Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Name and Number

Visit 28th November

We were in Sheffield very early today so that we could meet up with Andy Russell the sign writer.




Andy had arrived before us and was starting to mark out Oleanna's name on the cabin side in china graph. The pictures of my model had been printed out for him. Rather than measure up he had gauged the size I was after by eye and was using his mahl stick as a straight edge and to measure up. He worked quickly and efficiently.

I was wanting the lettering to match the cream and red that had been used on the boat already, these he would mix from his stock of paints as he went.



These photos are a little confusing due to reflections of the boat next door. Oleanna has had the lower lines masked and sprayed out blue on both sides. The rest of her had been covered in brown paper to mask out when the spraying happened.

The new lines will be sprayed in soon the right way round. If you stand in line with the cabin side and look along it you can just make out the shadow of the previous lines. This position, when she is in the water, will be a very unusual one for anyone to be at, so hopefully any shadow will not be obvious.



After drawing out Andy put masking tape along top and bottom of where the straight letters are and bits on the ends of of the E and L. This is so that he can finish laying in a line on masking tape, keeping the ends of letters sharp. Once one side had the cream he moved round to the other side to do the same there. The bow was also to have a ball and bar on each side which we roughly drew in.

As the cream dried off a bit he painted on Oleanna's C&RT number. We had applied for this a couple of weeks ago (cost of £20) so that it could be painted on rather than having the number plates propped up in the windows. Because we will be having a pram cover we decided that the position of this should be just forward of the drain on the roof, so there is no chance of it being covered over. We also asked for the C&RT swan and bridge symbol. The masking tape is masking out the box for this. I'm not sure whether Andy just freehands the symbol, suspect he does as he must do it very often.


The control panel is in position behind the little hatch at the stern. The engine temperature gauge has been installed above the electrics cupboard along with switches for Nav lights and the tunnel light, not sure what the third one is yet.

Here is the engine all green and shiny. There are still various things to happen in the engine bay to do with electrics which will happen this coming weekend.

The hospital silencer is installed, top right hand corner of the bottom photo, this basically makes the noise coming from the exhaust quieter, so less shouting at each other on the back deck will be needed.

Two batteries were on the trays. The one to the left is the starter and is a wet cell battery. The one on the right is one of the Lithium Batteries. The second one is still on it's way from the States and is expected sometime this week. Space has been built in should we find we need a third battery.


The two brass fittings attached to pipes above the batteries are bleeding nipples! We think. They are on the same side as the radiators and are higher so we suspect these are valves for us to be able to bleed air out of the system.




In the starboard side rear locker there is the header tank for the Alde Boiler, tucked into the corner. The water level can be topped up here and anti freeze can also be added to the system.

The prop is now fitted.

Inside the electrics cupboard  more has been happening. The top panel of switches are for the 24 volt electrics, such as fridge, water, lights.

Below are switches for 12 volt electrics which is stepped down from the 24 volt supply.

The Victron Battery monitor sits next to the water tank gauge (held on with masking tape), the hole next to this is for the diesel tank gauge.

The Alde controller is on the lower door next to the battery isolators.

The white box in the photo on the right is the 240 volt distribution box. This will also go in the cupboard. There is a possibility that with the boiler running and all the electrics going that they may have to add some forced cooling from the engine  bay, by means of a fan. This won't be known until everything is rigged up and working.  Next time we visit the spaghetti mountain in the cupboard should all be sorted and connected.

There is still the MPPT controller to be fitted and space for our router. The router may have to go below the boiler, dimensions have been passed onto Ricky and if the cables need routing to the lower portion of the cupboard then this will be done.



We had brought along one of our Brompton bikes to check on the areas where they will be stored. The slot next to the fridge has a gas pipe running through it and we wanted to check that the bike would not touch this. The small shelf created by the swim in the slot means that the bike cannot touch the pipe. The bike does slightly protrude from the slot, but we knew this would be the case. On our current boat the bike encroaches the corridor a little bit more than this, it hasn't been a problem to us in the last couple of years. The bottom of the rear port side cupboard accommodates a bike wonderfully, this will be where our second less used bike lives.

The cable in the bike slot is for power to the fridge.

Some curtain poles were in place. Kim had managed to get them to put some up so that the curtains could be made. They will only be put on board once all the messy jobs have been completed.

