Archive for January, 2008

a major milestone!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

1st-from-lifeboat.jpg

Hooray, I’ve got high speed internet access on my lifeboat! I’m writing my first blog from on board. The sun just set, and it’s been a lovely day here. The boat is coming along slowly but surely. We’ve cleaned up the inside a bit, and I’ve had various traditional boatbuilders down to assess the damage to the hull, which happened before my time. She’s definitely never going to sea again, they all agree that much. Question is what and how much do we need to do to prolong her life on land. There’s some dry and wet rot, which will only get worse unless we take steps to waterproof her anyway to keep the rain out. Freshwater is the enemy of wooden boats—seawater is much better, as the salt pickles the wood. She’d actually last longer if she was moored in a tidal river, instead of up on blocks with the wind whistling though her timbers… but we’re beyond that now. So the goal is to make sure she doesn’t deteriorate much further on land, and to make her comfortable as a studio and general hangout place. I’ve got a commercial dehumidifier on the go 24/7, as the boat was very damp, due the the previous owners not fixing leaks and hatches. It takes about 2 litres per day out of the atmosphere. There’s a noticeable difference after a few days, the interior is a lot more pleasant. It’s still very cold of course, as I don’t want to light the wood-burning stove yet, and we’re a ways away from having a renewable energy source. There’s progress on that front as I’ve received some initial plans from a very cool windpower company V3, who have been down to estimate my power requirements, what 12v batteries I need and so on.

One issue with repairs is the weather. It’s so wet, windy and unpredictable at this time of year that we’re reluctant to start any work that will require paint, varnish, or epoxy, as they require the right conditions to cure. So I reckon I’m going to buy a fitted cover for the deck and topsides, and keep her dry until the Spring. You can buy ‘shrink-wrap’ covers these days that are durable and cheap. They literally lay plastic over the whole boat and apply a heater until it shrinks to give a tight fit. It’ll make the interior a little dark but it won’t stop me setting up my studio in the wheelhouse. Of course, I’m trying to keep an eye on my carbon footprint for the whole project, for fear of defeating the object, which is to make an album ‘off the grid.’ I don’t want to front-load the whole thing; but I need to do enough to get up and running, and once we’ve got wind and solar power happening, I’ll feel better about using power tools, blow heaters etc.

So here I am in the wheelhouse of….. well, I’m not quite ready to tell you the lifeboat’s name yet, but suffice to say I borrowed it from my favourite maritime novellist Patrick O’Brian.

This 10 minute blog has been effectively the first creative work I’ve done aboard the lifeboat, which is a major milestone!