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BRINGING HER BACK TO LIFE

The next major task was to complete the deck arrangement and build the saloon and galley. Using the existing hatch combings, a steel frame was erected as the basis of the wooden deck saloon and galley. Then frames were made to take the doors and windows brought from Sydney and the galley was formed in the forward end of this saloon. Fitted out with a sink, gas stoves and a work bench, this area was put into immediate use as the vessel was now being used for the workers' accommodation.

While the work on board progressed, trees suitable for topmasts and spars had to be located, felled and transported to the ship's side for shaping. The steel masts in their existing positions were not suitable for the new rigging. The foremast was removed and repositioned and a new mainmast was fabricated from two steel well casing pipes 20" in diameter with half an inch wall thickness 68 ft high weighing 4Y2 tonnes. It was erected using sheerlegs, blocks and tackle and plenty of manpower. The bow sprit which lies under the timber jib-boom was fabricated from three rollers from a papermill welded together. Mast bands and other steel fittings required for the rigging were also made on board as sailing ship items are not available today from ship chandlers. Old bottlescrews or turnbuckles were reconditioned, and new wire was spliced for the standing rigging. Wooden blocks were overhauled and varnished and used throughout the running rigging, and traditional methods of rigging were used wherever possible.

Ballast!! Faversham.

Ballast!! Faversham.

Ship joinery on the cat-head's.

Ship joinery on the cat-head's.

It did not take long to find out where the scrap merchants were, and a firm of ship breakers was located near Sittingbourne that specialised in breaking up small ships such as fishing vessels. They were able to supply some used water tanks which had come from an old minesweeper and these were placed forward in the hold under where the cabins were to be built.

The ballast had to be increased if the vessel was to sail well. Although a heavy and compact material such as lead would have been ideal, its cost proved prohibitive. Extra ballast of 64 tonnes was found in the form of concrete railway sleepers which were removed from a disused railway siding, placed in the hold and secured by steel rods. Small spaces were filled using the stone road blocks from Gothenburg and the even smaller spaces remaining were filled with 30 tonnes of gravel giving a solid mass of ballast at the bottom of the ship. If the need arose this sort of ballast could be removed. A service duct was left running the full length of the vessel above the keelson for bilge lines and water pipes and access to this could be obtained through removable sections of the centre companionway.

Watertight bulkheads are a necessary item on any vessel of any size, and although originally built with bulkheads, forward and aft, it was necessary to divide up the main hold area into two compartments. Access, however, between each compartment would be required and this was achieved by fitting a door into this new bulkhead.

Two showers were fitted just forward of this new bulkhead and two marine toilets arranged against the hull's side in the same area.
Again scrapyards were frequently visited and it was surprising what useful items could be obtained this way. Even new items turned up in some of the yards, and of course the shipbreakers were regularly visited as their tremendous turnover of disused shipping was very useful.

Laying the deck on the monkey poop

Laying the deck on the monkey poop

 


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