A couple of hours aboard a Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV) saw me 20nm off Southwold and clambering up the side of the Ndurance for my first taste of offshore work.
The shift supervisor recognised me from loading the Willem de Vlamingh in Corinth 2 years ago where thankfully, everything had gone smoothly. Small world.
I'd often flown over East Anglia 1 (EA1) but at 30,000ft a wind farm doesn't look that impressive. Get in amongst it all and you'll think again. At £2.5 billion and 102 turbines, it'll be the world's biggest wind farm when it's finished and my part in its success...... will be quickly forgotten.
Another old friend - I seem to remember loading her in Norway or Sweden - was the Maersk Connector, now busy laying one of 2 export cables from the offshore substation (OFSS) that will carry 714MW of electricity back to Suffolk's coast - enough to power half a million homes.
And the evening and the morning were the first day - only another 27 to go.
Though the sea is as hypnotic to watch as an open fire, it's just as well that I decided to include the Austin build in these notes because other than the weather, there's little else to write about. I was determined to have the steering wheel at as 'vintage' an angle as possible. Many A7 Specials I'd seen hadn't bothered with this detail, ending up with wheel positions more suited to a lorry. A Suzuki Jeep steering column universal joint was introduced to the A7 column to give me what I wanted.
It's difficult to remember quite what order I did things, but by the time the instrument panel had been wired up, I'd obviously attended to the battery box - let into the floor beneath the seat - and formed the propshaft tunnel. The latter was in two parts, the rear half being tapered and flanged (and difficult to get right by hand - there's a 'test-piece' still under the bench).
The fuse boxes and other electrical bits likely to give problems were housed in a compartment immediately accessible by opening the bonnet. I worked up an indicator and high beam switch using the innards of the Ruby steering column - LED's lit up the lenses....
.... and the turned panel set everything off nicely. The two holes housed the choke and starter knobs.
The seat base was a sheet of 12mm ply with cut-outs and rubber strapping for suspension. The seat was very comfortable. My only complaint was that I'd not sloped the rear bulkhead which would have made longer journeys easier.
The steering wheel was a laser-cut ring with 12mm ply applied to both sides, then shaped. I think I used 30m of 'cod-line' to wrap the rim.
And before I started to panel the outer skin, the main cables for the rear lights were installed - that would have been a 'gotcha'!
With the stringers attached, the first layer of 1.5mm ply panels were scarfed and glued with waterproof wood glue. The cardboard strips were there to keep the staples from denting the surface. Scarfing was done with the same converted drill-stand I used for doing the engine-turning. A wedge was introduced on the bed to give me about a 10:1 scarf - and sandpaper stuck to an old router bit did the rest.
Plain sailing, as they say in these parts.