Weekly 'Snaps': Maintaining Britannia

Britannia's dedicated Maintenance team work 363 days of the year on a rolling programme of preservation and restoration. Their overarching philosophy is one of perfection, ensuring everything is done correctly, as would have been expected when Britannia was in service to The Queen and Royal Family.

Britannia is now owned and cared for by a charitable trust. All surplus funds from ticket sales, events, the Tea Room and Gift Shop go back into this preservation work, to ensure she is here for future generations to enjoy.

Below you'll find a photo diary from our Photographer in Residence, Ruth Armstrong, which shows the various tasks the team undertake each week.

June 2017

17 - 23 June: HRH Prince Philip’s Flying Fifteen Sailing Yacht, COWESLIP, which is on loan with kind permission of the Royal Collection and the Cowes Classic Boat Museum (www.classicboatmuseum.org) was unveiled on the quayside this week and Tony fitted a temporary waterproof cover to allow the yacht to go on display. Euan and Chris painted the Starboard side davits on the Shelter Deck. Paul A. and Jay worked on handrails for the pontoon. Paul A. then painted the gold leaf on to the stern cypher. Ian and Sean fitted the mesh on the pontoon handrails and Paul D. wired a light on to a pontoon stanchion. Stuart fitted a new drain pipe to the Tea Room, as Mark L. fitted new panels to an air handing unit.

10 - 16 June: Ewan painted and touched up the Admiral's Fast Motor Launch, FML, on the quayside before it was craned back into the water.  Mark cut away a section of redundant seating, while Nigel removed patches of rust from the Lift Tower. Gary manufactured a picture frame for the Admiral's cabin. Jos painted the repaired hatch for the Admiral's FML and Dean painted the seating below the water pump. Stuart painted the repaired Britannia parking sign and work continued on the pontoon, with Ian inserting a plate manufactured for bolting in a stanchion. Ian and Jay moved a section of the pontoon walking board for repairs, while  Stuart fitted a water pump to one of the stanchions.

3 - 9 June: The Maintenance team has been working through the wet weather! Nigel and Jos cleaned the deckhead on the Port Upper Deck Forward. Ian completed cabling checks on Bloodhound and then made a spacer plate for the pontoon stanchions. Work continued on the refurbished pontoon. Jay scraped the varnish off a handrail and Sean then sanded the handrail and prepared the next set of stanchions to be put in place. Mark L. was in the workshop creating a new hatch for the Fast Motor Launch boat and a picture frame for the Petty Officers' Mess. 

May 2017

27 May - 2 June: The team has had another busy week on board as Stuart, Dean S. and Tony removed the water tank and replaced it with a brand new tank and frame. Jay made handrails which Ian and Sean then fitted on to the pontoon. On the Upper Deck, Chris polished the remote operating plates, whilst Dean M. sanded the hull of the Admiral's Fast Motor Launch.

20 - 26 May: The Maintenance team completed a range of tasks this week. Paul A. sanded the cypher from the stern of the ship, prior to painting. Jay made wooden dowels which were then fitted to the handrails. Mark S. created a display unit for the NAAFI, whilst Stuart fitted a new water connection at the Pontoon. Mark L. carried out a weld repair on the paint locker. Gary and Stuart worked together on a new side panel for the till in the Visitor Centre.

13 - 19 May: The 'Yotties' helped Britannia's current maintenance team cleaning the Port Whaler and painting on the Quarter Deck. The Chairman, Rear Admiral Neil Rankin CB CBE, spoke to members of the working party on the Fo'c'sle during painting. Bob Rayson and Smurf Murray-Smith helped to ensure that Britannia's Engine Room remains in immaculate condition. Ian, from Britannia's maintenance team, took measurements from the pontoon for a new gangway. Mark completed one cabinet and began work on a second unit for the NAAFI. Martin polished the end of a handrail and Jay fixed a scupper board.

6 - 12 May: Ahead of cleaning, Nigel and Mark lowered timber supports for the Royal Barge to rest on. Many of our visitors drop a "lucky penny" into the Royal Barge pond. Mark removed the coins which will be donated to Loch Lomond's Paddle Steamer, Maid of the Loch. Stuart drained the water from the Royal Barge pond, while Maintenance Team Manager, Tony, cleaned the hull of the Royal Barge, helped by Nigel and Ewan. Gary screwed a chaffing plate into place on the Upper Deck and Dean M. removed the cipher from the Aft Deck for cleaning. Sean and Martin  worked on handrail repairs. Jos and Ewan washed and cleaned the stairs to the Royal Brow and Ian checked the battery for the activity boat.

