Lady Cutler

Information on these pages has kindly been provided by Lady Cutler's owners Jeff Gordon & Shannon Harper. many thanks to Jeff for the regular updates!.

Many images on these pages have been provided by Jeff Gordon - images are copyrighted as noted.

Don't forget to visit the Lady Cutler's homepage.

28th September, 2007 (Jeff Gordon)

Work is progressing well in Melbourne with the final coat of paint being applied to the superstructure. Yesterday we had 16 contractors onboard, from shipwrights, painters, fire systems installers and electricians. We also had a couple of engineers taking out the injectors, fuel pumps and relief valves.
To say that the budget has blown out is an understatement!
The good news is that we only have a single page list of things to do from Marine Safety Victoria, none of them very onerous so we feel confident about getting her into survey for her first charter on the 21st October. We intend to have the injectors and fuel pumps back in by the 14th October for Sea Trials. A new 350kg anchor and chain is on the way...we will have to drop and retrieve this during the sea trial...I hope the windlass from the Lady Street is up to the job...with 30 turns for a metre of chain, it will be backbreaking work...but I have a plan...I am inviting the contractors out for a few beers to thank them...naturally no beers won't go down until the anchor is up!!

(c) Jeff Gordon
12th August 2007 (Jeff Gordon)

The Lady Cutler is in her last week of renovations in Portland Victoria. She is currently alongside at the Boatyard being worked on by 8 boilermakers, shipwrights and painters. Weather permitting she will come back to Melbourne between the 15th and 19th August. It is hoped that steelwork repairs and the painting of her exterior will be all but finished by the time she leaves. Other work that has been completed in Portland is the fresh water and black water systems and electrical work to the interior lighting and galley facilities. On her return she will go into her berth at Central Pier in Docklands Melbourne. Here further work to her interior wIll go ahead. It is hoped that we will "re-Birth The Lady" on the 7th October. Hopefully we will make the deadline...I am taking booking already so am being fairly positive.
Along the way in business sometime things happen that are quite unexpected and during July I have bought Shannon Harper out!  So now the whole catastrophe is on my shoulders alone!

29th June 2007 (Jeff Gordon)

Very busy with the LC now that she is back in the water. Work to the superstructure will begin soon. Internal spaces on main and upper deck will also be blasted and recoated in epoxy/concrete screed to level. All ceiling liners will then come down and halogen lights will replace the 1960s flouro lights currently installed. The toilet and bar area will then be re-modelled, and the interior fit out commenced.

26th June 2007 (Jeff Gordon)

Work has progressed well in the two weeks she has been on the slip at Portland.
Lady Cutler goes back into the water tomorrow...Whilst on the slip we have cleaned and cleaned again the hull area in the engine room back to bare metal and have also been into both peak tanks and cleaned them back to bare metal.
Over the next month she will have her superstructure and deck areas blasted and painted, fresh water and black water systems will be in place and the internal fit out with bar and toilets will commence.
A priority will be the replacement of the sponsons, and a new stairway will be placed as an exit to the rear deck from the rear wheelhouse, which will be turned into the galley.

Lady Cutler on the slips!
15th June 2007 (Jeff Gordon)
Today was a really good day...the sandblasting of the hull topsides and bulwarks is into day three, and proceeding well. We have gone with Wattle Paints and have blasted back to bare metal.
But the really good news today is that the Marine Surveyor from Marine Safety Victoria has been to Portland to do the out of water survey and the hull "envelope" has passed for survey.
The propeller shaft which was pulled inboard, was inspected and passed as near perfect. The Old Girl has proved herself on a major sea voyage and now her hull has been inspected and approved.
We are very pleased to have got this milestone behind us.
There is plenty more to do and quite a few more dollars to part we must press on.
More pics and information will follow next week

Lady Cutler - Intercooler
Jeff writes :

We are now up on the slip in Portland after a very good run 23 hrs from the Yarra river to Portland Harbour, a distance of 190 NM.
During the week prior to leaving we worked on the Inter-cooler stripping it down and found that the anodes had been placed incorrectly the wrong way round restricting the raw seawater flow.

We cleaned the inter-cooler, reassembled and tested it and then discovered that  the oil cooler had been bypassed and the thermostat on the main engine heat exchanger had not been set correctly. The upshot of all these engine modifications was a much cooler running engine not getting over 74 degrees C for the trip around to Portland.
The  Lady Cutler   was slipped on Tuesday the 12 June and quickly cleaned off. The hull below the water looks to be in very good condition with very little wear on the anodes. She was last slipping in 2004 and I can't say the "5 year" antifouling held up very well, with quite a lot of mussel fact we could have had quite a good dinner from them if they weren't from the Yarra River!
I will keep you informed on our progress.

Lady Cutler 9/6/7
Lady Cutler leaving Port Phillip through the Rip (09/06/2007)

Lady Cutler

June 8th, 2007

We are leaving tomorrow around lunch time for another stab at the trip to Portland. Engine temp is now under control with an average reading 65 degrees under load. Very happy with that and fuel consumption will be down too with the cooler running temperature. Have found out that the oil cooler was being bypassed and the engine thermostat was not set properly. Also replacing lube oil in the turbo before we leave.
We pulled the Intercooler apart and cleaned it...not that it was in such bad condition. We found that the zinc anodes had been put in the wrong way round and were restricting the salt water flow.
We will be keeping 1/2 hour running engine stats on the journey in the engine room log.

