Sunday, 23 October 2016

Good Fishing Spot

Over the last few weeks a cormorant seems to have chosen Cotehele Quay as his favourite fishing spot and has been entertaining visitors and Shamrock's crew alike by regularly catching small flounders in the river Tamar just off the quay. Sometimes these are not so small and he has great difficulty in swallowing them even occasionally letting one go. After particularly heavy meals he can be spotted spreading his wings and resting on a fallen tree on the opposite river bank.

One that didn't get away. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Tidy Boat Shed

With the half term 'freak week at Cotehele' from 24 - 28 October approaching the boat shed is having its annual tidy up with all items not required for the winter working period removed and stowed elsewhere. Thereby leaving plenty of space for the 'hands-on’ activities of the “on the quay” part of freak week. Once that is over and the boat shed swept out there will be plenty of space for storing and working on items removed from Shamrock during the winter de rigging process which is due to commence in November.

Shamrock's Engine Update

A Yanmar 75hp turbocharged marine diesel engine along with most of the ancillary items required for fitting it into Shamrock have been ordered. It looks like the crew is in for a busy winter.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

An Engine For Shamrock

After a successful year of fundraising and a couple of delays the go ahead has been given to purchase an engine for Shamrock. Once the engine is sourced it's planned to fabricate a metal engine bed which in turn will be bolted to Shamrock's frames on the starboard side of the aft cabin replacing the existing bunk. The idea of a metal engine bed is that it will be easy to remove if the engine is ever removed. Once in place the line of the propeller shaft and the position of the stern gland can be determined. Fitting of the stern gland and propellor shaft will be undertaken on a low tide while Shamrock is grounded. The shaft will need to be of sufficient length to enable the propellor to clear the hull, also to support the combined weight of the shaft and propeller a P bracket will need to be fitted to the after hull. This is plan 'A' but as with all of Shamrock's plans this can change.

After cabin starboard bunk.

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.