Sadly I have had no response to my appeal for help with access to the Commissioners for Irish Lights. They owned the vessel from 1878 until Belfast bought her in 1942. Surely there must be some records of this period similar to the treasures I found in Belfast? About 500 people a week are viewing this story on the four forums (fora?). Are none of you from the Dublin area?
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Simon does have time to relax and enjoy the weather and the views. (Photo) Actually, that is not Simon, it’s his girlfriend Laura. I knew those ventilation cowls would come in handy.
Busy as ever, Simon has applied three coats of varnish to his ‘clinker’ boat – on the outside at least (Photo).
And, true to his principle of waste not want not, the rubber ‘bin’ that used to protect the hole in the roof from where the mainmast emerged, is no longer needed now that the roof has been properly covered and so it has been put to another use – growing potatoes! (Photos)
However, there is a very big task which must be tackled very soon – insulating the deck. Simon will have to make the most of any good weather we have this summer. There is a mountain of work to be done below deck, but this cannot really start until the deck is done and the condensation stops.
Since immersing myself in the history of Simon’s lightship, I have discovered the pleasures of research. Both large and small discoveries more than compensate for all the painstaking work in between. I must avoid becoming an ‘anorak’, but I am enjoying it. For instance the long arm of coincidence manifested itself this week. In 1916 the German submarine U-53 was causing consternation along the US eastern seaboard and British merchant vessels were forbidden to leave port until the menace was dealt with. The U-boat had been reported by the Nantucket lightship and who was commanding that lightship? Captain David Dudley. No it wasn’t me – I may be old, but not that old!