Welcome to Diction 2016.


When we first brought Diction we looked at many types of boat windows for the main lounge area and had considered double glazed units but we heard so many tails of woe and decided to go single glazed, but we found them both drafty and noisy, anyway we decided to get double glazed units made to fit our current frames, we found these units could be made using different thicknesses of glass and different air gap which allowed us to get them made to the exact size we needed, so we ordered 7 units.

These took 2 weeks to be made, we then waited for a couple of dry days to start fitting them, the first one was the tester, getting the old glass out was easy as they were made to come out, but draft seal was embedded into the frame all the way round, and was put in before the frame was joined and as we didn’t want to take the frame out we had to find another way, we found that if you drilled a slotted hole into the frame and into the slot for the draft seal we could then just feed seal around the frame  pull the seal through the slot, the frame was then cleaned up and first of the units was dry fitted to make sure it went in right, this was a good call because the rounded corners of the units could have been ground a little better, so we had to grind a little off one corner of the frame as trying to grind the glass after being toughened was at least doggy, anyway we got them to fit, each glued in with special sealant that sets soft to allow the unit to flex a little, we got six units in the one for the top of the stairs will have to wait, as will the galley window which is a slider opener and another problem for later.


With poor weather at the start of the year I decided to make a new wheel house/cuddy for my fishing boat as you get a bit wet with spray when cruising at speed, however we had one or two good days in march so I decided to clean off the barnacles and rubbish from the hull, using a pressure washer and scrapper, however on the main part of the hull the old paint was coming off as well, and to be fair we have not had the time to paint,

starting on hull so I continued cleaning and did the complete port side of the vessel, and over the next couple of days it was given two coats of Jotun two pack primer, this will need to be over coated with a top coat within 3 months, otherwise it will need sanding.

paint 2

The next little job I decided to do was the outboard hand rails, we had already brought the stainless steel uprights and the 10 lengths of tanilised hand rail, the stainless tube had been cut to length and just need drilling to take a center wire and one end of the tube needed to be plugged with a hard wood doweling so we could screw though the handrail and into the tube, we started by treating 5 lengths of handrail to give a good colour and weather protection, we did 3 coats all over and allowed to dry, it was then on with cutting the old handrails off…I love demolishing things, the old bases that the old uprights sat on were ground up ready to weld the new key clamps into position, these will make for easy removal of handrails in the future, the welding of key clamps that are made from cast steel to normal mild steel needs special welding rods, that are made for dissimilar metals and are expensive but as these are for handrails it was a must, this done we then cut the dowel into 100mm lengths and glued one to each tube, a 4mm hole was then drilled in the middle of the tube , this done each tube was fitted into the key clamps and a 3mm stainless steel wire was thread through all the tubes one end secured to a solid ring and the other secured to an adjustable bottle screw to tighten the wire, this insured the tubes were in line , we then attached the handrails to the top of the tubes which we drilled and screwed into the hardwood dowels the hole would then be plugged. and a finished off with a coat of wood stain., the key clamps were fully locked up,  the weather again closed in so I continued with my fishing boat and did manage to get a trip out but alas no fish as the wrecks where bare.

April after dispatching the wife off to Australia for 3 months to visit family, and the weather was very good,  it was the one chance I would get to make some real noise, as we had lots of needle gunning work to do to descale the rust and old paint from the hold sides and the cabin roof, in fact the cabin top was a lot worse than I thought as we had been storing lots of stuff up there on sheets of old plywood,

rusty roof the steel beneath the ply had started to corrode quite badly, this was about a quarter of the total area about 14 square meters, the overall condition wasn’t too bad the whole roof area was 56 square meters, after spending a couple of days clearing engines and stuff from the cabin top, we were then ready to commence descaling, I had looked into hiring a scrabbler but was advised this was not suitable so I hired a heavy duty upright floor sander and a pack of 24 grit pads to go on the drum,

sanded ready for primer this is very course sand paper, but I must admit this was the boy for the job, after tearing a few pads going over the welded joints it was decided to do the welds and heavy corroded areas with a needle gun and a grinder with a flapper disc fitted, whilst the machine tore into the rest, we started the job at 9.am and by 6pm we were putting the first coat of jotun two pack primer on, that was a great days work.

first coat of 2 pack primer

The next day we put the second coat of primer onto insure a good coverage and seal.

first coat of deck paint

We then set about descaling old hold sides called combings these are also the side to the main lounge and galley just below the windows, the plan for these areas is to descale and general clean up, repair any holes (we found two) then it was treated with navitan (rust treatment and sealer acts like a primer) which was allowed to cure before it was painted with a bitumen based black paint, we eventually intend to clad these sides with timber and create storage boxes and flower planters.

black top stbport side blacked

The next couple of days were spent dismantling the inside of the new wheel house as it had to be separated from the old part of the boat it came off, this isn’t needed and we would be keeping nothing from the inside except some of the ideas, the layout was totally wrong for what we wanted anyway we are hoping to get it lifted on to diction in June, with that in mind we started dismantling the old ships wheel house which was pretty rotten but even so was reluctant to come off and still has much to do on my return from work to get it off, so I’m away back for a rest, so watch this space for the next edition.


