The cover was removed from KC‘s funnel and steam was raised in preparation for steaming trials on the river on Wednesday 1st April to check the boiler and all the machinery in working condition. All went very well with everything working as expected.
KC has now returned to the yard in preparation for coming out of the water once again in the week commencing 17th April for everything else to be put back together and to be made ready for her return to service. However there is still a very great deal to be done and at this stage it is not expected that she will be operational again before some time in July.
Much of the major part of KC’s rebuild is now complete with hull plates renewed as necessary throughout as well as the frames, stringers and keelson from the boiler room to the stern and from the engine room to the bow plus all the bulkheads throughout the ship all renewed in their entirety plus a new steel strake below the deck from the engine rook to the stern both sides. Also the decking from aft of the engine room to the stern has also been completely renewed. KC will therefore emerge back into service in much strengthened and renewed form. We have had a naval architect working with us on the project and all the work has been approved by the MCA as we have gone alone.
For next winter we plan to renew the hull strake below the deck and all the decking from the engine room to the bow leaving any necessary work in the middle section of the ship for the following winter.
Ships are built for a design life of 25 to 30 years. This envelope can be pushed with careful maintenance but if you want to keep ships operational for much longer than that then you need to spend money on them rebuilding and refurbishing them as necessary along the way. That was ever the case with paddle steamers from the past and particularly those with very long careers which benefitted from rebuilds after the two world wars at the Government’s expense. This same principle remains true today. The Swiss routinely rebuild all their paddle steamers every 25 to 30 years. They take them back to nothing and then build them up again with steelwork renewals, new decks and much else as necessary.
We have the funding in place for the work to date but we need additional funds for the next phase so do please keep the donations coming in. We need your help to do this. Do donate if you can to help set KC up for the next 25 to 30 years running in her old home waters on the River Dart.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.