Myself, Alan and the proprietor Chris Somner met to discuss getting back to work during the gradual easing of the Lockdown regulations. We explained to him our 3 main initial priorities ie the hull integrity, the cockpit rebuild to Coded cat 3 surveyors requirements and the replacement of the wheelhouse roof and windows.
This would require him to re-bore the deadwood and reinstall the sterntube and propshaft. He informed us that as the new deadwood had a misaligned pilot-boring already done by the Portsmouth College it would have to be removed by MVS and a new one made by him. This is a big setback and we will have to source a massive hunk of timber from somewhere. (The Portsmouth one was made out of a timber fished out of Portsmouth harbour and believed to be about 150 years old!!)
It was agreed that the MVS would replace the wheelhouse roof and also do the hull exterior. He recommended to abrade the hull clean and apply underwater primer. The MVS would also complete the cockpit rebuild. We would not be allowed into the workshops or to use any of their tools or machinery but if we gave them the dimensions, they would cut the timber for us and also carry out epoxy sheathing where required. He promised to install a metered electric supply out in the Yard that we could access for using power tools.
Further discussion ensued concerning Covid-19 safe working procedures, (Maximum 2 MVS personnel on site at anytime), domestic arrangements such as use of toilets, parking, beverages etc and a promise to review these measures on 17th May 2021
It will be good to get back to work, albeit slowly
Another Saturday and another opportunity to make some progress. Four of us arrived in the morning, myself, Alan, David Ost and Brian Margetson. After the usual Covid19 palaver of temperature taking etc we set to with the propane gun, tape and plastic sheeting. We started on the South West side 25ft x 13ft was a huge single sheet of heavy plastic to handle and we were glad of 4 pairs of hands. By lunchtime we had it finished and after a break we started on the stern end of the shelter. Once that was done, we used a large tarpaulin to sheet the awkward shaped bow end. Finally completed we gave each other a socially distanced pat on the back and headed for home.
Today is Saturday so no staff on the premises and we can be allowed in, just two of us, Alan and I. After donning our masks and taking each others temperature and declaring no Covid symptoms, we went to work. Chris was on hand to lend us his propane heat gun. By the end of play we had succeeded in shrink-wrapping the full length of the area between our roof and that of the existing lower roof.
Just Alan, Paul and myself braved the freezing cold today. After taking the usual Covid precautions we got to work on the shelter adding some extra bracing to the frame and then to complete the roof. We experienced some problems due to a mismatch between sheets. The width of the roof is covered by the pairing of a 6ft sheet overlapped by a 10ft sheet, both described as being 42″ wide and all delivered from the same supplier. However the 6 footers actually measured 42.5″ whilst the 10 footers were 41.5″ . The one inch difference caused a few headaches! Notwithstanding the task was completed by 2pm and we were very glad to head for the warmth of home.
The next stage will be to clad the scaffolding entirely in polythene shrink-wrap. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait until this National Lockdown ends. We are only allowed to work on Saturdays now because the Yard is otherwise closed to business. Sunday working is not allowed under the Industrial Estate rules. This is going to be a long haul.
Alan Jones, Karl Chant, Paul Roberts, Mike Diprose and myself turned out to put a shift in to get some progress on building the shelter. We are now in Tier 4 so started the day off taking everyone’s temperature with our new IR contactless thermometer, no symptoms declared, scanning the Track & Trace Q code on the gate, issuing hard hats, visors, tools etc and got stuck in.
By the end of the day, 4 pm as we lose the daylight, the framework was up and we had 4 roof-sheets on
In the week following Tom Sherrin’s arrival in Poole, there is very little to report due not only to continuous rain and high winds but mainly to the 2nd Lockdown which ended on 2nd December and was replaced by Tier 2 restrictions. On the Monday I gave a Zoom talk to the Poole MVS on the restoration which encouraged people with useful skills to come forward and volunteer to help.
A meeting arranged with the Boatyard owner to discuss the way forward was postponed twice and finally took place on Tuesday 8th on the boat with him and Harry, a shipwright, and Alan and myself. This proved very useful and included most aspects ranging from Covid precautions, risk assessments, insurance both theirs and ours, works that require Shipwright assistance and the erection of a suitable shelter.
On 14th December, I took delivery of the corrugated iron roof sheets and stowed them by the boat. Five days later on Saturday 19th, 4 of us, Alan, Dave Ranger, Spencer and myself made a start on the scaffolding but after a while it became apparent that there were insufficient tubes and fittings to complete the job. I took stock and ordered more which were delivered before Christmas and these were also stowed beneath the boat. Some more of the framework was assembled on New Year’s Eve but it was slow going.
After 5 years since MVS Tom Sherrin travelled by sea from Poole to Portsmouth, she has finally returned home rather ignominiously by road! However we are really pleased that at least now we are back in control and can crack on with completing her restoration. The IBTCP have not done any work on her since August 2019 and all the work carried out since was done by MVS volunteers which came to an end with the first Lockdown at the end of March.
On the plus side she has had 3 months in the cut rehydrating and the planking has largely taken up although unfortunately she has been sunk in the cut, the shakes in the keel are now all full of mud and the freshly painted bilges all now need cleaning out and pressure washing. We have covered her over with tarps for now and the next job will be to erect a shelter from scaffolding which the Yard has available on site.