Friday, 31 December 2010

South Rock

I have been trying to find out where South Rock is. The best indication is here. Sadly there is no photo coverage in the sea from Google (maps or earth) which is a shame. But I guess the cost of satellite coverage is too high to cover rocks in the sea.

This is the only picture I can find. The original lighthouse on the rock is from the 18th century.

To see the light close up look here

See the BBC report on the removal of the ship from South Rock here and the interview with the head of CIL here

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

We are not alone

It certainly looks like we are not alone in the world of lightships.

If you want to see what one of these things looks like after it has been painted and done up take a look here. A special thanks to the owners for showing me around last weekend. It was greatly appreciated. Good luck with the rest of the conversion to the arts center. If the inside is done to the same level as the outside it will be a superb result.

These guys are turning theirs into a therapy center. Have a look at their blog. If this does not scare the living daylights out of you then nothing will.

Finally, Trinity Buoy Wharf opposite the millennium dome has a couple of lightships too. Nothing on their site (well just one picture) but directions are there. Worth a look if you happen to be in that area.

It was good to be able to see LV21. Shows what can be done.

LV21 Pictures below

Friday, 27 August 2010


The original drawings of Gannet turned up today. I was very pleased that after this long I would be able to get drawings for a boat built in the 50s in a boat yard that no longer exists.

Big thank you to Dartmouth Museum and Peter Tunbridge who went out of their way to find them for me.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Yet more photos

Some more photos

Some of the portholes have been welded up and need to be restored.

One of the numerous storage rooms ready for conversion.

The original chain winches are still there. These need to be cut out to create another large room.

Area under the helipad. Its a bit low so mind your head.


Another view of the light.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

More photos

Here are some more photos from our original inspection.

The tug used to get us to the ship.

View of the fog horn and the light itself.

The wheel house.

Exit from top deck to light structure.

The 'nest' at the bow of the boat.

This helps give some scale of the ship. Take a look at earlier photos of the box and you will get some idea of the size.

Welcome to planet boat

Welcome to planet boat. Planet boat is a strange place where people who have a very different view of the world live. Even by my standards. So it is with some trepidation that I have taken on this new project.

Originally I was looking at a barge to convert. I have had a look at a few and found most to be ok but on the whole the work needed far outstripped the result. So when I saw Gannet I was impressed to say the least.

Gannet. Built in 1954 by Philip & Son Ltd, the last shipyard in Dartmouth, the lightship Gannet was sold to the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL). It stayed out in the Irish sea off South Rock until it was decommissioned in Feb 2009.

The ship is impressive. For a start it is 137 ft long and has a 27ft beam. It has 8 original cabins, 2 toilets, 2 baths (showers), a 'lounge', a galley. a wheel house and a great number of other rooms.

It has a church size room with 4 (yes 4) diesel generators and another 2 story room where all the chains were stored. The ship is massive.

Oh, did I mention, it has a helipad. Very handy.

Ok, So lets take a look. All these photos show the boat in its current state. Do not be alarmed, its actually not as bad as it looks!

Now for the tour.

This the view of the light from the bow of the ship. You can also see the two fog horns

This is the view of the bow from the light itself. Its hard to tell the scale of the ship on these photos.

A view of the wheel house.

A view of the helipad on the back. Its still good and solid but the nets around the edge need work.

A view of the light from the helipad.

Stairs leading down from the wheel house to the main accommodation. The accommodation is over 3 floors.

The cooker in the galley. Nice! Looks like a new kitchen will be needed.

One of the two bathrooms. A clean may be in order.

The main corridor. You see 4 doors off to the left for the two bathrooms and the two toilets. To the right are two sets of stairs. At the bottom of each are 4 cabins. Note the pipe work. The whole ship's pipes are painted different colours so you know what they are all for. Blue is for fresh water.

Through the door at the end is the underside of the helipad.

Here is the main lounge. Note the over heater. All the original furniture is still there. What was a surprise is that all the main living quarters are well insulated. Not surprising given 7 men had to live on board all year in all weathers in the Irish Sea.

The corridor up to the stairs to the wheel house.

One of the cabins. The original beds are all there and not in bad condition.

This is the chain machinery. The Gannet has no engines and would have been held in place by massive chains and anchor systems. These winches pulled the chains (see the size of the chain in the photo on the left winch).

The wheel house. Odd name for a boat with no wheel as it has no engines. But its a big space where all the radio equipment is (and its still all there).

When the winches pull up the chains they go into the ship into 2 huge chain rooms. There is as much space below where the chain is going as you can see above in the photo.

For the last part of the ship's career it ran from computer (see left) and was fully automated.

The ship looks like a ghost ship. Everything is still in place as they left it when the ship was automated.

More photos to come.