Something Cheery in the Post!

It's not often you get nice things from the postie these days

Postie knocks on the door the other day and hands me a big padded envelope. Inside were a couple of treasures and a little letter. Why don't people write letters any more? There's always something nice about a letter (rather than bills, offers of credit cards or rupert murdoch's latest wheezes to convince me sky isn't actually a waster of money)

so anyhoo, the couple of treasures inside were drawings from John Baird in Ireland, John is an artist who sketches most things but has a soft spot for old fishing boats, and takes a lot of comissions from people to draw their boats, so if you want a superb sketch of your vessel, give him a shout. He's also putting a fishing boat/trawler related site together as well at the minute under the guise of Irish Trawlers which is well worth a look.

Nowt much happening on the Pansy front, still keeping afloat (just!), I've been snowed under with work so haven't had chance to get anywhere near for a few weeks, but did almost get the old Ford Lehman Diesel spluttering into life after a year's festering in the engine room. Still no further forward with lift out arrangements, but watch this space.

Anyway, John's work:

Scottish MFV trawler Fifie Pansy
Another great one to plan a restoration to

Zulu Herring Drifter Scottish MFV Pansy
Absolutely thrilled with these. As much as anything else it gives me a nice target of what she should like one day

Pikey's Afloat? Some People Have no sense of humour!

Oh dear, we've upset someone.

some considerable time ago, I made a post relating the desirability of a rare old boat being moored in a shiney modern marina, this post to be precise: Pikeys afloat

I didn't even mention the establishment by name, maybe they recognised themselves from the brief narrative, or maybe their reputation is merely going before them

Following on from the last post, we need a lift out to clean the old lady's bottom (as you do), and so, a phone call was made by No 2 to a marina on the Tyne with a travel hoist, a sort of "can we check costs and book a lift out please" type phone call

"do we know the boat?" they enquired? "Its called Pansy, moored in St Peter's Marina......" No 2 was cut short at this point with a robust "and WHO are you?"

Oh dear, think I might have touched nerve, to paraphrase, the upshot of the conversation was (as they say in these parts) "hadaway and shite". Well it wasn't really, but might as well of been. - "NO! not after what was wrote on your website" was the actual reply

Poor Grammar aside, it does look like someone has got the 'ump with us. Might actually be for the best though. last boat they lifted out for me they nearly dropped on my head, well they did as it happens, it was only my panther like reflexes that got me out from underneath it in time (no 2 was, as ever, watching from the sidelines on that occasion as well). Did leave a few of my flowing locks trapped beneath keel and trailer though. 'Elf n Safety would have had a field day with that one.

One though has occurred to me though. Unless they are an avid fan of these types of things and googled us (which is flattering to think) someone must have 'grassed us up' and pointed the offending post out!

oh well, guess thats another bridge well and truly burnt then

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

Nearly posted this a month ago but found it all too depressing! British Journalism really does need to take a leaf or 3 out of Hunter S's book, kick back, kick off and blow some stuff up. We might not be in the mess we're in if they did, but hey ho

Its been a while, stuff has been going on and also no going on, can't put it off any longer and stuff needs doing and someone's gotta do it

yeah, the deck got finished & caulked, the hull didn't, fact is its still half stripped. Least of my worries though. the old girl is sinking a bit... only the pumps keeping here afloat at present.

Leaky seam down the bilges amidships, pump was running once every 2 minutes at one point but managed to sort the seam out - for now. Caulking a leaking seam from the inside is a really fun thing to do. It has shades of testing a razor blade for sharpness by running your finger along it about it. The general theory is that you need to repack the seam from the inside. Cotton, being softer and a bit more squashy is preferable, some white lead paste, softened to a sticky mass with extra linseed oil is squeezed through the cotton and then its hammered into the seem, and this is where the fun starts. if you don't give it enough clout, it won't penetrate and the incoming water pressure will push it straight back out. If you hit it too hard you push it straight through the seam and out the other side, taking whatever is left in the outside of the plank with it and giving you an even bigger leak. My approach is (was) to gently press the cotton into the seem with a screwdriver first working along and back again before picking up a caulking iron and a very light mallet and gently starting to tap it home and harden it up till the water stops coming in, then push white lead paste in, bit more cotton and so on till it stops leaking, then more white lead on top for good measure. Tedious, frustrating and annoying in equal measure but it had to be done

