Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Not as expected!

The day seems to ‘drag’ whilst we waited for the crane.  Around noon there was a delivery which turned out to be the bow and stern fenders we had ordered from Outdoor Xscape.  We seized the opportunity to fit the fenders whilst nothing was happening.
Our first attempt at fitting a stern fender
Then the bow fender
All the chains will eventually be covered with a protective sleeve and a couple of the chains require either a sacrificial link (thinner shackle) or two of the links to be joined with a cable tie.  The purpose of the sacrificial link is the be a ‘weak point’ that will fail should the fender get caught on a obstacle such as a lock gate.
No doubt some readers might be expecting to see great photos of Waiouru being craned into the canal.  For some reason we always have to do things the hard way!  Waiouru has gone into the cut but it was a night launch.  We certainly didn’t plan for the big event to occur in the dark!
The crane arrived at 3.30PM but it was immediately apparent this particular crane was smaller than the one that usually does the lifts.  Its maximum rated capacity was 60 tonnes instead of the usual 80.  To compound the issue Waiouru is heavier than the usual lift with its estimated deadweight being around 20 tonnes.  The crane operator consulted his lifting tables and decided it was unlikely he could complete the lift whilst Waiouru was in its current position.  Moreover there wasn’t much room to get the crane any closer.
Mobile phones came out and calls started to be made.  Meanwhile the clock was ticking and the sun was going down!  It appeared neither of the two boatyard staff were qualified “Banksmen” (Groundsman, Rigger, Slinger, Dogman) which would make them competent to give instructions to the crane operator.  Eventually the crane was moved slightly closer to Waiouru and the running gear on the jib was re-rigged for a heavier load.  Then the jib, chains and slings were positioned over Waiouru.
Darren positions the chains directly above Waiouru’s centreline
Slings and chains now in position
Both the crane operator and Darren remained uncomfortable about attempting the lift. <more mobile calls>.  Darren wisely decided he didn’t want to authorise the lift and phoned Andy who was at home.  Andy decided to come and supervise the lift.
By the time Andy arrived it was after 6.00PM and the sun had set.
As the crane operator took the strain an alert buzzer started sounding in the cab <heart-stopping>.  Waiouru was lowered and the slings adjusted to evenly balance her.  She was then very slowly and carefully lifted before the operator bought the boom in.
She was then turned 90­° before the boom was slowly moved clockwise.
90° turn
Swinging around to the canal stern first
She was then slowly lowered into the water and checked for trim.
Waiouru has a list (lean) to the starboard side.  This is the only side of the boat that has ballast.  Once it was confirmed she was going to float Andy and Mark pulled her backwards clear of the crane slings and moored her.
Whilst Andy, Darren and Mark went to do the second lift (next boat into the paint shed slot) I dived down the bow thruster locker and engine bay to check for leaks (she is currently dry). 
Meanwhile poor Jan was half frozen and still trying to slow down her heart rate after the night lift with a lighter than usual crane. 
Sorry Snorre….. There was no opportunity to open that bottle of champagne you, Trine, Viggo & Isabel so kindly gave us for the big day back here on the 17th of August.  We will open it tomorrow and drink to your health!   We will also take some photos!
It’s going to be interesting trying to sleep in the cross-over bed tonight with such a significant list.  We may both wake-up in the morning at the foot of the bed! Smile
The one good thing was Jan’s decision to start cooking dinner in the slow cooker this morning.  After the nervous launch, excitement and cold, it was great to immediately go on board and be able to eat a hot casserole.
This wasn’t how we anticipated launch day would happen and would rather have avoided the additional stress of the 60t crane and night launch.  But Waiouru is finally in the water!!!!!


Sue said...


At last your dream life is becoming real after all this time.

Gosh Tom you sure do live close to the wire!

Happy days to you both.. xx

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Sue,
Thanks...... We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.... just hope it's not the 8.42 from Paddington! :-)
We may even be cruising by 2013!

Sue said...

Oh you will be, and anyway I enjoyed your coffee so you better be!

Mark and Corinne said...

Wow! she is looking fantastic. Yeah!!!

Tom and Jan said...

You must have eyes like a cat to see in the dark :-)

Paul and Elaine said...

What can I say.....Phew!


chas said...

Have followed your story, for what to you must seem forever, well done and the very best of luck in your adventure.


deb said...

Congratulations from a fellow Kiwi who has been following the blog while dreaming of one day doing the same thing. I have found the level of technical detail you go in to fascinating and have stored several ideas carefully away in the hope that I can use them in the future. Currently, the best we can do is hire as often as possible.

I also love the trend of Kiwis using Maori names for their narrowboats. I have already chosen mine :-)

A question. How is the blacking applied to the base of the boat? Yesterday's photos show very little clearance beneath the boat and today's are too dark for me to see what the bottom looks like.

Enjoy being afloat in Waiouru at last.
deb (Wellington, NZ)

Ian said...


The main thing is you're finally in the water - matters not about daylight photos. Many congrats! Have you managed to test out the stove yet? All working as it should? What's the biggest job that's still left to do? I'm guessing it's the fitting of the engine - is that a job for this week?

I'm so chuffed for the both of you!


Tom and Jan said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I shall attempt to answer the questions.

Deb, The bottom (baseplate) doesn't get painted. It would all get scraped off as the bottom regularly comes into contact with the canal bed. Live the dream!

Ian, No we haven't tested the stove yet. Perhaps today! There is plenty yet to do. First we'd like the trim fixed and then a front cratch so we don't have to worry about the front bilge. Engine is probably the biggest single item. Plenty of joinery left to do along with flooring.

Chas, Yes we started the rebuild almost a year ago! It's been a long journey

David said...

Hi Tom

Great to see you afloat - hope you got your sea sick pills ;-).
Soon be finished and able to catch up on lost time.
All the very best

David & Karen

Anonymous said...

Well Done. I have been following you since the start and am very please for you that the end is in sight.

Steve said...

Congrats to you both. What a momentous occasion it must be for you even if was a tad stressful. From a nightmare to a wonderful dream coming true. Your determination to see it this far warrants high praise indeed.

All the very best with the rest of the fit out( we'll be reading with extreme interest) and may you have many many happy days ahead in Waiouru. She looks fabulous and is a credit to you.

warm regards
Steve and Chris

Tom and Jan said...

Thanks for the kind comments everyone. We're a little busy at the moment and therefore don't have the time to reply to all the individual comments.... But they are appreciated!

Tom & Jan