Copper Cabana

The heat situation isn’t much better, I’m afraid, but we are making progress. Last Friday Nikolaj took the whole day to hook up the old, existing radiator (plus a tiny quarter-sized radiator the size of two sheets of paper) in the saloon to the new boiler. Flipping the switch suddenly caused boiling, black water to spurt from two pipes in the old hotel rooms! So the pipes that we thought did nothing but feed the (ripped out) sinks apparently were for a heating system that was never actually installed… So after cutting out the leaking sections of pipe and popping in new HEP20, we had the radiators on for exactly five minutes before the connection to the big radiator did a hot, black, geyser interpretation and then the radiator itself started to bubble up on the front panel (as a leak pushed pressurized water out, bubbling up the special paint. So we’re still without heat in the saloon. It looks like we’ll need to rip out ALL the pipework in the saloon and hotel rooms as well as replace the radiators. But since Nikolaj’s already done the difficult stuff, we should be able to do this on our own (famous last words).

Instead, we turned our focus on installing our new shiny Kabola diesel stove. James had to work on Saturday so it was down to me to create the new fuel line from the big tank in the engine room up to the captain’s cabin fireplace. We were going to go down through the floor and then along the ceiling of the engine room, but after drilling through the floor, it transpired that there’s a 4 inch gap between the floor of the captain’s cabin and the ceiling of the engine room. Which is too deep for a drill for me to be able to mark my place down below. So that was scrapped, instead opting to take the line from the fireplace, over the shower door and through the bulkhead behind the stairs down into the captain’s cabin, where a small hole for an (unused) coax aerial cable already existed. After 15-20 minutes with the hammer drill, a giant drill bit, and a whole ton of muscle power, the hole was big enough to take a gland with a hole for our 8mm fuel pipe inside. The gland makes the hole nice and air- and water-tight and also cushions our little pipe from any jagged steel.

stove fuel pipe by diesel tank stove fuel pipe and gland

I then had to wrestle the 5m of copper pipe (with a mind of its own) from the tank, up the rib, along the wall, behind the boiler flue, through a hole in a rib, then into the gland, along the wall, up above the shower door, through another hole in the wall, down the wall, around the marble fireplace edge, and into the new stove. I had to bend it all by hand (until the pipe bender arrived to do the real sharp angles), and put fasteners every few feet to keep it all tacked down. James got busy on arranging the voltage droppers for our 12v fuel pump, which we’ll hopefully get to hook up tonight.

The other part of the installation is to make a path for the flue, since the previous owners never used it after they raised the wheelhouse. We know this because they built a battery shelf and the walkways to the wheelhouse entrance directly above it. Thanks!

battery bank and flue placement

Earlier this week I did some very tedious measuring with numb fingers to mark the point directly above the flue so Nikolaj can enlarge it to 80mm with his plasma cutter. On Saturday I drilled a hole at this point so the plasma cutter has an edge to start from using a regular ol’ drill and a metal bit, which took way more muscle power than I was expecting. Of course it rained overnight so we now have a nice rusty hole!

On James’s epic trip to Maplin’s he also picked up two extended lengths of cabling so we can move the two right-most batteries down underneath the battery shelf to make way for the flue. Let’s hope we can do it without creating a mess of sparks this time, as there’s no 24v isolator and those puppies are now fully topped up…

- posted by Melissa Fehr on 19 November 2007, 16:30 in