Friday 12 August 2022


Wednesday Phil made a waterproof seal for the base of the mast to stop ingress of water at home and first fitted it.

Ron showed our three keen students how to tighten the rigging using a pulley device called a Handy Billy. The lads then tightened all the rigging on their own and Ron and Phil sat back !
They certainly are learning a lot about the boat ,as is Phil.

We finally brought the GAFF to the boat and fastened it on the mast .

Then Ron showed us how to haul it into position up the mast. We lifted it half way and were satisfied it was a success but then it stuck as the pulley at the top was facing the mast and the rope jammed between the mast and the pulley.
It has been decided that an extra shackle is needed up top to turn the pulley away from the mast.

To do this we needed a bosun's chair which Phil was to make but upon reflection bottled out and decided to buy one for safety sake.

All we now need is a volunteer .
Our students were interested in the device so we let them have a go each . Trust you can see where this is leading ?

Wally has been busying himself creating a jointed ring to go round the mast to hold the boom . Due to his creative nature he devised a gismo to bend the ring to the required  roundness .He always delivers !
All now rests on the awaited "goose neck" which is holding up the progress. Hopefully it will arrive soon !

Tuesday 5 July 2022


The three students from Llandrillo College ,Aled, Mike and Leo have continued coming to help on a regular basis.

They have now loaded the chain to be used as ballast under the floors. A very dirty job.

This has improved the trim .

The sail were finally unboxed and checked for the first time.
The mainsail took up the whole width of the quay to spread out.

The jib was hoisted and fits beautifully !
Ron then instructed Aled,Mike and Leo on how to tighten the rigging using a Handy Billy and then left them to it. We were impressed with their results.

Further work on the gaff and mainsail were halted as Phil could not find suitable leather to line the gaff jaws 
But, with advice from Darren Naggs ,Phil finally purchased a large piece on stiffened belly flap from J &FJ Baker and Company of Colyton. This has been prepared for fitting but a wait of two weeks ensued waiting for brass tacks to arrive from China as any other type, apparently , will rot the leather.
The brass tacks finally arrived last week just as Phil caught the dreaded Covid. Job stopped again !

Work on the boom holding the mainsail is still on hold as we continue to wait for one of the YWAM team to make the  "goose neck" which allows the boom to swing and rise against the mast.
Once this is, made the sails can be fully fitted and sailing time approaches !

Whilst off with the Covid ,Phil has spent time making  parrel beads from scratch. These go round the mast to help the sail rise up the mast unhindered.


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.