I stumbled (literally) over an unidentified feature on the ship last weekend. Basically it is a hole in the deck just aft of the forward companionway. Simon has always had it covered with a metal plate, so I had not noticed it before. Removing the plate revealed a properly constructed circular hole, which would have been level with the teak deck when there was a teak deck. It is not sturdy enough to support a mast, so I guessed at ventilation.
Back home I got out the blueprints and had a close look at that area. I found a circle with the label ‘8” DL’. Nearby were two other circles, both labelled ‘5” DL’.
These two holes gave me the answer. On page 23 of Anthony Lane’s book Guiding Lights, are two photos of ‘Deadlights’ which were glass blocks set into the main deck to allow light to penetrate the darker spaces below. It even states that the examples shown come from the ex-Irish Light vessel Cormorant. Sure enough, Simon has two 5” glass blocks which are shaped rather like grapefruit squeezers and fit nicely into two holes near the deckhouse .
Unfortunately there is no trace of the 8” glass. From the plans I saw that the 8” DL illuminated the crew’s mess area and the two 5” DLs illuminated their quarters. There is one other 5” DL on the starboard side, to illuminate the officers’ quarters (no glass unfortunately). Perhaps illuminate is too strong a word, but then two 5” DLs and the 8” hole certainly provide enough light down there to enable you to move around.
While studying the blueprints I came across several other labels. Along both sides of the deckhouse there are several ‘T.V.’ items and their shape on the plan is that of fixtures which are still in place. These, according to the blueprints, are ‘Torpedo Vents’. Why are they double ended?
There are about a dozen circles marked along the deckhouse walls, but only two portholes on the ship (that is one of them below the TV). However, most of them (not these two) are labelled ‘BL’ and this turns out to mean ‘Borrowed Light’. Because I have reached my maximum number of photos allowed per post, I will explain this next time.