2015 didn’t start well, on my return to work in January after the Christmas break I managed to crush my first finger on my right hand between a very heavy door and a tiled wall at a public convenience , causing the finger to break, to the extent that a titanium screw had to be fitted to hold the bone back together this then put me out of action for the first 12 weeks of 2015., which meant that I could do very little to Diction, apart from the following, the boat yard owner offered us one of the old mooring pontoons to use for our small fishing boat, like having our own little jetty,

Our new old poontoonso we had to give it some thought on how we could use this and how we could access it easily, the only way we could see was to put a proper staircase down to the pontoon using the frame work we had fitted for the fishing boat to sit on, but to achieve this also meant putting a landing area at the top and bottom of the steps the bottom was easy as we had the frame work ready there, however the top was a different matter.

Early march morning
So we decided to extend part of the deck by the port side door out wards over the water, this meant building a supporting frame to support the new deck which would be made from 2” x 12” timbers, the frame made and welded in position and the deck boards cut and fitted, which gave us safe access to work as we needed to cut out some steel mainly two bollards and about 10 feet of deck bulwarks all still very heavy steel my 9 inch disc cutter did a grand job of it..
Now it was time to build the stair case so it was off to the farmers supply for some bolts and fittings, the staircase was made from the 2” x 12” timber as used for the extended deck, this was quiet heavy and needed to be chain blocked into position and finally bolted up,

lower landingnext we completed the bottom landing also made from the same timber ( these timber where brought from the boat yard who cut them from ex-navy pontoons all about a 100 year old very well pickled), so now had safe access on to the pontoon, all was left to do was to make and fit some hand rails.

cat'n'stepsupper landing
deck extensionNow we have an extended deck there is a little cut in under the new port hole that was crying out to have a bench fitted , looking at the available space and looking at the old pontoon we have for fire wood, which is well over 100 year old but still has some very good timber on it, so it was out with the new electric chainsaw and we cut off a 6 ft section of a good piece, heaved it on board with our crane, it was the pressure washed, once dry it was rolled down the deck on steel tubes and set in position on two blocks.

We just had time to finish the internal stairwell.

stairsThis involved some paneling to finish and paint and the flowtex carpet to lay on the stairs and in the hall way, a few other bits and pieces where squared away, then it was back to work to get well ribbed about putting my finger where I shouldn’t.

On my next leave, we spent most of the time filling both a rubbish skip and a scrap skip, to dispose the worse of our rubbish, this then meant we could commence sorting the flooring and a dividing bulkhead between the new lower shower/toilet room and jennies hobby room, which should be the last of the major internal, all to quick it was time to return to work.

June/July back home again and off and running, with much to do, the first thing I wanted to do was cut two holes in the ship side for the new portholes,


however my plasma cutter wasn’t up to the job so I arranged to my gas bottle filled and cut the holes with a gas axe(burning torch using oxygen and propane gas), whilst waiting for this to be sorted we cracked on paneling two bulkheads ,the fwd. one and the inboard one, these where clad with mdf sheeting, as these would need to be strong to take the shelving we had planned to fit,
The other two bulkheads would be clad with double machined t&g boards the after one of the two was clad, by this time the gas had been sorted so it was time to get the holes cut, this being a hazardous job precaution where taken to lessen any problems of fire we might have, the cutting of the holes went well with just a little grinding needed to finish ready for welding in the portholes.

first h

new portThe hardest task was getting the very heavy ports clamped in place, once done the portholes where fully welded both sides, dressed up and spray painted with red primer.
The outboard frame work was completed and we cracked on and got the cladding done, then it was time to box in the port holes.

port frame

Firstly we glued in some 2×2 to the steel work this will support the back paneling, a pattern was made and t&g cut to shape, at least with the t&g it was easy to fit around the ports with this done we then made a square box frame to go onto the backing boards and was screwed and glued, a surround was then made to finish off,

two p

this was now ready for the wife to paint.
Now it was time to finish framing the deck head ready for the white plastic cladding, we finish the wiring for the lights and sockets, once the cladding was done we fitted the light fitting and completed the electrics,

port complete
It was now time to lay the vinyl flooring one of my least favorite jobs and it didn’t make matters any better when I succeeded in removing the top of my left thumb, we eventually managed to stop the blood flow, and as it was too late to go to the walk in center      (good job we have lots of first aid stuff on board), we just carried on laying the vinyl floor.
Next a new wardrobe was built and secured to the bulkhead

storage then extra shelves added to make it into a storage unit, some machining was required to get the draws to fit correctly, next came the shelving on the after bulkhead,

shelvesand finally we fitted the door hardware and hung the it, with the door in place we then fitted the part of the frame.

