Thursday, 17 October 2013

Lightship Cormorant / Lady Dixon - Chapter 9a

Curiouser and curiouser!  That ring/plate on the mast has turned out to be a plate. It is difficult to photograph, being so close to the wall ... sorry bulkhead ...

It is directly adjacent to that bolted panel in the bulkhead ...


...which from the other side of the bulkhead looks like this ...


Now that is what I call a permanent job. With 14 bolts holding it, nobody is going to get access to the mast through there in a hurry. So what is/was it for?  And what is that relatively small plate on the mast covering? There are only about four bolts holding that on.

I need to get down there and examine the mast in great detail. There must be a man-sized entrance somewhere on it.  Meanwhile, my theory about this small panel is as follows:

That small plate covers an emergency access point to the mast - in case the door (which I have yet to find) became stuck. Why it is next to a bulkhead I have no idea, except that perhaps that was the only place it could be due to the main access door taking up the rest of the mast area. There would then have to be an access point through the bulkhead and this may well have been a watertight door - part of a watertight bulkhead right across the ship.  Now then, if the Belfast Harbour Commissioners got rid of the old moveable oil lamp ....




... and replaced it with one of the new, fixed electric lamps when they bought the Cormorant (lightship) and converted it to a Pilot Station in 1943....



...all access to the inside of the mast would have been redundant and all holes sealed up to add to the strength of the mast. That bulkhead access panel would also be redundant and was permanently sealed.

 I am hoping the documents from the National Archives will reveal all.  Mind you, this still does not explain the differences in proportions and hull shape that I pointed out in Chapter 6.

If anyone has another theory or any comments on mine, feel free!
David