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ACROSS THE NORTH SEA

Everything of use that had been removed for the refit had to be placed on board again and lashed down. The fuel oil tanks that had been removed were secured, but she was still a light ship. Even under motor power the vessel would have to be lower in the water to sail satisfactorily.

What was required was ballast that had weight but was compact. The Gothenburg City Council at that time was undertaking a road improvement scheme and was lifting and replacing the old rectangular granite road blocks. As they were both heavy and compact, and could be obtained at a reasonable price they would make ideal ballast. The granite road blocks were purchased and stowed in the main hold. The vessel was almost ready to sail again.

Sailing day was approaching and it was time to tryout the engine. The Skandia two cylinder diesel engine had an air start and the position of the fly wheel determined its starting ability. A mark on the wheel gave top dead centre and, if this was not in the correct position, the engine could start backwards. It also had to be out of gear. When it was thought that everything was ready it was started, but the engine turned in the wrong direction. After another start amid clouds of black smoke, the hearty sound of the exhaust was heard punctuated by a series of neat smoke rings. Some quick action avoided a nasty accident when, instead of going astern, the vessel was put into the wrong gear and started to move forward into the wharf.

With these problems overcome final stores were secured on board and hatches battened down. When sailing day arrived the vessel slipped away down the Gota River, under her own power, heading for the open sea.

She sailed around the northern tip of Denmark then across the North Sea which fortunately remained calm and allowed a smooth voyage. Arriving off the port of Grimsby, on the estuary of the River Humber, the authorities were at first concerned as no lights were visible. The generator supplying power to the navigation lights had failed and, at that time, any vessel with no lights was suspect, as smuggling of immigrants into England was very common. After this small matter was settled and her papers found to be in order, she entered the port and tied up alongside a disused wharf.

Up to this point, the operation had been financed almost entirely by two people who had invested all of their own money. Although the vessel arrived in England without any debts, there was little cash left to continue the work. A round table conference was held and eventually a six person syndicate was formed to plan and supervise the continuation and financing of the project. Grimsby had neither an environment conducive to working on a sailing vessel, nor was any employment available locally so that more cash could be earned. The port was also far from London, where there was a possibility of finding employment, and the thought of leaving the vessel at the wharf and unattended was not practical. A berth at a small Kentish town was eventually located.

It was a shallow berth in a tidal creek and the vessel was to spend much of her time lying on the muddy bottom. However, the wharf was ideal as there were storage facilities in an old wharfside building and there was ample space where spars could be shaped, so the vessel was moved down the coast and tied up at the Iron Wharf, Faversham. The vessel was now safely in England and stage two of the project was complete. The Iron Wharf was an address that soon became known to many sailing enthusiasts who came to look and assist in the next stage of restoration that would see her converted to a fully rigged sailing vessel.

 


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