What we call the Houdini shelf has now been fitted above the TV shelving. This is so that our cat can sit and watch the world go by and stalk passing ducks and we can keep a few bits and bobs ontop of the shelf unit. I'm hoping my model of Oleanna will fit there.

The blinds for the galley are having to be remade so that they fit in the recess of the window frame. The position of the extractor above the cooker was causing issues, so this is the best solution. So if you know of anyone who could do with two dark blue metal venetian blinds please put them in touch.

Worktops have been ordered. The sample that I selected only comes as a jumbo sheet therefore there is more wastage than normal. Once it arrives with the chap who will shape it, he will be able to see if a usable off cut can be left for a future client which will reduce the price. It will take two weeks for him to shape before it can be fitted. This is now what will hold us up getting Oleanna into the water. Various jobs cannot be done until the worktops are installed, final sockets in the galley, steel backing to the cooker etc.

Kris talked over positions for aerials at the stern and double checked where we would like the bow thruster control to be positioned. Both he and Ricky reckon that she should touch the water in Sheffield before Christmas, we are hoping that this will give us enough time to have her launched before Christmas in Macclesfield.


All the time things were being discussed Andy kept painting and we'd pop back into the workshop to have a look.

I'd discussed with him about the lettering having a red shadow as if the light source was at the bow. When I popped back in to see how he was doing the port side Oleanna had almost all of it's shadowing done, but on the wrong side! He was painting the shadow on the left which (excuse me if I get this the wrong way round) is how boats in the north of the country traditionally have their shadows painted no matter which side of the boat. It turns out that the shadow will be northern on the starboard side and southern on the port as my interpretation of shadowing comes from one light source and not tradition.

Andy was very good about it and immediately got a rag out and with white spirit wiped the cabin side clean. My heart fell, he had to remove the cream as well as the red shadow. But he straight away redrew the lettering and started painting it back in. When I returned a while later he was just finishing off the port side shadowing and about to start on the other side. As he moved round he made sure which side the shadow would be on.



With shadows added to the bow Andy was finished and ready to move onto sign writing NB Muddy Waters one of Oleanna's neighbours.







Friday, 18 November 2016

Engine on board!

18th November

Oleanna is now with engine! Well the engine is in the engine bay, not commissioned as yet.

Someone is coming to look at the worktops today or Monday.

A choice of mattress has also been made today. On our current boat we are on our second memory foam mattress as the first one wasn't very good at remembering. But at home we have one that has stood the test of time, so we have gone with the standard memory foam mattress, the lead time is only a couple of days.

We have contacted Gary at All Season Covers to make us a cratch and pram cover for her. He is based in Bolton and our proximity to them may mean that we get covers made quicker than if we were some distance away. However he will only measure up when Oleanna is launched, so we will have sometime without covers.

Tuckeys have got back to us with a price for transportation and craning in. Our original choice of launch site would have meant a bigger crane, therefore more money. So it now looks like she will be launched in Macclesfield. Tomorrow we will cruise past on NB Lillyanne and take a look, hopefully sus out where the bubbles will be drunk too!

Flue solved, worktops not.

Visit 15th November

Now that we've cruised through all the winter stoppages that were in our way we are freer to visit Oleanna again.

Very similar to Silestone Lyra


Since our last visit worktop quotes had come in and sadly Silestone is way over the allotted budget. Ricky had found something similar, but the sample looked quite bland when we took it onto the boat. If it was our original choice of granite that was going to be over budget I'd have considered the extra money but not for second or third choice. So we looked back at the samples in the office. One had been very similar to our third Silestone choice. Hopefully this one will come in on budget or somewhere close. The lead time on them is likely to be about two weeks and they need to be fitted whilst Oleanna is on land due to their weight. Fingers crossed.






The Alde flue has been moved up onto the cabin side. Where it had been has now been patched in, welded and made good. The gunnels are still to have their final coats of Epifanes Multiforte Black applied, so hopefully this will disguise the patch well.

Alde are against the flue being painted to match the cabin side, so for the time being we will have to live with a white flue. Being on the cabin side it isn't totally safe from being broken as occasionally river moorings can be quite high with an over hang. Should we need to replace it in the future we'll see if we can get a darker one so that it blends in better.




Inside the electrics cupboard things have started to happen. The Alde flue pipe has had to come through here and has been boxed in, which meant that we may have needed to get a different inverter. But with the right amount of space above and below with plenty of grills in the doors for ventilation we should be alright.

