De Tukker’s refit crew are back from their Christmas breaks and hard at work in the shipyard- with the days finally a little longer and the evenings a little brighter, we can start refurbishing the ship’s rigging, working on the ship’s steel- and ropework, cleaning sails, and making new sail covers. Below decks, the steel and electric work continues, and some skilled carpenters have joined our team, refitting floors, bunks and partition walls.
Less glamorously, there are the toilets. Definitely essential, but maybe not the most exciting piece of design work our team of carpenters will undertake. In the forecastle, soon to be the living quarters for travellers and sailing trainees, a shower and bathroom are being installed, and we are puzzling out a space efficient way to allow multiple trainees to use the facilities in privacy, make sure we’ve put the plumbing in the right places, and devise a clever solution that lets 12 people store their toothbrushes in not very much space.
Refitting a traditional sailing ship is a tricky business. Not only does it involve coordinating a group of skilled craftsman who all need to work in the same space, but we work without a manual or set of instructions- every refit is different, every task happens in a different order and every set of circumstances is different. All of the following have been said this week- ‘We can’t move that wall because it’s a bulkhead’, ‘we can’t move that wall because the person sleeping in the bunk next door won’t have anywhere to put their feet’, ‘I’m not sure they make plumbing fixtures that bend like that…’, ‘I think you forgot the shower drain.’
The evenings are getting brighter, the days are getting longer, and our crew in Den Helder are beginning to look toward March and our finishing deadline. We’re varnishing, splicing, painting, and getting ready to open our trainee bookings. Our first season as a trading vessel is approaching quickly. We just need to find a place for the shower drain.