I have for some time been urging Simon to cut a hole in the stump of the lantern mast. I was of course eager to see whether there was a ladder inside, which would probably indicate that what is left of it is as old as the ship itself. Simon has at last cut a (small) viewing hole in the mast (Photo 861).
His photography is not the best, but the hole is small and the mast is only 2ft in diameter. In spite of such constricted circumstances, he did capture the evidence I was looking for – rungs of an internal ladder (Photo 862).
This ladder is made up of individual rungs bolted to the mast and not a complete ladder as in the mast of LV Guillemot – a more modern vessel and in good shape (Photo 863).
The Guillemot mast has an access hatch (Photo 864). I do not call it a door because it is obviously securely bolted in place and not much used (emergencies only?).
It is very similar to the bolted hatch on Cormorant’s mast, but in better condition!
Now the Cormorant mast measured 2ft in diameter, which must have made climbing inside it a fairly claustrophobic experience. I have a fairly slim build at 175lb, (Photo 866) so a burly sailor would have found it quite a squeeze!