Tommi Nielsen's Yard
WE ARE IN THE GLOUCESTER DRY DOCK
After considerable too'ing and frowing (otherwise known as serious research), we have been lucky in getting Tommi Nielsen to carry out the Saul Nomad fit out at his world renowned yard in Gloucester Docks. Although Tommi is more associated with the traditional fitting and rigging of tall ships, the quality of his company's joinery is unsurpassed. He has a strong team working with him, headed by Dominic Mills and Nigel Patrick. We moved into the main Dry Dock in May. The requirement was for Myself, the dogs and the parrot to move off for ten months. The barge then had to be completely cleared for the work to be carried out. No mean feat, as anyone who knows my reputation as a clutterbug will acknowledge!
Moored in the "Large" dry dock
Pete handcrafting Blocks from solid mahogany for another Hollywood Blockbuster! He will be one of the team for "Saul Nomad's" fit out.
"Where has my food bowl gone?"
December 6th 2004. Controls stripped out by Pete Meredith, and lining going in.
December 17th and the Iroko is going on. The wood darkens rapidly after it has been worked, and will eventually match the rest of the wheelhouse.
February 20th '05.
February 13th bench casings in.
Feb 13th ...the steel hatches to the engineroom are not level with the rest of the the floor, so they will be rebuilt to allow us to lay the teak deck.
The fisheye view on February 16th 2005.
February 20th '05.
Feb 27th...steady progress. Engineroom Hatch covers have been removed to be rebuilt..so that they are level with the rest of the deck, and the teak decking laid.
Chart Lockers installed behind the wheelhouse benches. 14th March '05
20th March. The Teak deck is down in the wheelhouse, and caulking underway. A folding teak table is under construction.
April 6th The wheelhouse is pretty well lined now. The green leather benches are ready at the upholsterers.
It's a sunny saturday after Easter 2005. Gloucester Rugby Football Club are not playing, so what's better than for Tommi to roll out a new inititive! "Hands On" management! The roof is finally waterproofed with liquid resin brushed/rolled into a fibreglass matrix...available at any chandlers. It is ready for painting the next day..and this covering is still going strong in 2008.
From this to....
Floors stripped out, and three coats primer and two coats tar paint going on, throughout the ship.
New forward bulkhead under construction
I have to admit that the Nielsen's fabrication is excellent.
Solid Utile Door Surround. W/T Door will be in Utile planks reinforced with
internal steel rods, with Stainless Steel Handles. Good looking and fit for the job.
Hatches moved to make way for forward bulkhead.
We decided to make the down pipes for the 18 "Vetus" mushroom vents out of steel.
Aft cabin was cleared, and here is the proof. (Apart from the waste tank foreground)
Aft cabin 6/12/04. Ceiling in, and plumbing lined up.
Aft Cabin manual Bilge Pump fitted 11/12/04
December 17th, and the Bargeman contemplates the position of the shower thermostat in the aft skipper's cabin. (He is six foot, in case you are wondering!)
Getting there..22nd January 2005.
Aft Cabin 30/01/05. Casings are in, as the 4' 6" x 6' 6" bed takes shape. Beneath it is the Aft Waste tank.
Aft Cabin 30/01/05 Looking Fwd. Shower/WC are in, and the Sink surround is taking shape.
Feb 13th...The Skipper's bunk and it's surrounds are taking shape.
Feb 16th 2005.
February 20th '05. First coat of varnish on.
March 5th 2005..floor is up to connect up the airconditioning system. On view is the white lid of the grey water waste sump. It can pump shower and sink water straight overboard, or into the black water holding tank (under the bed) if required by law. (Virtually unknown in europe). The black water holding tank can be connected to marina pump out facilities when required.
14th March. Looking Starboard.
The pitch Pine floor at an early stage!
Several Utile beams stacked on the bench together. Two coats of varnish are already on, with another three coats to go.
Watertight door, completing w/t bulkhead aft.
Gas tight door to the engine room is welded in.
The aft passage and the engine room gas tight door are partially lined.
27th November 2004.
The white ring between the porthole and the hull, gives us 12mm of space
for the tongue and groove lining. Thirty one such steel rings have been welded in
and water pressure tested.
