Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Episode 7 - Moreton Bay and the Rivergate Refit


Hi all. Welcome to episode 7 of our Blog. 
 If you wanted stories of palm trees, sandy beaches on deserted Islands and underwater photos then you will be disappointed!   (You're probably sick of those pics anyway) We have just completed a major refit on Lorelei, so if you are still interested then read on……

Since the last blog we returned to Moreton Bay in Brisbane and spent a few weeks in the bay. The weather was absolutely crap for the whole time but we made the best of it.

We spent a few days at the sandhills on Moreton Island sandboarding, kiteboarding and fishing. The Tuna in the bay were thick and we had a blast throwing lures for them, especially from the kayaks on light tackle.

OK maybe one or two fish pics for this post...

We decided to head south to meet the Baddiley family at Canaipa for Davids birthday. We had a great weekend with them and their friends Tony and Nic.

Curlews at Canaipa

David and Maddies ex Pilot boat “Sandy Cape

After Sandy Cape left we spent the next day there with Lex and Carol (David’s parents) and their beautiful boat “Celestial”

Drinks and Nibbles on Celestial

From there we headed up into the Brisbane River to slip Lorelei.

Those that have been reading our blog would know that we had engine starter motor problems in Port Douglas and water pump issues in Cairns.
We really struggled to get parts and soon realized the motor in Lorelei must have been second hand when it was installed into Lorelei when she was built as it is an older motor than the boat and parts are difficult to obtain – especially in less developed countries! So the decision was made in February to do a major refit and repower Lorelei as well as overhaul the engine bay and complete drive train at the same time. We spent a lot of time researching as to what engine to repower Lorelei with.
The obvious choice was to contact our friend David Baddiley in Brisbane as his family Marine Engineering business is highly regarded and perfectly located at the Rivergate shipyard/marina on the Brisbane River.
David is a big advocate of the new John Deere Marine engines for our particular application and we were very happy with that and the order was placed back in March.

Heading up the river past the commercial area.

Under the Gateway Bridge

Going into the slip and being lifted out is always a nerve-wracking experience but all went OK.

After the staff pressure washed the boat we came to our final rest place on the stands right in front of Dave’s shed which was a perfect location – and our home for what turned out to be 8 long weeks…!!!


First we set out to remove the old engine. This involved lifting out the floor in the centre cockpit, removing the binnacle (the post the holds the steering wheel) and all the steering cables. The binnacle was only held on by 4 bolts but it took over 6 hours to remove. Not a great start…

Once the floor was removed it gave us excellent access to the engine bay so Paul started the long task of removing all the bits out of the bay,  breaking down the engine and getting it ready for lift out. We had sold the engine on Ebay and so we had to make sure it was all labeled properly for re-assembly.

What a mess!!!


On the Monday of week 2 we organised a crane to lift the old engine out. The crane driver was great and it all went well.

After the engine was out it was time to tackle our first problem and setback we had found a few days earlier. When we lifted the floor out we found some rust in the gutters than run down the sides of the floor to drain any water. We knew we had some rust but it was a lot worse than we expected. We got Carl who is Baddiley’s Steel fabricator in to have a look and the decision was made to remove them and install new ones. Easier said than done! We had to grind the old ones out which put a layer of grinding dust right through the boat and was impossible to contain.
We then contacted Paul’s brother Rod who fortunately has a steel fabrication company on the NSW Central Coast. We had him make some new bent gutters out of 4mm thick stainless steel plate that are 2.4m long and TNT them up to us. It took 109 tonnes of pressure to bend the plates on his 120 ton press.
From there Carl welded them back in and we painted them.

Our new motor also turned up during week 2. For those that like the specs it’s a John Deere 4 cyl. 150HP 4.5L turbo charged and all mechanical.


During week 2 we also started some other projects like dismantling and overhauling the anchor winch.

Dave and his high tech tools……

That week was also Dave’s dad Lex’s birthday. We went to his house one evening for drinks and out for dinner. Lex is retired and has just restored a beautiful little timber boat which was built for the family movie “Narnia”. He has named it Narnia and will soon be taking it to the Timber boat festivals.

