With the stern and most of the hull painted over the early summer, we spent the mid and later summer months working on the hull towards ther bows. On the port side we had accomplished this by renting a cherry picker, but this meant we were only able to apply fresh paint onto the existing layers.
However, her new position at berth 21 combined with the availability of the scaffold tower, enabled us to undertake a much more thorough job on the starboard side.
The first task every Saturday morning was therefore to swing out her stern into the middle of the dock, enabling her bows to be pulled tight alongside the quay. A suitable shackling point was available part way along the rear wall of the dock, but with no electric winch on the stern deck, a lot of muscle power and rope hauling is required.
Having accompished this procedure almost every saturday morning, and the reverse procedure on Sunday afternoons throughout most of the summer, we developed a good technique. However, moving 1000 tonnes of ship by hand doesn't get any easier, and occasionally the wind got the better of us, and we ended up in a bit of a pickle.
Slightly adrift, the wind took us offshore before we managed to get the bows pulled in tight!
Maybe the old girl thought she could make a dash for freedom if we slipped one more rope....
Before swinging out the stern, it is necessary to put all the tools, materials, and scaffold tower onto the quayside. Once in position the only means of accessing the ship is via a ladder tied over the side as the normal side gate will be 10-15 feet from the quayside. With everything in place we can start to needle gun and chip away the old paint and rust, and again prepare the surface for fresh primer and top coat of red gloss.
Progress along the bows is much slower than progress along the side of the ship. This is duie to working at height on the scaffold tower, plus the much greater height and size of area required to be tackled. Hanging over our head at all times was the prospoect that Tilbury Ports may want us to leave Berth 21 for the old barge dock, which has a much lower quayside.
If we did move it would mean the scaffold would no longer reach the highest parts of the bow, hence these had to be tackled first whilst we still had access.
An additional problem to work around at this point of the ship is her movement. The scaffold has to be close enough to the ship such that one can comfortably and safely reach it with tools, but not close enough that she will hit the scaffold as shes moves up and down and side to side. Bearing in mind the overhang and curvature of the bows, this could make placing the scaffold very difficult, and often work would be halted as we had to adjust the positioning and mooring ropes.
Slowly but surely, during June and July we made steady progress along the bows, until, finally
on Sunday 16th July we made contact on the bow with the paint which had been applied
the previous year from the cherry picker.
Lee applies the roller to join up the new paint on the starboard side with that applied from the port side via the cherry picker last year.
For the first time in about 15 years, we have a layer of same colour paint all the way round the Ross Revenge. Allowing for a break over the winter months it has taken over 9 months of effort.