Tag Archives: lister engine


27 Nov

Pronounced I-c-e-v-o-g-u-l and translates to Icebird for those non-Dutch speakers among us. It’s the original name of the little boat and not one that John feels he could live with. I think, he being a tropical flower, it’s the ice part he has trouble with.

Tradition/superstition has it that it’s OK to change a boat’s name when out of the water so, if he ever makes up his mind which name that might be, it won’t bring bad luck.

Remember when we waded on board in those early days of just having acquired the little boat… ?100_3100

Well amongst all the watery wetness, we found a handwritten letter from the first owner to the one before John…001

How lovely, what a find, and joins up a few dots. There were also some old photographs of her build, launch, test run and subsequent trips on the water. Shame about the missing engine room pic – would have answered a few questions. Water damaged and curly edged, we rescued these and stowed in a safe place – ie Hobo – until such a time that we (I) could be bothered to scan them on to the computer.

Having found that time yesterday afternoon (and shelled out on a new printer/copier/scanner to replace my old defunct one) I am now in a position to share these with you.

It’s quite something to have just these few pics – a little bit of her history.

This one shows the armature construction in April 1976, according to the back of the snap…IMG_20141126_0007

Sadly, many of the build shots were too damaged; hard to make out from the photo so wouldn’t scan so well I figured.

These show her being loaded for transport – November 1976 – to the river Kennet…IMG_20141126_0006

IMG_20141126_0005The hull, engine and cabin completed.

And her trial run on the Kennet…IMG_20141126_0002

Also November ’76. What a beauty and cutting along by the looks.

The sharp end is quite different now…IMG_20140530_133436

Much needed extra cabin space having been created by the previous owner. This makes the bow tiny from the outside – barely standing room – but does make a much more usable space inside…

As she is now…IMG_20141117_210515

A lovely space for the John. He’s gradually putting his stamp on it by adding a desk, restoring the little stove which works very nicely..IMG_20141126_180110And John’s hand-crafted chimney doing the business…

And will look the business too, once he adds the copper strips.

There’s many ideas/good intentions/plans/stuff still to do in the cosmetics department but all this has to take a back seat until the major things have been dealt with. Notably the engine and hull.

Much has gone on that can’t be seen: like pulling 12 and 240 volt wires through, connecting (after first unblocking) the fuel lines and painting the under-bed storage spaces white – and filling them with stuff. It makes such a difference when you are looking for something under there.

And of course, that perennial problem with boats, finding somewhere to put everything. Just his tools would fill an aircraft carrier. Twice over.

But it’s coming.

On this one, back in the day, the sailing mast is visible…IMG_20141126_0003

And here in use for a family trip on the river Kennett, summer 1977…IMG_20141126_0004

You’ll note that windows have been added by now.

Much of the work that John is gradually now doing is of the not very photogenic variety. As in the engine. He’s found a couple of snags – things sticking that shouldn’t stick and bits that should be bolted on that aren’t. He’s just discovered that it’s the fuel pumps that are jamming up the works, so they’ll be taken to bits now and inspected.

He’s very methodical and takes great pains, which is good, to ensure all is as it should be before he winds her up. Thus avoiding any calamities. Both dying to hear her going though and hoping that the Lister sounds good and is as bombproof as we think it is.

So, we have the proof that she floated and ran once upon a time. Lets just hope she will again. Soon.

When is a Lemon not a Lemon..? (An antidote to all those marvellous boat fit-out blogs)

4 May

This is what we hope to find out.

But first, we need to do a little detective work, solve a few mysteries and partake in some tracking and tracing.

Stop talking in riddles I hear you say. What on earth am I on about?

Let me explain.

John has bought a little boat. A 25 footer…002

Made of concrete, or more correctly, ferro-cement, which we hope isn’t, but fear may well be, a pup/pig in a poke/lemon.

I plan to chart our progress (or otherwise) with pictures and words so do stay tuned and follow this scary journey, this being the first instalment, I suspect, of many.

She was filled with water when we first looked at her; the tiny wood stove being knee-deep in it…100_3100

And there must have been a few gallons under the engine…100_3101

See the paint can floating just the other side of the cabin door?

As the stern was completely open to the elements all winter, despite (interestingly) the entire rest of the boat being covered in a tarp…100_3104


It’s hardly surprising.

That’s what we told ourselves anyway.

It’s a real pretty boat though…078

If not a little unusual…006

The wooden frames on the roof are actually the bones of a windscreen that was started (but not finished) by the last owner.They have – we think – been designed to fit onto the woodwork that is fitted all around the stern.

It’s a feature I’m not sure about and, for now, am calling the garden fence. Time will tell though and it could be that, when finished, it’ll be the bee’s knees (John thinks so) or maybe an abomination of the first order (I’m leaning this way).

Someone else’s empties by the way.

First job for the John was to syphon out the bulk of the water, then we could employ my marvellous aqua vac to hoover up the rest. At least we’d then be able to properly see what we were up against.

Then I (being Mrs. Sensible) declared that we must remove all the shite and detritis, which we did by tossing most of it over the side – to be sifted through and sorted later…002 (4) 003 (3)

Now whilst this may look like a heap of junk/untidy mess to you and me, believe me, this is not out of place in this marina. Fits right in with the character of the place.

It’s John heaven. He will have hours of fun going through this lot at a later stage, no doubt discovering many treasures and a whole raft of things he didn’t know he didn’t want. Trust me and watch this space for future finds.

With Health and Safety being on the top of John’s list, he being its most ardent exponent, he set about constructing a secure boarding platform…004 (2)

I doubt he would have bothered but, needing Mrs Mop here on board (in every sense), realised this was essential.

Naturally, I am now reassured so here goes…100_3099

Into the abyss.

We took these out before John started drinking…005 (2)

And this…081

Full of course.

So, that done, what do we have?

Well, there was an engine under all that rubble…077

An air-cooled Lister SL3, which may be overkill but can’t wait to hear it run, though bits are missing or not connected so could be fun. John has already made a smart cranking handle…002 (5)

As yet, there is no battery.

A cosy cabin…067



That works!…076

Nice butler sink…068

Although no hole cut to cupboard below, let alone pipes.

Have you spotted a theme yet? As in lots of things started but not finished.

A future shower/wet room…070

Opening windows…066

And the stove may be tiny…064

And needing much TLC, not to mention some serious wire brushing and stove paint.

But it works wonderfully well…004

We are keeping it in as much as possible in order to dry out the boat’s insides.

It’s doing a damned good job of it so far, though some of the woodwork is going to need attention – nothing a good scrub/coat of paint won’t fix.

My home-making tendencies and talents are crying out to be employed – I can make this ship good and ship-shape, cosy and home – and am keen to get cracking on it.


The water has been syphoned and hoovered but still seems to seep back into little pools on the floor.

This is where the detective work comes in. Is it just innocent and slow running, to stop once it is ready?

Or do we have a leak?

To be fair, the little concrete boat does have a bit of a history according to the boys around here that knew its previous owner. Apparently it cruised down from Bishop’s Stortford to here – no more than 4 miles – then was rather hastily hauled onto the slipway as was taking on water.

So, is it a lemon? Our latest discovery would have one thinking it is…002 (3)

The jury is still out but BB is getting that sinking feeling.

What do you think?