Late in August 2014, we arrived at Steve Hudson’s yard - the shutters were down. He had phoned to say the superstructure was nearly complete and that we could pop down to discuss any last minute changes that might be on our minds, this would be the last chance to change anything originally planned.
Opened the shutters to find this!
We walked into the steel shed, each time feeling better than the last. Welding smoke and sparks everywhere, took me back a few years to when I worked at Rolls Royce. My 4 year apprenticeship included 2 months in the body shop. Seeing the work done here - the high standard took me right back. I could only wish to weld as good as these guys. The shape was all there now, the sweeping curved roof at the back, the inclined sides, the tug deck, side hatches and port holes formed. Exactly as planned.
By 5th September 2014, we were back at the yard to see the next stage. The top had been painted with the primer holding coat, the boat now covered to protect it, the bottom still awaiting its paint before its launch in the water.
Steve cut a section of the plastic sheet away by the side hatch door so I could take a peek inside. It had all been painted inside as well - a bonus as we hadn’t expected that!!
The inside view showed the expanse of the work yet to come. My thoughts were whether or not it could be finished by May 2015. I hoped so.
We had committed a lot by this point, we needed to keep on track in order to get the business started and to carry on earning once I finished up working in London.
Whilst at the yard, checking the primed steelwork, we had an opportunity to also check progress on the Lister JP3. We were able to see the original unit still complete on its chassis. (Apparently an ex-WW2 searchlight generator.) The engine had been stripped of most of its ancillaries before the more detailed engine overhaul work could take place. All that was left - a heap of components neatly arranged inside one of the large containers sitting in the yard waiting to be rebuilt like new.
The next time we would see the the Beer Boat she would be in the water for the first time.