During the past few weeks whilst we’ve been working through Gondola’s winter maintenance tasks we’ve discovered a bit of rot here and there around the boat.
First of all we found that the benches that sit either side of the smokebox had rotted quite badly so crew member Greg set about designing some new bench seats / storage boxes in solid mahogany.
It’s like having our very own Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen on the team - I suspect Greg won’t appreciate that comparison, but he is a talented designer! He’ll even be making the bench seats himself.
The steps into Gondola’s saloons are also showing signs of wear and tear and will need replacing, as will the bulkhead of the purser’s office which, after a bit of 'damage investigation', is badly in need of attention.
A mass of varnishing and repainting work has been going on since Christmas. The external paintwork on the engine room is looking really good now – we’ve been using top of the range (and hopefully very long-lasting) high gloss paint to give Gondola a good shine. I can’t wait to see her back on the water in the summer sunshine.
It’s not only the crew who roll their sleeves up during the winter maintenance programme - we’re very fortune to get help from volunteers from time to time. These two plucky helpers joined us from their usual spot at the National Trust Basecamp at High Wray and sanded down and undercoated the aft end of the saloons all in a single day, and they were still smiling at the end of it!
We’re also hoping to get some help to make sections for the new helming position using apprentice labour, building on our skill-sharing initiative from last year when we worked with apprentices from BAE at Barrow-in-Furness. The wood for this task arrived in the last couple of weeks.
That’s all for now. Check back soon for my next update.