24th December 2022:
KC Rebuild Update

24th December 2022:
KC Rebuild Update

Work has been continuing on KC’s major rebuild with Phase 1 steelwork and underwater work already completed. Here are a few pictures to show you what has been happening.

New bulkhead between forward end of forward saloon and well deck void space with inspection hatch.
New frames and bulkhead forward saloon.
Forward saloon looking forward port side.
New bulkhead between engine room and forward saloon.
Forward end of forward saloon with new steelwork and bulkhead starboard side.
Forward saloon port side.
Looking down into the aft end of the aft saloon from port side. New bulkhead on the right.
Looking down into the aft end of the aft saloon from starboard side. New bulkhead on the left.
Aft well deck.
New deck extending from the stern to over the boiler room.
New hull steelwork port side.
New hull steelwork.
Clearing mud from the slipway rails.
KC afloat 6am 8th December 2022.

I have been very impressed by the quality of work which is being done by the team at Dartmouth led by Engineering Director Paul Merrington and Shipyard Manager Richard James. We have a naval architect advising on the project and all work is approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

With all the steelwork and underwater work now completed there is nonetheless still a lot to do to put KC back together again in time for the 2023 season. This will be done alongside the quay freeing up the covered slipway for the annual winter maintenance for each of the other vessel’s in the Dart fleet. KC will go up the slipway again in late March for final painting in readiness for the 2023 season.

By the time KC goes back into service all of the work will have been completed from the boiler room to the stern and much of the structural and steelwork from the engine room to the bow including hull re-plating as necessary, and renewal of the keelson, bulkheads, stringers and frames. The cost of all this is expected to come in at around half a million pounds.

That leaves the steelwork from below the portholes to the deck forward both sides and the deck itself to the bow for the winter 2023/24. This work is expected to cost in the region of a further £200K. After that there is any remaining work on the centre section of the ship for the following winter. This is estimated to come in at a further £200K.

We have the funding in place for the first phase of the rebuild to be completed this winter but we still need to source additional funding for the next two phases. We are working hard to achieve that. For example we have engaged a professional fund raiser to help us with all this and have already submitted applications to various grant giving trusts which may help fund projects such as ours.

But it does mean that we still need your help as well so do please keep the donations coming in. A very big thank you to all who have so generously contributed so far. It is all greatly appreciated. But we are not there yet. If we are to achieve our goal of setting KC up for the next 25 to 30 years then we still need your continued support, help and donations.

Download a copy of the Kingswear Castle Rebuild Brochure here.

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.

John Megoran

John Megoran