Friday, May 23, 2008

Looks familiar?

Yep. The Lady Jane, as seen from the after deck of Storebror on Tuesday morning.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Don’t Panic.

Two scheduled days left of Mr. Larry- and my brain looks like this (my natural one’s so frazzled I’ve long ago had to resort to pen and paper):

The Good Thing is that this represents the sum total of the steelwork left to do on Wendy Ann before that’s it- she’s done, 100% bloody done, and we’ll finally own a brand new, old tug. Not counting that is, constructing an entire new aft cabin complete with brass fittings, exposed beams and teak cladding, applying all cosmetic top coats of paint, refitting port holes….and the rest.
The next Good Thing is that all these remaining steel work jobs can be listed on one page of my A5 brain, not only is it frazzled, but it’s only a small one.
The Not so Good Thing is that I’m well aware (mostly from bitter experience) of just how much effort -and how long- all of this will take to complete.

Therefore I’m currently wondering about diverse things.

1) Just how much of this can I now manage on my own? It’s true that my welding and cutting skills are a league better than even a month ago, the only position in welding that I still regularly find myself grinding back and doing again (not that this presents a problem on the finished piece) is vertical, up or down. Downhand? Piece of piss. Horizontal? No probs, Overhead? Surprisingly ok. For some reason vertical welds on flat plates are my hard nut to crack. In fillets they’re fine, it’s just flat vertical work that the lovely neat finish still eludes me on.. I’m even finding myself able to tackle low hydrogen rods without swearing all the time. This is most definitely an Achievement. So there are several things on that list which I intend to do all on my own.

2) What can I do to race ahead before Mr L comes in for those final two days this weekend? Work at Epsom is by now a headlong dash with preparations for their two summer parties (don’t ask), which finds us putting in twelve-hour plus days all the time. Jan and Storebror have really picked their moment to be busy, and I MUST find time late Thursday afternoon for something B and I really need to together; clothes shopping for aforementioned parties. It would be exceedingly bad form to turn up in overalls, and rigger boots definitely don’t count as suitable footwear for either entrance to the enclosure at the races nor as a wedding guest at your bosses do.
These factors leave me with only Thursday morning this week in order to get prepared and ahead for Larry to come in and work his magic at the weekend. I suppose I could, if the stars align my way, go completely mad on Wednesday night as well, but of course I must be careful not to burn the candle so hard with a cutting torch that I arrive for the delights of Kingston late nite opening a mere shadow of my former self.

3) Will we, after all, need to hire L in for more days beyond the 40 we’ve budgeted for? This of course is a serious proposition, albeit an expensive one but since we are now staring down the barrel of the oncoming paint bill every penny counts.

So. Looks like it’s time for My Big Test of Everything I’ve learned so far. I’ve only got a couple of weeks to push like fuck and cross everything off that list. We need the painters in three weeks from now at the very latest (Steve from SBS kindly dropped in to see Wendy at the weekend so we know it’s on), and because as a company they are now successfully busy we need to be really ready and organised, clean and clear for them to come in and transform ms Ann one more time.
And what a transformation it’ll be. In case you’re wondering the plan is as follows; Grit blasting of the entire hull exterior followed by airless spray application of either Jotamastic or Interzone 954, or maybe even a combination of the two (the decision ultimately depends upon the depth of our pockets). This operation will be immediately followed (in theory at least) by the spraying out of the inside of the bosuns store, generator room, extreme stern and all the remaining decks and topsides with intershield 300. Phew. Once that’s all done there will be no remaining bare steel anywhere on our boat.

I could say, with truth, that the pressure is now on, and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for the challenges that the next couple of weeks hold. Both of us however, have our reservations about undertaking a manic trip on Thursday evening, purchasing clothing which has no apparent protective function other than to feign normality at someone else’s wedding.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Never mind the Bulwarks.

Here’s the new decks pistols, clearly it’s been a reasonably busy weekend. Larry has a habit of turning up for work earlier and earlier, this is a pattern of behaviour which I’m more than happy to cultivate- so Saturday morning there we were having coffee and discussing my latest plans at 6.50am. And after Larry finished for the day I got carried away and was slapping rustroy (rust converting primer- it gets you high even through decent respirators) about inside the extreme stern plates and frames at well beyond 8 in the evening. I did this only in order to prepare for the deck plates to finally go on today. Sort of like a last chance effort. Beer never tasted so good as it did last night when I finally got done and showered.

Slept with the blowers on and all the tents available vents open, hell, I even cut a couple of new ones- in an attempt at avoiding having to sleep in a glue sniffers paradise. The fan is quite a noisy machine, so I didn’t get too much decent repose, every time I woke up I thought I was stuck inside a very strange wind tunnel experiment. And I still awoke in the morning with a stinking groggy headache that I promise had absolutely nothing to do with beer. Then Larry arrived at 0630hrs. Luckily I’d made some proper coffee and had a good wander round the shipyard in the gorgeous early morning sunshine already. So today we rocked even more. This weekend a total of eight plates have been added to the rapidly developing topsides of the glorious ms Ann, and I stopped working on the ninth only because I have to go to sea with Storebror tomorrow evening for two days, and then Wendy beckons again before I zoom back to Epsom for another days work- so tonight is my only opportunity to see B for the rest of the week… This is a plan for my week that I’m not exactly wild about, but that’s the way our life is for now I s’pose.
Still, it’s really not long now until the painters’ll be in again and therefore all the steelwork will be done. Cor. The spin off from all this manic activity is that I’m learning so much so fast that I’m beginning to dream I could actually build another boat (with some help) from the keel up, at least it wouldn’t be a rusty boat.

PS. In reference to the last comment, the four hundred quid or so I spent on that little orange Kempii welding set is the best money I've invested for a long, long while, it's a good thing I'm finally getting the hang of welding properly innit.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hit it. With a Hammer.

Occasionally working at Wendy Ann is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

This is the new generator room sole plate going in. Incredibly this weekend we not only got this done, but also assembled the entire new bulkhead which will separate the aforesaid generator room from our accommodation. And Mark and Becky made some seamless repairs to the teak skylight and hatch. Yes, we had a great time.