Here we go again weather is great sunny warm and dry, it’s time to get the rest of the old wheel house off, still a load of cutting to do and due to the steel being heavy it needed to come off in smallish panels, I was originally going to cut the entire funnel off as well and reroute the exhaust pipes, but as the steel work was still pretty good we decided to keep it and just position the wheel house further fore ward,

cutting wh

We also need to get the old steering helm out it is too big and heavy for the new wheel house, and has been donated to a friend who will made a table out of it, and as the new wheel house is going to sit atop of the old accommodation not in it we are going to put our big generator in the space left, and will be accessible from hatches in the wheel house floor, cutting the steel took many hours and cutting discs before the everything was level.

cutting 2

I had arranged for two old ship mates off my sister ship to come and have a week’s RNR before there return to their ship, so Wed’s morning it was off to Bristol airport to collect the first one he was coming to help destroy the new wheel houses old base and drink my rum, hopefully get some fishing in and assist with getting the new wheel house onto Diction, once I had collected Andy it was time to collect.

wheel house gone

Steve from tiverton parkway rail station, we then set off back to Plymouth where we called in the supermarket and filled up with food and booze, then back to the boat, got the boys settled into their cabins and gave them the golden tour and introduced the cat (she just loves attention) next and to save me cooking I treated them to an all you can eat Thai buffet at the pan Asian in Plymouth.first lift

Anyway the next day we set to work getting the new wheel house ready to lift onto a trailer then onto the Diction, finger crossed, as I had arranged for the crane to be available on Friday am and this was Thursday, fortunately I had prepped a lot of it last leave.

I had originally planned to lift from 4 eye bolts on the roof but had second thoughts and decided to lift from the bottom, after we finished releasing the wheel house from the old trawler framing we proceeded to bolt two 14ft 2” x10” timbers one down each side, which we bolted through each frame with the eye bolts and shackles in the four corners we also put webbing straps across the ends to stop it spreading outward, this was all done by Thursday evening so it was time for some food and some beer and of course rum but not too much, big day tomorrow for me anyway there would be a lot of spectators no doubt with cameras at the ready.

arrive at crane

Friday 6am all up ready to go, we got the trailer over and lined up before the yard crew got in, although it was a big trailer it looked small against the wheel house, the crane appeared at about 9 got hooked up and took the strain we then found it still weighed 1.9 ton it was but a shell and still weighed that much, as we put onto the timber bearers on the trailer we found these. Would not take the weight so had to go and find some more, this was soon resolved and the wheel house was resting on the trailer it was then strapped down for its short journey to diction.

The wheel house was taken around to Diction after the crane had been positioned, the first job was to lift the generator from the after deck into the old wheel house space and then lift the old steering gear off the boat, this done we double checked everything connected the crane removed the straps and the wheel house sailed gracefully through the air.


flying  4and as expected with many cameras poised, once the it was in the air I re-positioned myself on to the top deck of the boat to oversee the landing,


once in approximate position we blocked it up to spread the load, once it was settled the crane was released and I was one well happy and relieved bunny, what I find strange we have lifted the wheel house 4 times in total and we never broke a window. Time for a brew and a Cornish pasty I think.


The next job was to clear up the mess of the new wheel house old base, sort what I want to keep and cut up the old heavy timbers with a chain saw, this took till sun to finally clear the pound where the wheel house was stored.


