worktop will continue but the extra vent from the bilge is bound to help. An added bonus of this idea is that I will be able to examine the bilge for damp as I suspect there may be water still down there from when the skylight was leaking. I had asked for access to the bilge to be made possible, but usual story – nothing happened, hopefully that will be taken care of when I relay the cabin floors and build in a cool space for wine etc. I’m seriously thinking of doing the main cabin and galley in the style of the wheelhouse deck boards, which got well and truly soaked a couple of times but seem to be holding their shape and still looking good.
In the mean time the battery compartment has been cleaned out and a ply lining applied to the cabin bulkhead and 6x20 mm laths of mahogany have been stuck down on the base plate with grab adhesive – thought better of drilling and screwing. All that remains is to paint it with Smoothrite unless somebody can suggest a better paint.
The void between the fuel tanks has been treated with Waxoyl after it remained dry after the trips we have made recently. At one stage when nobody was looking pushed the revs to well over 2000 and got a good move on but still no water coming in.
The batteries are holding up while on test so the seem to be holding a charge, and I’m wondering if there is any way I can test their capacity other than attach a known load and time the discharge. Think that may be one for CWDF.
As for the retail therapy we seem to be accumulating components for the new control desk. The new control panel arrived from Beta today which they have had to make specially for me as their design has changed over the last year but I want to keep my old tachometer to keep the engine hours right. Also got a longer wiring loom to solve the problems of wires pulling off because they are too tight. Once again Beta altered the termination to match up with my tacho as the connectors have changed also. All praise to Beta they have sorted or helped me to sort quite a few problems.
Along with that there is a nice new wheel which is more in keeping with the style and fuel and water gauges. All that is left to add is a rudder indicator – people say you don’t need one and in most cases they are right but there are occasions when you are station keeping in a lock or doing tight manoeuvres in the marina when it would make life easier.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

All go - Oh my aching back!

Oops. Been a while since I last blogged so I had better put that right. Spent most of this week catching up with the garden and harvesting. All the potatoes are now up and are drying in trays before bagging, there are plenty of other goodies still to come out of the greenhouse
Thursday saw me out with the Grantham Canal Society work boat recovering branches and other general rubbish from the cut. Another tiring but enjoyable day in the company of like minded folk.
Friday, back in the garden getting things ready for Stathern Horticultural Show on Saturday.
Saturday down to the show at St. Guthlacs Church and batter me down with an onion – A first and three seconds, not bad for a first attempt.
Today saw me back down at the boat. I concur with Tom and Peter’s comments to the last blog but am keeping my fingers crossed that there may still be some use left in the batteries. Last week when we left the boat I did not connect the shore line and switched off the inverter as well as operating all the trips except for the bilge pump.
Today this is what I found.
That has got to be a hopeful sign.
Even so all the domestic batteries have been removed back to the workshop which was quite a job in itself as it looks like the batteries were installed and then the compartment built around them. On removing the batteries one of the terminals was found to be corroded and one of the links in the live run was found to be lose. No sign of arcing but if it was slightly higher resistance it may have affected the charge to the last three batteries. Back home the batteries were cleaned checked for electrolyte – 1 found to be a bit low – terminals polished and greased as no form of protection had been applied on installation. The plan is to trickle charge all the batteries to full capacity and then monitor them for a week recording it all on an XL spreadsheet. Batteries tested today on return give a voltage average of 12.98V and SG readings of 1.294 to 1.305 which gives me hope.
Further to the other concern regarding the fridge/freezer.
The cupboard door has been removed pending cut outs for ventilation.
I am also looking at the possibility of making a vent to come up at the back and vent through the splash back.
Whilst I doing this I want to see if I can re-hang the cupboard door so it opens the same way as the fridge.
Also wondering if there is any way we can access the wasted space beside the oven.
On top of all this I plan to line out the battery compartment as the forward bank of four batteries butts up to the saloon bulkhead with the live terminals very close to bare metal. At the same time I intend to mount mahogany laths for the batteries to sit on as there was water trapped underneath from before the deck drain was bunged. Once that is done the compartment will be repainted on the inside and reassembled.
Usual story – one job sorted – ten more found.