Wednesday 17 December 2014


This Wednesday was very quiet with few pedestrians venturing away from the shops. We were all surprised at the temperature and had to discard jackets to begin work. (10 c)

This was the view  forward and aft this morning as work began.

On Monday the long awaited 30 foot slabs arrived from Adrian's
saw mill. Dave the shipwright was pleased to have seen these trees still as standing trees a few weeks ago at Bodnant Gardens before they were finally cut.
Wood doesn't get much more local !
UNFORTUNATELY as I was passing by, the wagon arrived and the two Daves burst into cruel laughter stating my timing was as perfect as ever and would I like to help ?
I changed into my scruff and it took five of us to unload and stack the timber.
We should now hopefully have enough larch to finish the planking and I will hopefully get an early appointment with the knee specialist !

Dave began work on a short rear deck beam .Having created a pattern ,he drew it onto an oak slab and cut it out on the band saw.

Once it was completed, it was set aside until the awaited rudder tube arrives- as this needs to be in place before final fitting.

Meanwhile apprentice Dave battled on with a difficult forward deck beam which has to be fitted in a complicated section. (that's what he told me!)

As the day drew to a close ,we began to tidy up and prepare for the Christmas holiday.
The project will close tomorrow for a two week break .
May we take this opportunity to wish any bloggers


And should you be passing  Helen II to walk off the festive calories ,lighten your step with a donation in the buoy!

Wednesday Phil

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Dave, the shipwright ,finished the rough shaping of this oak pad with the adze and continued using an electric rotary plane and finally a hand plane. To my untrained eye it's a perfect fit,but Dave will lower it down again to take out any minor lumps and bumps.

Then we will need to have some keel bolts made ( approx.1 m long ) to bolt from the inside ballast keel to the external one.We are still not sure how to drill these holes through the keels but we have expert advice and help from Buckley's Crane Hire of Conwy.
Dave is at present creating the final forward deck beam from a beautiful slab of Welsh oak supplied by Adrian. Once planed ,we both keep stroking the beam as the wood is gorgeous (our case comes up next week !)

Today was the day of the " weather bomb" when winds were forecast to exceeded 70 mph but luckily we were protected from the worst of the  wind by the castle walls. We even saw a few rays of sunshine.
The sun always shines on the  righteous ! Guess who ?

Shipwright Dave began to plan out the welldeck (I think) This is the area from which you steer the ship standing up or in a sitting position.As we have no plans ,Dave is using a method of construction called " wingin' it "

Having fitted the port (left) side of the welldeck, He is now preparing the starboard (right) side.

Today was the coldest day of the year or it felt like it.

I was overworked with hot tea provisions for shipwright Dave

Apprentice Dave prefers his own drinks which he brings each day.

The silver flask contains  his special coffee .
It always brings a smile to his face !
The purple bottle contain spring water which makes him smile even more .
We don't know what the third bottle is for but you can't wipe the smile off his face all day !

We had a visit today from The Blind Veterans Association which caters for armed  service personnel.They have a base in Craig y don and are very interested in our project - which may later prove of value to their service members , as many have a naval background.
We had a interesting chat.
William Turner from the Northern Archaeological Diving Unit came with them .He has sailed round the world .An interesting life ! He has kindly offered to donate to the trust an eight man life raft ,50 m of chain and an amount of ropes. Many thanks from us all......

Wednesday 3 December 2014

But first the view from the office window at 8-45

 A cold morning but what a view !

Dave, the shipwright, has started to make a solid oak pad to clamp the external ballast keel to the original keel. This additional ballast will help the boat stay more upright when sailing so that it doesn't lean over as much.

The solid iron keel is to the right of Dave on the floor.
He first made a pattern of the underside of the bright orange keel on the boat and added the shape of the top of the outside keel.(are you following this ?)
This was drawn onto the oak slab and he set to work with the adze to create the correct shape for a good fit.I find it surprising how detailed and delicate adze work can be.


This little gizmo is great for straight lines.It consists of a piece of string on a winder. As it pays string out, blue dust enclosed in the winder,  sticks to the line .The line is pulled tight at the other end of the plank and by lifting the cord up and dropping it -like pinging a musical string, the dust falls from the string leaving a straight line.
It certainly makes things a lot easier.

At one stage today I was tasked with red leading several deck beams, which I did with enthusiasm !
I proudly announced the completion of the job only to hear the cruel sniggerings of the "Daves".
 I wonder if you can spot what they did ?
 Little     *******s

And finally... as I walked away this evening, this is how Helen II looked .
                                                                        beautiful !

Tuesday 2 December 2014


The deck beams, which will hold up the deck planks continue to be created. As I understand it ,although most are made from oak some are made of larch to reduce weight.

This is where we were up to on 14 th of November. Most of the forward beams are in place.
Next Wednesday, when Wednesday Phil is available, we are expecting a big delivery of 30 foot slabs of larch and more oak sections from Adrian.
 Because of the weight of these slabs, we are all needed to carry them.
Oh goodie !!!!!!!!
When a larch tree is sawn into slabs (planks ) we can only use the centre planks from the trunk for planking  the boat  .The rest are sold to other people.
When I asked people at our latest open days during the" Conwy Feast" , to guess the reason why...  only two people guessed the real reason for this.
 The reason being that we cannot have knots in these planks because if the knots should pop out in the water, we have a problem !
That was a fact I had never cosidered.