Alan Jones and I made the trip up to Portsmouth today. Alan got to work refitting the rudder gland greaser with a new pipe and installed it onto the shelf and reconnected to the rudder tube. I marked out and drilled a couple of 2 ins holes in the aft bulkead and fitted two cockpit drains. I fitted the port side pipe to the transom stub but the starboard side pipe proved to be too short so a new one will be needed. Alan removed the exhaust pipe adapter/reducer but the stainless steel had become thin and perforated and was condemned. Again a new one would have to be made. The exhaust T clamps were removed and inspected but most were condemned due to corrosion of the bolts. More shopping needed. Finally we ran the Teleflex steering cable from the helm position through the wheelhouse and bulkhead, cockpit and aft bulkhead into the lazarette and connected via the swivel joint to the tiller arm.
The usual suspects, Alan and I made the journey today, in horrendous traffic. Our Coding surveyor required us to check the condition and fixings of the rudder. This had been extremely difficult to do until the access hole had been enlarged in the bulkhead. This enabled us to go one better and carry out long overdue maintenance.
The rudder is already blocked up from below as the skeg shoe and bottom bearing bracket is removed. Off came the tiller arm, with a struggle, and the upper support ring with more of a struggle and eventually the rudder lowered to the ground. Alan fished out the old packing rings and fitted the new whilst I had the glory job of cleaning up the rudder stock of old grease that had turned to a very hard, sticky tar. The reassembly followed and the job was done, almost, although the greaser was MT of grease and in need of a new tube and the rudder is still chocked up on blocks.
In the afternoon we set off for Bursledon in search of a ready-made hatch for the bulkhead. We tried the Barge Chandlery at Riverside and also the big new Force 4 chandlery in Deacons Boatyard but the biggest size available was still too small. After a long search of Ebay and the internet, we gave up. It will mean making a new one from wood.
Alan and I travelled up today and finally got to meet Mark who was already busy in the cockpit. He had enlarged the inspection access hole in the aft bulkhead which I was pleased about. He had been working two days again this week and he had drilled and fitted additional coachscrews securing the steering shelf and also to the rudder stops. We were impressed with the cockpit sole framework that he was constructing but he needed the works in the lazarette, chiefly the rudder, to be completed and the hatch fitted before the sole could be installed.
At mid-day we were joined by Barnaby and were taken to meet Abi the new Head of School. Most of the discussion focused on our financial situation and the HLF funding. She impressed as a very positive, can-do person who I feel wants us to succeed and has offered us the benefit of her vast experience of working with the HLF to assist us with our reporting and funding requests, an offer I was only too glad to accept!
After lunch, Tiger showed us a 100m coil of 5ins polypropylene hawser that he offered us to use as an all round fendering. We are tempted due to the cash saving to be made but will make a decision once our budget is completed.
The news from Portsmouth is that Head of Training Barnaby Sheppard will be leaving the College in the first week in February, no news as yet of a replacement. He will be a hard act to follow!
Abi Isherwood currently director of Strategy and Bids for PNBPT has been appointed interim Head of School. Barnaby is keen that we should meet soon. I am guessing she has a responsibility to ensure that all the projects in B4 are financially viable.
Mark has been in 2 days this week and the cockpit sole framework is coming on a treat.
David Castle, Phil Hudson and myself made the journey. The 3rd and final coat of non-slip grey was applied to the wheelhouse sole-boards which completed the painting of all of them. The afternoon was spent paint stripping of the wheelhouse and cockpit coaming with hot-air gun, scrapers and belt sander.
This Thursday was planned to be a trip to Bridge Rubber in Southampton then on to Portsmouth. Unfortunately owing to two poorly cars and one poorly lady it had to be cancelled.
However it was business as usual for Tim and Mark who were kept busy designing cockpit locker lids/seats/steps and made a start on constructing the cockpit sole having made and fitted a sole bearer to the aft bulkhead. They also cut an access hole in the bulkhead below it which was fine for a camera but will need enlarging to enable a person lying in the bilge below the sole to work on the rudder bearing or greaser.
The Project MVS technical team met yesterday to discuss an updated draft of the remaining works required to take the project to completion provided by Barnaby Shepherd with an invitation to add any others and agree who does what. After much discussion a list of further works was produced which increased the 2 page document to 3½ pages.
The breakdown of this draft was 47 jobs to be done by the College, 20 jobs by the Team Sherrin (MVS volunteer shipwrights) and 47 jobs by the MVS Poole volunteers. If we could each manage to complete one job each week, if you believe in miracles, then it should be possible to complete the restoration in 11 months!! Realistically we should strive to get it completed within 18 months as a target to aim for.
Work party today comprised Keith who drove, Rose and myself. On arrival we found TS in the dry in her usual position. Keith and Rose applied a 2nd coat of non-slip slate grey to the wheelhouse deck boards on the ground whilst I continued with the paint stripping of the wheelhouse with hot-air gun and belt sander. After a short lunch break we cleared up as she was to go back in the cut for a couple of hours. This was a joint effort between IBTCP staff and volunteers and ourselves assisting. We watched the water entering the hull in little fountains and very soon filled inside to the waterline. An electric pump was put aboard to manage the level until it was time to be lifted out again.
In the meantime we and the IBTCP volunteers shifted all the previously inaccessible equipment stored on our pallet and under the starboard side of the hull and under the steps. My job was to sort it all deciding what we could scrap as no longer required and what had to be kept for refitting. This was reloaded neatly onto our own pallet which was now moved next to TS’s intended new position.
Once it was time to lift Tom Sherrin back onto dry land it was all-hands- on-deck. I got the job of throwing the heaving lines across the dock then Rose took the headrope and I took the sternline as we guided her as she was airborne over the top of the other boats until she was lowered into her new position and chocked off by the IBTCP staff.
With the bilge painting complete the time has arrived to re-hydrate the hull. Tom Sherrin was lifted by the crane and lowered into the canal dock. With open seams the sea quickly pours in and the boat has to remain in the crane slings. The wood will slowly reabsorb water and expand to close back the hull seams – how long this will take is not known. The boat will remain in the water for several hours and then be lifted out overnight. The procedure will be repeated on Thursday and Friday then she will remain out over the weekend for H & S reasons.
With my car still in the garage, David drove again with myself and Keith. With all the sole boards now on the ground, Keith and David continued with the painting whilst I did some odd jobs on board and then continued with the stripping of the one-pack paint from the outside of the wheelhouse with a hot air gun.
In the afternoon we were kept busy moving all the equipment stored underneath the boat to a new location in readiness for the boat lift on Wednesday 6th.