Wednesday, 28 December 2011

All who ponder.........are frost..

It's been a month since we posted and I wish I could say the time has been spent in warm idleness. A month of decadence, deck-chairs and alcohol... For sure we've had an unseasonably warm pre-winter with temps in the 50's, about 10C, but once  Hannah was blocked up we began the thought process of building the "barn". The original height was to be 18' (5.48m) but we took fright at having such a huge "sail" facing the north so cut it down to 15' (4.5m).
The smaller of the two height versions
With a length of 42'(12.8m) and 16'wide (4.8m) it was still a big shed. We toiled on, often in sub 30F temps, ice forming in my beard as we struggled to get it looking straight even if it wasn't. A couple of old pieces of railway line were used to weigh down the front and rear, braces and gussets applied. Friends dropped by with timber, ply and help. The building progressed along with comments about "were we moving in permanently..." and whether we had planning consent.

Bee at work removing ice from the keel
The cold weather has caused some serious ice within Hannah. Working on the shelter we neglected to start the fire until late afternoon and found the thermometer reading 30F or 1C above the bed. The water tank froze, the condensation dripping into the bilge from the hull formed into a solid sheet of ice that took the best part of 3 hours to melt with the much used heat gun and one day we found ice forming on the hull where the ballast sits.

The subject of many, many sleepless nights was how we would get the plastic wrap over the boat. We switched between putting up 3 separate sheets, each 40' wide and cutting the thing into more manageable chunks of walls and roof sections. The joins would be where our masts stood and would involve us in a series of convoluted measurements and tacking one sheet to another with a heat gun. The day we chose to begin the wrapping the wind picked up and the stern section of plastic billowed away from Hannah like an out of control spinnaker. Rapidly conceding defeat we bundled the whole lot up again and retreated. In the end we wisely opted to make the shelter out 7 pieces, 4 individual walls and 3 roof sections

The shelter up and shrinking the roof...
It still caused sleepless nights as we struggled to work out how we would get the wrap neatly around shrouds, masts and chimney. The beauty of the stuff is, of course, that once heat is applied it tightens up and the job looks very professional and, should you get carried away with applying said heat and blow a hole in the stuff a patch can easily be applied. But the real secret is in getting the stuff as tight as possible to reduce the amount of time and energy you'll need to spend shrinking...

Beneath this bland exterior lurks...
We'd built something similiar when we were last back in the UK so had some experience of the benefits. There we'd had the masts removed so it was all much simpler. For the most part the structure doesn't use the boat at all for support and whilst the additional height of the ridge pole would have been welcome as we move along the deck, we had to ensure that our chimney remained above the ridge height to ensure a good draught. The door is hidden away on the back wall. It took a while but we eventually got the whole shelter up, noticing the difference immediately we stepped behind its walls. We used the yard's gun to heat the walls but often used a small heat gun to do much of the roof. Last night we had a strong blow out of the S and, because the plastic is now fairly rigid, it passed almost unnoticed.

The bonfire after a dose of something...
As Christmas approached we visited friends around the town and then spent some of Christmas Day with Steve and Sue at their home. They'd hoped to have a bonfire but the wood was frozen and unwilling to burn, despite liberal doses (on separate occasions) of kero and petrol. Looked nice from the house though. And we needed a warm photo to end on after all that cold.
True to form the Hannah Brewing Company has been in action. An old favourite with 23 litres of Wheat Whiskey and a new one, for us, a 5 litre batch of Beetroot wine. Neither will be ready for some months (or even longer if the cycle of hot evening fire followed by very cold early mornings have anything to do with it) but they'll keep us company on whatever next brings our way.

So there it is. Apart from the good times spent with friends over the holiday break, a slightly ignominious end to what has been a great year; from Virginia to Cuba to Labrador and back to Maine, 7,800nm and very rewarding in terms of friendships forged and sights seen. What a life! Happy New Year to all.


  1. Looks like a fine tent in which to see 2012 commence. Have a wonderful 2012 - that wine should be ready when you arrive here :-)

  2. Great Job! and to Bea, Mick and Toots have a very Healthy Happy and Productive new year.
    Fair winds

  3. I have made beetroot wine and I was dissapointed that the beautiful red of the beetroot doesnt (didn`t) stay with the wine (or in my batch it didn`t anyway) I was expecting a great claret colour but it wasn`t, more a sort of desert wine colour (what can I call it? a sort of dishwater colour! :o(( tasted good though) another two past favourites
    were carrot whisky and marrow rum, but thats another story, drunk too soon the carrot whisky pays back with montizumas revenge, thats for sure! and a blinding head ache! as for the marrow rum and all that dripping through of the brown sugar while the marrow dangles precariously, isn`t for making on a boat! take care,