April 2017

29 April - 5 May: Sanding the top of the Bulwark. The workshop has been a hive of activity as Gary created a chaffing plate which will protect the paintwork underneath. Meanwhile, Mark worked on a frame for the Visitor Centre and Stuart created a new drainage pipe as Nigel cleaning out the crosspassage store. On board, Martin and Sean worked together to sand and attach fixings to a deck box. Jay fitted the handrails on the Royal Deck.

22 - 28 April: This week the Maintenance team undertook work on the forecastle with Martin and Sean removing handrails and Jay lowering the handrails down through the hatch. Chris removed the scupper board and carried out routine checks of the scupper trough. Jay assessed the scupper boards for repairs. Paul D. tested the slave unit from the emergency light system, while Ian polished a piece of deck tread in the workshop. Stuart carried out a trial of cable gland fitting to check if it would be watertight, before replicating on the pontoon. Dean S. dug out a hole on the quayside to insert our new parking signs.

15 - 21 April: This week Tony, Nigel and Head of Maintenance, Derek, moved a ladder back to the main deck. Chris painted the stanchions outside the Royal Deck Tea Room. Sean, Jay and Martin fitted the back to the Upper Deck Port Waist ladder as Chris painted the Port Aft Accommodation ladder. Dean S. bolted down a hatch lid and removed a redundant pipe flange. Ian continued to work on the new decking on the Pontoon.

8 - 14 April: The Maintenance team has had a busy week with lots of jobs needing done around the Royal Yacht. Ian fixed the lashings to the Quarter Awning on the Verandah Deck, whilst Jay reaffixed the seat backing in the Chief Petty Officers' Mess. Jay and Sean then prepared the Royal Deck Tea Room handrails, ready for stripping back and varnishing. Ewan and Dean M. painted an undercoat to the Starboard Shelter Deck. Jay fitted an infill at the entrance to the Main Deck passageway. Stuart changed the filter on the water tank, as Chris dried out the scupper trough on the Royal Deck, prior to painting.

1 - 7 April: We were excited about the arrival this week of COWESLIP, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Flying Fifteen keelboat, designed and built by the legendary raconteur Uffa Fox, as a wedding present to HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip. On loan for the next two years, everyone watched on as it was unpackaged by the Maintenance team in the aft Compound alongside Britannia. It was a busy week for the team.  Ian adjusted the plinth prior to tiling while Paul A. continued work on the ladder to the Port Upper Deck Waist. Sean sanded a handrail from the Tea Room and Nigel worked on the Tea Room Scupper. Paul A. painted a coat of varnish on a door and prior to its annual test Ian removed the life raft. Ewan scraped loose paint from inside the davit.

March 2017

25 - 31 March: Chris and Ewan cleaned the jaluousies on the Starboard Shelter Deck. Dean M. worked on the areas of rust on the Starboard Shelter Deck scupper trough. Martin sanded the backboard of the ladder from the Port Upper Deck Waist. Jay then created wooden dowels which were fitted into the ladder. Mark made stanchions for the Pontoon. Ian fixed a door lock whilst Jos sanded the base of a Britannia model and Stuart put together a pipe connector.

18 - 24 March: At the beginning of the week our Maintenance team completed work on the Upper Deck Port Side. Sean, Martin and Jay secured the chafing plates over the handrails. Chris touched up the paintwork, while Dean M. treated a patch of rust appearing on the Starboard side. Ian carried out a number of workshop tasks to improve the pontoon. Britannia's dress flags were raised ready for the spring and summer season. Mark L. carried out routine checks on the air handling unit, while Nigel did some spring cleaning. Paul worked on sanding hardwood and varnishing a handrail, as part of the Upper Deck Port Side maintenance.

11- 17 March: Work continued on the Upper Deck Port Waist as Nigel painted around the windows, Dean painted the top of the bulwark whilst Ewan and Chris painted the jalousie. Gary created a wooden template which will allow a metal framework to be made and attached, protecting the wall. Stuart fixed a ballcock for a cistern. Mark S. and Gary worked on the base for a Britannia model display case. They also repaired and replaced an access door. Ian repaired a metal door in the Tea Room Galley. Jay and Sean worked on the handrails and cap ends.

4 - 10 March: Stuart, Jay, Nigel and Martin continued to paint the Port Upper Waist Deck. Mark S. built a new display case for the The Royal Yacht Britannia model. Mark made a bracket which will be used on the pontoon. Ian pumped up the tyres on the Rolls Royce while Jay and Sean removed a handrail from the Port Upper Deck Waist. Dean S. and Stuart removed and re-fitted mirrors in the Ladies Corporate toilets as they checked the hot water boilers behind. Jos taped along the side of the iconic gold leaf line and was followed by Nigel, who applied a base coat for the gold leaf.

