Insurance Survey Completed

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

More newly laid decking as KC looks smarter by the week.

KC passed her hull survey on 21st July. This is was necessary step to obtain insurance for Class 12 operation.

The week before had been extremely hectic as a preliminary survey found all sorts of little things which needed to be done before the surveyor could be shown around.

One extra complication was that BOC did not to deliver the oxygen and acetylene which necessitated the old fashioned method of hack saws and hammers. Some evenings the banging and clattering would carry on well after sunset, as did the supply of materials; people turned up with vital bolts, screws, reamers and bits of plate at 10 or 11pm just to keep the job going.

In order for the surveyor to see the entire ship’s hull everything had to be dismantled and stored on deck. From stem to stern she was completely gutted. For the first time in many years all of the bilges could be chipped, swept and painted in one fell swoop. The survey itself was reasonably straight forward – the ship was inspected, requirements for steaming were given -and the surveyor departed and left a list of sixteen jobs to carry out before KC could steam down river.

In Their Own Words – From Paddle Wheels No. 94 – Chris Smith

The wheelhouse is now back together with all its fittings once more in place; the roof has been re-canvassed and all the broken windows replaced.

Outstanding is the insertion of fitted bolts in the paddle shaft brackets. It was planned to use fitted bolts when the brackets were put into position during KC’s last time on the slip, but for various reasons ordinary bolts had to be used. It is a job that involves drilling and reaming each hole to a very accurate size and having a ‘hammer fit’ bolt put in. This boring and long job was undertaken by Geoff Bootle who spent many hours in the paddle box, only coming out when the luring tones of the tea bell reached him!

The deck department is busy laying the two side decks to the aft saloon and the aft well deck. The two starboard sponson decks have yet to be laid out. Having more decks completed means that the maintenance load is increasing. Every so often a seam has to be dugout, re-caulked and re-pitched. Whenever there was a period of a few days settled weather the caulking mallets and pitch pot came out. There were surprisingly few problems with the new forward saloon deck. Throughout the long hot summer days the planks and seams contracted and expanded in unison, with only a few small leaks developing which have been dealt with almost immediately. One new recruit, George Harris explained to some visitors that we had ‘replaced all the leaks in the forward saloon with new ones and sent the old leaks to a museum’!

Restored wheelhouse.|Bernie Thompson

There is an incredible amount of work being done at the moment. It is true to say that five or six people turn up for work on the ship each day and at weekends there are usually ten to fifteen. Despite the departure of our Chief Steward, the Assistant is managing to cope with feeding the motley crew, without many trifles or chocolate gateaux being thrown back at him. This is mainly due to Colin leaving me his copy of the ‘Good Housekeeping Cook Book’ which I am working my way through. For some reason he decided that he wouldn’t require it on the Waverley! This really is the countdown to KC’s steaming again and if all goes well the vessel should be ready for commencing trials by October. Gordon Renshawe, who is a fully qualified skipper spent a morning eyeing up the piers on the Medway and working out different approaches. The volunteers are now beginning to think about becoming crew and seeing how responsibilities can be allocated when trials commence.

Davits and dinghy.|Bernie Thompson

The ship now has a pair of davits in full working order and a very fine clinker built dinghy hanging from them. The dinghy belongs to Chris Jones but he very kindly allows us to use it when we wish.

We shall end with a quote from a crew member — “The wheelhouse is only there to stop people nicking the wheel”.