She really needs to be lifted out of the water and recaulked properly from the outside, which means moving her 'somewhere' to do it. But as the hull above the waterline is still devoid of caulking (that didn't get finished either yet) I need to recaulk the rest of her topsides and get the seams filled before she can move, I reckon she'd get 500 yards without it being done.

Even then I've got an engine to put back together first. I was reliably informed by No 2 that the leak is definitely, definitely and absolutely under the engine so big metal bits and whirly round bits were dispensed with to get under the beast. The leak was found 8 foot away and not in the engine room at all. At least he got the right boat I guess

so lots and lots to do none of which will do itself, so this week I'm going to be forcing myself at gunpoint to do some stuff in order to get her out of the water asap. If any one fancies a non sinking type cruise down the river tyne to the boatyard in a few weeks to throw a rope etc let me know

Elsewhere, but still of a boaty disposition there's been some cracking stuff on the Beeb of late. All part of the 'Sea Fever' season, one highlight for me was the "Boats that Built Britain" episode featuring "Reaper" A big proud and fully restored Fifie. It was on iPlayer for a while too, but as the beeb restrict access to iPlayer to within the UK only, I though it would be nice to. ahem, 'archive' a copy for posterity and any of you international types that look in here from time to time, so will attach it under here shortly

On a slightly more tenuous boaty connection, its 70 years to the day today that my dear old dad, god rest his soul was captured fighting the rearguard on the Dunkirk perimeter, the next couple of months of his life being spent on a forced march to poland followed by nearly 5 years of some jawdroppingly pretty brutal shit in a german labour camp. I pulled his service records just after he died - the man to his credit never spoke a word of it in his life to anyone. Not sure which bit has affected me the most, the stuff he did in the last few days at dunkirk or the stuff he witnessed, endured and survived in the following 4 and a half years. Here's to you fella!

Normal service may well be resuming now!

anyhoo, video of the old Fifie 'Reaper'

Essential boat builders tool kit

Boat building and ship wrighting in general is said to be 80% hard graft and 10% blether, although maybe that should be the other way around!

got an email about tools earlier, and thought It might be useful to share a little wisdom about the necessary tools in the boat builders arsenal, and explain their use and functionality as I have found it over the last couple of years, so here goes

Tools Explained

Drill Press: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it. Also Highly recommended as the tool of choice for snapping the only drill bit of a certain size in your collection right at the time when thats the only size you can use

Grinder with Wire Wheel: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light . Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh sh--!'

Wood chisel: mostly used for opening tins of paint and to scrape thin surface coatings away, particularly good for removing skin and small amounts of subcutaneous flesh

Angle Grinder/Cutting Disk: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short, and for precision embedding of red hot iron filings in surrounding paintwork. Also use for destroying the blade of wood chisels

Pliers: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

Belt Sander: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

Hacksaw: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Mole Grips: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

blow torch: Used almost entirely for igniting various flammable objects around toyr boat/workshop. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race, and setting fire to that huge pool of pitch which had been poured onto the rotten wood in order to hide it, thus converting it from a solid to a liquid whereby it drips through the rotten wood and sets fire to everything underneath

table saw: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall/hull integrity. and customising fingers

Hydraulic Jack: Used for lowering an extremely heavy objects to the ground trapping the handle and jack in the process.

