Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Rails and blocks

Geoff and Kevin (MNH technicians) and I have been busy laying rails on the cellar floor. We will assemble our cradle on top of these in two weeks’ time. It was very important to get the rails pointing in the right direction and to make sure they are parallel to each other, level, the correct height, and inclined down the slope at the correct angle. Unsurprisingly that took us all day!
We then laid down some barrier textile to protect the floor and set the rails in concrete. We also set some concrete blocks on the ground upon which to sit the hydraulic jacks we’ll use to lift the boat. We’re giving the concrete a couple of weeks to go off completely because we can’t afford to take any chances.

Setting the rails

Kev draws the short straw - cutting concrete blocks

This picture shows Geoff levelling the jacking blocks. Note the rod slotted through the keel: this will be used to lift the boat.

Preparation for Phase 2

Phase two will see the removal of the boat from the cellar in 2014. We have to excavate 100 tonnes of infill from the yard before this can happen. Andrew Johnson, MNH Field Archaeologist is preparing a brief for an archaeological dig in the yard. It’s an essential step to take before we send in the diggers, and it will help us decide how best to proceed.

Meanwhile, I took advantage of the presence of the crane last week to remove this anchor from the yard. We’re not certain when it was put there and which ship it belonged to. It’s now sitting safely in the adjacent stable yard.

Mystery anchor?

Delivery of the new cradle

Last Tuesday the new cradle was delivered to the Nautical Museum. Even though it was delivered in pieces it was still necessary to hoist it over the roof of the museum by crane because the museum itself is a rather small and eccentric eighteenth-century timber building situated in a narrow lane. We had to apply for a road closure notice as the crane completely blocked it! The local residents were very patient with us which helped enormously.

Chris from Mann Crane Hire instructs the troops

Galla's Foundry deliver the new cradle
Crane and delivery lorry parked outside the Nautical Museum

Everything went very smoothly....
... and here's the end result. The red sections are the lifting superstructure.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Week's progress

No pun intended...
Geoff has fitted the stainless steel 'yolks' to the keel of Peggy (you'll recall the keel is a replacement dating from 1950). These have a hole through them to take bars that will be used to lift the boat.They are permanent alterations to the keel, and accordingly they are very beautifully made and precisely fitted. They are also slightly rebated so that we will be able to hide them with a suitable veneer once we have used them.
Most of last week was spent phoning round all the contractors that are lined up to help with the lift of the boat and the installation of the cradle, namely the fabricators, jacking crew and crane operator (the new cradle will need to be hoisted into the museum yard over the roof). I have had to apply for closure of Bridge Street to allow the crane to operate. It looks like with are all set for the installation of the new cradle during the week beginning 17th June.