WEEK 3 & 4

Let then fun begin…
Now began the task of cleaning the old engine bay. It was an absolute mission!! First Paul had to thoroughly degrease it, completely rewire and hide the existing wiring that we wished to keep and the same with the plumbing. These had to be secured under the floors of the galley and workshop on either side of the engine room.
Next we had to sand back all the old paint, grind and treat any rust spots and rust proof the whole engine bay with a black rust proofing paint.
Then we had to prime it and Coat it with an Epoxy Gloss White 2-pack.
We divided the engine bay into 4 sections (2 for the floor and 2 for the walls) and each section required 7 coats ( 3 black rust sealer, 1 primer and 3 white coats). So 28 coats in all taking 3 hours each. You do the math….
Either way that’s all Paul did for about 2 weeks and was well and truly over it by the end. And the paint cost – over $2750…

The painting at about the ½ way stage.

You reckon Paul had a mission of a job – wait till you see what Lisa was up too….

Another project was to remove all the old antifoul off the hull. Antifoul is a thick paint and over the years it has built up to a very thick coating and was starting to flake of making re painting difficult so the decision was made to remove it. The best way is to have the hull sandblasted but it is a messy job and an OHS&E nightmare. The quote was 4k to build a tent over the boat and 10k to have it blasted. We could not justify the cost so looked at other options. First we tried grinders in 6”and 9”with various pads and discs but all it did was smudge and burn the paint and the dust cloud was terrible even with a tent we built. Antifoul is terrible toxic stuff and after a day we felt crap even with full suits, respirators and masks.
Scrapers seemed to work but would take about a year so Carl came up with a wild invention to modify a pneumatic hacksaw blade into a scraper and we hooked two up to the compressor and off we went. It worked for the top half but not the bottom.
Shaun from Stella Engineering a few bays up saw Lisa at work and offered her the use of a pneumatic needle gun that has about a dozen metal rods out the end and managed to vibrate the paint off. It worked a treat but was very noisy being metal on metal. So Lisa spent the next 10 days removing the paint. None of the guys had ever seen a girl using this tool before let alone 6-8 hours a day for 10 days. They were amazed and Paul coped a stack of flack for not appearing to help…!!!

During week 4 Lisa had finished removing the paint around the stern tube near where the propeller is located. As Paul was walking past he spotted a still wet spot and wiped it clean. The next day the wet spot was back and weeping rusty water. Paul got a grinder and took it back to bare metal and the drips got worse. A little more grinding and bang – a hole straight through the hull. We called in the experts at Harrops engineering who do steel repairs to large commercial vessels. They did an ultrasound test to reveal the metal was thin over an area around the stern tube. Paul was given the task to cut a hole in the hull to discover what the problem was.
There’s something a little crazy about cutting a hole in the side of your boat about 1 meter below the waterline but it had to be done.
Once cut we found some concrete inside had been exposed to moisture as the expoy coating over the top had broken away so we had to remove all the concrete – with a jack hammer!!!

Once all the concrete was removed, Paul had to treat all the rust, repaint and get it ready to seal back up. We also had to cut a smaller hole on the other side for access too.

Adam from Harrops Engineering then came in and welded it all back up.

At the end of week 4 a very unusual vessel arrived at Rivergate for slipping, a tall ship named the Duyfken. As you can image it drew a lot of attention.

The Duvfken is a replica of the Dutch ship that first recorded and charted the Australian Coastline in 1606. She was built in Fremantle and launched in January 1999.
Her full time crew were great people and they gave us a tour through the boat.

Now that’s a winch!

Imagine clearing customs – “Do you have any guns onboard sir. No but I’ve got these big arse cannons!!”

The bricks on the floor are the original ballast stones from the old ship from 1606.

WEEK 5 & 6

At the start of week 5 we finally had the engine bay ready for the new engine and the crane was called back in to lift it in.

Now the task of aligning it and fitting out the engine bay began.

Meanwhile Dave and the boys were in the shed building all the new custom bits to go back in.
Dave turned us up a new shaft and couping on the lathe to suit the new prop.

The new prop is an amazing piece of German engineering.
It’s a 4 blade feathering Variprop with an adjustable pitch.