The timber has been delivered. Solid Utile from the waist down, pitch pine floors down below and tongue and groove ceilings and walls with Utile beams. (Utile is part of the Sapele family and looks like a light Mahogany. It has a wider grain which shows up well with five coats of varnish which brings out the slight golden flecking within the grain. It is cheaper than Mahagony but more importantly it can be replaced/regrown more easily. The wheel house will be completed in Iroko, and the floor will be Teak. Definitely no MDF or Chipboard on this ship! Marine grade Plywood which was not invented until 1949, is very much behind the scenes. No nautical terms here, but it makes it easier for everyone to understand! Firstly we had to strip the floor lining out to run the some of the services. We have also taken the opportunity to completely refinish the bilges with five coats of primer and bitumen paint. The original installation of the portholes failed to adequately allow for a double lining on top of the sprayfoam insulation. We have welded 31 x 12mm rings to properly space the thirty one 300mm chromed brass portholes, to allow for the additional thickness of the pine tongue and groove.
The 900mm high rails are complete apart from painting. This is required for the commercial licence. I was anti it before, but in fact now it is there I prefer it. There is also less chance in losing a dog over the side - always a possibility with my delightful dimwits!
Additional rubbing strakes welded onto the bows. 6/12/04
Feb 15th '05. The Iroko frame of the main hatch cover takes shape. The 50mm thick hardwood will match the existing wheelhouse when complete.
We have increased the length of the hatch by 10", to throw more light into the Saloon.
January 20th 2005..we make way in the dry dock for the russian built replicas, that will take part in this years 200th anniversary of Trafalger.
A scene virtually unchanged since Nelson's time. The shadow of British Waterway's local HQ at Alexandra Warehouse, and the propellors are more recent developments...and Nelson would have wondered at the "car tyre" rubber fenders!
The midship's bathroom start to take shape. I am standing in the 1200mm shower tray!
The Vacuum toilet will be installed bottom left.
Looking outboard, the main shower takes shape. water will be delivered by a deluge head and an optional hand set as well. The existing water pressure will be around two bar. I am not convinced this is enough. Time will tell whether we have to switch from the existing 24volt pump, to a serious 240volt five bar supply.
Detachable deluge head neatly fitted into escape hatch space, which maintains headroom over six feet. There is an optional handset as well. 6/12/04
The Chromed furniture is fitted, and five coats of varnish are
creating the glow! January 22nd 2005.
6th April 2005.
The Kingsize Double bed begins to get there in the forward suite. Large drawers face aft, with some of the ballast on view that we have tucked into every nook and cranny to offset the weight of the engines - which are mostly on the port (left) side. Cupboards and wardrobes are currently being built on the bench.
The Cupboard frames go up 27/11/04
As they were on 1st December 2004.
Dec 17th..and the desk goes in..the toilet bowl is in holding position for next door!
Feb 13th...and the pitch pine floor is going down. The coats of varnish are building up..note the gloss on the table.
Mark wires in the Fwd Cabin LCD TV, and DVD/Satellite TV system. 16th Feb 2005.
February 20th '05...looking to starboard.
Feb 27th It's the doors!
March 14th. It's the drawers!
5th March. Looking aft.
14th March. Anti-Rattle Door furniture in..
ForeCabin finished April 23rd 2005.
The 900mm shower, in the fwd cabin ensuite bathroom.
Fwd cabin, ensuite bathroom. Looking outboard, the Vacuum toilet will sit in front of the cabinet. the bottom of the cabinet holds an emergency hand bilge pump. (The main bilge system is power operated by a "serious" serious pump in the engine room, and all bilge water goes overboard after going through special filters to avoid pollution.) On the left is the vacuum pump for the MidShip bathroom.
March 5th 2005.
The Mid Ship cabin. It will have two bunks up the left hand bulkhead, with cupboard/drawers and a desk on the right. Halyard silencing in the walls seems to be working. ie it is hard to hear Taffy (the Ace Painter and Varnisher!) singing!
Mid ship cabin as the bunk beds and wardrobe start to happen. The insulated pipework belongs to the climate control airconditioning cooling and heating system. The cabin's unit is at the center. Each cabin has one, with its own individual digital control.
First coat of varnish is being rubbed down. 27/11/04
The rest of the midship's cabin furniture goes in. 12/12/04
Dec 17th, Gregor cracks on with the midship cabin furniture.
Taffy's been busy with the varnish brush. 22nd January 2005.
Mid-Ships's Cabin February 13th.