Band saw: A large stationary power saw primarily used to cut good timber into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the bin after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

Circular Saw: Similar application to band saw but also good for cutting bits off your workbench and for slicing into the table you are resting on

Jig Saw: See circular Saw

Power Plane: Hand held tool for removing excess wood and converting slightly over large pieces of timber, to frustratingly too small for the job pieces. Also good for causing major skin abrasions and removing fingertips

2 Ton Engine Hoist: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

Phillips Screwdriver: Normally used to open paint tins and stir contents prior to dripping paint on floor or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads to render them unremovable requiring use of of pry bar (see below)

Cordless Drill: Universal High speed version of the above with 2 attachements, one for stripping the heads of screws entirely, the other for stripping the heads and then running across the surrounding area requiring remedial use of belt sander (see belt sander above)

Straight Screwdriver: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws, butchering your palms, and damaging surround timber calling for use of belt sander (see belts sander above)

Pry Bar: A tool used to damage the timber surrounding that clip/bracket/nail you needed to remove, and thus calling for the use of belt sander (see belt sander above)

hose cutter: A tool used to make hoses too short.

Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit and break them, or to improve the damage causing potential of pry bar when trying to remove stripped screws (see screwdrivers above)

Stanley Knife: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, invoices, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use. Also good for scoring timber underneath the object you were trimming calling for further use of belt sander (see belt sander above)

Block Plane: mythical tool believed by some to be capable of shaving minute wafers of wood to create perfect scarfe joints. Scarfe joints for those that don't know are 2 irregularly shaped end pieces of wood which only have minimal contact with each other and have gaps filled with masses of epoxy resin

probably a few that have been missed there, but hopefully will set people on the straight and narrow

Thought now occurs that I really ought to follow this up with a glossary of terms for all the bits and pieces on a boat ie:-

Scuppers: narrow slits between deck and gunwale to allow the easy exit to the water of any screws or small tools that you drop

Carlines:Cross timbers between deck beams to remove skin and hair when the deck beams didn't get you

Bilges: Inaccessible container for tools, screws and house keys that were too big to go through the scuppers (see above)

get the idea? needs some thought, but I expect a full glossary of boat terms to be published shortly.

extended intermission - in flight reading...

gone but not forgotten, just a bit of an impasse at present, should I shouldn't I will, will I won't I that sort of thing. I blame the weather among other things :oops:

so perhaps a little little reading might be in order to keep you going. found a few interesting articles around about the place and have a few I might scan in from old copies of classic boat and the like. Background stuff on Fifies, Zulus, Herring Drifters, Scottish fishing boats in general, other mad people, that sort of thing

bit of Fifie & Zulu history and background type stuff

Also got a few plans and drawings I've squirreled away from various sources, and a few I've drawn myself, based on the sketches of Edgar J March in his book "Sailing Drifters". Well worth tracking down a copy. hard to come buy and some folks want silly money for a copy. Not quite destitute enough to sell mine just yet though, but have seen them with £250 price tags!

The plans are canny for any trawler model makers out there, so might upload them and post a link or several if any wants them

will probably add a few bits to this as time goes by


Edgar J March - Herring Drifters

have been talking to a small publisher who can reprint this on demand for £25 or so a copy if any one is interested.....


documentary intermission...

Fame at last. It's a little know and well kept secret, that the whole idea buying an old scottish fishing boat, doing it up and so forth was born by a TV production company, there plan to to film the whole process in your standard "oh no - not more reality TV shite" format, warts and all. That sort of thing

So the secret cameras have been whirring away quietly and this week I was invited to see an early edit of the first program. Not sure what I think, suffice to say I'm not nearly that fat in real life, in fact I'm positively sylph like.

And I've more hair

And I don't have a 'tash either

It does sort of impart the general working atmosphere though, and I don't think No 2 even noticed the film crew around. So here you go.

the film starts with a bit of background into the 'why' and then moves onto to the doing up bit in all its glory, and really does give a really good flavour of how we seem to work together


*Oi Oi*

Will be sending the above record of achievement to the Historical Ship's Register people as proof of progress. It may have an impact on our claim! Stan dossed down in North Shields for a while dontcha know. I will be scratching my head on Pandora tomorrow wondering a. What can I do? b. How can I do it? c. Where's Olly?

