Paddle Steamer Waverley left her Glasgow berth for the first time in 9 months, in damp conditions, on Tuesday 14th January under tow to Dales Marine Services yard at the James Watt Dock in Greenock. With her arrival at Dales yard the £2.3 million boiler refit soon got underway. The full refit including dry docking will take around 4 months.
Preparations for the removal of the funnels took several days with many measurements taken to ensure that the funnels will be in perfect alignment when returned after the new boilers are installed. The sight of yard workers inside the funnels arose interest from local residents but it was on Wednesday 22nd January that both were lifted free from Waverley. The 6 lifting points on each funnel were load tested to 2 tonnes. Both funnels were installed on 24th July 2000 during the heritage rebuild.
The aft funnel was first to be removed. Part of the aft funnel base has remained in position since the fuelling station does not need to be disturbed. The fuel tanks in the boiler room will not be altered during the refit.
The funnel was gently turned on to its side and placed horizontally on the quayside on a cushion of wood and foam.
There was a delay before the forward funnel was removed while the final cutting took place. It seemed for a time that Waverley wasn't keen on losing her identity. Shortly after sunset the forward funnel was lifted off the ship and in that moment Waverley lost her colouring.
Once both funnels were removed work continued to remove the fiddley deck as well as the various pipes and other fittings positioned under the deck. Within the boiler room work progressed well with cables being removed and the dismantling of the old boiler control consoles. On Tuesday 28th January a heavy lift crane arrived to remove both boilers.
In preparation for the removal of the boilers the port side boiler room bulkhead was removed. This was also removed during the heritage rebuild in 2000.
The port boiler was first to be removed. Both boilers weighed in at just over 18 tonnes although the boiler lifting points were load tested to 25 tonnes. After removal the boilers were taken to John R Adam scrap yard at King George V dock.
Work has continued apace with both alternators now removed as well as the Oily Water Separator. The sewage treatment plant has already been re-positioned on the port side of the boiler room to make way for the new 3rd alternator which will be fitted to the starboard side.
Meanwhile in Annan work is progressing on the new boilers with the first pressure test due to take place in the coming days.