Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Before and after, how to improve the bilge from hell!

This is how our bilge looked when we went to pick up Freyja. Aquaduct marina had dropped her back in the water a week earlier than planned and then forgotten to grease the knackered stern gland.

A similar view, the BMC 1800 has gone, replaced by the Sabb 2JGR, I removed loads of oily bricks, layers of rust and grease, the sides of the diesel tank, the weedhatch (twice).

Still a lot to do before I'm satisfied! LOL!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Engine porn! That lovely chugging sound ;o)


It was nice to be able to take a few of our guests out for a short chug downstream. Love the chuckles and giggles from Steve & Lisa as they wave back to our fellow moorers who are waving us off.

Our 'Nearly getting old' party

As Glenda was 50 years old in January and I'll be 65 years old in December, we decided to have a party at our marina, somewhere in the middle of the year. Weather wise, we couldn't have picked a better weekend.
We bought a mountain of locally made sausages, burgers and stuff for breakfast. We borrowed a marquee and a gazebo from Jaymee at the Cock Inn in Denford.
All we needed now was people to enjoy it!
Jaymee from the Denford Cock kindly loaned this marquee, on Friday evening we chilled with my kids who'd arrived from Wales and a few early arrivals.
My youngest son Jac, his girlfriend Lizzie came up from Wales, Danny was an early arrival from Suffolk.

72 pints of locally brewed Mad Monk and a pale ale that Graham brought from the Wirral.
Our neighbour Martin brought his 1913 Buick ragtop out to give rides to our guests.

Martin was kept busy all day!

Dave, our 'next door' neighbour and Denford friends Tim & Christine.
A great experience for my kids and their friends.
We were so lucky with the weather.

My hastily 'erected' Choppurinal came in handy with the amount of drinks quaffed!

Danny from Suffolk on barbeque breakfast duty the next morning.

From left to right :- My eldest son Sion, Glenda's daughter Becca, My son Jac's girlfriend Lizzie, my daughter Nia, my son Jac and Glenda's son Nick.

Nice to see that Glenda's friend Carol came up with Rob & Julie from Suffolk.

The mad hatters!

Nice Moggie convertible

Great to get to party with a few of my Welsh biker mates Phill, Steve and Lisa.

Let the party begin!
Lit a few pit fires at dusk.
Nice sunset over the marina.
View from Freyja as we chug out onto the river.

Enjoying the pit fire and the company.

A chilled evening around the pit fires.

A great time with lovely people.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

A successful trip at last.

We finally got out onto the river, with no problems!

It was a tad windy, but you'd never believe it from this photo.

Lush and green in the valley of the Nene!

Nice to escape the marina, Glenda had a short walk to work in Tiggywinkles Tearoom, Woodford.

Sunset at the Denford moorings.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Sabb's first test run didn't go too well.

I finally managed to stem the many small leaks in our skintanks and, after resoldering all of my copper pipes and then pressure testing them, we decided to take a shortish test trip out on the Nene.
So, we headed downstream, but the temperature gauge shot up to over one hundred degrees and Glenda said that the inverter wasn't working. so it was that we only got as far as Ringstead Lower Lock.
There, I found I'd mixed the battery connections and quickly fixed that. I topped up the coolant and, after consulting Paul Johnson of PJ Marine (who also has a Sabb 2J and who convinced me to get ours) I blocked the calorifier feed so that water would be forced around the engine.

Then, it happened! The Sabb was chuffing away...Duff, Duff, Duff, Clank, Clank, Clank! EEEKKK! What the hell? Am I now going to have to rebuild my engine? At this point I was very low, months of slogging and expense to only get one lock downstream!
Right! We'll get someone to tow us back. So, I decided to slowly wind her downstream so we'd be pointing in the right direction.
But after winding, and just before we reached the lock landing, there was a PING! and she went back to her comforting Duff, Duff!
We decided to take her through the lock and then as she seemed happy, back to the marina.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

An agricultural gear change that ticks all the boxes.

As the Sabb gears need to be held in place, I had to figure out a way of either using levers and linkages, or maybe gearwheels and chains but I came up with a simpler long sprung steel lever.

I cut a slot in the lower cockpit shelf and added notched sections of chopping board, to hold it in neutral, forward and reverse.

It worked a treat, the lever springing into the various slots but, as it was so long, it vibrated badly, the solution was to make a second shelf, also with notches.

A proper gearchange!!

I decided to carve the Sabb logo into the top shelf. Also pictured is the newly restored brass water pump, unrecognisable from the tarnished and rust streaked lump that I started with.

