Saturday, 21 May 2022


Helen II is now berthed next to the Liverpool arms on the quay.

Wednesday Phil and Wally have been busy creating the rigging parts

These were then fixed in position on the boat and connected to the rigging wires. This proved difficult and a two person task.


Aled ,Mike  and Leo came from Llandrillo College to help load the anchor ropes and chain into the boat with Ron guiding the coiling.

This was followed by half a ton of chain ballast to trim out the boat.

Since the launch ,Helen II's planks have started to swell in the sea water and as they expand ,the vessel becomes more water tight . At first when the pumps were turned on each day by Phil , a continuous run of water lasted 15 seconds. Two weeks later the flow lasts about 8 seconds .Those in the know think this is very good

Two of students returned the following week and swabbed the decks of seagull pooh , tweaked the skylight closing fittings and reorganised the ballast chain. and they were still smiling !

Wednesday, 6 April 2022


Tensions rose as launch time approached. Rehearsals had ironed out small problems and harbourmaster Matt's men began the move of Helen II from the compound using the Wally trolley towed by a forklift truck.

We all breathed a sigh of relief to see the Wally trolley performed so beautifully !!
The harbour staff then took over the lift.

The trolley was then rolled back into the compound.
The lift then raised the boat over the top of the lamp posts and quay lights and into the Conwy river.

All the watchers then began clapping as she settled in the water.
The mast was then prepared for lifting into position.
Once the mast had been  lifted into position , Helen II was secured to the quay and we all breathed a sigh of relief .
Later she was moved to the quay wall opposite the Liverpool Arms.

So it's a big thank you to all who were involved in the launch , A professional job by  harbourmaster Matt  and his team and Wally for  his  trolley !

Later there will be a celebration and formal ceremony which will be an opportunity for the trustees to thank all those who have contributed to the project.
For now work will continue to rig the boat and complete her fitting out.

Saturday, 26 March 2022


Wednesday Phil re sanded the cockpit and gave it another coat of varnish 

It is now finally finished and sealed for launch.

Phil then had to make the jaws (don't know their proper names)to hold the sail  up the mast. As he had no idea how to do it or what they look like so  ,he looked at similar examples on other boats.

As we had no wood of that shape, Phil had to use three different pieces of wood  glued together with epoxy resin and then cut and shape them to the desired shapes.

These then were drilled on to the boom ready for bolting and epoxying .

The mast had then to be moved out of the compound to be worked on and it took eight people and a fork lift truck (and a short road closure). Oh what fun was to be all had.

The mast foot had to be recut as apparently it would have been unremovable once it had swelled .

Phil then had to cut a forty foot groove up the mast to house a VHF and electric cable. this will protect them from chaffing from the sail. to do this, guides were fixed along the mast and a router run along the guides.

That's another procedure he has learnt ! 

Walley's wagon is now complete and Helen II has been lowered into the cradle and previous supports removed.

She was then moved about three feet  to prove the cradle worked !
Wally was happy with that.

Saturday, 12 March 2022


Students came from  Llandrillo College with Frazer  to antifoul the hull. Mixing the antifoul proved difficult as it is thick and takes quite some time.

Then all the students set to work painting one side of the hull in the morning and the other side after lunch. They returned the next day to give a second coat.

Wednesday Phil was tasked with  trying to make hoops to go round the mast to hold the sail. He tried steaming various thicknesses of oak  and bending them round  a template disc but this continually failed.
And took a full morning of frustration !

So Phil completed the pin rails to fit either side of the mast.

Wally continued designing and welding the "Wally Wagon" to bring Helen II out of the enclosure.

Each support is given extra  strength just to be safe !

The cockpit drain tubes were finally fitted with great difficulty as the plastic pipe proved unyielding and had to be streamed to make them bendable.

Wednesday Phil then lowered the  cockpit  into place and although it is to be removable, it was sealed with a rubber band and sikoflex.

The purple heart frame was then screwed over the band to create a ,hopefully ,water tight  seal.

Sunday, 13 February 2022


Wednesday Phil and Wally still working 3 or 4 days a week to make sure the launch date can be achieved.

Wally had to make wooden bearings of different sizes  to fit in each wheel as their centres were different sizes. These were then fitted to the cradle with wooden spacers either side of the wheel for smooth running.
The sections of the recycled wave machine were then positioned under the hull to form the new cradle and Wally continues its construction.

Wednesday Phil meanwhile ,removed the one and a quarter inch outlet valves from the cockpit drains and replaced them with two inch ones which will allow faster draining if needed.
The cockpit outflows  had to be redesigned for the new valves and in order for maximum drainage these were sunk below the floor level by adding packing underside .These were epoxied in to make watertight.

The final section of the keel band was brought by Jeremy and after " Wally welding"  was finally secured by Phil.

Wednesday Phil continues making two pin rails to secure ropes to and now he understand the forces involved , has secured them in the hull via long threaded bar through the main beams below and strengthened them with metal internal brackets.

Meanwhile Mirela from Youth With A Mission came to sand down and varnish the floor boards from within the cabin and Ludovic  hoovered out all the bilges which is a difficult and contorting procedure.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022


Once the metal sections were in the compound Wally and Phil set about cutting off the unwanted sections so that the desired pieces could be recycled and redesigned to make the launch cradle as in the drawing below

Wally knew exactly what was required so Phil just watched the sparks fly !

Once the unwanted sections were removed  Wally then began welding  some of the off cuts back to reinforce the desired structure.

Old  solid rubber wheels will be welded in place and the frame turned over  as shown in the photo to make the cradle moveable and the cradle constructed underneath Helen II.

Then acro props will be welded at each corner to support the hull.

It all takes time !

The building has been going on  for 4 weeks with Wally and Wednesday Phil working 3 days a week, as a tentative launch date of 1st of April has been organised.!!!

During this time  Phil was sent a plan for a pin rail to be built by the mast.

The pieces have been made but this is now on hold until further details of positioning etc are given.
 Wally and Wednesday Phil still working 3 day weeks as deadlines approach !

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Wednesday Phil and Wally went to Llandrillo college to recycle an old wave  machine into a cradle to move Helen II out of the shed.

The machine was 6 m long and constructed of box girders held together with rusted nuts and bolts.
By the end of Monday they had managed to disassemble both the fibre glass tanks at each end of the wave flume(orange units )and remove half 
of the glass sides.
.Both went home tired but happy !

Tuesday saw their return to continue the process.
The box sections were extremely heavy and methods to remove units without lifting had to be devised as the operatives are no spring chickens.

Thanks to the kind assistance of a passing fork lift driver ,the final sections were disassembled and moved to an area where they can be brought back to Helen II to form the new cradle.
Phil and Wally went home pleased at completing a task that at first looked unachievable .

Meanwhile at the boat Jeremy continued to thin down the mast.

Wednesday Phil and Wally finished the supports to hold sleeping sailors in their bunks, once the canvas has been attached.

And the forward flooring was finished above the bilge pump.