Wednesday 27th November, a higher than forecast tide was caused by a high spring tide combining with low pressure and strong winds resulted in Shamrock's stern getting a good soaking. With her keel and bottom hull planks drying out river water leaked in and out with the tide depositing mud and a tideline in her aft bilges, these have now been salted ready for the next extra high tide.
After being hauled on to the slipway, Nancy Belle has had her cooling system flushed out, been washed out and a large number of barnacles scraped from her bottom before being moved into the boat shed for the winter.
Shamrock's aft deckhouse has been stripped back to bare wood, had some rotten sections of mahogany replaced and also received its first coat of 'Woodskin'.
The remaining timber from Shamrock's temporary cover is gradually being removed from the quay to the boat shed. Due to the large number of screws used in the covers construction most of this wood cannot be recycled so it is food for the wood burner, keeping the crew warm.
Shamrock's meet and greet volunteers hut has been dismantled and stowed for the winter.
Shamrocks cover has been cut allowing the crew to have access onboard to check that the cover has kept her dry after the heavy rain of the last few weeks, it has. Some missing tools where found along with spiders webs taking advantage of the sheltering flies. An access hatch has been fashioned from the remains of the old cover making future checks easer.
Since Shamrock's conservation work has ceased the crew has been kept busy tidying the quay area around her. In the boat shed, the aft deckhouse and forward companionway have been scraped and sanded back to bare wood. They will soon be ready for a coat of paint and Woodskin on the previously varnished areas.
Bob Medler, the ships surveyor, has visited Shamrock and signed off the work completed to date, he was impressed by the high standard. This marks the completion of phase one of Shamrock's current restoration program. Restoration work has now ceased on Shamrock until the phase two funding has been released. Once approved, this will allow the commencement of the removal and replacement of the false keel and keelson. As a result, Shuggs and Mark have just completed their last working week on Shamrock until phase two, the quay will be quiet without the sounds of sawing, hammering, planning, etc. Their last week was spent, with a lot of help from Shaune, and a little help from the crew, completing the fitting of the cargo hatch coaming dog cleats. Moving the deckhouse and companionway to the boat shed ready for a new coat of paint and replacing the varnish with 'Woodskin'. They also upcycled Shamrock's temporary cover by removing its sides, then lowering the top until it rested on the wash strake and lashed it to the bulwarks. Cutting the cover support beams to give about 20 inches (508 mm) of overhang and fitting a baton edging strip. The cover was then stretched taut and by screwing a second baton edge to the first, holding the cover taught. This layout should keep Shamrock dry while also allowing plenty of ventilation. Looks a bit like a 'Wanchai Burberry' to the crew.
The site still needs tidying, what’s left of the cover sorted with any sound lengths of timber stored and any remaining timber moved to the boat shed for the stove.
On Shamrock the first of the cargo hatch coaming dog cleats have been fitted.
Fitting of her ‘chain-plates’ has been completed.
A total of 36 bolts, made up of a combination of new and old, have been fixed to Shamrock's port side bracing her ‘beamshelf’ and ‘hanging knees’. Some were missing and some replaced undersize bolts fitted during previous repairs.
To cap the hull bolt and nail heads, that have insufficient counterbore to hold a wooden plug, a mixture of ‘trowel on Bitumen Mastic' (black butter), P.V.A. glue and cement has been used. Once set theses will be sanded flush and given a coat of bitumen paint.
In the boat shed new ‘thumb cleats’ have been cut from an oak offcut and are undergoing their final shaping.
After consulting old photos, checking the location of bolt holes in the ceiling boards and groves in the old covering boards the positions of Shamrock's “chainplates” has been determined and they are now in the process of being bolted in place.
Access to Shamrock's lower deck has been made a lot easer with the replacement of her repaired and freshly painted hold ladder.
The heartwood for Shamrock's new keelson and false keel has been delivered. After extending and clearing the original ‘wood store’ attached to the Northern side of the boat shed, the remaining timbers from her repairs to date have been sorted and stacked.
The end of phase one of Shamrock's current conservation program is approaching. The fitting of the two aft wash strake planks being the last of the large sections of timber to be completed and this means she is structurally complete. There remains only some finishing touches plus a lot of cleaning and painting to be carried out.
The false keel and keelson of Shamrock are due to be renewed in the next phase. The missing centre sections of deck planks, which were not fitted to enable access to the keelson, are being covered with plywood to insure Shamrock is water tight when her temporary cover is removed.
Caulking and tarring of all the fitted deck planks has been completed thanks to Mark.
After over 18 months of working under Shamrock's cover there has been a rare sighting of ‘Shuggs’ with a broom!
Staff and volunteers from Cotehele said farewell to Joe Lawrence and wished him a happy retirement at the “Summer Hog Roast” on Friday 26th August. Leaving after 32 years at Cotehele Joe was presented with various gifts including a photo album of his time at Cotehele, he also cut the Shamrock themed retirement cake. As a way of saying thanks for all the work he has put into Shamrock, Shaune and his volunteers also presented Joe with a half model of Shamrock mounted on elm recovered from her old covering boards during the current conservation.
Work on the wash strake is continuing with two 32 ft. (9.75 meter) planks of European larch reduced to 1.75 inch (44 mm) x 7.5 inch (190 mm), which were steamed to shape, scarfed at the ends, clamped into place on each side capping rail and then through bolted. Two more to go!
In the boat shed the cargo hatch coaming ‘dog cleats’ have being cleaned and given a coat of galvanise paint after being recovered from the wood store.
The cargo hold access ladder has been checked and the three steal bracing rods replaced with stainless steel threaded bar, the previous ones suffering from severe corrosion.
Fore deck and both side decks caulked and tarred. Aft port side caulking and tarring started after being cleaned and sanded.
Two lines of a combination of old and new steal rubbing strips fitted to inner faces of both sides. Old hatch boards fitted, checked and adjusted as required.
Where the bulwark stanchions slot through the covering boards, especially the cargo gate stanchions, was an area where water leaked into Shamrock resulting in the large amount of the wet rot found during the current restoration. To insure a better seal, after caulking and tarring the slots, Shaune has made moulds, poured tar around them building up the seal above deck level and finally rounded the edges off with a hot knife. Completed: fitting, plugging and priming of the starboard bulwark side planks. The port side planks are currently in the process of being fitted.
Three out of the four of the cavils have been fitted. Oak stern fairleads now completed. Work has started on the wash strakes with the both fore sections being cut from oak these will have the fairleads cut into them replacing the stag horns and matching the stern fairleads.