Now that the stormy weather has abated we can get out to Elizabeth Castle to check out what damage the castle work boat, Walrus II has sustained over the past three weeks. She lost a bilge keel on Christmas Eve and the running repair carried out then has kept her afloat although there has been some water ingress and coupled with the heavy rainfall there will have been some damage to the engine. Once she is back into St Helier we can get her into the boat shop to repair the bilge keels and give her an early overhaul - she was scheduled to come in this April.
Circassian II has been put back in the water and the little Diana brought in for a tidy up.
We have finally got a date for the Howard D to be be lifted out and taken to La Collette Boat Park number 2. The large DanCover shelter will have to be erected but being able to work out of the rain and wind will prove most useful.
Circassian II has been lifted out of teh harbour and into the Boat shop to be over hauled. After the bottom was power-washed she was taken into the boatshop. A new piece to the transom has been fitted and the sternpost has had a new piece let in. The boat was cleaned down and repainted and new antifouling applied.
Over the course of the month we taken Baron's engine out and have scraped off many layers of paint to expose the bare wood and what we found has not been hopeful. Both the stem and the sternpost are rotten as is the keel and many of the ribs need replacing. In the past where the planking has shrunk, sizeble wooden splines have beeen used to fill the gaps rather than fitting a new plank and below the waterline the hull had been sheathed which hid all sorts of problems. After a lot of consultation with the team in the boat shop and the owner, it has been decided that if we replaced all that needed to be done then we would essentially have built a new boat and so we will be setting her up to take the lines off her and produce a new set of building plans. The work will be carried out in teh boat shop over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile we have taken advantage of the lack of a pontoon over at Elizabeth castle to overhaul Walrus II, the castle boat.
While the work carries on with the boats out doors we have just taken the Baron into the Boat shop. Many people will know Baron from St Aubin's harbour where she has been moored for many years outside Jackson's Boatyard. We think she was built in the late 19th century and used for fishing. The first job we have will be to take out the engine and then remove the many years accumulation of paint from both the outside and inside. It looks like as if at some stage she has gone over on her side or been smashed against against the harbour wall, opened up and been repaired by having splines put into the open seams. As work progresses then all will become clear.
Everything went well with the shipping of Howard D over to Gravesend; Bob Asplet, Trevor Bull, Dave Hocquard and Paul and Mary Mimmack took her up to the West India Dock on Thursday 31 May so by teh time I arrived on the Friday everything was more or less sorted. Mick Godden arrived on Saturday morning and we locked out of the Isle of Dogs at 11:00 for a gentle motor up the Thames to Barne Elms the other side of Putney Bridge where we moored fore and aft on trots laid out in the river. We were in a cluster of historic lifeboats and we shared a trot with The Lady of Mann. On the Sunday we were lucky enough to be on the last water taxi run which meant we arrived on board about mid day. About an hour before the start many of the oared boats came down river between the Historic boats so we got a really excellent view of some exceptionally interesting boats. We moved off about 2:30 and for the next 2 hours were surrounded by a multitude of cheering crowds who despite the drizzle and cold weather were in a festive mood. It has been estimated that there was in excess of a million people lining teh banks for the Pageant - it was truely an amazing experience and must have been a logistical nightmare for the organisers - 1,000 boats of all shapes, sizes and ages in a 6 or 7 mile procession. It took about 90 minutes to pass a given spot on the river. We passed under Tower Bridge and the Queen's barge about 4:40 and continued down through the Avenue of Sail and made our way passed the Cutty Sark and around to Greenwich yacht club buoy before coming back upriver on the north bank to lock into and tie up in the West India Docks just after 8:00pm.
Bob Asplet, Trevor Bull and I took her back down the Gravesend on Tuesday in order to be hauled out onto a Condor logistics low loader on Wednesday morning.
Overnight we lost one of our large orange buffs and sustained a bit of damage on the port quarter probably caused by a nasty swell created by a passing vessel.
Trevor and Bob received the Howard D on Tuesday 12 June and work on repairing the damage started on Wednesday. (Doug Ford)
The Howard D is safely esconced in La Collette Boat Park where work can be carried out on her when the weather allows. The masterplan regarding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant is for Condor who are very kindly shipping her over to Gravesend for us free of charge to pick her up on Friday 25 May.
