20th June 2006, 17:34
An item of interest for some of us... the RRS Charles Darwin build 21 years ago in Appledore Shipbuilders for the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) as an oceanographic research vessel operating out of Avonmouth, UK has been withdrawn from service and sold to 'Gardline Shiiping' to be renamed "Ocean Researcher".
I have fond memories of her since I fitted most of the radio/navigation equipment and lab electronics. Also signed on as Radio Officer for the delivery voyage from Appledore to Tower Bridge in London.
(See photo in gallery.)
I remember the vessel being tied up alongside HMS Belfast for a couple of days, I was one of the Mirrlees Blackstone bods present to answer questions about the engines. If I recall correctly the first day was for MPs and the Lords to see what they'd bought and the second for industry bods to look round.
I recall one of the Appledore heirarchy (grey hair, can't remember his name, Tom something, perhaps?) kept pouring me incredibly strong G&Ts which I had to hide behind potted plants, curtains etc. to avoid getting completely bladdered under the eyes of our Marine Sales Director (Pint)
I've been wibbling on about the Darwin in another part of this forum, I might stick the tale in this thread just for the sake of completeness......
The Darwin was one of those vessels that didn't want to leave the shipyard; she was in and out of Falmouth like a fiddler's elbow while Appledore and the prop. manufacturers tried to iron out the noise that the supposedly silent prop. was making. The main engine was sat on jelly-like anti-vibration mountings which were an absolute 'mare to align, and that saga rumbled on for years, too.
One example of how difficult things got: At the end of the builder's trials the consultant's inspectors were demanding that a mess table top be replaced because it had a microscopic scratch in its top surface. There was a good deal of unpleasantness about it, with the yard saying that they couldn't see any scratch and the consultants saying it stood out like a sore thumb and insisting it be replaced. Eventually they were challenged to point out the scratch and to their chagrin couldn't find it, despite peering closely at the surface for some minutes.
It turned out later that the table top had been moved round through 180 degrees overnight and the scratch was so slight that they weren't able to see it at the opposite end :D
15th July 2007, 11:08
JKB. The person who it could possibly be is Tom Wigget.
The name certainly sounds familiar, I think you may be right.
16th July 2007, 10:48
It was Tom ('link it out') Wiggett! Tom was the Head Electrical guy at the yard at the time. Jimmy Mann (a larger than life Scotsman) was also there at that time.