The flue pipe is behind the boxing in below the inverter.







To the right are two wooden panels, which are indeed doors. The top one will be where all the switches for the electrics are positioned. The lower one will be for the battery isolators. Behind the doors is still the cable spaghetti waiting to be connected.





All the switches and controls are waiting to be installed inside the cupboard.

The small silver control is for the Alde boiler.




The morse control is in position now. Along with this will be the control for the bow thruster and horn.

Mick had wanted to have a delux control panel in the little hatch on the rear bulk head, but the dimensions of this are too big for the alloted space. However some of the dials on the delux panel would be surplus to requirements. So we will have a standard one fitted in the hatch. A coolant temperature gauge will then be fitted under the sliding hatch above the electrics cupboard, so still in view.

The head light and nav light switches will also be positioned here inside. This means we won't need weather proof covers on them, which after a couple of years the rubber perishes and are likely to fall off. Hopefully the position of them will mean that they don't get accidentally switched on. We'll see.


In the engine bay the battery trays have been welded into position. There are two, one for the leisure bank of two lithium batteries and one for the starter battery. If in future we find we need more than the planned two lithium batteries there will be space to add a third. The handles I am assuming are so that the batteries can be strapped down. Instead of having cables connecting the batteries we will have bus bars. If we do end up needing a third battery then we will also need new bus bars to connect all three together.



Below the trays is the skin tank. This acts like a radiator in a car to cool the engine as it is right up against the side of the hull below the water line. The cables visible on the right are from the morse control, one is throttle the other forward or reverse gear.

Across the back of the stern doors, under the engine board are the pipes to and from the radiators.

As you can see there is still no engine. This will be going in later in the week. The engine tends to be the last thing in the engine bay as it is very heavy and gets in the way.

A date has been made for Andy Russell to do the sign writing in a couple of weeks time. The lines on the cabin sides will be started by then. The painter has been and had a look and the solution will mean painting the new lines just slightly wider than the existing ones and also elongating them to cover any confusion. The bow area will get it's final coat of paint, this is where most of the comings and goings have happened so scrapes are very hard to avoid.


All the window liners are now in place which means that once the curtain poles are up Kim can make the curtains.


The blue aluminium galley blinds have arrived. These will be fitted along with the soft furnishings shortly before handover so they don't get in the way or get dusty. The tops of the blinds will be capped off with a bit of oak.

The speakers are up.

Cupboards were checked for shelves and hanging rails. At the moment one cupboard needs a hanging rail and a shelf, another needs a larder pull out fitting.


In the bike slot Mick noticed that there is a gas pipe going across it. This has happened because the cupboard to the left is shallower than the slot and the plumber/gas engineer didn't know what the purpose of it was. Measurements were taken of where it sits to be checked against one of our folding bikes.

After checking it may not be a problem, but we will double check when we next visit by taking a bike with us to try. If it is in the way or in danger of being biffed there is an option for it to be moved back slightly.

Don't know what the cable is for, will have to ask when next we visit.


In the bathroom the chrome porthole liners have been fitted and look very nice. So has the mirror on the cupboard above the sink.

The sink unit is still not in position, that is because the top will be in the same material as the kitchen worktops. The position of the sink has been amended on the template that will be used.

A shaver socket will be inside the sink cupboard, the blue ring main cable can be seen. This is so that the 240 volt cable won't cross over the 24 volt cables, which is against the rules.

The bathroom doors are held back with what I call Cluedo Magnets. The button fixed to the door is on a spring and the cluedo figure has a band of magnet around the top which holds the button. To close the door all you do is pull the door behind you, much better than a hook catch.


The mirror has been attached to the side of the cupboard at the front and has been finished top and bottom with a piece of oak.

There is now a vent in the top step into the bow.

The bow shoreline seems to have been forgotten about, but Ricky said that it would be fine for them to pull through cable for it. Our current boat has two one in the bow and one at the stern, not that we spend much time in marinas, but we do find it useful to have the choice of which way round to moor when we do.

The lock for the stern doors was discussed again. As Oleanna is reverse layout we will tend to use the stern doors more than the bow as this is the end that we will be living at. So Ricky is finding us a suitable lock for the job.