February 2017

25 February - 3 March: This week Tony, Rab and Ewan powerwashed the awning on the Verandah Deck. Nigel treated the rust patches on the Port Upper Deck Waist. Martin and Jay removed the handrail and and worked on the area underneath. Ewan painted the top of the bulwark, whilst Jos vacuum cleaned the chippings on Port Upper Deck. Ian drilled out old bolts on the pontoon and Dean checked the hot water heater in the Ladies toilets. Mark S. and Gary made a lift machinery room access framework to fit in the lift tower. Sean removed one of the chaffing pieces on the wooden Upstand.

18 - 24 February: The team continue their work as Nigel and Ewan painted the Port Upper Deck white. Mark S. and Garry completed woodwork in the Workshop whilst Jos and Nigel washed down the windows in the Royal Deck Tea Room. Paul D. worked on the lights in the Port Junior Rates Mess and Ian completed his ladder safety checks. At Fingal, Jay and Sean emptied the rope locker and moved deck boards.

11 - 17 February: This week we welcomed on board Ewan, our new Maintenance Assistant. Work continued on the Port Upper Deck Waist, as Ewan applied rust neutraliser, Nigel completed a fibre glass repair and Dean applied an undercoat to the scupper trough. Jos power washed the starboard Waist whilst Sean progressed to the next stage as he sanded the dolphin board. Gary, Mark S. and Derek, Head of Maintenance, removed the displays from the Junior Rates Dining Hall. Ian welded a bracket for the new pontoon as Mark L.  lifted the old boards off the existing pontoon. Paul A. sanded a handrail.

4 - 10 February: Nigel and Jos worked on the Upper Deck Waist, whilst Jay re-secured the sill plate to the Starboard Sun Lounge door. Continuing the preparations from last week, Ian made progress with the new decking on the pontoon. Ian and Mark L. then both worked on components for the Pontoon. Sean cleaned a deck scupper board whilst Martin sanded a rope locker. Jay cut moulds to be used by the Galley team. Paul A. made preparations to sand a decorative handrail piece. Dean was in the workshop checking the quayside water connections.

January 2017

28 January - 3 February: Mark S. and Gary made a shelving unit for the clothing store whilst Nigel, Rab and Jos painted the deckhead on the Port Upper Deck Waist. Continuing last week's work on the pontoon Mark L. laid out the new deck boards. Mark L. then used the grinder on an old bracket on the quayside. Paul A. varnished the Sun Lounge Starboard standards; a wooden door as well as handrails. Sean polished the brass caps from the handrails.

21 - 27 January: Ian started the week by removing a redundant bracket that held an old spotlight and then grinding the space for the perfect finish. Dean M. cleared out the scupper trough on the Upper Deck Starboard Waist. Following the work completed last week, Jos made the finishing touches to the paint work on the Upper Deck Starboard Waist. Paul D. fitted AC power for the new light.

The old deckboards were removed from the pontoon. Paul A. painted a new display for the Gift Shop and also prepared the Upper Deck Cross passage Starboard door for its layer of varnish. Jay varnished the Starboard Sun Lounge door standards and repaired a rope locker box. Dean S. removed and drained a boiler whilst Jay prised off a handrail for repair work.

14-20 January: The Maintenance team carried out the realignment of the pontoon and attached it to Britannia. Tony, Sean and Martin helped to remove the Forward Cross Passage Starboard Door for re-varnishing. Nigel and Tony removed marks from the Upper Deck Starboard side. Tony and Mark L. removed the oversized door covering from the newly varnished Verandah Deck door. Mark S. fitted a new sign in our Visitor Centre and Stuart patched up a part of the ceiling ahead of painting. Paul A. sanded down a handrail from the Starboard side and Ian carried out routine checks of the Admiral’s Fast Motor Launch. The team removed flotsam from the Activity Boat propeller, Paul D. attended to a number of electrical jobs and Dean S. painted the SCOs cabin.

7-13 January: Jay started to manufacture a containment which will be fitted whilst the door standards to the Sun Lounge are varnished. Gary continued his production of a shelf for the Tea Room bar. Rab, Jos, Nigel and Dean M painted the Upper Deck Starboard whilst Mark fitted a bracket in A Fan Space. Stuart painted the Senior Commanding Officer's cabin and Ian repaired a fishing net.

1-6 January: The Maintenance team have had a busy start to the year as they help to take down the Christmas decorations both onboard and in the Visitor Centre. Ian has conducted his routine safety inspections whilst Gary started to manufacture a new cupboard for the Tea Room Bar. Nigel fitted the plates on the Starboard Waist. Stuart and Dean completed checks on the new UV filter for the water tank.

 

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