Sunday, 9 January 2011

Lightship 95

Today I visited Lightship 95 at Trinity Wharf (opposite the Millennium Dome). They have converted it into a recording studio. So for those of you having trouble imagining what one of these ships looks like when converted take a look here at their web site gallery. They have done a great job. Its always interesting to see the contrast of these boats (not just lightships) between what they look like externally and what people do with them internally.

Its always good to talk. Managed to get some good tips on paint jobs and also a company that sells salvage a reproduction ships 'stuff' like portals etc. Trinity Marine.

More news on the systems in Gannet. I spent Saturday looking through the set of manuals I discussed in the previous blog. It turns out that a number of the companies that provided and maintained these systems are still going. I have contacted one already (who produced the original 'ship adrift' system based on DOS 3 PC which basically was connected to an early GPS and monitored the ship's position in case it drifted off (lost anchor). It would then send the alarm to shore.

The mooring for the ship is being prepared. Not the original position but one that is good enough for the time being. Hopefully we can get it moored soon so I can get on board and interested parties can come and see quite how insane a project I have taken on. But don't worry, there will be no painting parties!

I have been thinking what to do with the ship for some time now. Originally I was going to strip it out, make the rooms bigger (remove bulkheads etc) and strip out all the old kit. But I am going to compromise (try). I intend to modernize the interior, put in plasterboard and modern fittings, possibly underfloor heating, new bathrooms etc) but as features keep all the old equipment in place and hopefully working.

For example, the windlass room. Originally the windlass (this is the thing in the picture that pulls the anchor chains to raise and lower the anchor) was out on deck. When the ship was brought in for automation they built around it. My original idea was to remove it. But to do this would cost an arm and a leg as the room was built around it. So plan is to restore it to working order order, remove any rust and paint it and have it as a feature of a modern done out room.

A few more portholes to enable some more daylight and insulate the walls, some plasterboard, modern wiring and a unique dining chill out room is created.

The 2 story chain room is the next challenge, Its both a big space and an awkward one as it is a box which would either may two floors with low ceilings or a big room box shaped. The temptation is to do both. Put in a mezanine floor over part of it and open up the entire lower area. The area under the mezzanine would make an excellent 'cinema' space or the whole thing converted into a two floor mezzanine master bedroom with ensuite under the mezz.

There are two other main rooms (ignoring the original crews suite of rooms). The radio room which is quite big with all the equipment, some storage rooms (only accessible from deck at the moment but with some cutting to bulkheads is easily solved) and the main 'bridge' which has the most light (see picture left). The bridge would make an excellent second lounge (as well as the original) or dining room (accepting the challenge of getting up the stairs with food, but again, a not insurmountable problem). A nice place to sit and eat in summer as it has a door to the top deck outside and is the right size for a table to seat 8 to 10 (about the number of people who could stay in the crew cabins).

The equipment room is probably the right place to have an office. A good size, the control gear on the wall would not be a problem and again, it is on the upper deck so will good light.

There is lots to think about and it is quite exciting to be able to undertake this whole project. As I joked with a friend, if I can get the systems working in the boat and the control gear working then it will be a simple job to have it computer controlled and potentially from my iphone. The idea that I can switch on the generators and the heating from the mobile phone before going to the boat may be a gadget which is too hard to resist.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, my name is Chris. I was involved with this vessel while it was in active service with the Commissioners of Irish Lights and my grandfather was a former master of the vessel when it was a manned lightvessel. I would be interested in your ideas for the future of the vessel and I would also be happy to help you in your research of the vessels history.