Monday 15 February 2010

Mast case

Dad is celebrating that he finally managed to get up on the allotment for what feels like the first time since the wet and winter set in in about October. Realistically it's too wet to work on and the grass still has snow amongst it, but once there with a spade he could not resist lifting a few carrots and spuds (Yes, we know they are salad potatoes (Pink Fir Apple) and should have been harvested back in July but hey, we've got a little behind) and beetroot, plus pulling a few leeks and snapping off some tiny kale and cabbage tops. A nice addition to the normal fare.
And the metal thang? That is, would you believe, SB Cambria's original mast case. The rigging on sailing barges had to be collapsible, so that they could get under the various Thames bridges, so they worked a system where the whole lot collapes backwards along the deck, with the bottom of the main mast sitting in this "socket". To raise the rig there was an enormous winch at the bow (you can see the main outer cog of the winch barrel in this pic, far right), and turning the winch stood the mast up in the mast case, till you could lock it in place with big metal bars behind it.
The smaller winch gear here on the case is for furling (= brailing) the main sail. The plan was to rescue as many of these metal parts as were salvage-able and to have them restored by the engineering students in a school in Gravesend, but shot blasting is a brutal weapon, and if the metal is not up to it (too rusty) the structure gets blown apart by the process. This is what has happened to the mast case, so the guys have painted the "relic" with modern anti-rust coating so that it can be used as a template to fabricate a new one out of sound metal, and the old one can be used as part of our heritage exhibition.
All good stuff

No comments: