Down onto the blocks
On Sunday 31st July 2016, Freshspring was moved from her holding berth where she has been waiting since the tow from Newnham and into the drydock at Sharpness. Once tied up alongside, the shipyard spent some time getting Freshspring on a more even keel. She usually lists to starboard, probably due to the fuel oil pumping equipment in the boiler room, the lack of fuel in the port bunker to counter that and the gangway also on the starboard side.
The following day Freshspring was moved to the centre of the dock, with four ropes and turf winches attached, so she could be accurately positioned over the blocks that had been prepared for her on the dock floor. By 1pm about three feet of water had been released from the dock and the position of Freshspring was checked again using laser distance gauges, very carefully adjusting each of the turf winches to make sure she was just where we wanted her. This was quite a laborious process, but all of the time was well spent to make sure that no damage was caused.
Draining of the dock recommenced and by 2:50pm the aft end of the ship was starting to make contact with the blocks and it was time to check her position again. 3:30pm saw the bow make contact and giving her a little time to relax before letting out all of the water, by 4:20pm we could see the top of the blocks and we knew for sure that she was sat down just where she should be, a real testament to the planning and attention to detail by Sharpness Shipyard & Drydock.
It took a little while longer to drain the remaining few feet of water from the dock and add a number of additional support roles before I could go all of the way underneath the ship for the entire length, possibly the first person to do so in about forty years. Below the wind and wave line the hull plating looks in reasonable condition, with paint visible in many areas, though we will not know the true condition until the high pressure water blasting has taken place and the surveying has been completed.