Friday, 30 April 2010

Chairman's Blog No 11 - New Chairman, New Season, Same Challenge!

New Chairman

After two years as Chairman of the Scottish Branch, Stuart Mears decided to stand down at the recent branch AGM held on Friday 16th April in Glasgow. Having been Stuart's Vice Chairman for the same period the "baton" was handed to me for the next two years. For those of you who dont know me my name is Gavin Stewart, I live in Greenock though originally hail from West Kilbride on the Ayrshire coast.

I became involved with Waverley / PSPS in 2004 when myself and my partner Shelagh began attending Work Parties on the ship during the winter. I was asked to join the branch committee in 2005 and took over the role of Exhibitions Manager in 2006 - the same year as Shelagh came onto committee. 2008 saw me join the Council of Management of the Society and become Vice Chairman of the branch. My background is in Electrical Engineering and I currently work at Howden Process Compressors in Renfrew - originally James Howden & Co who are a long established Scottish engineering company.

So there you have it - a potted history of your new Chairman! Can I take this opportunity to thank Stuart for all his efforts during the last two years and thank him for agreeing to stay on as a member of the branch commitee. I also have the pleasure of welcoming Paul Semple on board. Paul is well known in Waverley circles and will be a great asset to the branch. Stuart Cameron also rejoins us after an absence of a year as does Michael Hughan who will continue to keep us abreast of happenings with Scotland's other paddler Maid of the Loch.

So who is the Vice Chairman I hear you ask?? Well none other than "Uncle" Peter Reid - one of the original group who set the whole thing going back in 1974. No pressure there then!!

Anyway - back to the present day and our ship!

New Season

You will have seen from the previous post that our paddler is now safely docked down in Garvel Drydock, Greenock for her annual overhaul. She is expected to emerge on Monday 10th May when she will head out to the Tail O the Bank for compass adjustment before proceeding back up river to her Glasgow Science Centre berth where work will continue to ready her for the forthcoming season which starts at 7am on Friday 28th May with the annual trip to Oban for the weekend.

This season will present the same set of challenges as before - fuel continues to be a major issue and the recent steady increase in cost at the pumps equates to a similar increase for Waverley even though she doesn't (thankfully!!) run on pump fuel!! Couple this with the unpredictable climate (at least she won't be affected by volcanic ash issues) and you can see why operating the World's Only Seagoing Paddle Steamer is no walk in the park.

We can all play a part in facing this challenge - by sailing on our ships and also encouraging others to come along and share the pleasures of a relaxing day out on the river watching the world paddle past. Leave your cares ashore and collect them on your return.............

So on that note I'll sign off - below are some more excellent shots of Waverley's trip to Greenock on Wednesday taken by Gerry Deegan.

Heres to season 2010 - see you aboard!!

Gavin Stewart

Summer's Coming - Waverley goes to Garvel Drydock

A sure sign that summer is coming (or at least that part of the year that used to be summer) - Waverley made her first voyage of 2010 yesterday when she paddled down from Glasgow to Greenock and entered Garvel Graving Dock for her pre-season overhaul. In fact the vessel looks remarkably good going into the dock - a happy condition for which we must thank all of her winter crew and her loyal band of able volunteers

This link takes you to a short video of the vessel entering the dock - one of Gerry Ward's excellect Clutha Films

Gerry's own website River Clyde Photography is vell worth a visit and frequest returns

Friday, 2 April 2010

Medway Queen - Rebuild of a Dunkirk Veteran Part 3

Update on Progress at the Albion Dockyard, Bristol.
(Words G Stewart - Pics Dave Elms)

Almost 12 months have passed since our last article on this historic project and work has been continuing apace at Albion Dry Dock, Bristol.

Time to catch up then!!

On Thursday 15th October this project reached a major milestone when the first hull block was removed from the fabrication shed and placed onto the keel blocks in the drydock. More on this story can be found on the Medway Queen Website

Fabrication has continued in the dry dock with more blocks being added.

Click on an image to view a larger version

Jan 2010

A rivetted hull requires a frame onto which the plating is rivetted. This frame consists of vertical sections (which are formed into the correct profile to give the hull the correct shape) and transverse frames which run port to starboard and are fixed to the vertical items. The vertical frames are in turned rivetted to keel.
The shot below shows frames for the forward section of the hull ready to be erected.

The next photo below shows the hull in dry dock from the framed bow back to midships - with a section still to be framed. Note the smooth curve in the transverse frames - this is called camber and adds strength to the structure. In the case of open decks this also assists with drainage to the scuppers during inclement weather.

Another view of the hull looking from the after end. The two large bulkheads in the foreground of the shot divide the engine and boiler compartments. Note the opening for an access door.

A close up shot of the forementioned bulkheads. The one being positioned in the foreground is the screen bulkhead which will support the transverse heavy beam onto which the main engine entablatures will attach - the exact part is labelled 'B' in Part 2 of this series.

Back into the workshop for the next shot - here we see the top half of the "fore peak" bulkhead. The fore peak is the very front of the ship which terminates with the stem. This bulkhead incorporates a watertight access door. This piece will fit between the Main & Promenade decks and is situated on top of the bulkhead which forms the back of the anchor chain locker.

The "enclosure" in the right of the shot will be the Spirits Locker.

Feb 2010

Moving on this next shot from the dock floor shows most of the frames from the stem to midships have been erected to Main Deck Level.

This next shot shows the two heavy frames which will provide support the main engine entablatures and in turn the crankshaft and paddle shafts. As well as the forementioned support function this section of the ship must be heavier built as it has to withstand the thrust generated by the propulsion system which will drive the hull through the water - too light and the frames may distort causing misalignment or in an extreme situation structural failure.

As hull fabrication continues focus is slowly but surely turning to the machinery. Large items such as the Main Engine Block and Condenser must be installed in the hull before fabrication reaches a stage which precludes the easy installation of these pieces but before this can be carried out the pieces must be inspected and remedial / replacement works effected as required.

This next shot shows the Main Engine Cylinder Block in the workshop ready to be assessed for refurbishment. The steam enters the HP cylinder via the HP Valve. The pressure at which it is admitted is regulated by the Main Steam Inlet Valve which is in turn connected to the throttle lever. Controlling this determines how fast the engine will operate. The spent steam from the HP travels to the LP via the route shown by the blue arrow. It is then used by the LP cylinder and
finally condensed back into water and returned to the Boiler Feedwater Recovery System for re-use.

The equipment shown below is part of the Boiler Feedwater Recovery System. This is the air pump and it takes the output from the condenser, de-aerates it and passes it onto the hot well, which is the holding tank for recovery boiler feedwater. As with most ancillary equipment the air pump can be driven either by its own little steam engine or via a linkage from the Main Engine. This usually depended on the engine builder or the spare steam capacity available from the boiler to drive the ancillary equipment.

Finally we look at a boiler feedwater pump which, as the name suggests, pumped water into the boilers to be converted to steam to drive the ship. Medway Queen appears to have had only one of these but some ships (eg Waverley) had two which operate on a rota basis. It is these pumps which make the familiar whooping noise on Waverley.

So the works proceed apace - thanks once again to Dave Elms for providing the shots. If you want more information why not visit the Medway Queen Shipyard Blog or look in on the Albion Drydock Webcam

Gavin Stewart