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Aug 07 - Back to the metal

Sunday 7th  August  2005

Noon Position : C Lock,  Portsmouth Naval Base

Air temperature @ noon today :  19.7 ° C

Sea temperature @ noon today :  Unknown  ° C

Wind:  NW'ly Force 2-3

Barometer:  1020.1 hPa

The past few weeks of drydock have been spent opening up spaces and tanks,  dismantling various items on the ship,  removing the rudder,  propeller and the propeller shaft (to name just some).  All of this work is done to enable both ship staff and Lloyd's Surveyor's to inspect and check that everything is in good condition.  Repairs are made when wear and tear reaches its maximum tolerance.

Painting of the hull below the waterline continues,  with areas being cleaned back to metal before paint is applied.  Photo M.Gloistein

The emphasis now in the dry dock is to put all of this back together!  This past week has seen the propeller shaft,  with a new Stern Seal (this stops the sea water leaking into the ship where the shaft exits the hull),  being carefully being fed back into the ship.

  The propeller shaft as it enters the Shaft Tunnel.   Photo M.Gloistein

New equipment installation also continues to progress,  with the Sonardyne acoustic reference system now installed in the hull,  but still to be secured into place.  The system being fitted is the Ultra Short Base Line (or USBL) and Sonardyne have a very informative page on their website which explains how it works.  The top end of the deployment unit now sits in the space created in the Fish Room,  and the Fish Room is being returned back into a clean storage area.

The Sonardyne deployment unit hanging in place.   Photo M.Gloistein

With the original hole in the hull now plated,  cut originally  to allow the deployment unit to be fitted,  a new hole is cut so as to allow the transducer to be extended below the ship.  Steelwork, pipework and valves still need to be fitted before the equipment can be tested.   Photo M.Gloistein

This week also saw some interesting events within the dockyard itself this week..  The RFA (Royal Fleet Auxillary) celebrated their one hundredth birthday on Wednesday 3rd August,  when the Admiralty sought to make the distinction between warships and the auxiliaries which supported the Royal Navy.

One of the most famous names in RN history has bowed out, handing over the title of the nation’s flagship to her sister.  Falklands veteran HMS Invincible made an emotional final entry into her home port this week, berthing alongside her sister Illustrious which was being re-dedicated on Thursday 4th August.   Invincible was launched in 1977 and commissioned three years later. She will be wound down and her ship’s company dispersed among the Fleet before the ship enters ‘extended readiness’ – to be activated in the event of an emergency – until 2010.

Life onboard continues whilst the ship is in drydock,  and the Catering Department still do a wonderful job in keeping us fed and watered.  Senior Steward Lee Jones is checking stores in the Dairy Room.   Photo M.Gloistein

A beautiful shot of the stern of HMS Victory,  taken on slide film and digitised.   Photo R.Turner