|Posted by Allan Hickson (Mod) on May 5, 2017 at 8:15 AM|
With ‘Steam on the Dock’ on the horizon, April was a month of intense activity. This important event is the second since our return to steam in September 2016 following completion of the Lottery Hull Project, and whilst that in itself was something of a triumph, there was still a lot of do to get the vessel into the condition we would wish her to be in. Followers of this Newsletter and our Facebook page will have gathered that two-day volunteer working has continued throughout the winter, increasing to 3, 4 and 5 days as we neared our target steaming date.
Chipping and painting of the decks and superstructure continued apace to get her external appearance up to standard, with Paul, our Mate once again showing the power of the chipping hammer by putting it through the port side aft water tank vent, a replacement being speedily fashioned from screwed pipe fittings which was welded into place by Roger Dibnah. Several of the crew suggested to Paul that we might have to find a new home about his person for the chipping hammer if he did it again!
Also ‘up-top’ the nicely repaired domestic water tank has now been re-installed in its’ new angle iron frame – nice to have fresh water to be able to brew up again. The Port side Boiler Room ventilator, now fully restored is in place, a stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted to the auxiliary diesel generator, and a new collar and bracket has been fitted to the Galley stovepipe, enabling quick release and removal if and when we tow from the central towing hooks.
As part of our program to improve and update our safety equipment, we have acquired two new life rafts, which include hydrostatic release units, these being frame mounted fore and aft, and at this point I am forced to make an admission-
Whilst drilling appropriate holes in the Engine Room casing to take the life raft frame I managed to break a drill bit. Ordinarily such a minor mishap would go un-noticed, but Dave Lowndes (who is often reported in these pages for his various and frequent misdemeanours) witness the event, and to make things worse the drill bit was of the carbide tungsten tipped variety from the Chief’s personal collection. Dave was quick to draw the Chief’s attention to my clumsiness, (which will clearly cost me a few pints) before accusingly suggesting that I wouldn’t make any reference to it in these pages. Satisfied Dave?
Down below in the Forward Cabin, steady progress has been made with the difficult task of installing new flooring, which was finished just a few short days before we were due to sail. We now have to work towards the reinstatement of the original recessed panelling, seating and solid fuel stove. In the Engine and Boiler Rooms, lagging of hot surfaces has continued, the engine has been cleaned and painted, and modifications to floor plating levels have been carried out in order to reduce trip hazards.
A visit from the Boiler Inspector for the dry survey went as planned, after which 8 tons of water was piped into the boiler, fire bars were replaced, smokebox doors were shut, the top manhole door was screwed down, the cover plate bolted into place on the new welded studs and coal loaded into the bunkers before fires were lit on Wednesday 24th April. Heat and pressure were slowly raised and on Friday 28th April, boiler pressure was raised to the full working pressure of 180 lbs per sq inch for the Boiler Inspector to witness the lifting of the safety valves, and sign off the Boiler Certificate. We were now ready for our trip out in the river up to Canning Dock for ‘Steam in the Dock’ and I hope you can come and see us there over this weekend, the 6th & 7th May - it promises to be a great do.