Moving onto a boat of 23 feet will never be an easy task when used to the comfort of showers, toilet, full kitchen, laundry-possibilities and so on. Just imagine trying to push all your belongings in a just a couple of boxes. then mashing these boxes down in the hull while making yourself believe that it should be as easy as THAT to get your stuff back up later.
Now – our boat was not that roomy when we got it. Especially on the inside. It soon became clear that we had to evolve this beast into something a little more of a mix between savage and comfortable. At the same time; more suitable for our ambition of living outside until King Winter or other climatic complications shut us down. More about our journey later, this post will be dedicated to our new home and proud ship – never before and soon to be christened – “FF HARRY”.
The boat was built in 1981, presumably on Onsøy, a peninsula and municipality that in 1968 merged with Fredrikstad. There is sadly little to no more information about the build or the builder. The materials used in the original is Norwegian wood wrapped around the iron engine-bars and aluminium top. We know that a large number of boats are built in Fredrikstad throughout time and therefore we credit our beautiful ship to the boat-builders from this part of the world.
The engine is a classic! I can’t find the exact year of this particular make, but was kicked to life by Damsgård Motorfabrikk later named Sabb Motor established in Laksevåg, just outside Bergen in 1925. They first produced our engine in 1958. At the time; a four stroke 8 Hp, one cylinder diesel that later got upgraded to an 10 HP. They also made a bigger version; an 22 HP. Total make of the engines are about 20.000, and the makers are still in business! Even though the last engine at the factory was produced in 2001.
We had to make it our own. I can already smell the frustrated pirates lurking the marinas putting bad words to the new look of our proud ship. Understandable but luckily we are mostly carefree. The high culture of preserving the old and (must I say) awesome historical architecture of nautical wessels is very strong around the world. As should it be. Therefore we took our important steps not to damage the original structures while making our changes. Minus a couple of cuts and blisters it shouldn’t take more than about 45 minutes, two screws and some lifting to turn it back to it’s fainting glory.
First we wanted more indoor space, we also wanted the ability to stand up. The amazing feeling of sitting aft navigating the sunset is romantic but sometimes very cold. Especially at night, bad weather or dirty rain. Besides – with our new addition to the boat it would be nearly impossible to keep a free sight of the water. The steering had to be moved – or we could dramatically die in a crash with an amazing superyacht – blinded by or own creativity..
The engine works for now. The starter does however not. We have to manually start the machinery. The dynamo is out too, meaning we don’t really have any way to make electricity. Bummer. Our solution was to get another battery and eventually we will buy a charger. For now we have borrowed the one of our Mister Fixit neighbor. Then there was all the other equipment.. Safety-stuff, ropes, oil, paint, diesel, lamps, heater and… of course new curtains.
The previous owner made a box inside. He was also nice enough to leave us with something to sleep on. The electrical control board and wiring was outdated and we needed at least one new bilge-pump. The originally installed hand-pump seemed to only work if somebody used it.. There was no installed lights except from the port and starboard lanterns. A couple of the wooden boards were rotten, but nothing serious. We removed one of the benches outside which in turn gave room for our new cockpit.
A couple of chairs from a dinner table-set, some more free materials and parts from the internet, countless trips to a diverse selection of shops and boutiques, a couple of rounds with beer and a little help with painting from friends – and voila! You’ve got our boat!
That was about what we have of story on “FF Harry” for now. We still have another full day of work on the boat. Then we’ll be free and happy go lucky! Depending on our ability to convince Simba, the cat, that boating can be a lot of fun.
Feel free to follow this blog. We’ll do our best to keep you in the loop!