Launch day is booked for the 27th. Only 18 days to go, and other than a major calamity I think we are going to be ready for the transport team.
So how are we feeling? It is something of an emotional roller coaster. Fit-out is by its nature mentally demanding, as there are so many small details to be worked through and remembered. Each component has differing space requirements and fittings. Nuts, bolts, electrical connections and a myriad of other details. An example is mast assembly. We have discovered that we need a 1/4″ pop rivet gun. Sounds simple enough, except that they are rare as hen’s teeth, and we were unable to locate one locally. So we have ordered one from eBay which we will probably sell on after the build. It all takes time and emotional energy.
As I write this, we are just learning of the bush fire tragedies occurring in New South Wales and Queensland and I am reminded of how minor are our concerns compared to many others. Australia is a continent of such extremes, as we in Tassy experience a rainy cold front with snow in the highlands. Our thoughts are with those affected and we are praying there is no more loss of life.
But first heres an absolute highlight for us. Please meet Isla Marie Ruth Harris, our new grandaughter. Her middle names are her grandmothers. Deb’s is Ruth.
Deb is now back in Tassy, as we work seven days a week in the final push to get Selah into the water.
We are close, but here is still an impressive list of things on the to-do list.
Our focus is on the “not-negotiable” jobs. Things that must be completed to make her sea-worthy and fully functioning as a ship.
Engines, skin fittings, plumbing & electrical and anchoring systems.
Yet to be done: assembling the mast and boom fittings, mounting the winches and cleats, and of course, the biggie – backing her out ready for the moving truck.
The electrical system is completed, and I couldn’t be happier with how it has gone. After assembling the components, I arranged for the suppliers to commission the system. All went without hitch, as we ran checks on the various functions. There are a few bugs to iron out. Most annoyingy, the main saloon light it not working. Thats on the list to trouble-shoot; hopefully just a poor connection.
It was strange the first night we went “live”. She seemed to come to life, with a host of hums, clicks and the purring of the fidge compressor. Noises that have since become the background of everyday life. In a few weeks, those noises will be joined by the lapping of water, and wind in the rigging. Ships are rarely quiet.
So, there is a bit of a background story to our electrical system. A couple of years ago, an old chap turned up on-site looking for a source of marine ply for a project he was working on. We helped him out with some ply, and in the process discovered he was a retired electrical engineer. I had been praying for someone to help with electrics so I took his presence as a literal God-send and asked if he would be willing to assist me in designing the most appropriate system for our set-up. Harry, (I’ll call him, as he has no digital footprint, and prefers to keep it that way) is wonderfully eccentric and has since become a great mate. His life story could fill a book and his expertise in pretty much everything, is astounding, including two years as chief electrical engineer on the tall ship Endeavor, during which he circumnavigated the globe. He graciously agreed to help, mainly to prevent me from “messing up this beautiful ship”. That comment endeared me to him instantly as I recognised the sentiment. Respect for the ship is a sign of a true seaman. Its a contract: we look after her, and she will look after us when the chips are down.
So together we sat down, and he guided me through the design process. Also, over a few sessions he taught me the “proper” way to do terminations, strip wire, heat-shrinking and the general do’s and dont’s of marine electrics. It was he who advised me to forego a marine switchboard and use a regular domestic switchboard with conventional circuit-breakers. This I was happy to comply with, as they are literally 20% of the price, and according to Harry, inherently more robust and reliable. And yes, they are safe and compatible with 12V DC systems.
Finaly, after a false start 12 months ago, our metal work is completed and mostly installed. I have written on this in a previous blog, but the process involved me learning how to use a CAD program, and digitising all the components. I sent the files to two fabricators to have the components cut out. The stainless was laser-cut and the aluminum water-cut. A third fabricator welded the components.
The staninless components were the seven chainplates (fixing points for the wire ropes that hold up the mast , plus I designed a fabrication that serves as the emergency tiller housing and fixing point for the wheel push-pull cable.
While I was conveniently busy seeing to other jobs, Deb upon her return from Alice Springs was lumbered with the underwater paintwork. This involved a fresh coat of Penguard HB undercoat, as it been two years since the hulls were first painted, then two coats of Juotan Vinylguard 88. It is a barrier coat, that prepares the hulls for the antifoul that can only be applied within two days of launching. In the end, the underwater surfaces will have eight coats of paint applied.
Work is going on in a number of directions, as there are things that need to be completed to make Selah safe once we are on the water. An example is the connecting of our anchor rode (rope) to the anchor chain. This needs to be done in such a way to allow it to travel through the anchor winch gypsy, without jamming, as it transitions from chain to rope. Rope splicing is a traditional craft that has remained unchanged for centuries and something I have always wanted to try. So I had an enjoyable afternoon one rainy day, downloading instructions from uncle Google and figuring it out.
Next on the list of completed works is the plumbing. We now have hot & cold running water.