On Saturday, en route to the building site, we went down to the river to take a look at the boat Earthrace, which was moored in Wanganui for a few days during a promotional tour around New Zealand.
If you're not familiar with Earthrace, she's a 24 metre long tri-hull 'wavepiercer', which means that instead of riding over the top of the waves like an ordinary boat, she cuts right through them, dipping up to 7 metres below the surface. The Earth bit of her name is a nod to the fuel she runs on: 100% biodiesel. The race bit refers to the fact that she was designed to break the record for circumnavigating the globe. She did just that last year, setting a new world record, when she crossed the finishing line just a few minutes short of the 61 day mark.
Bizarre FactThe skipper of Earthrace, Pete Bethune, underwent liposuction, and the fat was used to make a small amount of biodiesel for the boat.
Iain was blown away by the boat's radical design (but, I noticed, not sufficiently impressed to pay 5 dollars to get on board and have a look inside.) I was more lukewarm in my appreciation. I'm not a big fan of boats, mainly because of the whole seasickness thing. I was also disappointed to see that the outside of the boat had been vandalised by taggers (probably while it had been moored in Auckland), so it was looking a bit tatty. Finally, I've got reservations about the boat's ecological credentials, because I'm not convinced by the 'biodiesel is green' argument. Sure, biodiesel is carbon neutral, so it's much better than ordinary diesel, but it's a long way from being pollution-free. If you were really serious about minimising your environmental impact, you'd be in a saiboat.
Iain and I spent the weekend on our building site (the plan for every weekend for the forseeable future). The weather was cold, windy and wet, but we gritted our teeth, wrapped up in seven layers of clothing each, and got stuck in. Our job this weekend was to secure the frame to the slab, which doesn't sound like much, but it took us the whole weekend to do it!
Iain hammers in a bolt
The base plate of the frame is attached to the slab by 14 cm long bolts - sixy-five of them in all. To attach the bolts you have to drill through 4.5 cm of wood and 9.5 cm of reinforced concrete. We had to hire a special hammer-action drill to do this. We also had to repair the frame in one place where it had split, and we had to take apart a piece of framing and alter it when we found that one of the drainpipes coincided with a stud.
On Saturday afternoon we had a flying visit from our friend Diane. She took this photo of us. As you can see, conditions were pretty grim!
Hammers: blokes' version (left) and girls' version (right)
Next weekend we've got a load more hardware to put into the frame (straps on all the lintels and window studs, and about 200 wire dogs to attach each stud to the top plate). We've also got to plumb the walls vertically and get the top plates square horizontally. We're going to be spending a lot of time going up and down ladders!