Friday, 16 September 2016

Late Season Update

With the end of season approaching the crew made use of the unseasonable hot and sunny weather by setting Shamrock's main, mizzen and stay sails allowing them to get an airing before being dropped onto the quay, folded and finally stored in the boat shed for the winter. Her sail covers have been refitted to the spars and will remain there until Shamrock is de rigged sometime in November. The year’s final Nancy Belle river trip has been completed and planning has started with tide tables consulted in readiness for next year’s trips. Shamrock's workboat 'Edgcumbe' along with the mud buggy have been used to keep the crews feet out of the mud while they paint Shamrock's chain plates.

Setting Shamrock's sails.
Edgcumbe alongside.
Mud buggy ready for action.
River Tamar from Nancy Belle.
Finally with Shamrock's Skipper Shaune back after his operation the quay shall we say is not so quiet as it has been of late! Welcome back Shaune.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Shamrock's Pump

During Shamrock's restoration a tra­ditional cast iron sluice or diaphragm pump of a size suitable for Shamrock was located on a barge in a Southampton shipyard, but as it was buried under scrapped steel plates, and other gear from broken up vessels, there was no way of getting it off the vessel. However, the yard foreman promised that as soon as the plates and scrap were shipped out he would break the pump out of its seating and put it aside for Shamrock. Once the pump had been recovered, refurbished and restored to full working order it was fitted aft of the cargo hold hatch coaming, taking it's suction from the forward end of the after cabins bilges, in the autumn of 1979. Recently one eagle eyed visitor noticed that it was manufactured by George White & Sons, London, Ontario, Canada and wondered why a pump of British manufacture was not fitted? After some research a local connection was found in that George White who founded the company was born in Shute, Devon and he learned the blacksmith trade at his father's wagon-building shop. He emigrated to Canada with his young bride and eventually formed the company. The only thing the crew hopes is that it never needs to be used in earnest.

Shamrock's pump.
Ready for action.
Handle stowed.
Suction pipe.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Missing Muscovy Duck

A Muscovy duck (known as Quackers) who, for the last few months has come to regard himself as a member of Shamrock's crew and expects to be regularly fed has been missing for a few days. Normally he is waiting on the grass outside the boat shed for the first crew member to arrive or if he is a bit late will ether appear in the open boat shed door or peck at the door just to let you know that he is there. On one occasion when he was later than normal he appeared on the quay and made it clear to the crew working onboard Shamrock that he wanted feeding. The crew hopes that he reappears soon or has found somewhere else where he gets fed on a regular basis.

Monday, 15 August 2016


Shamrock has two tabernacles, a main and a mizzen, into which her respective masts are fixed and have a pivot near the top so that the masts can be lowered to pass under bridges.


The main tabernacle consisted of two oak cheek boards 11.5 cm (4.5 in) thick and 25 cm (10 in) wide, of a length to stand 1.07 metre (3 ft. 6 in) above the deck and reach down 1.52 metre (5 ft) to each side of the keelson, to which they are through bolted. The upper part of the boards are through-bolted to the for­ward (for’d) main cargo hatch beam. An oak cross­ piece, or cleat rail, is bolted on the fore edges of the cheeks 0.9 metre (3 ft.) above deck level with an iron mast band above it. Both cheeks are bored through their sides for a 5 cm (2 in) diameter steel pin upon which the mast pivots.

Main tabernacle


The mizzen tabernacle is of similar construc­tion, with 10 cm (4 in) thick cheeks which stand 0.9 metre (3 ft.) above the deck. The cheeks are bolted one each side of the keelson and to the forward (for’d) side of beam No.8, which also support the forward end of the deckhouse.

Mizzen tabernacle
Base bolted to the keelson.
The crew is quite happy that no low bridges that require lowering the masts have been encountered on any of Shamrock trips to date and hope it stays that way.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Quiet Boat Shed

With skipper Shaune away recovering from his successful hand operation, the visitor season is at its peak and with “Shamrock” being open for visitors most days the only work being carried out on the boat is the occasional pumping out and salting of her bilges. Plus, of course, keeping her shipshape for the visitors. The crew has noted that the boat shed seems remarkable quiet except for the couple of occasions that Shaune has managed to get a chauffeur and made an appearance. Nevertheless, many other little jobs are getting done in and around the shed.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

No Boat Rally

Due to Shamrock's skipper Shaune recovering after a planned minor operation, Shamrock will not be making an appearance at the “Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally” this year.

There is better news though, the new fire pump has arrived to assist in the re-profiling of Shamrock's dock and slipway. It will soon be put through its paces as the last couple of weeks have seen a significant deposit of mud.

New and old.
Two weeks worth of mud!

Monday, 11 July 2016

Not Quite To Plan

With the river mud building up in Shamrock's dock and on her slipway it was time to get out the fire pump and re profile (wash out) the dock and clear her slipway. The plan of action being.

Day One
Clear the mud from the slipway.

Day Two
On the morning tide float Shamrock onto the slipway, let her ground on the falling tide and then clear the mud from her dock. This had not been tried before as normally when Shamrock is on her slipway she is sat on her cradle.

Day Three
Float Shamrock back over into her dock on the morning tide ready for the days visitors.

All went according to plan until the pump decided to stop working half way through clearing the dock out on day two. Shamrock was returned to her dock on day three only when the tide is out she sits higher on the mud than planned. On the positive side it did prove that Shamrock can be left on her slipway for the odd day as long as the next days tide is high enough to float her off. While she was sat in the slipway advantage was taken of the easer access to the main mast port chainplates with them being scraped clean and painted.

Waiting for the tide to drop.
Bottom check.
Back to normal.