Sunday, 24 June 2012

Lifting the Spirits

...Actually lifting chunks of rusting iron, but it's a minor milestone in the project- pulling out the Rolls engine and dropping in the new Cat. Except, at the last minute, I decided to not do the second bit. This means renting a crane again later, but the added cost of this is, I think, outweighed by the advantages of having a totally empty engine room to clean and paint... and weld a new bulkhead into, which was the clincher- the idea of grinding and welding a few inches from my new yellow baby was too risky.

In hindsight this could have been done months ago rather than wait until the Cat turned up, but 20/20 and all that.. it's done now, and it feels great to have the space opened out. I can't wait to see it all painted.

The other job I'm looking forward to is cutting through the bulkhead between the current engine room and the aft cabin. When a boat has several watertight compartments, you can't really get a sense of the interior space- you enter each room via a ladder or steps, so they seem unconnected to each other. I've been pondering the necessity of retaining the watertight bulkheads- obviously most pleasure boats don't have them, but since it would be tricky to form a passage through the engine room anyway, I've decided to keep the current arrangement of two sets of steps from the wheelhouse, one to the forward cabin and the other to what will be the galley. I think I'm also going to put in a new watertight bulkhead to seal in the engine room, as insurance against flooding (all the through-hull fittings will be confined to this space) and also as a fire break. I've just scored a nice pair of watertight doors off ebay, they came from a WW2 motor torpedo boat, and have the proper central locking wheel with 8-point locks, they come with the frames and cost much less than the steel would be to make them. I also got a pair of stainless water tanks of exactly the right size from the same bloke.. thanks eBay (again.)

Anyway, here are some pics of the cranage- I also took out the old Lister donkey engine with the compressor and water pump it used to drive, and while I had the chance I removed the anchor for shotblasting and galvanising, if it's in ok nick beneath the scale and rust.

40 tonne crane set up (no, it's not a portakabin-crane, it's behind)

Bye-bye Rolls

empty engine room

Lister, pump and compressor destined for eBay

Old bilge piping out

Removed bilge piping and some ballast

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Boat? What boat?

Not a lot to report recently, except the cleaning out and painting of the small boiler room, which had 40 years worth of accumulated coal tar stuck to every surface that needed slowly grinding off... thanks again Ben. I had to buy a ducted ventilator fan to make it just about possible to work in there without the Guardian running an expose of appalling working conditions in Barking. It's been raining almost solidly for about 3 months now, and the leaking engine room cover doesn't make things any more pleasant. There are few more depressing sights than a boat with rain on the inside. Had there been glorious sunshine, more progress would doubtlessly have been made, albeit interspersed with lounging about on deck. As if.

But, to brighten the mood, and after a 6 month wait, my new yellow engine finally arrived yesterday! I was beginning to wonder whether it was just a figment of my imagination, but it's now in my workshop and Darren my workmate is already complaining about another large (boat-related) item getting in the way, so it must really exist (picture below as evidence.)

I have to admit that my initial surge of enthusiasm has abated somewhat over the last month or so- some days I swear I've even kind of forgotten all about her. Maybe this blog will reveal a boom-bust pattern in my passions which explains the lack of progress I seem to make, but I've decided to make sure at least something gets done every month so I don't lose interest completely. I've also been having the middle-of-the-night "is this a really stupid way to chuck away lots of money I can't really afford for the foreseeable future?" sweats, particularly after getting some quotes for blasting the hull. But I'm already in for the engine, so I guess I'm committed to throwing good money after good/bad. I think I'll avoid use of the word "committed" in future.

I've just heard today that we're all set to go with the crane for next week, so out with the Rolls and Lister, in with the Cat and Volvo genny... I'll try to remember to take some photos of this mini milestone.