Oleanna once fitted with the engine and worktops and the sign writing is done will go into the water here in Sheffield to check on ballast and for us to have a try out before she is handed over to us. Then a crane will be needed to lift her onto a lorry to transport her across the Pennines for launch. If this can be done on a day when they want to move another boat by crane then the cost will be split between Finesse and us, otherwise we'll be covering the lot. For road transport and craning in we have been talking to Tuckeys. Our preferred site however would mean needing a crane with a 12ft reach, NB Oleanna is going to be around 19 tonnes so a bigger crane would be needed or a change of launch site.

Fingers crossed that all happens soon, before Christmas takes it's toll and gets in the way.












Sunday, 30 October 2016

Windows and engine

Visit 28th October

We've been busy moving our current boat Lillyanne to be past upcoming stoppages and I've also had a few days work, which has meant that getting to Sheffield has been impossible for the past few weeks. So it has been four weeks since we were last at the yard.

Orders have been slow to arrive which has held progress up, but the advantage of not having seen her for weeks is there was lots of new shiny things to look at. There were a few questions as always about positions of speakers and how to fix the composting toilet to the floor. Our choice of worktop was of course the most expensive one in the Silestone range, we can't help having good taste! This does mean that it is more expensive than the budget, so prices are being sought for our second choice.


The main thing to discuss was the position of the Alde boiler flue. The boiler has been installed under the electrics cupboard and the flue currently comes out onto the gunnel. Long discussions have been had over the phone, email etc over the last few weeks to find a better solution.

Ricky had been in contact with Alde over the matter. One solution had been to have a recessed panel, sinking the flue and surrounding area out of harms way, but as it is a balanced flue Alde would not be happy with this. There are minimum distances from over hangs etc to take into account. Mounting it on the roof is not possible as it would be sited inside the pram cover, be close to us whilst out on the stern and it is too close to the rear hatch, so fumes could enter the cabin.


So we are left with moving the flue up onto the cabin side. In this photo the flue currently goes through the hull just below the shelf that the cables are on, it will now be brought up through the shelf and exit the cabin side where the black dot is (half way up on the spray foam to the left). There is a minimum radius that the curves in the hose can be, so some of the space in the electrics cupboard will be taken up just by the hose.

This will have knock on effects possibly to the inverter. The Victron inverter that we were going to have is quite bulky and needs minimum air gaps around it, which now may have a flue pipe reducing them. Once the pipe is in situ dimensions will be checked to see if a smaller bodied inverter is needed. This is likely to have a cost implication, but may mean that there is an MPPT controller built in that would deal with the solar panel, therefore saving us some money there.


Drawn in the dust on the side of the boat is where the new position of the flue will be. The white plastic will be painted to match the cabin side. This is a better solution, moving the flue out of day to day potential harm. It will not be totally safe in it's new location, as on larger waterways you can get high overhanging moorings not designed with narrowboats in mind. But at least these are not the norm.

The current hole in the hull will be patched up, the advantage of having Jonathan Wilson only yards away. The paintwork on the gunnels is still to have it's final coats of Epifanes Multiforte Black so all will be made good.

The lower stripes on the cabin side will be repainted with the red line beneath the cream as originally intended. This is likely to happen over a weekend in the fitout shed as Oleanna is now too heavy to get back into the paintshop.

Andy Russell has been booked to do our sign writing, but as we don't require much he will also be there to work on another boat. So a meeting will be arranged when all of us are free.




The pump and pipework are all now in place for the urine tank from the toilet. The tank sits below the toilet, all of the pipes and gulper pump are normally concealed behind a removable panel.

Should we need access to the tank in future we will need to remove the vent pipe to the roof, undo the urine pipe at the rear of the toilet and then lift the floor section. Not the easiest thing to get at, but we don't plan on doing it every week.



Kardean tiles have been laid on the bathroom floor and what we could see of them looked good. They have been covered over with cardboard to help protect them whilst work carries on.

The shower cubicle is now fitted and very shiny indeed. The sink is waiting for it's quartz top, the sink has been moved to look more central and a new template cut.

The Portholes in the the bathroom have been fitted and are awaiting their chrome liners, then Kim can make the bungs for them from foam and cream waterproofed fabric that I found in a remnant shop in Skipton.






The porthole liner for the bedroom will be oak so that it matches the window opposite.



The starboard side galley window is the only one that slides. This is so that you can give the ducks and fish crumbs from the breadboard before washing it up, it also means we can add more ventilation easily if we want to.

