The Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society Ltd


August 2017

Posted by Allan Hickson (Mod) on September 7, 2017 at 8:10 AM

Attention on deck continued in August with the de-rusting of the anchor chain and the overhaul of the cat davit on the starboard side of the forward deck, which is used to lift and swing the anchor overside and to retrieve same when the anchor is lifted. The davit is not an original fitting for Kerne, but was salvaged from the 1936 former Isle of Man Harbour Board steam dredger ‘Mannin II’. Having been purchased for preservation in the 1980’s, she spent several years moored alongside Kerne in the basin of Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. Although in working condition, she became somewhat neglected and was moved to Weston Marsh Docks in the early 2000’s and sadly sank at her moorings in 2003. She finally succumbed to the cutter’s torch in 2009 - useful equipment, (including the davit) having been removed.

Also on deck, some needed modifications to the steering gear have been carried out arising from the replacement of the steering chains and repairs to the rudder quadrant. Whilst every care was taken to ensure that the chains were of identical length as the original and that the quadrant had the same profile, when steering hard to port, the starboard side aft shackle connecting the chain to the side rod, via the adjusting turn buckle, was fouling the guiding sheave. After much messing about repositioning and adjusting the chains with little success, we concluded that the easiest solution was to move the sheave. This was cut from its’ original position and welded to the bulwark some 18inches aft of its’ previous position. Problem solved!

In the Engine Room, after much cursing and groaning, the aft condenser door was carefully lowered down to the rear of the engine and offered up to the condenser itself. After attention to the condenser face, the door, together with Dave’s finally-finished rubber joint, was bolted into position and fingers crossed that the low vacuum issued was now solved. Time and engine trials would tell!

Work still carries on apace in the Forward Cabin. At the outset, it was decided that for ease of future maintenance and to achieve the best access to the forward bilges, the seating would be constructed in removable sections. To achieve this it would be necessary to construct seven separate seating sections, and just to make things a little more difficult, they would all be different due to the changing curvature of the hull and the sloping nature of the Forward Cabin floor. Each section frame was made off-site at Bob Stead’s workshop/garage and transferred to the ship where final adjustments were carried out before securing via removable stainless steel pins to the floor structure. The facing panels and removable tops were then made to fit in-situ. To date six of the seven sections have been fitted, leaving the final section and the backing boards to be fitted. To further complicate matters, when the cabin was stripped out in Cammell Lairds yard, we had also to remove our small pot-bellied coal stove, which, on inspection, was condemned, and the decision taken to replace with a more substantial unit. Accordingly, a new ‘Boatman’s Stove’ unit was ordered from Northern Fabrications and once this is trial fitted, the final seating section can be designed.

On Monday 28th August fires were lit with a view to carrying out engine trials on 1st September ahead of a trip up the Manchester Ship Canal for display at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port and then on to Canning Dock Liverpool.

Check out our Calendar for details.

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