Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Fast lane

When Steve starts building a boat he doesn't hang around. By early June, just four weeks after first steel was laid, it already looked like a boat complete with roof. Maybe I was paying him too promptly ;-) The small lug left on the base plate which you can see if you click on image, is to tow out the boat during launch. Its cut off before it enters the water.

On June 20th it was launched. You can see it had to be restrained such was its enthusiasm to be in the water. Next job was to fit windows, portholes, roof vents and generally make it rain proof. Pigeon box's, I have two, will be fitted later so the holes were just capped over.

At this stage it might be easier to refer to the boat by name. A short list was made, added to, changed etc. I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure springs to mind. I wanted something with a northern ring to it given my Yorkshire birthright. Naming it after one of my favourite beers also seemed appropriate. I designed my own take on an Old Thumper beer bottle label (see upper right). This will be reserved as a name and logo for the engine though. Val came up with Ecky Thump which seems to have stuck although with Lancastrian rather than Yorkshire origins.

Early in July I visited Steve at Tamworth to view Ecky Thump for the first time in the water. Another proud moment especially as the engine had now been installed, sitting in its rightful place on iroko timbers. Note integral full width fuel tank of about 90 gallons immediately behind engine. Fuel will be hand pumped from this to a gravity feed day tank to supply engine in the traditional fashion.

Hear it starting up

Steve's classic take on Josher bows. Note also hatch to gas bottle locker and custom mount for Francis searchlight. Side lockers in well deck can just be seen, one of which will house bowthruster batteries.

Ballasting, spray foam insulation and battening had already been completed. The 18mm ply flooring had also been fitted. It continued to surprise just how quickly this had all been completed and I found it hard to believe it wouldn't be complete before Steve's estimate of March next year. Of course this is just the start of the hard slog of fitting out a boat.

Steve's annual open weekend on the 23rd/24th of July provided another opportunity to view progress. Val and I came up on the train and stayed overnight in Tamworth. Old and new customers make this an annual event taking advantage of Steve's generous hospitality. Its a unique opportunity to view at least five boats under various stages of construction as well as seeing completed ones shown off by their proud owners.

As little time had passed since my previous visit, only a modest amount of further work had been completed. First fit electric cabling mainly for lighting had been installed and most of the oak bead and butt planking to cabin sides and roof had been fitted. Cheaper softwood had been used for engine room and BMC as they will eventually be scumbled in the traditional style. Hardwood frames to match the surrounding wood had been fitted around the three side doors.

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