After months of preparation and planning the hull finally arrived. The build by South Holland went well except for a hiccup with the transport arrangements. The original company had a problem so Sealand stepped in to save the day. But it arrived late as a consequence and I only had the crane booked this end for a certain time. My hair thinned out that day and stressful it was but Cadmans as usual did a brilliant job with the crane.
The carriage ways of the slipway had to be overhauled and greased up. RSJs and railway sleepers were used as chocks to keep the hull off the floor. Remember the tide covers the road to knee height and more. Didn't want the boat floating too soon.
The hull was designed by Nick Branson and is 55 feet long with a beam of 12 feet.
This version, a Katherine Class, has an aft cabin with a centre wheelhouse. The design draft is around 2 feet 8 inches. I had the minimum done by the builders mainly because I didn't know where the windows were going to go or where I wanted the hatches. Rubbing bands were added latter too along with some other steelwork for the masts, vents and various housings.
Careful angling of the block she sits on ensures the hull can't topple sideways and make a mess as at this stage the hull weighs around 13 tons. The boards in the foreground are douglas fir and will be used as a temporary access staging before being cut for the interior.
We just had time to lift the engine in before the crane had to leave. It is a six cylinder Ford 2725 marinised by Lancing Marine and develops 120hp.
As you can see the road was blocked for a wee while and it felt that most of the village were in attendance. Years later folk still say to me "I was there when it arrived you know". My mind is a blur so it's good to have the photos to remind me.
The paint outside is blast primer and was touched up with single pot holding primer on the welds. This was to last nearly three years before the blast and paint. I spent a long time with a 20 ton bottle jack and an extended handle levelling up hull fore and aft as well as side to side. Boats are funny thing to work on and a datum is essential as there is seldom anything straight or level to work from.
The planks were made into an access ramp to wheel some heavy gear into the barge.
When the snow came the ramp became a scene from "Cool Running".
A more othodox stair arrangement was designed. I had to take rather a lot of weight at time s and I can't event begin to work out how many times I went up and down. Note the logs, the first thing that went in was the wood burning stove.
Later on in the build the mast tabernacle was made and galvanised. This enabled the mast and boom to be used as a derrick and meant that heavy stuff could be craned directly in through the hatch which is under the landrover roof panel. Notice also the temporary shed built over the steelwork for the wheelhouse. People thought this plywood and felt construction was the finished item.