Gregor's got the midship cabin drawers ready for varnishing.
14th March. Drawers in.
April 6th. Midship Cabin virtually finished. "Paddy" applies a final coat of varnish to the Forecabin.
Fiddle rails complete April 18th. All made in the Nielsen workshops. Lee cloths fitted to the berths as per MCA regulations.
The Saloon, looking aft.
The Saloon on November 9th. The 43" Plasma TV Screen will fit on the central Bulkhead facing you. A good spot to view some of our stock of 700 DVD's.
Saturday 27th November, Electrician Mark gets wired in the saloon! On weekdays the area is swarming with joiners and shipwrights...and sawdust!
The Galley on November 9th 2004! Watch this space!
December 6th 2004
December 17th..the fridge and cooker will go in on the 21st. The stainless steel ventilation shaft for the cooker hood has been welded in top right. The foreground galley work surface will be £700 of solid Teak.
Teak worksurface is in. 22/1/05. Cooker, Extracter Hood and Fridge installed.
The Edwardian Taps are fitted on their upstands. The plumbing to them is up and running. There will be a timber insert on top of the butler sink to increase the work space, and improve the "ambience" of the breakfast table.
Feb 16th..and the varnishing is going into overdrive.
The galley ready for action on April 23rd 2005.
Nigel Patrick and Dominic Mills (and Dominic's Daughter) contempate the fruits of their labour in the saloon!
240volt Perimeter lighting..fitted as standard throughout the ship. All can be dimmed. There will be supplementary overhead spotights as well.
March 14th. Now I am excited about our Fiddle Rails. All Brass, which we have had Chromed.
23rd April. The 14.30 is ready to depart from St. Pancras Station! The coal fired model of an Atlantic Class Locomotive, can pull eight passengers.
Feb 20th..the final staircase is built. Still to be fitted are the LED steplights on each step. (note routed groove on outside and drilled 30mm holes on each side.)
In the Forecastle, the services begin to appear. Left to Right between the Portholes: 240Volt 3 Pin Power Plug, Freshwater Tank Vent, Blackwater Vent Pipe (With Inline Micropore Charcoal Whiff Filter), Mast Navigation Light Plugs, Base of Folding Mast. 15mm Hot and Cold Water Supply for the Deck Shower, 2nd Fresh Water Vent.
2" High Pressure Water Outlet. (Powered by Main Engine.) Mains Fresh Water Inlet enabling option between Ships Pressurised Tank Supply and Shore Supply. Two x 16 amp Shore Power Supply Plugs.
...and meanwhile we have gone camping!
Rather than live in rented accommodation for the summer months, I have bought a Caravan(Trailer). It is well appointed, and hopefully fetch a good price when I sell it next spring. The dogs love living in the countryside, and South Gloucestershire is very pretty. I am staying in the Frampton/Arlingham area. St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury is recorded as crossing the Severn River at Arlingham in 604AD on his way to meet Welsh Christians at the "Synod of the Oak", a few hundred yards upstream. There was always plenty of Oak in the local Forest of Dean - much of it used to build the Royal Navy. Arlingham's main claim to fame now is the excellent Passage Inn fish restaurant. Frampton claims to have the longest village green in the UK, and there are many delightful houses and cottages along it's boundary. How would you describe it..idyllic springs to mind!
The view to Newnham, across the Severn.
The Severn Way, doggy heaven!
St Augustine's view of Newnham.
St Augustine's actual dog, with the first "Kong" floating rubber dog toy between her paws. Unbelievable isn't it! The scenery has changed little in the intervening centuries! The thirty foot tide is "out".
"Have you finished yet?" Erin says. "Will you have enough left for some pig's ears?!"
Well No and Yes! Looks like we will finish in Feb/March 2005...and we should have enough left for some pigs ears. One pack only though! So it is winter camping for us!
Barb's Geese have just said "Hi" to the Jacob's Sheep near Freherne Bridge, making a nice contrast. They are the Sharpness Canal Bridge Keeper's Barb's pets and a great bunch of characters. She counts them everyday. They seem alert enough for the local fox, as their numbers are slowly increasing. (Although Reynard did manage to nail the local Peacock last year!)
Brrr!! ...well it is December 2004. Still a few months to go!
...and now it's February 16th 2005. Lulu "interviews" the fish eye lens!
