Saturday, 21 June 2014

Hearts of Oak

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to visit the Morecambe Bay shrimper Hearts of Oak (1912) as she lay moored in Douglas harbour here on the Isle of Man. Tony, Ray and Brian were there to welcome us, and told us a bit about her restoration, which has taken a good number of years, as such projects do.
Hearts of Oak is the last vessel built in and sailed from Ulverston, a small town in south west Cumbria, otherwise famous as the birth place of Stan Laurel. In sailing to the island from Ulverston overnight, the crew re-created a crossing well-known to George Quayle and described by him in his 1796 correspondence. Just like George they suffered a choppy voyage; unlike his party, thankfully, they were not reduced to bailing out with a hat box to avoid sinking. In fact Hearts of Oak sails very fast and sweetly too, and she is very elegant to boot. Well worth a skeet, as they say over here.

Hearts of Oak, moored at Douglas breakwater

The crew of Hearts of Oak: L to R, Ray, Tony and Brian

Hearts of Oak on Facebook

The Nobby Owners Association

Hearts of Oak is also inscribed on the National Small Boats Register

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Night soil, night soil

This week I have been working in Quayle's dock in 15cm of water with the Bee Gees Night Fever running through my head as I chip, chisel and scrub away the mud and concrete from the mass of fused machinery lying there. The black, night soil mud is hard and sticky and full of broken glass - nice! It's also very fine and gets everywhere. It ruined my pneumatic hammer in the space of three hours, forcing me to buy a new one.
This time I am taking no chances. As you can see, I have tied polythene bags on to the chisels so the hammer (top) can be protected from the mud while I work.
Pneumatic hammer and chisels

I did, finally, manage to get a piece of the mass off. It's this very nice 18th century winding handle....

18th century winding handle

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The dock in 3D and mystery objects

Please bear with me if you find you are unable to download and open the linked documents in this post. I am sailing uncharted waters here!

I have been hard at work this week in the recently excavated 1802 dock at the Nautical Museum in Castletown. At the bottom of the dock the archaeologists were obliged to leave, as found, a tangled mass of machinery and timbers stuck together under a heap of concrete (see my previous post entitled 'End of the dock dig'). It falls to me now to record, separate and remove from the dock the various parts of this concretion. To do this I have each day to drain the dock with a pump at low tide. Then I am using a compressed air chisel to remove the concrete bit by bit. It is a very laborious process and I've only just begun.
To record the stages of this work I am using close-range photogrammetry, otherwise understood as 3D modelling from photographs. Here is a link to a 3D scan in pdf format. The file is very large so you will have to DOWNLOAD THEN SAVE it before you can view it. Those of you with more basic computers may not be able to view the file even then. If this is you, I apologise.

3d Model: download me!
Meanwhile, here are two photographs of a mystery, unidentified object extracted from the mass in the dock, yesterday. 

The photographs show a pair of bevelled brass collars, two concentric brass tubes and a coiled, steel spring. At the top of the photos is mounted a kind of latch. We are very interested to hear from you if you think you might know what this is.....