However we did have a bit of a barbie on sat evening and one of the crew off my ship joined us, and as I was busy playing host got him to take over the cooking, then his wife took over. We had twenty odd boat people turn up and we had a very good evening.

cut 2

The next few days we got stuck into getting some more paint onto diction, whilst Steve re blacked the combing, Andy cracked on getting the fir green on the hull topside whilst I went along cutting in the light ivory under the green then both Steve and Andy glossed the rest of the hull in the light ivory, Steve also between jobs painted part of the deck with two coats of red oxide and one coat of red deck paint.

me cutting in

deck look goodlight ivory

getting on

end of stay


This was as far as we got with the boys as it was time for them to go back to the ship, so on wed I dropped them at the local ferry and the ships cook was picking them up to take them back, they were reluctant to leave we had had a good week got lots done drank some, I did send them off with Cornish pasties for all and a little present each, many thanks boys I would have struggled with out your help.

wh framing

Now with the boys away it was time to sort out the wheel house get it setup where it needed to be, then remove the lifting boards and bolts and start securing the wheel house down, wouldn’t want if falling off in the first breeze we hit, would we.

bottom blacked

black sv

The weather had been great but was due to change the wheel house was now water tight and I could work inside when the weather turns, so whilst it was still good I got the below the water line cut in and mostly painted, and now she’s starting to look how I want her to look, but now the weather is turning so it was back to the wheel house

cut through

we now need to get access to the wheel house from the accommodation, this had been allowed for in that the after bulkhead by the toilet would need to be cut out and a new staircase made to suit, this would have to wait till next time, it has been a very busy time.

Till the next time……

Back again lots to do before the wife gets back from aussie trip, the first thing I wanted to do was get the access into the new wheel house, this would involve cutting through steel plate to get access onto what was the bridge wing on the port side as the new wheel house is much wider than the old one also the wheel house was offset to allow for this, otherwise access would be via the deck, not the main accommodation, we cut the whole through from the inside a rather messy affair I must say but needed to get done before in her doors gets home, the plate we removed was trimmed and refitted to block off what was the old wheel house to deck access basically it was turned 90 degs. Now we had access to the wheel house we set about levelling securing the wheel house down into its position, a floor frame was fashioned from 2”x3” timbers, which this was ideal as it was being fitted to the top deck, a floor of 18mm sterling board was laid and fastened, a hatch will be fashioned to allow access to the new generator/battery room, which was the complete bottom half of the old wheel house.
Now we had a floor it was time to make a proper stair case going from the main accommodation into the wheel house, after lots of measuring etc. the first one was way off, to steep and to many steps, the second one however was pretty spot on.

Then the wife came home.

August trip we had our grandchildren for their hols we had some really good time with lots of fun it’s a sad day when we have to take them back, but at least I can now concentrate on the job in hand.


I had been contacted by a friend (Stewart) of a fellow who was one of the first crew of diction back in 1963 and he wanted to know if he could bring for a supprise visit, of course this wouldn’t be a problem and I always welcome all visitors, more so ex crew members, they arrived after a couple of hours drive, we started by looking at the mighty vessel from the foot bridge not the best view at the time, but a good starting place i then took them both on board for a full tour of the vessel, which had changed quite a lot since since this fellow (len is the name) had served on her, most of which I have made in converting her into a home, we had tea and biscuits and len had brought us some more pictures of Diction and her sister ship Caption,


Caption sadley now razor blades as they say, anyway we took a few more pics between us, some for us and some for len to cheerish, i also gave len a small momento which was part of the hull i had cut out to make way for pipework, this was about 2″ in diameter and 10mm thick which i suggested they mount on a piece of wood, which they later did. it was really good to meet Len and Stewart and hopefully will come back in the future.

Diction whole

Well its now October and the weather is on the change we sheeted up the wheelhouse and sealed around the base to keep the water out till the spring when hopefully we can resume getting the wheel house finished, we did get the old hand rails on the starboard side cut off and replaced them with stainless steel as we did on the port side, whilst doing this we took the opportunity to put the gangway so it was centre between two uprights, the centre wire for the handrails is 8mm stainless steel which I salvaged from the yard skip, the thing people throw away, any way it has a new home and use now, a new timber rail was fitted to the forward section, but due to weather and time we refitted the old one to the aft section tell the spring, we had also added a timber flash board along the port side lounge roof as rain water coming off roof was dripping onto the fibreglass window panels and it was like Chinese torture,
December, we are having Christmas on board for the first time and the family came down for 4 days to be with us, if I’m not at work then we usually go to them but the boys are growing now….
Christmas gone it’s time to start on the last room in the main accommodation which is the down stairs toilet and shower room, the biggest head ache here wasn’t the building of it I was what to do with all the stuff in it, it was basically a junk room.
Anyway stuff sorted room empty, first job was to put a floor down this was 18mm shuttering ply, the room had 3 walls and the ships side so another dividing wall was made, the part not used for toilet ect would become a small storeroom and where all the main plumbing would be. we will continue this in the new year, it has been a very busy year and a rewarding one.

Just before mid December I was contacted by another previous owner the second one as it happens was,  J Darling import and export services ltd, the info and pictures i got from John will be posted on the about Diction page, a fine end to the year.