Lady Cutler

June 6th, 2007.

We have been trying to get the Lady Cutler around to Portland for slipping a cruise of around 180nm...and finally set off last Sunday at 7am. Lovely day and great voyage down the harbour with our tail in the air after a very busy week getting last minute things done. Out through the heads OK and then 30 miles towards Cape Otway the engine overheated and we lost oil pressure on the main engine. So we shut everything down and wallowed about...great for the stomach.

Down in the Engine room we have a back up cooling system so bypassed the normal cooling pump and engaged the general service pump and hey presto we had the engine temp down and gingerly made our way back to the heads. We arrived at Port Arlington (near Geelong) at 10.30pm...rather tired and weary. Ron, the engineer and I then stripped down the raw water cooling pump. By 12.30 we had dismantled the pump and could see nothing wrong so had a wash and went to bed in our hammocks...a very cold night, felt sorry for Ron who is a skinny 60ish something.

Up at 6am... A cup of tea made all the difference. Back to the pump, put it back together, stripped down the sea water strainers, they were ok except for a couple of syringes in them, then after breakfast stripped down the cooling system, from the sea water pump to the oil cooler, to the intercooler and the engine coolant heat exchanger. All seemed to be ok with plenty of water getting through except through the intercooler, a device that cools the air from the turbo before it goes into the engine.

Hope you are still following me?

At 2pm, having put everything back together we wished Port Arlington goodbye and motored up to town, arriving at our berth at Spotswood by 5pm...very tired. Drove home somehow, had a quick dinner and went to bed at 7pm!

Repairs to the intercooler are taking place as I type this and we hope to make another lunge for Portland by Saturday.

Two weeks in Portland should see the old girl transformed from an ugly duckling to a regal swan...well not quite...but we are getting there.

Lady Cutler

May 7th, 2007.

Both bridges will be kept, we want to keep the Lady Cutler as close to her original specs as possible. I first saw the Victoria Star when I sailed into Melbourne in Christmas 2002. We stayed at the then new New Quay Marina and incidentally didn't pay a thing for the two months that I was there. From my perspective as a person who likes a traditional looking vessel, I thought the Vic Star was a standout in the Fleet and I tried to get some work on her...but the owner didn't seem to really want my help.

So a bit peeved 'bout that...a few years later, I just went out and bought half of the Lady Cutler...and now I am hoping that I will get plenty of work. I am going to the Aust. Maritime College from June to August to complete my Master 4.

In hindsight I think it was a pity that Vic Star has had a bridge removed. He has put the galley on the lower deck and ruined not only the look for the double ended ferry, but compromised the lower deck space. The dance floor behind the bridge is also a bit of a drawback with noise effects from the live music and DJs.

Our configuration will be different with a dance floor and bar downstairs with a view right through the boat. We will probably end up with the galley upstairs in the aft bridge, and have a buffet area in front on the laid teak deck. We will have to enclose this area to make it work, similar to the enclosed space between the bridge and the upstairs seating area on the Vic Star.

Another feature will be the retained twin masts and flagpoles at the end of the vessel. We will be keeping the traditional paint colours of deep navy blue on the hull and off white on the cabin sides, with a thin blue stripe. We have cleared the foredeck entirely which will make a great area for the punters to enjoy on balmy nights. Our anchoring system will be from the aft deck. We hope to be taking the anchor and chain aboard on Thursday arvo. We have tested the engine and controls alongside the wharf, and all seems very very well with the MWM diesel and new electric/air controls.

Still plenty of work to go...but at least all the welding work is finished now...phew!

Look out for her on the water...Andrew McKinnon took some nice pics of us alongside the wharf on Sunday.

Lady Cutler

May 4th 2007.

Work on the Lady Cutler has continued apace during February, March and April 2007.

She was towed out of the Maribyrnong River, where she had laid for 2.5 years, rather forlorn and forgotten, to the Science works Jetty , just downstream of the Westgate Bridge. Needless to say the Port Authority which rules Melbourne waters, did not make it easy for her and along with other provisions she had to be chained to her new wharf.

Since she arrived in Melbourne in 1998, Lady Cutler has undergone serious refit of her hull and decks, with much of the steelwork being replace. Unfortunately vandals and thieves saw to it that she lost some of her removable equipment, but not her heart and soul.

In the past three months an ex navy compressor has been installed, the general purpose pump reconditioned, the engine controls and steering restored. and much of the finishing off of the steelwork and welding completed.

Quite a bit of stuff was purchased from the Lady Street, including the anchor, chain and Windlass. The flag masts at each end of the vessel have been reinstated from those off the Lady Street.

The Lady Cutler will complete her first sea trials early next week and we are hoping for a 20 hour voyage to Portland on the 13th permitting. She will be slipped at Portland, and will undergo out of water survey, blasting and painting. It is hoped that the Lady Cutler will return to Melbourne early in June to start the internal fitout.