Saturday, 30 March 2013

Brass Monkey Week

Tuesday 26th

Shamrock's bilges are pumped out as despite the fact that she is out of the water they still manage to fill up, something to do with all the rain. Forward cabin is also cleared of all the rubbish that had accumulated during the caulking of the deck. A bit warmer in there than outside.

Wednesday 27th

Shaune's a happy bunny as the problem with the fire-pump has been solved and it ran long enough to clear all the mud from the slipway a foot (30cm) or more from the bottom of the dock. Shamrock's bulwarks appear to have measles as all the exposed patches are primed ready for painting when it gets warmer.    

Thursday 28th

A quick hose down of the slipway to remove the mud that the last two tides had deposited. 
Late morning, break out the mooring ropes and put them in position, remove all Shamrock's shores then, with the aid of a tractor, move Shamrock to the bottom of the slipway and attach the mooring ropes. 

In the Afternoon, while waiting for the tide to come in, cleaned out the boat shed ready for visitors. Also made a quick trip to Cotehele Quay's Discovery Center to check on the state of the display of the salmon fisherman's boat, I feel another project coming on.

Shamrock floated successfully off it's winter cradle on the evening tide, she was then roped across the dock and made fast. She will need a few more week's work before she is ready to receive visitors. Time for a quick pasty and then home to warm up.

Origin of the nautical saying, "Freeze the balls off a brass monkey".

Cannonballs would traditionally be stowed between the guns on a metal lipped tray, made of brass, called a ‘monkey’. In cold weather the brass ‘monkey’ would contract faster than the iron cannonballs causing the balls to spill out and roll around the deck.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Some Shamrock Snippets

A characteristic feature of a Tamar barge was the warping horse which is painted white on Shamrock. Under the beam shelf are holes which sometimes had boxes fitted under them where rock salt was placed. As salt is hygroscopic, it pickles the wood so the deck would be washed with salt water at the end of each day and left overnight before the heat of the day dried the salt into the wood. Falmouth oyster dredgers and Thames shrimp bawleys by the nature of their work were constantly washed down with salt water so had a reputation for longevity.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Jobs Done!

Tuesday 19th
Nancy Belle's bottom painted. Now she's waiting for one of the next spring tides to get her back in the water.

Wednesday 20th
Time to finish the painting of Shamrock's hull.
  • Wet paint sign, check.
  • New paint rollers, check.
  • Weather dry, check.
  • Visitors warned to keep clear, check.
  • Paint the port side, done.
  • Paint the stern, done.
  • Paint the rudder, done.
  • Bare sections of the modified bulwarks primed, done.
  • Check and paint over any missed bit's, done (maybe).
  • Looking good and ready to go back in the water, yes.

Muttering's coming from the Boat Shed as Shaune tries to find why the dock-washing fire pump keep's cutting out.

Thursday 21st
It's raining!!

Highlight of the week

The appearance of a box of new overalls, complet with motifs. Not sure about wearing them as they look too good to get paint on!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Half a Job

As Shamrock is due to be floated off on the 28th, it's hull painting time again. Using paint rollers this year to try and speed up the process. All went well until the bitumen paint reacted with the roller material causing them to start disintegrating. We still managed to get half the hull done despite the rain, sleet and rollers. The sun decided to make an appearance, after we finished!

In the boat shed, the center sections of the bulwarks are looking very smart with a new paint job. Once there are fitted we will need to get the remaining sections painted to match.

On the river, Shaune and Peter were taking advantage of the spring tides low water to check the moorings.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Digging through last year's photos and videos of Shamrock, found this short clip of our return trip from Royal William Yard.

 No commentary but you do get to hear Nancy Belle's diesel engine running in the background. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Diary Date

2013 float off day is planned for the 28th March. See Shamrock Events page for more details.