Wrestling with conger eels

Next on the never ending job list is fixing the rubbing strakes to the boat. Betty had two rows of these, wood in some places and rubber in others. This had pretty much perished and was removed. The new stuff wasn't cheap to buy (hell, what with this boat is!), nor was it cheap to attach (as ever, why stick one bolt on when a gazillion would do – this stuff ain't coming off!).

The job of attaching it has been a bit of a ball ache for tom and Ian. These pieces are about three metres long, they weigh as heavy as they look. To attach…. take a d shape rubbing strake, a plastic washer insert, bolts a plenty. Beta Iii is littered with 13mm holes in a pre-defined channel. We got over 200 m12 bolts (horrendous cost). The nut goes on the inside, so we drilled through a 5mm pilot from the inside out, then a 13mm bore hole from outside in. You really need a diagram here… then the washer strip is slid in and the whole lot bolted on. This is all done working at height – you have to get the rubbing strake about two meters off the ground and do a lot of running in and out of the boat and up and down ladders to fix everything in place. Fun times.

The job has triple negative characteristics of being fiddly, requiring precision, and involving incredibly heavy objects. Bit of an arse really. Fortunately the result is very pleasing. I can only describe it as having the framing effect of like giving the boat eyebrows. Really expensive, heavy, time consuming eyebrows.

Also big thanks to the chap at Wilkes (I have completely forgotten his name but it will come to me). He was super super helpful throughout the purchasing and fitting and turns out is one of the skippers of the Massey shaw so really knows his onions.

Full steam ahead

We are going great guns in our attempt to wrap things up by the end of September. The engine is in, the floor is finished and secure. The battens are on the ribs ready for the bead and butt panelling to be attached, and the panelling has been painted. Phew!

We have taken delivery of the new PVC Striker Rail which Ian and tom are in the process of attaching. No mean feat as this involves maneouvring a massive heavy length of the stuff to above head height and inserting the washer strip into place. Drilling out through the existing hole in the hull, drilling a pellet back through, bolting it on and plugging the hole. Then repeat for 100 metres. Tough stuff!

This will all be done by next week when the chap comes to spray some insulating foam in the inside of the hill before the panelling goes back on…. magic!


Bit of a high drama title. Truth be told the ever so patient owners of the site where we are based have suggested that they might need our corner back for their business and that this would need to happen at the end of September. They have been beyond patient and charming, particularly given they inherited us when they bought the site from the previous owner.”you know your new industrial site… there’s a mad woman and a rusty boat in the corner that can’t be moved….”. Exactly.

They have kindly suggested that we can always move the boat down a bit.  It given that involves extra cost, the project has already dragged on, and we are nearly done, it makes sense to speed things up and get the job done. It’s a boat after all. It should be in the water.

My ha fa are a bit tied with the littlest crew member which makes things a bit tricky. If there is anyone out there who fancies a bit of hard labour and can help, please do!! I need it.

Engine in situ

Well thank fuck for that. I make no apologies for language, it was a high stress moment. It is in Place and just requires a bit of final adjustment and fitting and of course all the inputs and outputs hooking up…. another mammoth job but baby steps, right? It might not work yet but it sure looks good.

And in it went….

They are big old beasts these Gardner engines but, as the theory goes, what comes out must go back in. Or is it what goes in must come out? Either way, despite the fact we had made the engine hatch smaller (oooops forgot about that), the engine had to go back in abc in it went with some HIAB magic.’

The smaller hatch meant it needed to go in at more of an angle so required some extra hair pulling and panicking from Tom (who was masterminding the move) and a block and tackle to provide a bit more support. 

We have lift in


This Friday: a HIAB has been hired, the engine beds prepared, and my nerves steadied. It’s time to lift the engine back in!!!! πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ’ͺ🏼

You get the idea. There is – as ever – a lot to go wrong… getting it out the shipping container, lifting it and dropping it back in the boat without smashing it into the deck. And god only knows where the mounting blocks and the bolts have gone… 😬 also have to make sure there are no crushed feet, people or boats and we get it the right way round. On the plus side, what came out surely must go back in, and at least we know it fits!