Bob, Trevor and Dave will fly over to London on Wednesday, 29th and will meet up with Paul Mimmack and all four will take her up to West India Dock on Thursday 30th. I will be flying over on the evening of Friday 1st and Mick will arrive on Saturday 2nd. We will all take her up to Barn Elms up by Fulham on Saturday 2nd. An anchor watch will be stayiing on board her all night and the rest of us plus four passengers will arrive on Sunday morning in time for the marshalling of the fleet. The pageant itself will kick off about 2:00pm and as it is composed of 1,000 vessels it is estimated that it will take 90 minutes for it to pass any given spot. Although the official end of the pageant route is just below Tower Bridge in the Pool of London we will be returning to West India Dock on Sunday evening.
Dave and Mick return to Jersey on Monday, but because of the two Bank Holidays we can't get Howard D out of the water until Wednesday 6th June. Bob, Trevor and I will sail her back down the Thames to Gravesend on Tuesday, moor over night and then she comes out the water on the Wednesday morning to be collected by Condor and brought back to Jersey.
Hopefully everything will go smoothly - Fingers crossed.
Now that La Collette Marina has been reopened and the boatpark is emptying we have organised for the Howard D to be lifted out in the middle of the month so we can start work on the paintwork.
Bob has anti-fouled both Florence and Jesse, Trevor has fitted a new VHF on the Elizabeth castle boat, Walrus II. Dave, Mick and Tom still cracking on with Howard D.
Still working on the Howard D in the open. Luckily the weather is holding off, bad for farmers but good for us. Bob and Tom working three days a week, Mike two days a week and David is in one day but is making flooring for the engine room at home the rest of the time. Jeff is in and out as time allows.
Most of February we have been working on the Howard D getting her ready for the trip to London for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames. Condor have come up trumps and are freighting her to the Thames and back but we have not been able to find anywhere under cover to work on her so everything is being done afloat or in the boatshop. The volunteers - Bob, Mike and Dave have been joined by Tom and Jeff. The old gears are completely shot so Trevor has sent them off to an engineering company in England to have copies made. This month the boatshop volunteers have given 331 hours of their time to maintain the boats. Thanks
Most of the month has been spent preparing the spars and bits and pieces from the Howard D while we look for somewhere to actually carry out the refit. The team have also been painting the new shutters for the Barge Aground to earn money towards the cost of the refit.
Working on the spars of Fiona, Jesse and Florence in the Boatshop. Howard D's side benches are upstairs in A-Store being worked on.
Little Diana back in the water. Mast, boom, gaff and bowsprit all off Fiona. Will be scraped down, sanded and cleaned up ready for varnishing to be ready for next season.
Still working on the little Diana and we are painting the shutters for the Barge Aground to raise money to help towards the Howard D refit.
Little Diana has been lifted into the boatshop for an overhaul and we have begun t to take the benches off the Howard D in readiness for the winter refit.
Florence has had her mast lifted out for a revarnish and an overhaul and Jesse's refurbished mast has been replaced. In the Old Harbour the Martlet has been freshened up and the bilge pump on board the Circassian II has been refitted.
In the boat shop we are making a gun carriage for a 32 lb carronade, which will be placed on display outside the entrance to the museum. Outside the shop, the team are working on maintaining the fleet.
The Martlet is having a new floor put in. The old ply deck has rotted and so it is being replaced with new bearers and wooden deck. As there was no need for the Martlet to be brought into the boat shop she is still afloat at the top of the Old Harbour.
Fiona has now been redecked and once more can be seen in all her glory in the Town Marina. She has been out on a couple of evenings acting as start boat for the Wednesday evening Day boat series.
The team are carrying on redecking the Fiona, which is expected to be completed in time for the first of the evening races of the season. We have also been carrying out work on the rudder of the Castle boat Walrus II.
Most work this month has been carried out on replanking the deck of the Fiona.
Over the past year or so we have been in conversation with the Harbour Office regarding the parlous state of the Onyx. At the same time there has been a series of in-depth discussions with the boat building team about the best way forward. Not only is she now beyond economic restoration, we do not have the physical space in which to work on her. Taking everything intp consideration, the decison has been made to deconstruct the vessel. We will be following the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships as set out in Volume 2 of 'Understanding Historic Vessels'. 'Deconstruction' provides guidance on the options for what to do when a vessel can no long be saved so that she can be given an appropriate end and her history preserved
At present we have moved Onyx out of St Aubin's harbour up to the Sir Francis Cook Gallery where we will remove her iron ballast keel. Once this has been done and the vessel made safe we can bring her down to the boatshop where we will be planning her as she is now - a 1930s gentleman's yacht before we remove the 1930s work and take her back to what we believe she started out as - a mid-19th century Guernsey-built two-masted lugger.
We will end up with two sets of comprehensive building plans of Onyx which will then be deposited in the Jersey Archive, which means that it will be possible for someone in the future to build a copy of her.