Life at the end of the road

August 25, 2013

A weekend in the yard

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:49 pm

Half past seven now on a Sunday evening and the weekend is drawing to a close with me not having taken advantage of it one bit. Sure they’re must be a thousand places to visit and things to do, I could have borrowed my mates bike or kayak for two, it might have helped me shift this ‘beer belly’ I’ve acquired. Almost twelve months of hotel/ship food and a distinct lack of exercise have seen my waistline expand in true ‘middle aged spread’ style. Still, that will come off once I get back into the swing of things at home, last weeks rock shifting doing me a power of good, as did the many wanderings about the hill with the Dude.

However this weekend I did nothing apart from gaze out of my mates flat window, listen to Radio 4, surf the internet, play CD books and of course work. Though my work has been more of the observe, take notes and generally be a nuisance variety as the hoards of contractors and workers put the finishing touches to our new ship. Finishing touches probably being somewhat of an understatement as fitting all the extra insulation, that was not originally envisaged is a major task indeed. It had to be done at the behest of the MCA who deemed the aluminium superstructure unsafe in the event of a major fire. Well they do have a point but I’m thinking anywhere on the ship would be unsafe in the event of a major fire and there are plenty of ships made of the stuff sailing the ‘seven seas’ without 70mm of external fire retardant cladding. Still, it sure is going to be a quiet and cosy little ship when it’s finished, though at the moment much of it looks like a spaceship Smile

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That’s one of the battery rooms on the right complete with 108 LiFePO4 12v batteries, two parallel banks of 54 in series giving a nominal voltage on the DC bus of around 700v.

Whilst it is quite busy on ship itself there aren’t half as many people milling about as during the week so a lot more preparation and painting got done.



The weather being absolutely perfect for it


the forward ramp getting done


as well as some work on the ‘monkey island’


and ‘cutting in’ around decks four and five.


Actually, I think that appeared on Friday Smile


Ferguson’s 31.5 ton tower crane.

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Parts for yard number 726 the MV Lochinvar, UPS battery stand for the transitional lighting, a propulsion room vent and in the background on the right a clever device for jettisoning jerry cans into the sea in the event of a fire. The image on the right is one of the three removable deck sections that allow access so the main generator sets can be lifted through the car deck.


Looking ‘doon the water’ on a bank holiday Sunday, OK, I know it’s not a bank holiday in Scotland Smile


Ocean terminal Greenock, the berth for many a visiting cruise ship.


Of course no bank holiday Sunday at the seaside would be complete without a Jet ski Smile

Ode To A Jet-Ski Person

Jet-ski person, selfish fink,

May your silly jet-ski sink,

May you hit a pile of rocks,

Oh Hoonish, summer, coastal pox.

Noisy, smoking, dickhead fool

On your loathsome leisure tool,

Give us all a jolly lark

And sink beside a hungry shark.

Scream as in its fangs you go,

Your last attention-seeking show,

While on the beach we all join in

With ‘Three cheers for the dorsal fin!’

– Michael Leunig –

Obviously Australian poet Michael Leunig doesn’t like them Smile 

That was it really, I spent my weekend beavering away below deck making notes and trying to get to grips with network of servers and local processing units on board.

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I watched some ‘ships go by’



the dredger Admiral Day for one


a Svitzer tug for another



and then the sun went down Smile

August 23, 2013

I’m sorely tempted

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:19 pm

Friday night now, and apart from work and a checkout girl in Lidl I don’t think I’ve spoken to anyone since I arrived, having said that I’ve not really felt like speaking to anyone apart from the myriad of workers and contractors working on our new ship. It’s been a bit of a contrast to my last trip down here when I was accompanied by the rest of our crew and I had ‘The man from Gourock’ for stimulating evening conversation. In some ways it’s been more relaxing as I’ve been in bed early and sober but I do miss the joint cooking Smile 

Apart from a ‘Tesco’s finest’ pasta that I had tonight I’ve been living off salads, olives, anchovies, feta cheese, salami, prosciutto  and fresh wholemeal bread. One thing about staying in a town, everything is on your doorstep, you have no idea how hard it is to get anchovies on Raasay Smile actually you probably can now. However there once was a time, not that long ago when the nearest place you could buy an anchovy was the Applecross stores and that must be 60 miles away by road. Here in Gourock I could probably buy anything from cotechino to cocaine if you so desired, personally I prefer the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ approach Smile Though, the last time I tried cocaine was as a schoolboy at the dentist!!!!! Can you believe that, when I was a kid the dentist could inject you with a class A drug and then let you wander out on the street ‘high as a kite’ and with no sensation in your mouth Smile I can still remember it to this day, staggering out of the Avenue Parade dental practice at thirteen with my head spinning and thinking ‘wow, this is great’ . Well, blow me, it’s still there !!!!! bet you don’t get cocaine or ‘laughing gas’ anymore Sad smile

Back on the ‘Hallaig’

Anyway, sorry for ‘going off on one there’ but I’m back on the Hallaig watching it all come together and it’s quite exciting for an old dog that lives out ‘in the sticks’.


The luxurious passenger lounge has been getting its floor covering laid, a nice durable blue vinyl affair, streets ahead of the Loch Striven’s painted steel deck.

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Valves got checked and adjusted by the Tec Source technicians and an expert from Imtech altered some of the graphics on our ‘mimics’.

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As a ‘nuts and bolts’ type of person I gotta say that I’m in awe of the Darryl and Theo’s of this world who deal with LPU’s, PLC’s, CPU’s and the like, I just hope they leave their phone numbers when they leave Smile


As well as the digital type stuff there was lots of painting going on and some nice flood lights got fitted in front and behind the wheelhouse.



The mammoth task of insulating all the aluminium superstructure continued

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and the ‘Star Trek’ like bridge got one step nearer to completion.


All the while, our sister ship, yard number 726, the MV Lochinvar was steadily catching up with us. I’ve noticed a huge difference in both vessels during the last week. Ferguson’s winning this contract must have been a huge ‘shot in the arm’ for the area as both ships seem to be crawling with workers.


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As far as I’m aware this rusting monstrosity, the ‘hoverbarge’ Siberia was the last thing they built in 2008


and the owner went bust. Fortunately I believe Ferguson’s were insured so didn’t lose out, but it does leave them with this white elephant. Don’t suppose there’s much call for transporting heavy loads across tundra and marsh in Scotland Smile 


So that’s it really, I’m beavering away quite happily two hundred miles from home on a bank holiday weekend. A few years ago I would have been at at ‘Creamfields’ had I not been working, but I’m getting far too old for that. Or am I Smile I really am tempted by this tomorrow.



Slam are old favourites of mine


Martin Mackay of  ‘Club 69’, the legendary ‘techno dungeon’ of Paisley and was at school with my wife and her sister, and  I’ve seen him play there several times. Josh Wink I’ve always admired and he never turned up at the Skye music festival the last time I was expecting to see him, some problem with his flight from Detroit if I recall.

Somehow I think it will be a glass or two of wine and an early night Smile

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