Life at the end of the road

January 17, 2012

A real first :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:06 pm

OK, perhaps not a first as such, but certainly the first time in about twenty years that I’ve come in after a day at work and done a VAT return. Or at least done one two weeks early 🙂 I may have done one under duress at this time of day because I was a month late, but never, never, ever on time 🙂 Of course the fact that HMRC owe me well over one thousand pounds helped.

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As did the promise of a rather large eighteen year old ‘single malt’ after it was completed 🙂

It’s the kind of job I save for a rainy day but the need to get some money in my account and the promise of our new barn from arriving tomorrow spurred me on.

It’s been a pretty hectic day on the ferry, not so much with traffic, of which there was plenty but the usual mad Tuesday dash of finishing everything off for my ‘back to back’.

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I was also trying to get as much done as possible in the ‘forward Voith space’, one of the two watertight compartments that house the ships ‘propellers’ though they are not propellers in the conventional sense.

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Being more of a kind of paddle that sticks ‘down the way’ and alters its pitch as the whole unit rotates.

image and this little interactive video explains it far better than I can.

Anyway, not only does this compartment house one of the ‘units’ but it is also the place where the sewage tank lives and that had just been replaced at last month. The only way to get the old one out and the new one in was through the car deck so it was a bit of a mess down there. No hatch for it to be lifted in and out of, so a big hole cut in the ship, the old one out, the new one in and then weld back the section of deck. Not that you’d notice ‘up top’ but down in the space was a different story and my ‘back to back’ and I had been busy sorting it out over the last few weeks.

The big clean up with the power washer, mop, rags, scrapers, heaters and fans had been done and the painting started.

As well as this we had a suspect oil pump on one of the main engine gearboxes so an engineer was sent up from Gourock with a new pump.

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A pretty straight forward job on the Norgear 2:1 reduction boxes,

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actually I think it’s nearer 2.1:1 but we’ll not split hairs 🙂

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The drive gear was soon pulled off then the gear was dropped on the cooker hotplate to heat up prior to tapping onto the new pump.

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The new pump was bolted up, the unit tested and all was just peachy 🙂

The Clare Anne

It was during conversations with ‘Mr Lister’ whilst awaiting the drive gear to heat up on the cooker and permeate the mess room with the distinctive smell of burning gear oil that talk turned to boats.

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This particular boat in fact, the fish farm landing craft ‘Clare Anne that had been nearing completion whilst I was down at Ardmaleish in December.

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Built by the yard for the ‘Scottish Salmon Company’ she was just about ready when I was down there before Christmas with the Loch Striven. Unfortunately I never got chance to look around the inside but was well impressed with the standard of finish on the hull. With a serious crane and two large Daewoo main engines she’ll be a fine asset for SSC.

Anyway, as it happened she was launched on Friday and captured on camera by ‘Zak’ who must be Bute’s most prolific photographer. I do keep meeting Zak and his Nikon on my brief sojourns down to the Clyde but we never seem to be able to exchange more than a few sentences 🙂

Fortunately I have his email address and he’s given me permission to use these excellent pictures of the launch on Friday.


On the ‘patent slip’ and ready to go


some familiar faces there, but where’s Calum and his ‘wee dug’ 🙂


A great picture of Ewan Ferguson of and Iain Macintyre of  at the handover.


With Clare Anne herself smashing the champagne bottle (love the boots 🙂 )

More pictures here and also a piece in the local rag here

“THE glory days of Clyde shipbuilding may be long gone, but there’s still a special atmosphere around the launch of a new vessel on the Firth.

Such was the case at the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company on Friday as a newly-completed large landing craft for the Scottish Salmon Company entered the water for the first time.

The Clare Anne was named after Clare White, the Scottish Salmon Company’s group financial controller, who launched the vessel shortly after 1pm, to the cheers of the watching crowd, which included the Ardmaleish workforce and pupils from nearby North Bute Primary School.

Work on a second, identical, vessel is already under way at the yard, just outside Port Bannatyne, and a third may follow after that.

Ewen Ferguson, managing director of the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company, said: “Securing the contract to build these two ships is definitely a boost for us.

“We’ve taken on four apprentices, and we’re employing 29 men at the moment, which is a big contribution to the economy of Bute.”

Iain McIntyre, the Scottish Salmon Company’s production manager for the south of Scotland, said: “We have been working closely with Ardmaleish for some time now to maintain our current fleet.

“The quality of the workmanship has been excellent, and we are extremely pleased with the Clare Anne.”

Other new vessels built at Ardmaleish in recent years include the trawler Spes Bona V, the replica puffer Maryhill and the landing craft Marnock.”

The company also has a contract to carry out overhaul work on 11 of Caledonian MacBrayne’s smaller ferries each year.

The yard has, I believe orders for one if not two of these fine boats for the same company and work is already underway on number two. Hopefully one of them will find its way up to Skye or even Raasay, who knows.


So that’s it, with the wind rising and the pressure dropping I’m going to have one last malt and go to bed 🙂



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