The idea is when we are sailing the blades turn to face forward to create no drag and also the stop the gearbox spinning and causing excess wear.
When you go forwards with the engine the blades turn to the correct angle and off you go.  However when you go into reverse the blades then turn around 180 degrees just like you would have put the prop on backwards effectively giving you much better control and torque in reverse. We have it set for 15 pitch in forwards and 8 in reverse for now but it is easy to change in about 1 minute underwater. 

In feathered sailing mode

In forwards

In reverse

Lisa had also been busy and had completed removing all of the old antifoul and had sanded and primed all the exposed spots.

At the end of week 6 we had the tie coat on the hull and ready to antifoul.

One night we had a little visitor, a small possum. It had been running around on the Duyfken the week before and the crew loved it until it started stealing their food and jumping on them in the middle of the night. It didn’t like our steel decks (and my camera flash) and only visited once.

Some of the sunsets from the Marina overlooking the Gateway Bridge were awesome. The bridge lights actually change colour each night.

WEEK 7 & 8

By week 7 things were starting to take shape.
We rolled on the new antifoul – all 30 litres of it !

We serviced and re-assembled the rudder stock & rudder and prop speeded the prop.

Dave K who was doing all our timber fitout had turned up with our new teak cockpit floor. It look fantastic and we are so happy with it. We installed our revamped and freshly painted binnacle.

Dave with the base for the new galley drawers.

Tagging the anchor chain.

Dave greasing the prop and doing a final check.

Other things we did that week was fit the new liferaft, re-fit the renovated anchorwinch, install some new paneling in the guests bedroom and the front toy room, Install the new PC based depthsounder and 20” monitor for it and install WiFi onto the boat.

By the end of week 8 we were ready to go back into the water. Finally!!!


We still had a lot of cleaning up to do and some final finishing touches so we decided to stay on the service berth at Rivergate for an additional week.
During that time Steve from Marine Diesel turned up with a stack of instruments to test the new engine, do some sea trials and sign it off for warranty.

Lisa’s parents Jack and Carol and Paul’s parents Diann and Ron also came to say goodbye and we took them for a river cruise into the city.

The “Pacific Dawn” coming past our boat.

Here are some photos of the finished engine bay. A big change from the old one…


 A very happy Lisa with Dave and her new Galley drawers

So far initial trials have indicated Lorelei is about 20% quicker both at top speed and cruising speed under motor. The new motor is also much quieter and smoother. Fuel consumption is a little more than the old motor but not much considering the jump up in size to 150hp. We are hoping to sail a little more efficiently too now there is less drag from the new feathering prop.

So all in all it was a roller coaster ride on the slip and an absolute mission and like all vessel refits it went over time and over budget – but hey – that’s boats!!
We are very glad that it is over and now feel extremely confident with Lorelei and her ability to get us around the world both safely and comfortably.

A HUGE thanks goes out to a lot of people who made this refit successful.
Firstly to the Baddiley family, Dave, Paul, Lex, Carol and all their family who made as so welcome and helped us out immensely in so many ways.

To their staff Carl, Grant, Jess, Kieren and all the rivergate crew. Thanks a million guys!!!

To Dave K  - the best timber shipwright in town – You know how happy we are with the changes – thanks heaps mate…

To Kristy and Steve from Hose Supplies Australia. Great help and a lot of fun during our almost daily visits….

There’s heaps more but they all know who they are and our thanks goes out to them.

So by the time you read this, we will be on our way to New Caledonia and then onto Vanuatu. We may miss the Solomons this year as we are running a little late and may end up there as part of next years plans. We will probably sail from Vanuatu back to New Zealand early next year to resume our planned timetable.

Last night (Monday the 4th June) we visited Danny and Carol on Sentinel who were 30 meters from us sitting on the Customs and Quarantine dock ready to leave for New Caledonia. They will have a 24 hours start on us. We had some farewell drinks and nibbles for them and wish them a safe voyage and fair winds & seas.

We will be clearing customs at 8am on Wednesday 6th June.

Apologies to all our friends in Brisbane who we didn’t catch up with. We did 15 hours a day for 65 days straight to make this happen and time just got away….. come and visit in the Pacific instead…… RC&KW this means you too...

Our next blog should be in about 4 weeks time from New Caledonia and this time it will be far more exciting with some great stories and pics we hope.
Cheers for now – from a very exhausted (and broke) but happy Paul and Lisa.

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