Gosh, it’s exactly 36 hours since the winter solstice, so officially the days are getting longer. Not that we’ll actually see any difference for a while but it’s another of the year’s milestones by with. Almost 23:00 now on Thursday night and that’s the ferry cancelled for Friday so I’ll not be rushing off to work tomorrow. The Hallaig is firmly attached to Scotland with ‘Three forward, four aft, two springs and two breasts’ so she’ll not be moving anywhere until Saturday at the earliest. This may make my life a little easier but it’s not so great for those wanting to travel, or the poor ‘post lady’ who’s gonna have double mail on Saturday.
This is the mountain of mail we had locked in the store on Wednesday Fine by me but it does make the post lady crabbit
Severely ‘pear-shaped’ from day one
With the shortest day behind me I was gripped with great enthusiasm so thought I’d tackle this job that I’d not been particularly looking forward to. Changing a stainless steel one way flap valve on one of the ships sprinkler systems. The Hallaig has three of them and more fire fighting and prevention systems than you can ‘shake a stick at’. This is a ‘wee job’ that ‘reared its head’ in September, the valve was passing a very small amount of water, which after time was building up pressure and setting off an alarm. Now the worst thing you can have on any alarm system is spurious alarms, cos pretty soon you get used to them and human nature being what it is. Well you get the picture, so at the time I tried to remove it, couldn’t and then managed to repair it in situ with a large hammer. Don’t ask but it did work, however, with the dry dock coming up in November my ‘back to back’ ordered another from the usually very efficient manufacturer of the system. Tyco https://www.tycoifs.co.uk/ Integrated Fire and Security are normally first class in both the service and replacement parts department but the failed sadly on this occasion.
To cut a very long story short, first the wrong one arrived and was promptly returned after much explanation of the problem. The right one was listed on the delivery note but the wrong one was sent, much apology followed with the promise of correct valve to be sent as soon as wrong one received. Many phone calls, emails, threats and months later the valve arrived on Tuesday so I set about fitting it on Wednesday.
Not the easiest thing to access but with some minor surgery I managed to remove it only to discover the new one was a bit longer.
Not a major issue methinks that a few alterations to the pipe work and I’d get it so I removed the fittings off the old one to transfer them to the new one.
Bit of a problem though, the 1 3/4” BSP threads on the new one were not tapped deep enough causing the fitting to ‘gall’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galling . Galling is when the threads weld themselves together, usually due to poor machining but not always. The roughness caused by poor thread cutting can exasperate the issue but stainless is prone to it anyway. This being even more common in Indian and Chinese bolts, we had some Indian stainless M12 x 50 bolts and more than half of them locked up solid and had to be cut off!!!
Galling can often occur in screws and bolts, causing the threads to seize and tear free from either the fastener or the hole. In extreme cases, the bolt may lock up to the point where all turning force is used by the friction, which can lead to breakage of the fastener or the tool turning it. Threaded inserts of hardened steel are often used in metals like aluminium or stainless steel that can gall easily.
This fitting was well and truly galled into the new valve and took some serious effort to remove. When I’d finally removed it
both the valve and fitting were in poor shape so I decided to have a go at cleaning up the threads on the new fitting and then refit the old valve. It had after all been working OK since September and now it was out I could lap the flapper so it would seal even better.
Sadly my efforts with a hacksaw blade and small triangular file proved fruitless so as a last resort I cut the top two threads off with a 1mm cutting disc and all was peachy. Had I one of these on the ferry,
a ‘thread file’ I could have sorted it but mine were at home I bought two of them over twenty years ago in a sale at Jansvans in Portree, they were £9.50 each and at the time it was money I could ill afford but they’ve ‘saved my ass’ many a time. Why only the other week I was using them on the threaded bar for the ‘ole
Ten minutes lapping with some coarse and then fine grinding paste had the valve nicely lapped in.
Then it was just a matter of putting it all back together, then topping up the water and nitrogen.
Our own little carol service
The weather may have been pretty grim on Thursday, at least in the frequent hail showers but that didn’t stop Raasay Primary School from spreading good cheer throughout the island. They had already been to the shop and sung in there for the staff and postie. Now when I went carol singing in the dim and distant past it was for money. The Raasay Primary School children dished out little presents after their recital
After the shop they came down to the ferry and gave us all treat too, first up in the wheelhouse for the rest of the crew and then in the lounge for some customers and myself.
Poor Santa was at the other end of the lounge and missed out
The rest of Thursday was taken up with trying to replace some hydraulic hoses and bunkering.
I say ‘trying cos I’d planned to change four at lunchtime and only managed 1!!! The first one went easy enough but the one on the left was seriously tight and given my ‘track record’ with the sprinkler system I left it alone. Methinks that this is gonna be a Sunday job next year
3000lts of marine gasoil will normally do us the whole week and we’ve capacity for going on 10,800lts but best to keep her ‘topped up’. If for any reason we loose our ‘hybrid mode’ and the weather is bad, that 3000lts can easily be 5000.
Having cancelled the ferry yesterday for the whole of Friday we secured Hallaig with extra ropes had today off. The way the forecast was boarding the vessel would have been dangerous and pointless. All the planned maintenance and paperwork was up to date and the chances are we’d be working late on Christmas eve as Saturday would still be seeing Barbara’s tail end.
With the family all here yesterday and me not working I treated myself to a few glasses of vin rouge and had a lie in until 6:00am It was pretty boodly wild then, probably what woke me, so I went out to check for damage. A rattling from the barn had me worried but that turned out to be just the doors and all was well.
There wasn’t any damage but there was certainly a lot of water so when it was light I went back out to clear the drains and feed the pigs.
That done and with some breakfast inside me I accompanied the postie to work, not that she’d be doing anything but it would give me a chance to have a look at Hallaig.
It was pretty scabby but she was sitting nicely on those four huge stern ropes, the power was on and no alarms sounding Just as well really cos there was little chance of getting safely aboard
After the postie had finished work we headed up to the Orchard for some ivy to go with the rest of the locally sourced and made decorations.
It’s never going to be a classic, dunno how old this remnant of the Soviet Union is but Lada’s quite often looked this bad after three or four years
An atmospheric tree and a fine set of horns on the way home