19th March 2001 Kingswear Castle

John Megoran


On 19th March 2001 Kingswear Castle was at the Acorn Shipyard at Strood undergoing major works.

It was a busy time for renewals. Not only was a new boiler built for her by Wellman Robey and installed but also, and thanks to a bequest from a Mr Evans, the whole of the sponson and associated rubbing band on the starboard side was cut away and renewed.

Throughout her previous career on the River Dart, KC had almost always berthed starboard side to both at Dartmouth and Totnes. This had resulted in the starboard sponson becoming slightly inset over the years with the gap between the inboard edge of it and the starboard paddle wheel having become very much smaller than that for the port paddle wheel.

In this picture you can see that all the steelwork of the sponson has been replaced and painted and is awaiting the wooden rubbing band.

Here the final section of wood had been fitted and is being held in place by clamps prior to being bolted on.

As part of this work we also moved the anchor from the bow to this newly created position which involved changing the arrangement of the handrails in the vicinity. Traditionally many paddle steamers, including KC, had anchors stowed on deck. This made dropping anchor a bit of a palaver involving lifting it over the side with an anchor davit before it could be dropped. This was time consuming and did not lend itself to an ability to speedily drop the anchor in an emergency. In discussion with the MCA we decided to reposition KC’s anchor here on deck so that in an emergency it could just be pushed over the side speedily. Splash, rattle, rattle, rattle.

As part of the reboilering we also commissioned a new fiddley of rivetted construction seen here on the dockside at the shipyard just before being lifted aboard. The old one which has just been lifted off can be seen on the right.

The work was completed by early April and the Passenger Certificates were re-issued on 1st May.

John Megoran

John Megoran

April 2021
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