Gold Coast City Marina
Our final day at Sanctuary Cove, Sunday 28th, was like most of the others, pretty quiet, with not many people visiting the ship. The berth we had here was a good one, with no adjustment of the gangway or moorings needed like at many other places we have been. Andrew Monks, Harbour Master, and his staff have looked after us very well, with nothing too much trouble, it is just a shame that the public interest in the ship has been so poor. Never mind, preparations have been going ahead for the refit period. Monday morning comes and we get the ship ready to head further up the Coomera River towards the marina where the ship will come out of the water . Waiting for the flood tide to get well underway, we do not get away from the berth until shortly after 1000. Clearing the berth, it is a sharp turn into the river, but Andrew and Karl are out in their workboats to give us a bit of a push on the bow, after that it is an easy run up the river towards the Gold Coast City Marina. A 40 minute run at slow speed to negotiate the narrow channel and we come alongside the fuel berth for a short period while the necessary paper work is done. All in order and we get underway again and go through a fairly tight manoeuvre to bring the ship stern first into the lift out basin. The ensign staff has already been dropped and stowed on deck but it will still be a tight fit to get her into the lifting straps. We get 6 straps around the hull, supported by 2 lifting points on the travel lift and the lift begins. All is not well, the overload alarms on the lift soon begin to sound and the ship is lowered back into the water. It seems that we will need all 9 straps to evenly spread the load and after much conferring , it seems that there will only be one way that the travel lift can successfully positon all 9 slings and that is with the mizzen mast out. The lift has a beam across one end that cannot get past the mizzen and there seems to be no other way. The crew swing into action - shroud lanyards slacked away, main topsail braces and mizzen lift unrove, skirt lifted and wedges knocked out and the mast is ready to lift in quick time. The ship is warped right back to the end of the basin and a big forklift comes up, passing its tines on either side of the mast and a strop secured around the mast and onto the forklift. A few attempts are needed to break the step free of the seal formed by the goo that it was stepped into, but eventually the mast comes out and is laid carefully ashore. Sporting our new "Brig rig" we are ready for the next lift attempt, this time with 9 slings from 3 lifting points. They are well positioned along the hull and the weight is taken, I am up in the cab with the foreman, anxiously watching the weightometer readings. By the stability book calculations we shoud be around 110 tonnes displacement and I become a little concern as the guage goes up, 110, 120, 130, 140 tonnes. One of the crew draws my attention to a nervous trait that I did not realize, apparently I stroke my beard faster as I get more worried. All 3 alarms begin to sound the 50 tonne limit as the keel comes clear of the water, we are sitting right on the 150 tonne SWL of the machine. But all goes well and we are wheeled ashore for water blasting. As the slime is washed off, the antifoul paint proves to be still in quite good condition except for the stem and rudder where the paint had not stuck at all at the last slipping. Water wash finished, we were finally lowered into 3 cradles and the arms screwed up to hold the ship securely in position. It has been a tense day. Today we get stuck in to the hull preparation, scraping and sanding to get her ready for more coats of anti foul. Bill Leonard, the Master Shipwright who lead the team that built the ship, has come over to survey the ship and see what sort of condition she is in now that this voyage has been completed. Yesterday he spent a good time poking around and identifying a few areas that need attention - becuase all the timbers have worked and moved, there are a few areas that need recaulking to stop some leaks and some fastenngs that need nipping up tight. In particular, the keel bolts are all slack and leaking - Toby, a boatbuilder who has joined us for a while to lend a hand, drives these out, places new grommets of tarred hemp and resecures them. In the meantime, Bill and Rupert attend to to the problem that was most on my mind - worm. Oak is like a Mars bar for teredo worms and I was concerned about the areas that had lost the paint, in particular the stem. The little bastards had got in, appearing out of their holes as the hull dried out. Fortunately, as the stem was planed off, the holes were not too deep and Bill is confident that the problem can be addressed - a blowtorch is run over the area to finish killing them off, followed by a wash of Everdure and epoxy thinner. Tomorrow the holes will be filled with another epoxy product and we will be able to repaint. More worm holes are found along the midship areas of the lower wales, the port side being the worst. Here Rupert and James cut out the offending part, pulling out a couple of big worms in the process. A fillet of timber will have to be put in here and we come up with a plan to place a sacrificial rubbing strake in the area to prevent the problem recurring - even with the best paint job and the careful use of fenders, this area will lose paint again from time to time as it rubs against piles at berths. The ship takes on the usual chaotic state of a drydocking - we have a container full of equipment from the forepeak that was emptied for cleaning and inspection, the sails have ben unbent and stored, making her look bare aloft (not to mention the mizzen mast lying on the concrete), and the hull begins to take on its patchwork appearance as the work progresses. The paint delivery arrives - courtesy of Hempels once again who are continuing their great support of the ship, and the crew take on a tired grubby appearance by the end of the day. The joys of drydocking. Gary Wlson Master.