I took the horn home, and got rid of the car under the scrappage scheme.

would you like ice with that

remember the cunning plan? 1:1 scale model trawler in kit form??

well thats on hold, its snowed (a bit) and got a bit chilly, so my beloved planks of elm are a bit well, deep frozen:

Elm planking for trawler conversion hull replanking
anyone know what the effect of a bit of snow and ice are on rock elm??, maybe I just invented the worlds biggest snow board

as well as a bit of snow, its also been a bit chilly, causing the odd icicle or 2 form:

timber for hull plank repairs for scottish motor zulu fifie fishing boat
on the plus side, I won't run out of ice for my vodka for weeks

so while the rest of the country has been in the full panic mode that only home counties english media types are capable of when there's 2cm of snow on the ground, I've been snowed in at home since boxing day, with snow that is waist deep everywhere and drifts in excess of 15' and temperatures down to minus 17

I'm getting wood whittling withdrawal symptoms. even though I've got bits of wood to whittle here at HQ, some of it even ice free and toasty on account of me having hidden it under the bed. but alas I've nothing to whittle it with - all the tools are on the boat, so I've taken to inventing stuff instead. So far I've invented loads of things in my head.... gravity powered 3D glasses so when you are driving you can see the road ahead, trees and things like that in 3D, that sort of thing

but with the thing I am most proud of is actually real as well, Bovril with vodka, it's great and has become my 7th most favourite drink of all time

I really need to get out

*Wheeeeeeeee* Oops me pipe's frozen.

Skipper, you've lost it mate - for the gravity powered bins you'd need a gravity powered head. If it was gravy powered then I'm your Chuck Jaeger(?).

Add dried noodles to the Vodkril and away you go scrapper :yes:

What's in a name?

We have a boat called Pansy, she's named after a flower as are many other boats. We have taken mild abuse due to the less than manly reputation of the word pansy. An easy remedy to any of the cheeky jibes I have faced is to tell the comedian in question - she was built and named in 1937 and took many brave men to sea and back home safely, never lost a man overboard, I believe, doing one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs going. - It shuts most people up.

Right, that said she has taken on the moniker of The Panzer for some time, a term of affection born as a result of her level of cuddliness and readiness to bend to our will.

I'm pushing it a bit here but until the ice machine is installed and the masts are glued back on she has taken on the mantle of Pandora.

Aye! You know where I'm going with this - open that box and you're in for an interesting time.

Skippers Eyes Only

Just back from our kid's after just getting there - me Nana's decided to have a stroke for christmas!

Might get down tomorrow, if the thaw's still on could get some caulikng done. It was flipping brassics up there mind

Pumped her oot btw before we left - not a lot in, less afterwards (obviously) AND ...................I fixed something!!! Granted I broke it in the first place

Still can't get the other bilge pump to work and you refuse to tell me the secret, looked in tengine room, bit of water under tgearbox, almost lunched it out but thought feck it, I'm here (See positive attitude ). Smacked me little shoulder on something sharp crawling up tladders to get the rubber gloves on which was great - I felt like you for a wee while. Carefully removed no.1 bilge from it's ole, don't want the bladdy hose to come off now, halfway through the into the next bit move the fella stops dead. Eeek, ran up the ladders - ish thinking, nee bilge pump, I'm halfway to Glasgow with me Mam in the car, the boat is definetly going to die! Flipped the bilge pump switch on the dashboard off and on again (My little heart sank when I saw it was in on mode, thought it might have just tripped or some other simple electronical hoo haa.) Nowt. Turned the big green thing on and off, Nowt. Took a deep breath, thought what would Scott or Shackleton have done in this situation - so I ate a penguin - then instead of skulking back along the pontoon with my hands in pockets, whistling tunelessly - I went back down!

2 deep breaths (and a 5 minute coughing fit) later I slowly scanned the whole environment looking for any type of clue, after half an hour I decided to concentrate my energy on the bilge pump, as that was what had broken. It was silent so the first thing I looked for was the volume control - it was that minging I was reluctant to check for an on off switch. Thought right, cables ya radge, saw the first 2 junction things which are all encrusted with matter and kinda squeezed them a bit, nowt.

