Some news at last. The Dockyard and Boathouse 4 remain closed but a skeleton staff have come out of furlough to prepare the Boathouse to be Covid friendly in time for a 1st September start for the new student intake. In order to make sufficient space, some of the boats are being removed including Tom Sherrin. Yesterday, she was put into the wet dock without any sealant in the cracks where she quickly sank but according to Diggory, they were quite pleased that today she appears to be taking up quite well and is floating almost on her marks with the help of a pump onboard. They are hoping to put her alongside a pontoon later. The hole for the sterntube is plugged and presumably also the cockpit drains and exhaust pipe. She will need a coverall outside to keep the weather out as the cockpit rebuild has not been completed, the wheelhouse windows have not been refitted or the coachroof engine hatch.
Email from Head of School reads as follows:
I am writing to let you know that Boathouse 4 and the IBTC Portsmouth College are closed in line with Government advice, and the Boathouse 4 and College team is furloughed as of 1st April. There is therefore no access to Boathouse 4 for the time being and we will not be in contact for the next couple of months.
So I guess it is Goodbye from them and Goodbye from us for a while!!
The Government has declared a lockdown situation and the MVS HQ has imposed a ban on all MVS activity and all our Unit premises and craft locked and out of bounds.
So it looks like we have another long delay.
Keep safe all our readers
We are now in the Containment phase of this dreaded lurgy and the MVS have responded by severely restricting what we can do. Boathouse 4 is still operating and our stalwarts Team Sherrin have turned up as usual. Tim has finally completed the doorframe which is now glued in place. Mark has machined the aft samson posts and is dry fitting them. Meanwhile back in Poole, Alan has collected the new exhaust fitting from Martin Baines at Hayeswood Tech Services.
Tim and Mark in B4 today keeping the job going. The college don’t appear to have done anything on the boat since last August save the dunking in the cut to rehydrate the hull (see videos in post 6 Nov 19). We desperately need more of that!
Tim managed to get the wheelhouse door frame finished off and primed ready to fit. Mark has machined the two quarter posts that he laminated up last week
Today began with a call in to Hypose to purchase some reinforced hose for the cockpit drain and a set of Mikalor exhaust clamps before making the trip to Portsmouth. Tim was in the machine shop working on the door threshold and Mark was laminating the two iroko aft samson posts. I removed the old pipe fittings from the cockpit drain pipe and fitted them to the new hose and reconnected the bulkhead drain to the transom stub.
I then turned my attention to reinstalling the exhaust system but immediately ran into a problem. The hole cut in the aft bulkhead was too low and misaligned with the transom outlet fitting. The hole will need enlarging at the top. By this time Mark was free to assist and after struggling to achieve the impossible we decided to remove the exhaust fitting. More problems as we observed that the flange was bent and would need fairing and the spigot is too long and needs shortening. With Mark working outside and myself inside the lazarette we removed the 10 fixing bolts, one sheared off and a couple more were bent, we eventually succeeded in removing it.
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.
Last Thursday Tim progressed the wheelhouse door threshold and Mark the lazarette hatch. The new floor is now fitted bridging the keelson and the cockpit sole supports are primed and now fitted, see photos.
cockpit sole supports
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 pipe and the rudder is still chocked up on blocks. The rudder tube fixings were checked as per surveyor’s requirements and deemed satisfactory.
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.