I was certainly puzzled as to how the previous owners could have lived aboard for so long with the ship far from watertight. All over the deck there were odd-shaped holes and many old bolts which must have secured the (missing) decking planks). The bolts holes plus the odd-shaped ones meant that every time it rained water poured down into the below-deck area (I must find out the correct terminology for that) and on into the bilges, from whence it had to be pumped out every so often.
It was so bad that taking a cold shower was quite easy!
That's not me by the way. Thirty years ago maybe!
So welding all the holes up was Simon's first priority. Also the stern deck was just wooden panels covered with a plastic sheet, so that was properly done as well.
While he had the services of a welder, he decided to install 'light boxes' to lighten up below deck. Each box will hold a double-glazed glass panel and be flush with the (eventual ) level of the deck.
He has not yet decided on the 'filling' material which I have faked in the photograph.
While this technical stuff was going on, down below there was an awful lot of rubbish to be extracted, carried down the 400ft walkway to shore and put into a skip (or two). If you think getting hold of skilled tradesman is difficult, try finding hard-working and reliable labourers! The dole may be less money, but it is far less exhausting it seems.
Anyway, eventually downstairs ... sorry, below deck ... was looking much better - and drier.
That is the stump of the mizzen mast with the white stripe running down it. This area will be the master bedroom
Not all the old wood was thrown away. Enough was retained to keep the wood-burning stove going for a year (or three!).
This area will be the dining room. By the time Simon is ready to start on it, the wood will be long gone!
Meanwhile my historical research is making slow progress. I contacted the Belfast Harbour Master's Office, but they have no records from that far back and advised me to try the Public Records Office (N Ireland). This will mean a few days over there, or finding a volunteer who lives in or near Belfast, who would be interested in doing some research at the Records Office ........... ?