Work continues on Phase 1 of KC’s rebuild at Dartmouth renewing steelwork of the hull and structure of the ship as necessary and all the decks from the aft boiler room bulkhead to the stern. Phase 2 is scheduled for next winter from the forward engine room bulkhead to the bow and Phase 3 for the engine/boiler room after the 2023 season so that, fingers crossed, KC will emerge in completely rebuilt form in time for her centenary celebrations in 2024.
Temporary strengthening has been fitted in the aft part of the ship so that the hull retains its shape during the work as steel is cut away for replacement.
Decks are being taken up a bit at a time again to preserve strength.
As decks have been lifted and panelling removed this has revealed serious deterioration in parts of the usually unseen steelwork including the bulkheads. For example take a look at the above picture showing severe steel wastage along the margins next to the starboard sponson previously hidden under decking.
The MCA has been involved with the planning of all the work from the outset, along with our naval architect, and have made regular visits to KC to check on progress of the work.
It is expected that KC will move from the mud berth onto the slipway in March where the work will continue alongside her annual maintenance which this year includes the major ten year survey of her boiler including taking off lagging so that the longitudinal seam weld, as well as the furnace welds, can be surveyed with ultrasonics. KC will then return to service this summer before work commences on Phase 2 next winter.
Much of the work is being done inhouse by the experienced team at Dartmouth which will help to keep the costs down but there is a need for outside contractors for some aspects particularly the steelwork. The project is currently estimated to cost more than £1 million so we have an ongoing need to raise additional funds to make sure that KC will emerge in time for her centenary season in 2024 in completely rebuilt form set up for an operational future extending over the next twenty five years of her life.
A big thank you to all who have donated so far to this very worthwhile project. And do please keep the donations coming in to help us reach our target. You can donate by bank transfer or by card through this website here or you can send a cheque to Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust, Fund Raising, PO Box 9565, Weymouth DT4 4HT