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.

Thursday 28 October 2021


Jeremy now tries to come on Fridays to work on Helen II so Wednesday Phil is now "most mornings" Phil.

Our first job was to refit the port porthole which needed a deeper collar to fit properly. This was a  two handed job for Fridays.

If you click on the photo you will see the new stainless steel ring needed to make the required seal.

On Friday Jeremy turned up with a number of  sections, finished off at home, to box in the engine compartment from the saloon.

 With Phil acting as "go for " the panels were first fitted, tweaked and re tweaked, cut and trimmed  until they received Jeremy's approval and Phil received sore knees.
All the panels are removable to make easy access to the engine bay.
Jeremy went home happy !

In the week Phil decided to snuggle up in the captains bunk to seal it off from the engine area.
He decided his age now precludes him from further acts of  contortionism and muscle rub is a wonderful aid to upright walking.

Sleep tight captain !

Wednesday 29 September 2021


After long preparation periods finalising of jobs begin.

Ron and Wally finally received the new propeller and set about first fitting. This then allowed Wally to form the "P " bracket to stabilize  the propeller  from vibrating.

Thanks to the donation  of marine grade stainless steel  from Mark Russel and Steve at CUTTING AND WEAR in Sheffield , Wally was able to design and weld the required bracket into position.
It's a beautiful piece of  engineering and looks smashing !

 Meanwhile the grand daughter of John Crossfield who designed and built the nobby came cycling by...

Teressa Ryan (apologies if wrongly spelled) was invited to look around Helen II and recounted her memories of her grandfather and his boat building times.

When the engine   was being set up ,the cockpit was removed to allow more working space.

Now it was decided that if possible, the cockpit should be always removable to allow ease of access.
Wednesday Phil set about redesigning it from a permanent fixture to a removable one.
After several attempts and fitting , a new design was created and it was further decided that ideally it should be fibre glassed to make a lasting watertight removable structure.

Thanks to the voluntary help of Phil's friend BONZA (Peter Jones ) who is a fibreglass expert , work began .

BONZA gave the cockpit two layers of heavy duty matting to make it a water tight compartment and it will be left overnight to cure ready for a final gel coat next day.
Meanwhile Wednesday Phil redesigned the supports to sit the cockpit well on as these will now give the major support to the structure .
The top of the cockpit well will have a waterproof seal and frame -yet to be designed !
These are now painted and ready for service.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Home Alone But Still Working

Wednesday Phil has continued to work over the past weeks on jobs that need doing.

An old Nobby mast was purchased as Ron thought it might do for the boom.
Phil was charged with removing the fittings and  preparing it for use.

On removing the fittings Phil discovered  some hidden rot and awaits Ron's opinion on it.

He also made a cover to protect the electrical switches from careless feet.

Jeremy had said that when sailing alone, many skippers would drive pegs into the woodwork to hold the tiller while they went to make a cuppa and it would be good if we could do the same .
NO ,NO, NO,!
The wood surrounding the cockpit built by shipwright Dave was too good to damage so Wednesday Phil came up with a plan to save the woodwork.

He built a detachable steering board with movable pegs to hold the tiller on a course.

This is bolted to the cockpit  and can be removed when not needed.
It's  very artistic!

Today's inside view.


Sunday 8 August 2021


of the maritime midwives returned to Helen II for four days to finish the engine installation with Jeremy.

Wednesday Phil was out of his depth with the process so left them to it .He knew success was close as Francis started singing .

With Jeremy ducking to avoid sparking wires and a few adjustments ,Francis turned the key and the engine burst into life !

It purred quietly with little noise and no vibration. WONDERFUL !

Thanks for a job well done.

Meanwhile Wednesday Phil was charged with trying to make 12 dead eyes .

These are part of the rigging to tension the wires holding up the mast.

Having been given a one foot square chunk of GREENHEART wood Phil cut it into 4 inch lengths and made a pole lathe to round the blocks.

BUT the greenheart was too hard to turn .So he turned to a friend DAFYD HUGHES who is an expert wood turner with a proper machine.
After roughly rounding the block and with a number of welsh expletives Dafyd turned the wood into a cylinder .It was great to see how it should be done.
Then each one was measured and marked up for individual deadeyes.
Grooves were carved into each section, sanded and returned to Phil .
Many thanks  to Dafyd for his expertise !

The cylinders were then cut to thickness on the circular saw .

The holes for the wires were drilled from a pattern using  a pillar drill.

Using a tungsten gouge ,the holes were filed to the required shape.
Mass production ensued to make fourteen deadeyes.
Wedenesday Phil was chuffed with the results and grateful to Dafyd without whose help they could not have been made.
Cheers !

Wednesday 30 June 2021


On Sunday the group went their separate ways and returned home leaving a much improved Helen II.

Our thanks to the team.

(left to right) Jay, Mike, Malcolm ,Jeremy, Gordon, Francis, Tony, Ian, Andy, Nick  

and up above..Paul.

So here's part of what they did...

Rounded and planed the three main sail masts .and made, bolted and glued the hounds.


Secured the chain plates 

and made and fixed the   fastenings for the bowsprit chains.( don't know the name )
Shaped the foot of the mast to fit into the step in the keel.

Created the gas box and seat on the aft deck

refurbished the drop down table 
as Paul was keen to show his pole dancing capabilities in a confined space.

Remade the extendable chart table top

Created the new galley area.


Wired the boat and fitted the battery area with three isolating switches

 and prepared the mast lighting connections and radio mast.
Fitted the fuse board and switches to all areas.
Supplied and fitted the depth  gauge , speed and distance log.


Francis and Malcolm fitted the hydraulic pipework etc to the hydraulic drive and will return later to finish the work.

The fuel tank and hydraulic tank were supplied and  fitted .

The toilet was completed but Andy failed to test it !

and all valves through the hull of the boat were fitted.
Many other items were worked on and Wednesday Phil apologises for these omissions.
As you can see a great deal has been accomplished in the space of a week and the trustees are very grateful to the MARITIME MIDWIVES.