Franeker/Frjentsjer – Harlingen/Harns (SRF Shipbuilding)

Pretty Franeker/ Frjentsjer was left behind very early (so far as our standards are concerned, that is), even 8:00AM!, on Monday the 7th of May 2018. We wanted to arrive on time in Harlingen/Harns, where our little ship would be lifted out of the water for maintenance. Already last year we had chosen to go to SRF Shipbuilding – a well reputed shipbuilding and -repairing company.

We arrived at 9:10AM and hoped to be the first customer of that day. Not. A historic passenger-boat was confronted with a leaking (keel-)cooling system and it was, because of the risk of sinking, too dangerous to try to repair it while afloat. Therefore the straps of the boat-lift where used to create safety by situating them tight underneath the passenger-boat, by which measure a possible sinking would be prevented. So we breasted up outside the wharf against an already moored ship and bided our time.

The unforeseen job took the wharf up to 4:00PM, so it was too late to lift our ship out of the water – it’s a slow and responsible job that cannot be done ’(with)in a curse and a sigh’ – as one says in Dutch. The next morning, however, it was our turn. The lift-master instructed us to enter his ‘lift-bay’ (the space underneath the lifting-device) and, of course, we immediately did.

Here we are seen with the straps underneath our ship, ready for lifting. As is clearly visible the lift is capable of lifting a whopping 140 tons (there are large ships out of the water indeed). The lift indicates the weight of what it is lifting. We always thought the weight of our ship is 35 tons. It turned out to be 33 tons.

Lifting

This short video shows the (lack of) speed, used to lift the ship out of the water.

There she is, hanging in the air and kept at bay by only four straps. These people for sure know what they are doing!

A detail of our ship, the bow thruster included. It’s clearly visible that beneath the waterline the skin of our ship is covered by a dense layer of cockles. At least that’s what we are told; we always thought that cockles live in saltwater, while we always cruise in fresh water areas. Well, we read that cockles live in brackish water, too. Maybe not knowing we have been in a brackish water area.

Cleaning

The cockles, and possible other messy stuff, is removed by a very strong high pressure washer. You know, one that removes ‘normal’ paint and is even capable of lifting one’s own nail(s) as we once experienced (ouch!). Very effective.

A view of the ship’s outside bottom with the skeg in the foreground. Loads of (mini-)cockles on the floor.

The side was pressure-washed when the ship was hanging low in the straps. As the job moved to lower regions, the ship was simply lifted higher as required, thus making the washer’s job as easy as possible.

Never had we seen a device like this one before. Later on it will become clear to you what it is capable of doing – and how it is controlled. Inside of it is already a stand/scaffold on top of which our ship will be placed.

Transport (I)

The 20-wheeled(!)-device is slowly moved underneath our ship.

The transporter seen here in nearly the right position. Later on the ship will rest on a specially designed construction with (what we believe is called in English) jack posts – a red one clearly visible underneath the anchor.

Here’s a jack post in close-up. As one can see they can be simply adjusted to stabilize the ship.

The straps have ever so gently lowered the ship onto the scaffold/stand, done their job and are now idly lying on the floor. As the ship now rests on the jack posts the spaces that could not be reached by the pressure-washer because of the straps are yet cleaned.

Transport (II)

The 20-wheeled-device in full action here. Note the movements of the wheels and the way it is controlled – by remote control.

Arrived at ‘our’ space during the period our ship will be the object (subject?) of painters, technicians and inspectors. And maybe more. The ‘wheels’ are still there.

The final position, still on Tuesday the 8th of May. Now we are ‘only’ on top of the 6-jack-posts stand/scaffold. The experts, however, have added two barrels front and aft and made that to measure with sturdy pieces of wood, the last ones tapered. A luxury flight of stairs is part of the deal, too. Our heavy folding bikes are safely put away underneath the stairs.

The current view - on Sunday the 13th. Although not visible a lot has been done, inside and out. A breather-problem (irritating!) has been solved - hopefully, the gas-installation (cooking) meets the law now, as does our VHF (marifoon) – it was all still dating from the UK-era. Furthermore some drawers that had given up on us are repaired by an obvious expert, as opposed to our (well: his) lack of DIY-skills. One layer of aluminium-paint has been applied on the outside. More about all this next week.