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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another day gone...

Its been an interesting semi-productive week in the world of the Lady.  I managed to get the tensile steel bar through the hull and then through the main stringers for the legs, not an easy task when tools fail and the tide will just not do as its told! (More later!). 
Also the local paper the Oban Times did a nice article on the boat and my intentions.  Of course my intentions changed almost as soon as the article was published, but I guess that's boats and the sea for you.

Its perhaps worth noting how grateful I am for the Oban Times to be taking an interest and printing my side of the story as far as the 'Blight on Oban Bay' is concerned. 
Obviously this blog pretty much tells the story of what is happening to the Lady Evelyn but I notice that not many people have seen/follow this site or have no real interest in whats going on other than the fact she looks like a derelict hull rotting alongside the North Pier.  There have been some wonderful discussions on our local radio station as well as letters to the Editor of the Oban Times talking about what a state the harbour is in because of her, but I beg to differ. 
I spend a hell of a lot of my time whilst working on the boat, explaining histories, taking advice or just listening to stories from the many people who take the time to stop and ask about the boat.  I can honestly say that the Lady Evelyn is photographed at least the minimum of twice for every time I am down hail, rain or shine! 
So I see the article was the first real defense of the boat against all those letters and discussions that have been had that I have not been able to respond to and I am very grateful for that platform.
I also have had  bit of interest from some volunteers who would like to come and work on her with me.  An engineer, a ships (marine) painter and a carpenter all of whom would like to come and do some work.  Again without the Oban Times I doubt if any of them would have come forward, so my whole hearted thanks for that.

So what's been happening?  I had acquired the 30 mm tensile steel bar some time ago.  Its galvanised and is as heavy duty as I could buy.  It will allegedly hold 100 tonnes plus but I don't intend either for myself or anyone else to be under the boat to prove that.  The idea is that it holds the legs on tight to the hull and then when I want to work proper under the boat I will shore her up with sleeper's or several braces.  That gives me the peace of mind that 70 or 80 tonnes of boat will not be worn as a 'hat' when I am caulking her starboard side. 
The bar has been put through the top of a rib above the deck level and has 6 inch square 1/4 inch mild steel plate to spread out the weight on the nuts for securing (See photo's below).  The second bar is through the main stringer below the deck, It is the strongest part of the vessel so I have no concerns that it will ever be a problem.  Again the steel plate is supporting the bar inside and out.
I had problems making the four 32mm holes.  I bought a brand new carpenters brace last December from a local hardware shop (I'm not going to write derogatory things about the shop and its staff, you can make your own minds up.... If you want the name e-mail me and I'll let you know).  I was also sold a 32 mm wooden drill bit which cost nearly £20.  These were bought after a long discussion about the location, size and depth of the holes and how difficult it was going to be for me to actually get in and physically drill them out.  the guy I spoke to promised that everything I had bought was ideal. 
However... As soon as I got everything together on the boat put the drill to the wood and took a turn with the brace, the head of the brace collapsed internally.  The teeth holding the drill bit buckled and could not grip the drill.
Of course I had no other option but to head back to the store and complain.  It turned out that I had bought the best brace they had to offer and they had no alternatives.   But as a work around they suggested that I buy or acquire an electric drill (Cordless). So I bit the bullet, got on my knees to my fiance and asked her if it was ok for me to spend another daft amount of money on what I called a 'professional drill, like real joiners use'.  Of course she just sighed and said 'whatever' which is code for 'dont you ever mention that bloody boat to me again and if you cant make the hole, find something that can.... have you paid the rent??'
So I purchased a 14 volt professional Bosch drill  thinking that this was the answer to all the problems of the holes.  On my first use of the drill, smoke poured out and the batteries lasted 5 minutes. But I managed 6 inches of the first hole!  It was then another trip back to the hardware store to ask them where I had gone wrong.  This time I spoke to another salesman who actually knew what he was talking about.  It turned out that the drill bought two days earlier was far to light for the job and should have been a minimum of 18 volts and that the drill bit I was using was far to heavy.  He directed me to a very light cutting tool for £10.25 but could do nothing about the drill because I managed to damage its box (Tensile steel bar and plastic boxes do not like each other, especially when the steel bar lands on it from 12 feet).  He did reckon that it should solve my problems, wouldn't take back the original drill though!
To be fair, the new drill and bit did go through the wood like a hot knife through butter.  It might have taken three days to get there but the holes were finally done on the boat.  Unfortunately the holes in the temporary legs were not....battery went flat!
Anyway, its now done.  The legs are not on but the holes are in and the bar is in place. 
The main reason for not actually doing the legs was more to do with a pump problem and access. 
I am also trying to source telegraph poles (or similar) for more permanent legs as the wood I purchased for the job to date is far too light for long term use.

Port Side

Starboard side

Starboard side

I took the new three inch salvage pump and started to pump her out,  the power in that pump is incredible but when it was running the plastic strainer smashed and I think I managed to get some rope or something into the pump housing as it dropped to about half pressure.  Tomorrows jobs is to dismantle and have a look, I ran the tensile bar through the uptake pipe and as it went through I'm assuming its not that.
Access is proving to be an issue as well.  Whilst it seemed like a good idea to keep her just off the harbour wall, its a nightmare trying to work around the tides to get any time on her.  Security is good though as nothing has been moved or removed since she was moved out that wee bit.... probably shouldn't have written that as Ive left a hammer on board until I can get down on Thursday, I dare say it will now be gone!
I think the access issue could be solved with a dinghy, so if you have or know of a dinghy that is available for purchase/donation to the project. Please get in touch.  Doesn't matter if its rough, 'we have the technology, we can rebuild him..' as they say! 

OK, the plan is to get back down to her on Friday 1st April and finally get her upright either then or on Saturday.  I realise that I am ten days to a week or so late but I have been trying!!  Ive arranged for the tow to be done then as well, so with luck and fair weather we could be in our new home a week today... or I could be writing about WHY we are not in our new home by then!

More pictures and an update whatever happens.