Sunday, 18 June 2017

Shamrock's Slipway

With the delivery of the new rails for Shamrock's slipway due, the crew has used the time preparing the old rail chairs ready for re-use. This has mainly consisted of removing the old rusted-in securing screws with the aid of a large hammer and the clearing of any rust from the seat area. Replacement “Coach Bolts” are also being cut ready for the securing of the chairs to the sleepers.



Swans

After  two years of failing to raise any young, the pair of swans that normally nest in the mill creek gave Cotehele a miss this year. With their recent reappearance, along with five cygnets, the new nesting site they used, believed to be between Cotehele and Halton Quay, has obviously been a success.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Limber Holes

To enable water to be pumped out of Shamrock the frame floors have draining channels (limber holes) cut out of their under sides, to port and starboard of the centre line, to enable water to flow freely on each side of the keelson to the pump well. Some vessels have a light chain run­ning through the limber holes from forward to aft. These chains, when pulled back and forth occasionally, keep the ’Limber’ holes free of any blockage. Any blockages on Shamrock have to be cleared by hand by the crew. To allow ac­cess to the limber holes the thick limber planks are bolted parallel to and 150 mm (6 in) out from the keelson, thus leaving a gap on each side of it. When the hold is empty it is a good policy to leave the gaps uncovered to allow air to circulate and ventilate the frame spaces. Note: due to the number of visitors this is not practical on Shamrock as they would be a hazard. When cargo is to be loaded, the gaps are covered with portable limber boards, which seat on to spacing blocks placed on the frames so that they lie flush with the surface of the limber planks. The thick limber planks, like the Beamshelf, provide extra longitudinal strength within the hull. In Shamrock the planks are of 100 mm (4 in) thick Douglas Fir and just under 254 mm (10 in) wide. Their outer edges are bevel­led along their length to match up with the ceil­ing planks in the bottom of the hold.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Shamrock Repairs

Second hand railway line with all the bits required to replace Shamrock's slipway tracks have been obtained from Bodmin & Wenford Railway. As the line is in 18m (60ft) lengths it needs to be cut in half for transporting and physically lifting into place, also new bolt holes need to be drilled in the cut ends. This is going to delay putting the line down until the beginning of August with the major repairs to Shamrock now scheduled for the autumn.

Shamrock is Not so Lonely

On Sunday 7th May after 13 years inside Mashfords boatyard the Lynher barge floated on the Tamar meaning that Shamrock is no longer the 'only fully restored Tamar Sailing Barge in the world'. The crew hopes that the two barges can meet up at an event sometime in the future.

Shamrock's Workboat

With the painting and salting of Shamrock's workboat completed she is finally ready to be rowed to her river mooring for the summer.


Sunday, 30 April 2017

River Survey

With the fitting of sonar to Nancy Belle and the approach of the first of this year’s river trips, the opportunity has been taken to survey the river Tamar on both spring and neap tides from Cotehele Quay up-river to past Eel island, which is just a bit further up the river from Morwellham. The purpose of the survey being to check for any fallen trees or signs of the river silting up. Along with finding the exact location of a large submerged tree that was known to be in the river, it was also found that the river bed has been eroded by about 1 meter (3 ft.) between the pillars of the Calstock railway viaduct.

Calstock viaduct dip
Submerged tree spring tide.
Navigational hazard! Submerged branch neap tide.
Now where is that tree?
It’s not been all river trips as the crew have been giving Shamrock's workboat a fresh coat of paint and she is now just about ready to go back on her mooring for the summer. The boat shed has also been cleared and all machinery checked ready for Shamrock's repairs.


Monday, 10 April 2017

Naked Shamrock

Regular visitor to Cotehele Quay will have noticed that Shamrock has not been fully rigged and looks a bit sparse with only her main and mizzen masts showing. This is the result of a hole being found in one of her hull planks, just above the water line amidships on the starboard side, caused by a mooring rope rubbing on a section of rot during a period of high winds. Shamrock will now need to be completely de rigged and hauled out once her slipway rails have been renewed. When she is high and dry on the dockside, the offending plank will be renewed, her keelson repaired, at least one other hull plank that is known to be rotten renewed, the renewal of any other planks found to be rotten and finally, once back in the dock, fit her engine.


The damaged plank.
Visitor access to Shamrock has been improved with the manufacture of a ramp that fits under the end of the gangway and gently sloops down onto the cargo hatch boards, thus allowing the not quite so nimble to go on board her. Shamrock's 'Meet and Greet' volunteers are also being pampered with the addition of an all-weather shelter in the form of a hut complete with veranda.  



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Change of Running Rigging

Due to safety concerns Shamrock's natural fibre rigging ropes are in the process of being renewed using man made ‘Polyhemp’ rope. Polyhemp looks like natural fibre and has the advantages of being stronger, impervious to water, longer lasting and doesn't rot or shrink when wet. To the crew his means that once she is rigged the running rigging blocks won't jam nor will there be the need to slacken everything off when it starts raining and subsequently take up the slack once the weather improves. Rotting sections of rope where found during the recent renewal of the main peak halyard that had only been in use for two years.

In 1981 one of Capt. J. F. Joint’s conclusions, in the report from Second Sailing trials of “Shamrock, stated:  “Natural fibre ropes are subject to rot if left wet. This is bound to happen with Shamrock as a static exhibit”, how right he was.
Old and new peak halyard. 
Completed peak halyard and to be done mainsheet.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

New Crew Member

Over the last few weeks the boat shed has had a regular visitor in the form of a Wren which seems to have made the shed his personal larder. This search for food is achieved by working down the south side windows stopping at each one checking for flies and it even checks out the crews coats for any morsels while flitting along the coat rack. Initially the bird appeared to be a bit camera shy disappearing whenever attempts were made at getting a photo but finally seemed to pose for a few shots.

Posing

Checking for flies
This week the early morning spring tide was used to float Shamrock from her dock to the slipway for a day while her dock was re profiled. She is now back in the dock waiting to be re-rigged for the coming visitor season.

Shamrock high and dry