Shouted out really loud just to check I hadn't gone deaf and it had actually started working, heard myself so I was dead chuffed not to be deaf, great feeling - I've taken to closing my eyes for a bit then opening them only to find I'm not blind - brilliant, got it down to a fine art and have called it "blinking" will it catch on?

I did a standard cable checkback list troubleshoot which involved some strenous following or "tracking" the cable's alignment with the Mk1 Human Eyeball. Saw an area where something didn't just quite sit right, took me right back to Nam It was a bit of cable with two bits of metal string coming out (like veins, bit scary really, blue and red they was) joined to another bit of cable just the sham. ONLY ................ one of the veins was not attached to it's other vein end - therefore disrupting the flow of fluxity to the pump. I leapt at the thing and grabbed the bits and stuck them together - a git big spark event occured, the pump went off in my hand and I would have fallen over backwards if there was room (Farted with shock instead)

Yeah - fixed the *******. Might get back on the VSO Radio course thing, on a roll.

Building a wooden boat from scratch

Whilst mooching around the internet to stave off the christmas boredom, came across this little gem. A lovely old wooden ringer (ring netter) being built. From the drawing board to launch.

Superb bit of film. The caulking bit of the video was a treat. Kinda get the idea these guys might have done that before a bit! The fact they are building a wooden boat with virtually no power tools as well is a skill that is pretty much lost today as well

probably the best wooden boat building video I've come across. The music's seen better days though, the commentary is the poem “The Building of the Ship” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ( he of "I shot an arrow into the air...." fame)

*What's gannin on here like*

It only took them 18 minutes!

Great video.

In the Absence of anything cheery to say...

a couple more oldies. First the original Pansy, now lying at the bottom of loch ness:

Scottish Zulu herring lugger Pansy
Built for an owned by the same family as original owned our pansy. A big Zulu under full sail

and another whitehills one, Pansy lying inside lupin in the middle... There may be a lot more to say about Lupin in the coming months ;)

Fifie Zulu Fishing Boat whitehills
Sometime in the 60's at a guess, Pansy against the wall and another Fifie, Lupin along side. Lupin is currently lying in an industrial estate in lancaster, in very good shape, although bare bones hull and engine, and for sale at a very very low price......

zulu fifie baldie fishing boat in whitehills
Pansy lying against the wall outside whitehills in the exact same spot we tied up on the trip back to the tyne

and finally, a wee PDF, that might be of interest, history of the Zulu, Fifie, scaffie and the moray firth herring fishery in general

The Zulu Herring Drifter

Strictly Come Dancing

Will that help the Google rankings Skippar?

Had the great pleasure of busting a few moves on the new deck today! We decided to take a chance and roll back the the tarp for the first time in yonkys to let the new floor breathe for a while, what a wonderful expanse of lovingly laid wood. You could land a chopper on it! I may have embarrased myself by testing (stroke) celebrating it's expansiveness with a wee Peter Crouch / MC Hammer / David Brent medley of dance classics .

Skip has a lovely new pair of multi-purpose boots as well, he's already tested the upper ankle support by stepping of a ledge into the bilge, can't wait to see how they hold up to: Cheeky Nails, Fire, Electric Shock, Chemical Spillage, Circular Saw Abuse, Floods, Famine and "That stuff what is on the deck". I'll post a picture of a comedy shoe when I can suss out how do it again, daresent ask No.1 as he's probably still working out how to undo the revolutionary lacing system on his fantastic boots.

/** strictly come dancing... **/

what no brucie bonus??

thems is special forces boots them is, top secret, nuclear powered, on full auto they can snap a badgers neck from 630 yards and out run an otter on a moped

Lidl's £9.99

Model trawler kit 1:1 scale??

