An exciting recent development to the business is taking possession of the 150 ton Clarence Boat Yard slipway. This yard will give us the highest weight load capacity slipway facilities on the Isle of Wight.
The slipway is 75′ long over the keel blocks, with a 20′ beam (at vessel deck level).
The fully refurbished cradle has all 86 center line wheels and axles replaced, with new cast iron wheels, and heavier axles to a modified design allowing better lubrication methods, higher load bearing abilities and improved ease of maintenance.
To start the restoration of the slipway facility, the first job was to inspect the cradle to find out what needed to be done. On examination, it was found the original 1913 timber backbone was cracked and rotten at the top half, so it was chopped away with a chainsaw, avoiding the many bolts holding it together, cut back to the original joint positions, new timbers were bought in and fitted….. the photo below shows this stage…..
The photo to the left shows the new timber backbone, with cast iron saddles bolted in position. The backbone is made from 2 lengths of timber bolted together, jointed into the original Oak cradle, as originally built in 1913.
The entire backbone structure was then clad in steel angle iron, with 20mm diameter bolts driven through the whole structure,to tie everything together. We followed the original design, with improvements that will help serve our use of the cradle…….
Outer track wheels are all original wheels, re-machined to be a uniform diameter and width. We chose the best wheels from all of the originals, and reshaped those.
The photos here show the re worked wheels.
A new hauling eye was formed in the top of the cradle for the winch cable. The old cable connection was seen to be to corroded to be trusted.
New steel work was fitted to the outer cradle rails, the photo below shows drilling the holes to receive the new through bolts…..
Cross beams where then refitted with our trusty Fordson Major crane….The cross beams where then bolted and secured in place…….
The mud had to be cleared from the slipway tracks. To do this, we used fire hoses to wash the mud away, this worked for the upper shallow mud build up, but was ineffective at deeper depths….. so a mini digger was mounted onto the cradle, with fire pump nozzels fitted to the bucket, and the whole cradle pushed into the mud, where the high pressure fire nozzels could be controlled to advantage…. the photos below show this operation….
The effect of all the work was a very smoothly running cradle system. which hopefully will provide as many years future service as it has over the years past……..
A few photos below show the cradle and slipway before work was started on the restoration……..
The photos above and below show the slipway cradle before repair work was started………
The facility has been unused for some years, and required a lot of work to get it up and running again!