19 November 2018

Pat Testing

Continuing on with our testing plan, today we began to do actual dredging.  A mud hopper was brought alongside and moored to Patricia.  Pat's port side feet were deployed to 90 deg.  The starboard feet were pretty well on the side of the canal so could not be turned.

It was then time for the first lift of silt into the hopper.  Over a period of about an hour, we successfully dredged the canal, each time getting more familiar with the  settlement of the feet and the small adjustments necessary to keep a stable dredging platform.  Unlike No.5, Patricia stays put so the target to dredge is where you last left it!

When it was time to move, we lifted the feet and manoeuvred the boat & hopper to the next work place.  Ideas as to how to best set the position of the hopper alongside Patricia are developing, as access to load will be needed to the complete length of the hopper.

It was a very satisfactory test session, one which provided us with confidence that a safe and reliable operation could be implemented.  The draft operating procedure now runs to five pages.

Also, a few more items of note:  Not least, the cooking of the first bacon butties in the facilities cabin.  However, the smoke and CO alarms are a real pain.  So perhaps ear defenders need to hang along side the fire blanket!
This used to be the case in the engine room, but all is now quiet since the small leak in the exhaust system has been fixed with a small dose of lead and the lagging has been fitted to the vertical pipe, which was a requirement from the B.S.S. test a couple of weeks ago.
We had never completely filled the hydraulic oil tank to its normal level, so the unexpected sight of a wheelbarrow containing two drums of the right stuff was most welcome.  It took about 1.5 drums to fill to the sight glass.
More testing will continue on Wednesday.