Big lumps of wood are great. Elm in this case. Brilliant stuff, won't rot under water, won't rot above water. might rot in between the 2 after many years if not looked after. So why not take a leaf out of the Airfix book and make some spare parts out of the stuff. I guess, with enough planks you could make a full kit form Pansy. Press the parts out and assemble. Only problem i can see with this plan is finding a big enough box to put the bits in.

trawler model zulu fifie plans and parts
new rudder, rubbing strake, beams for the coachroof and a few knees! I used to love Airfix models when I was a bairn!

Mind you drawing the pictures is the easy bit, cutting the buggers out will take months probably. This Elm is well seasoned and as hard as iron. so probably won't even happen!

Gonna get coverboards on t'other side done the morra, get the girl turned around to make it easier to do the replanking and rubbing strake. She might even get rid of the natty blue tarps for the first time in months

From Dusk till Dawn

no hang on thats the wrong way round, you get the idea though. Got down there bright and early. Operation cover boards underway. A couple of pieces of oak I had been coveting and had squirreled away for the purpose where whipped out of their damp dingy hole (that'll be anywhere inside the boat then) planed up to the right sort of width & thickness and chopped up to suit the holes as I went along. Had to get radical with angle grinder and sledgehammer first though in order to remove the Land of The Giants size mooring cleat. The neighbours must have been pleased listening to that as they ate their Frosties this morning

The cover boards have come out alright as it happens, done all down one side, right up to the pointy bit at the front... where in a fit of pique I decided to start attacking another major grot spot - top shear plank and rubbing strake. Achieved using the hanging over the side of the boat upside down with a mash hammer and chisel technique... got the nasty bits off though, so next mission is going to be the replanking and rubbing strake. I've got no larch for the planks though so might have to go hunting for some. Had a major find at the weekend though for the rubbbing strake. Rarer than a rare thing in this day and age. Some seasoned English Rock Elm. So now spoilt for choice for the rubbing strake & beltings Oak or Elm?

Gonna go back and get a bit more of the Elm though as I realised today, some of the planks that I was offered were perfect for a new rudder. 24" wide, 3" thick and 14' long should do the job nicely.

So, operation cover boards mission accomplished, well half accomplished any hoo....

Wooden deck repair caulking and cover boards
Bit fiddle shaping the zillion angles involved but they're in, caulked with masses of cotton and the seams sealed

looks canny though. Just needs a string bending to fit and then the Comedy sized Cleat refitting.

One good thing about removing the big cleats though, which were fastened through the frames with huge bolts and big steel pads.... It means that the name boards can go on. She can have her name back for the first time in years.

Gratuitous Nostalgia

Sorting through some old pics to try summon up the will to keep going, loads I haven't posted so thought I'd lash a few up, got one from every decade almost apart from the 70's and 80's. Must be some somewhere I reckon. Interesting to see the changes

Zulu Fifie fishing boat trawler prior to being converted
not sure the age of this one, guess late 30's maybe 40's, can't even remember where I found it or who sent it!, Wheelhouse Mk1 maybe? Sorta fits as the original paraffin engine was replaced with the K3, which would have probably meant shifting the wheelhouse so maybe thats when Mk2 wheelhouse arrived

motor fifie zulu fishing boat on the slip in scotland
up on the stocks, sporting wheelhouse mkII

Converting a scottish trawler MFV zulu fifie
May 1962, lying in Aberdeen, nets drying. Wheelhouse mk2 still

Scottish fishing boat Motor Zulu Fifie
Another courtesy of Billy Milne, Lying Whitehills, one of my favourite pics, managed to carve new name boards based on this pic,not sure of the date, late 50's maybe? maybe 60's? Nice example of a beccles coiler on deck for all you trawler model makers out there!

Converted MFV Fifie houseboat trawler
big jump forward to the early 90's. I've yet to find any pics from the 70's or 80's, but this time she's in Grimsby sporting wheelhouse MkIII. I quite like the green and white

Converted houseboat trawler MFV
Couple of years later, lying in Seahouses. Out with the green and in with the red!

Scottish Zulu Pansy Converted to houseboat
1999 on a visit back to her old home in whitehills

Last 3 pics courtesy of dave-d at Trawler pictures