Friday, 31 May 2013

Shamrock 1 - 1 Weather

Don't you just love it when thing's go to plan.
After a not too early start Shamrock left Cotehele Quay and with a steady tail wind proceeded down the Tamar towards Plymouth. The trip was notable for being on one of the best days of the year so far weather wise, glorious sunshine all the way. No problems were encountered during the trip and even the river at Weir Quay seemed remarkably clear of moored yachts.
Shamrock arrived at Royal William Yard at about 2 p.m. and is now alongside the central pontoon and will be open for visitors over the weekend.
She is due to depart Royal William Yard, for Cotehele, on Monday 3rd June about midday.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Departure Times

This weekend's weather forecast is looking good and Shamrock should cast off from Cotehele Quay, for it's planned trip to Royal William Yard, on Friday 31st at around 10:30 a.m. The time is not exact as Shamrock will be leaving as soon as she floats on the late morning tide.

The return trip is scheduled to leave Royal William Yard at about 11:30 a.m. on Monday 3rd June, allowing plenty of time to arrive back at Cotehele Quay on the afternoon tide.

Message for Frank

Don't forget to remove Shamrock's cargo winch cable so you can paint the drum!

Friday, 24 May 2013

A question answered!

One question that visitors to Shamrock often ask is, "how could a crew of two manage to sail Shamrock"? We know that then ships were made of wood and men were made of iron but they weren't that good. It has always been suspected that the sails used then were a lot lighter than her existing heavy canvas sails. Peter has always said that her existing sails are strong enough to take Shamrock around Cape Horn, (no thanks.) Now with the arrival of a 1939 vintage photo of Shamrock beached and unloading we have some proof that this is true. Also, after careful comparison we now know that the original gaffs and booms were also a lot lighter than her present ones. Other differences have been noted and discussed.

Thanks to James Hunter for supplying the photo and his grandfather for taking it.

Friday, 17 May 2013

What shall we do with a drunken sailor?

Put him in the Shamrock and make him bale her.

In the last week Shamrock has take on a lot of water mainly due to the fact that the summer monsoon seems to have arrived, coupled with a leaky deck and leaky cargo hold hatch cover. No problem we thought as Shamrock was fitted with an electric bilge pump, about four years ago. (We know it's not authentic but saves a lot of sweat and time).  So the electric hook-up lead was connected to the dockside and nothing. Checks revealed that 240v to 12vdc power unit had blown and not as we had hoped just a blow fuse. In the days before the electric pump, Shamrock was pumped out by hand using a small hand pump to fill buckets and then these were emptied over the side, so it was out with the pump and buckets. We did manage to cheat a bit though by disconnecting the pumps discharge hose and temporarily connecting it to the hand pump (lots of tape). This saved the problem of lifting the buckets out of the hold and worked a lot better than expected.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Shamrock 0 - 1 Weather

The boat shed was alive with activity on Tuesday afternoon with ropes and all the gear required for the planned "Old Gaffers" trip, being dug out and then stowed on-board Shamrock (well scattered on the cargo hold cover). Nancy Belle was moved from its river mooring and moored alongside the main quay ready for towing duties. Meanwhile, conflicting weather forecasts were coming in and about the only thing they seemed to agree on was the fact it was going to be windy on Thursday. Then the news came that the Met Office had issued a yellow alert for wind on Thursday with coastal gusts of up to 60 mph (100 kph) and so reluctantly the decision was made to cancel the trip. More frantic activity followed as all the trip gear was returned to the boat shed and Shamrock's mooring ropes checked and adjusted.

Why cancel?
One of Shamrock's problems is that she has no engine and needs to be towed everywhere. She is also flat bottomed, only drawing about two and a half feet of water (76 cm), so in a wind when you combine that with the large exposed area of hull, masts and rigging you have a barge that is easily blown off course and is difficult to tow.   

Why not sail as that is what she was originally designed for?
Shamrock is described as 'sailing like a supermarket trolly' as she has no leeboards or drop keels (originally fitted) and needs about 12 tons of ballast in the bow before she will sail through the wind. Also the Tamer river of today is a lot more crowded than it was in the early twentieth century with lots of boats permanently moored in the deep water channel. Even when she was working the Tamar she was still dependant on wind and tide which is why the river cargo traffic was killed off with the arrival of the more reliable railways.

Could Shamrock have stayed at Mayflower Marina and returned at a later date?
Yes, but we were due to be berthed on the outer pontoon and this is exposed to westerly winds and Shamrock could have easily been damaged. Shamrock is also one of the National Trust's visitor attractions at Cotehele so any time away from the quay needs to be kept to a minimum.

Sea trials.

Missed from last week's blog was the launching of Shamrock's workboat that had spent the last 18 months being restored. Hat's off to Shaune as no leaks where found and it rows well.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Stop Press/Trip

Due to the Met Office yellow alert for southwest winds on Thursday, Shamrock's trip to the Old Gaffers meeting has been cancelled.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Chain Gang

This last week has been taken up with getting Shamrock ready for its first outing of the season. The painting of the bulwarks and stanchions has continued and finished of with the picking out of the lower white beading line and the addition a white capping line.

During the winter lay-up the anchor chain had been removed and left flaked out on some slats next to Shamrock's bow. This has had to be man-handled to the head of the dock, the end then roped on-board, threaded through the hawse pipe, passed over the anchor windlass, down into the chain locker and finally secured. Once completed the remaining chain was then pulled on-board, with the aid of the anchor windlass, and flaked out in the chain locker. I don't know which was the worst job, moving the chain on the jetty, winding the anchor windlass or flaking out the chain? 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Old Gaffers

It's been confirmed that Shamrock will be attending the Old Gaffers Association 50th anniversary Plymouth event. This takes place on the 8th and 9th May where, as their website puts it ,"The fleet will be berthed and crews looked after at the very hospitable Mayflower Marina which is well equipped with all facilities.  After merriment on the 8th May a grand parade of sail is being organised for the morning of the 9th before boats leave on their way to the Scillies." Not that Shamrock will be going to  Scilly; though we can live with the merriment bit.
Shamrock is due to depart from Cotehele Quay on the late afternoon tide Tuesday 7th May, as soon as there is sufficient water to clear the dock. High water is around 5:20 pm so this could be any time from 4 pm. The return trip will be timed to arrive back at Cotehele Quay on Thursday 9th's evening tide. Shamrock normally takes two and a half to three hours to complete the trip to or from Plymouth.