The top shelf after carving and staining.

My motorbike on the tugdeck update.

The last time that I tried to put my 1959 B.S.A. G14 1,000 cc v-twin onto Freyja's tugdeck, I hadn't altered the tugdeck to allow it to sit down in the welldeck and it didn't have it's engine fitted.

It was a bit hit and miss, as I haven't worked out the ideal length of chain on the crane hook and have yet to buy some suitably sized loading strops.

The reason I've altered the tugdeck, by adding a 45 degree sloping section, is to allow the wide pullback handlebars to clear the tarpaulins, the weight will be lower, making the boat less top heavy and it will also make it more difficult to steal.

All snug as a bug in a rug!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

So that's why they made Freyja raw water cooled!

No, this isn't a corner in a cave, it's the cabin bilge, and the section that's been cut out is the rusted through parts of the skintanks and their balance pipe.
So, apart from the stupidity of allowing the shower to empty into cabin bilge, (where it flowed back to sit under the cabin stairs pooled in the pea shale ballast), it turns out that the skintanks had also been leaking into the same area. These factors caused the leak that brought about the need to re-bottom Freyja.
After we had re-bottomed her, I said that we needed to seal the holes in the old bottom and make sure that there were no pinholes around the plate that was welded over the damaged parts of the skintanks, unfortunately our welder didn't see the future potential problems and did it his way. This has caused me weeks of grief as I've chased and repaired countless leaks. 
The skintank leaks to both the cabin bilge and the engine bilge seem to be fixed, at last, but I've no idea how many leaks persist between the old and new baseplates.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

We've bought a fair trade hammock seat.

Glenda enjoys a glass of wine in the first of the two hammock seats that we are going to buy.
At one of last year's festivals, I bought Glenda some hand made tiles from The Mexican Hammock Company who were also selling lovely hammocks and hammock seats.
Based in Bristol, everything that they sell is fair trade.
Our bedroom / saloon has limited space for seating so I decided to try one of their hammock seats. They are incredibly comfortable, woven in such a way that they are stronger and more supportive than others that I have seen for sale.
We will hang them from eye-bolts drilled through the roof, The main advantage is that when they are not being used, they roll up very small for easy storage.
On buying it, it hung too low, no matter what I did with the supporting rope, so i changed it for a length of stainless steel chain, problem solved!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The scene of the crime!

Who would think that such a teeny weeny hole could cause so much expensive trouble?
In the lower part of the photo is the cause of our woes, When they built the boat they used pea shale as ballast, this contains salt and is a perfect medium for holding moisture. This caused the bottom to rust from the inside and caused the skin cooling tanks and their balance pipe to rust through so that they too leaked into the pea shale.
We just completed welding on the new base and plug welding the centres of the panels to prevent sag, Next we need to overplate the leaking parts of the skintanks.
Tomorrow I'll clean the hull so that we can give her a few more coats of blacking before she's refloated on friday.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A problem solved?

One problem with re-bottoming is that the base needs to be welded to the the old baseplate in the middle of the boat to stop it sagging.
So we'll grind through the new baseplate and jack it up so that we can add supporting welds at intervals.
Another is that, once overplated, there can be a small air gap between the new base and the bottom of the skintanks, this interferes with the ability of the skintanks to dissipate the heat from the engine.
The last pieces of the jigsaw, the sheets were too narrow to fill the area under the swim, I decided not to turn the sheet lengthwise, this meant I'd need a small triangle each side and these would mean two welds would cross the bottom of the skintanks, helping with the cooling.

One of the triangles prior to grinding out and welding to the old baseplate.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A new bottom for Freyja.

So, after I found the leak, we decided that, rather than patching the bad section, we would re-bottom her completely.
But, how to go about it? We only have a choice between going on the long trailer or on the rail-mounted dollies on the slipway, but then how would we do all those welds upside down?
Clive, the marina owner, came up with a solution :- 
Thirteen sheets of steel, laid out on the trailer.

The first two sheets champfered and clamped ready for welding, this means most of the welds will be done from above instead of from below.

We also had to weld extensions onto the trailer to support the pen-ultimate sheet.

When the weather turned we got around it by building a temporary tent over the next sheet of steel.

One very large plate, almost ready to receive Freyja.
The new baseplate is reversed down the slipway ready for us to float Freyja on top.
Perfectly placed first time.
After welding the base to the boat Bruce needed to cut the excess steel away.

Using an oxy-propane cutter.

Trimmed tidy! And we started to finger mould the welds with sealantto seal any pinholes (as we couldn't pressuretest the whole hull)