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Raising K1 Britannia – Friday October 8

Today was our first attempt to raise K1 Britannia from her cradle in order to place her in the water for her voyage over to Hythe. She has to be moved because there are plans to develop the Venture Quays site in East Cowes where she currrently sits.

A floating Apache crane had to come over from the mainland in order to pick her up as there isn’t a large enough crane on the Isle of Wight. It arrived this morning and spent a while getting into the best position to pick up K1 Britannia’s hull.

Next two huge orange strops were positioned by the crane over the top of the hull and then fastened around her girth. The crane operators had had to try and work out her centre of gravity, which had changed since she was last lifted due to the removal of some of her keel and her rudder. They spent some time fitting the strops to the place that they thought would enable her safe lifting.

Then it was time for the crane to take the strain. The weight of her hull was very gradually taken by the crane, a few tons at a time, and then it was time to take her up off of her cradle.

As her weight shifted, the sound of the strops taking the strain echoed across the apron of Venture Quays. She lifted just a small amount off of her cushioned cradle arms but it was clear that she was tipping. So the crane lowered her back onto the cradle.

Unfortunately there was only a short tide window during which the crane could safety moor off of Venture Quays so there wasn’t enough time to move the strops and make another attempt. So she was made safe in her cradle and the crane ship hurredly left before the tide stranded her on the mud.

We are hoping to make another attempt to lift her early next week.


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