SAILING FROM GLOUCESTER TO LONDON, via THE BRISTOL CHANNEL
The fitout was completed on the 15th July 2005, and we immediately sailed for St Katherine's Dock, London. Skippered by Master Mariner, Tommi Nielsen, with Mark Yarworth, our admirable electrician as Chief Engineer. Myself and stewardess Emma Hughes acting as competent crew. Whilst we waited to sail, Emma had attended the Workman Marine School RYA accredited at Portishead Marina, and had gained an International Certificate of Competence with the French CEVNI qualification.
Ready to sail from Gloucester Docks!
Nielsen's Office Manager Pat Blake and Accountant John Pearce surrounded by YTS lads, including Ben on right.
Emma Hughes prepares for rough seas!
Lulu, sporting her St Tropez cut, is not coming on the Sea Trip.
Erin and Lulu are banged up in the local kennels.
Barney poses in his shades, whilst Danny Moss
photographs his own handiwork.
The admirable Yacht Designer and Shipwright, Halli Barber who supervised the final months of our fitout. Many thanks Halli!
Pursuing the Navy down the Sharpness Canal. John Pearce looks over Tommi's shoulder!
We went down the Sharpness Canal in convoy with HMS Charger and HMS Biter. We were flattered to be included in their Bridge call ups..ie Charger, Biter, and Saul Nomad here. Maybe we should reregister as "Prince of Wales".
We came across a severe wind over tide condition as we left the Severn Bridges. We sheltered in Portishead Marina for a tide, and set off on night passage to Padstow at 22.00 hrs.
The waters of the Bristol Channel the next morning are bluer and calmer.
Just after dawn, Tommi sails on through Rocky Waters, comfortable in the knowledge that Emma is on top of the chartwork!
We moored in the Inner Harbour in Padstow, where we were due to pick up our Film Crew.
Mark Yarworth relaxed during a glorious afternoon.
The wheelhouse is now operational.
The Padstow Harbour Master's Dog "Rocky" who appears like lightening when you shout "Ropes". He catches them and takes them to a bollard! Just testing this time "Rocky", sorry!
Lunch from Rick Stein's Fish and Chips Shop. Really good! Then we sailed.
Padstow and Rock occupies a busy little estuary.
...with some people in more than a hurry than others!
We passed the Longships effortlessly. However within hours the weather worsened and by the time we were coming up to the Eddystone Rocks we had winds gusting to Force 5. This is too much for a Flat Bottomed Barge, even though we were hardly affected because the wind was astern.The Weymouth Life Boat has had calls out each day we have been moored here...right opposite her! 21st July 2005. We wait patiently for the wind to drop, then we can proceed to London.
We had to round Portland Bill and the Shambles to get into Weymouth Harbour. This we achieved comfortably and Docked at 18.00 hours on the 17th July 2005.
Weymouth has been a trading haven for four thousand years. The inner harbour offers mooring for around 1000 craft. Boats come and go in a constant stream! 22/7/05 winds are beginning to settle, so we should be clear to sail over the weekend.
Tommi's folding ruler. Its side line in removing Carlsberg Export Bottle caps over the years, has shortened it's length!
A speedy journey from Weymouth...a 12 knot night passage through the Solent..a night anchorage off Southend Pier...and a leisurely flood tide brought us to the entrance of St Katherine's Haven on Wednesday 27th July 2005. Tower Bridge marks the spot. We had to wait 45 minutes stemming the tide awaiting our turn to enter the dock..interesting in this spot where high speed water taxi's appear from all directions.
Sunday 31st July our idyllic mooring in the haven. On the right is a Motor Yacht allegedly formerly owned by the famed Franch Singer Edith Piaf. "Non, Je ne regrette rien!" Built in 1938 the "Flamant Rose" (The Pink Flamingo) is where the "Little Sparrow" did a regular twelve rounds with her French Champion Boxer Lover, Marcel Cerdan. "La Vie en Rose"? It turned out to all be a fairy story
Valerie and James are the proud owners of this "historic" vessel.
Cooer!! Feel like singing yet?
"Ok Mr Sun, we are ready for you!"
The wheelhouse business end.
An excellent spot for relaxing or entertaining.
The Skipper's cabin is a cozy little bolthole!
The Saloon has reverted to a more relaxed lay out in port. At sea there was nothing out on the worksurfaces, and everything too big to put away was lashed away.