Sunday, 8 December 2013


Continuing my research into things historical, I have been looking at the rudder – or the remains thereof. Before I received the blueprints from the National Archives, I thought that the rudder may have been operated by a cranked lever which stayed outboard and followed the ship contours at the stern. That boat platform kicks that theory into touch I think. Although the elevation blueprint has no detail to offer, it does show a vertical beam, part of the rudder, which comes straight up through the deck. 

The plan blueprint just has a circle in the deck, but it is in just the right place, so I assume it is the same beam. 

Simon recalls that, when the stern was (re)plated, a large tube projected from below and had to be ‘flattened’.  He reports that, behind the large metal clad stern post on the lower deck, there is a large tube which corresponds to what was above. So I believe the arrangement was as in the diagram below.

The metal tube (in black) is now sealed at the bottom with a plug/plate (in yellow) and there is no trace of the rudder. I assume the plug is there because the tube leaked. Looking under the stern is not easy (must try out the dinghy) but I can see some sort of plate just where I would expect to find a hole for that beam.

Looking at the stern area on the lower deck, there is a very large beam and I assume this is the stern post. It looks noticeably wider than the post outside, but that may be due to a difference in perspective.  There is a large metal plate covering the beam, but I am not about to remove it to see what is behind – it might be the Medway!  This area on the blueprints is designated ‘Bosun’s Store’ and written on the stern post is the legend “Certified boatswains storeis 66/60 tons’. Not sure what ‘storeis’ is meant to mean!

Now going midships, I had thought that a rubberised ‘bucket’ on the roof of the cabin was just part of the ship’s equipment.
 However, a request to Simon to investigate resulted in a photograph of the entrance (exit?) hole for the missing main mast.

The bucket may well be there to compensate for some poor roof sealing, but I have not yet worked out what that little mushroom thing is/was for. As this is just above the kitchen and bathroom areas, it may be/might have been a vent for either.