the next job we needed to get done before the grand children come down is  to re deck the old pontoon as some of the boards are not to clever and the quickest way would be to re deck over the top of the old which will make it thicker and stronger, the timber was per-ordered last trip,so it was a simple job to cut the timber to length and screw down, the timber is 25mm thick 150mm wide and 4.8 meters long saw and tanilised which should be good for 15 years.

the harbour pontoon cafe

also the on site cafe owners gave us the bench seating, this is now a nice little platform for working the boats or fishing or just having lunch.

all this had taken 2 and a half weeks to complete which only left me a 2 days to work on my fishing boat engine which I’m having to change due to it dropping a valve and stuffing up the engine completely, but that’s another story, I’m off back work now hopefully for a rest. Till the next time…. P.S. viewers may have noticed that the pictures are now larger,much better to see whats going on. Enjoy.

Been a bit busy of late and not been able to update the blog for a while, anyway August leave we had the grandchildren down for their August summer holiday, with lots of playing with wasp and the added electric outboard motor and a ride on canoe, we got to see the Plymouth fireworks display, a bit of fishing and lots of other activities including trips to the beach, however the weather wasn’t at its best but we made the best of it.

sam fishing(Sam Fishing in Plymouth)

catch of the day

(Sam had all but one of these i only caught one)

September leave we dragged our fishing boat out of the water and put on blocks, where we modified the back end to retake an outboard motor, this time it was a 50hp Yamaha 4 stroke after being convinced this was the way to go and it also meant I would get my deck space back as the engine box took up a lot of space,

jenny band at the time of writing this I have done a few trips out with the new engine and so far I’m well impressed going to offshore wrecks and fishing for 4/5 hrs using only about 15 litres of petrol, my old 2 stroke would have drunk at least 3 times that, anyway with the conversion complete we then cleaned sanded and painted the top sides hull and anti fouled the bottom, fortunately we had a good 10 days weather and manged to get it all done and boat back in the water before I went back to work.

first trip out

After this the weather deteriorated as we all know with howling gales and lots of the wet stuff so not much more got done on diction,  just a few bits and bobs.

On a brighter note there was an old wood trawler that was going to be broken up and I rather fancied the wheel house it was made of timber and had old fashioned windows which drop down on leather straps and inside the wheel house was fitted out quite well, however on further inspection I realized this had been a recent addition from another vessel, I’m yet to find out which one,

before removal

inside whanyway on making inquiries I was told it had been spoken for, so I just let it be known that I would be interested should it become available, just before Xmas I got a call from the yard owner that it was mine if I wanted it and it was free, the only criteria was that it should be removed asap as the boat needed to be broken up quickly, I was at sea at the time anyway on my return I spent 2 and half days cutting out wooded bulkheads the where 2” thick and 12 long and a couple of shorter ones, inserted temporary support posts I then proceeded to cut deck out all the way around the wheel house leaving 4 places at cross beams which we would use as lifting points so when we lifted it with the boat yards crane we would lift the wheel house and it’s base in one hit, and by lifting the old deck with the wheel house on it would be far less stress on it and a good chase of keeping it in one piece.

With the crane attached to the 4 lifting places/points and the weight was taken we then cut the last four cuts and after some wriggling the wheel house was free once free it was

liftofflift off2swung over a shipping container and the yard owner yacht, I tried not to look at this point, the wheel house weighed 4 ton it then swung over my range rover which I forgot to move,

liftoff 3 it was lower onto a waiting trailer then it was towed into a compound not far from diction where it will sit till the yard is clear of boats so we can lift it on to diction, I must say thanks to all the lads to mucked in and gave a hand, I must say I’m well pleased.

wh on trailer

The reason for wanting another wheel house the old one is very small and has seen much better days also the weather had been great and dry however the following day this all changed so good timing and good job, nice end to 2015.