All the other windows are hopper windows. The advantage for us with these is that you can take the glass out to give the channel a good clean. You also can also clean both sides of your windows as and when you want.

The oak liners are on their way, final fitting and sanding before they have lacquer applied.

Why the extensions at top and bottom? These will have the curtain poles attached to them and it means that the curtains will extend past the opening so when they are open they will cover less of the glass.

On the galley windows we will have blue aluminium blinds as the cooker is too close to have curtains. Blind Boutique had sent some samples through and there was a perfect blue that will match the curtains at this end of the boat.




The side hatch glazed doors now have the glass in. There is a swivel catch top and bottom to hold them closed. These at the moment are brass, but as everything else is chrome we are hoping they can be swapped.

The little studs on the bottom of the doors are magnets so when the glazed doors are open they hold back to the cabin side on these.


The bubble stove now has a hearth and the backing is made from a large cream tile surrounded with oak. As the gas pipe runs under the gunnel here some steel will be added as a shield to protect this.

The chrome flue has been fitted and where it meets the ceiling there will be a chrome collar.

The flue is double skinned to meet with the regulations. But luckily we will have space for a cooking pot on both sides of it.


A radiator has gone into the bedroom, under where the pullout for the cross bed sits, we'll have warm toes.

Then a second larger radiator has been installed by the dinette. Beyond this is where we'll store the dinette table when the bed is in use.

The table is in on two chrome desmo legs, glazing is in the cupboard at the end of the dinette and all the sockets and cat 5 are finished.


Speaker positions were discussed. If they were to be positioned symmetrically one would be just at head height at the end of the galley, so it will be moved towards the stern to be out of the way.

The radio and CD player is now in. The panel of wood it is fixed to hides the power sockets for the TV.

The PVR and TV will soon be ordered.





The flexible solar panel was in position for us to see. The only space big enough for it was above the bathroom, but this has meant that it can't be central on the roof because of the shower mushroom vent.

The position will of course affect the power it generates, but we are hoping that when we can afford a smaller second panel we can position that to compensate for it.

Now that we have given the okay for the position it can now be stuck down.



Iroko locker lids have been made for the stern lockers. These can withstand the weather better than oak.

A small scallop will need to be taken out of them so that the cabin back doors can hook back open.

Positions of aerials was discussed. The internet one will sit as high as possible so as to be outside the faraday cage effect that the hull gives.

Just inside the engine bay is the stern gland greaser. This is positioned here for ease of access, so you don't have to open the engine right up to give it a twist.

Fuel filters and the prop shaft have been installed waiting to be connected to the engine.

An engineer had been booked to start fitting the engine yesterday, but unfortunately the engine arrived at the end of the day. A folk lift had popped it up high out of the way until the engineer can come next.

Ricky opened the box up for us to have a look. All very green and shiny (sorry for the girl comment there!).


Instead of fitting the engine the engineer set to fitting the bow thruster which is now all in along with it's batteries. At first it was thought that the batteries would have to go in one of the bow lockers, but they have managed to fit them in with the bow thruster.

A chat with Kim regarding how we can cover the front door windows came up with a good solution. Living with a cat, dangly things on blinds are not such a good idea, especially when on doors in your bedroom. I'd got a couple of quotes for roman blinds, but really did not want to spend £100 on each blind. The solution was to have a lined covering for each window that will be poppered onto the surround of each window. During the day they can be rolled up and held in position with a tab. Much neater than blinds and taking up less space than bungs.

One of the lithium batteries has arrived the second one is being shipped over from the States. Luckily the quote Finesse had got for them had a price guarantee of 30 days, so the pound plummeting has not affected the price we will pay for them.

Several prices had been sought for the pram and cratch covers, but as we had put quite a bit of work into this when at Crick we will take over on arranging them. We can get them measured up at the yard and then we will most probably have them finally fitted when Oleanna has been launched. It may mean that we have to cope for some of the winter without covers.

Once her engine has been fitted Oleanna will put her toe in the water in Sheffield to check on ballast and other things close to home. Ricky has suggested that we take her out along the cut to try things out. This will mean that any snagging can be done at the yard before she is transported to the Macclesfield Canal for launch.

Despite Oleanna having had her bottom wet we are going to class the launch near Marple as The Launch, where I suspect there will be some bubbly wine to celebrate. Still a while to wait, so no need to chill the fizz just yet.