Wednesday 13 November 2019

Many thanks to Mark Russel for the donation  of Stainless steel stanchions, galvanised engine bracket, step bolts and a prop shaft  key way for Helen II.
 This has saved the trust valuable time and money !

 The engine bracket is now in place and the prop shaft connected to the hydraulic drive thanks to Ron's dedication and Wally's welding skill.

Wally also removed a weak hinge locking the bowsprit in place ,and replaced it with a  much stronger creation of his own.


Sadly the project has lost the services of Wally for some time as he has now gone "walkabout" in New Zealand ( more accurately "fishabout")
The trustees would like to thank him for his time and skills and wish him a speedy return as the jobs list is already building !!!

Meanwhile trustee Dave continued securing R clips to the stanchions with s/s wire ties. These are tight fitted so loose cable cannot trip up crew.

Wednesday Phil made a streamlining addition to the the stern which creates a smooth flow of water between the stern post and the rudder. It surrounds the rudder post leaving clearance for wood expansion.This was epoxied on.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

The last few weeks have seen much preparation to move things forward . Now our preparation is paying off.
 Some works have failed to progress due to lack of workers , but Ron ,Wally and Wednesday Phil continue in spite of this.
Ron has now fitted the stern bearing which the propeller shaft is threaded through.
Ron was proud of this achievement as on this special day Ron wore his MICKEY MOUSE CLUB hat .Still young at heart !

The inner bearing is now in place and the bracket to hold the drive pump  has had to be modified .Wally cut 3 cms of metal off the bracket and re welded the base for a perfect fit.
Both gents are now ready for final fit next week.

 Wednesday Phil has begun fitting all his pre fabricated sections that he has made.
The lee boards that stop you falling out of a bunk when the boat leans over ,are now fitted 

 The port (left) storage lockers are now being fitted after a long wait for painting,

The final fit is halted as we await the return of  the  galvanised chain plates from Liverpool !

Wednesday Phil and Wally have made and fitted the final sections of the second rubbing stake which protects the hull from damage when the boat is along side a wall etc.

 Wally asked why the boat had a second rubbing strake. Phil told him off for asking hard to answer questions.
As with all good management practice, Phil took the photos while Wally did the work.

Today we found a problem with this bowsprit holder.(don't know its proper name ).
The hinge which locks the ring in place became welded when it was galvanised.When it was finally forced open, the hinge bent out of shape and is useless.

Wally is going to cut the hinge off and weld on a much stronger one he has designed.

Wally's work load increases and he's still grinning and stating his favourite saying..." I'm appy with at !"


Sunday 15 September 2019

The orders of parts by Ron for the prop shaft etc. have now arrived and he is in a happy place.
All parts are correct and he and Wally are planning installation. 

 Tegwyn from SUPERSHARP came to replace the planer blades which had been badly damaged by someone planing wood which contained metal parts!
The machine now works beautifully.

Wally then gave the planer a full 3 hour service and it is now a joy to operate .It can now do things it never did before ! Cheers to all above.

Wednesday Phil started homework on creating locker spaces for storage alongside the bunks using 12mm ply wood.Once cut out, they were taken to Helen II for first fitting .

They were then sanded down and are ready for painting and final fitting.

Sunday 18 August 2019

Wednesday Phil was really excited at the prospect of creating the toilet (heads ) !!
 While waiting for the toilet floor to dry, Phil made and fitted the door.

Having noticed the loo hull was not glossed he set to and remedied the situation. 

 Once the floor was dry and fitted, Phil made a template for the partition between the loo and the chain locker and was awarded  a gold medal for creative contortionism !! Work areas are getting smaller and more awkward.

 Ron has begun fixing the remote controls and guages in the cockpit. While Wally draws up plans for the parts needed to fit the engine and gearbox.

 Then Wally and Phil created the hatch runners using the bench saw and elbow grease.
"I'm happy with that !" said Wally .And when Wally says that, we all are .

Sunday 11 August 2019


After many mornings of drilling to create a passage  through the hull to house the propeller shaft , Ron finally bored through the metal obstacles blocking his path.

When the hull was built,the position of the engine was not clear and so nails or bolts were fixed as normal and only became an obstacle when the  route of the shaft was drilled.
 Ron has now been able to measure accurately the required prop shaft and accompanying hard wear and has  ordered the parts.
Ron grinned all morning long and planned the next phase.

Wednesday Phil had the exciting job of making the floor of the toilet section (heads). Having created a rough cardboard pattern , he used a technique taught by shipwright Dave and used a block of wood to accurately measure the edges of the floor.
The final pattern was then transferred to ply wood - drawn and cut out. 

 Welder Wally and Ron then discussed the sliding system  for  the  the cabin hatch .
It was decided the runners would be made of a hard smooth plastic  called NYLON 66  
Wally went all the way to .Sheffield to purchase it.
( He has now caught the Helen II bug ! )

Wally and Phil practiced  cutting the running grooves the Nylon 66 strips will slide on , using pieces of wood and the  circular saw  instead of a router .
Wally has the smile of confidence as the method  proves a success !
He then sanded down the grooves which Phil wrongly assumed was a snooker shot technique .

Saturday 27 July 2019


Work on the portholes stopped as the epoxy glue set too quickly in the heat on Wednesday .29 C
So work on fixing the rudder permanently began. 
We decided to tighten the wooden rudder against the metal shaft.To do this we needed to clamp the two tighter together but with only two pair of hands it was difficult.

Luckily Sam Markland from North West Model Shipwrights was showing a keen interest in Helen II and was more than willing to lend a hand.
So we tightened the wood to the metal and drilled the bolt holes.
Cheers Sam !

Unfortunately trustee Ron noticed the stainless steel bolts were round headed so, as Phil bought them,  it fell to Phil to grind the heads on Thursday, so they could be held by a spanner if ever the need arises.

Trustee Ron explained the need for extra support
to stop the sky light glass from being pushed outwards in the event of a capsize.

Phil then set about making wooden batons to negate such an action.
These will be glued and screwed when it cools down.

Monday 22 July 2019


The welding of the rudder finally took place thanks to Wally who volunteered his time and supplied the materials free of charge.

Wally clearly enjoyed the task as he never stopped grinning !

He is also proving invaluable  in teaching Wednesday Phil exciting facts about screws and bolt threads and how to order the correct ones in the future.
It's amazing what you can learn  on this project !

Wally has also offered to help with future welding projects.

Just to show that Wednesday Phil is still learning as he goes.......

Ron " the one who knows"came to see progress on the port holes and said
 " Phil you have made a good job of the first fitting BUT
You've fitted them inside out!!!  They should open from the inside.

Phil went to the naughty corner for the rest of the morning and thanked his lucky stars he had not fitted them permanently.

After therapy,Phil continued work extending the top hatch as it did not fully cover the washboards.

 To make sure water does not penetrate through the sky light Phil has added a border round the edge of the opening lights.

The reinforced glass is now ready for fitting soon.