The Gotenius shipyard visit – What has been done?

Götheborg of Sweden has been at the shipyard for a number of weeks in order to get ready for the Asia Expedition. We've had sunshine, rain and snowstorms during our time at Gotenius, but now it's time to head back to Pier 4 at Eriksberg in Gothenburg. During this time we've done a lot of work on the ship, from caulking and pitching, to painting the ship, and inspecting the rudder. Most of the work was planned, but as almost always with a wooden ship, some was also unplanned work.
Let us tell you all about it. 

The Gotenius shipyard visit – What has been done?

Washing the ship

This was the first job done as we arrived at the shipyard, before starting any other work. Washing the deck was also the last thing done before leaving the shipyard, to get rid of all the dust and dirt that covered the deck after the weeks in drydock. 

Caulking and pitching of the hull

As built in the 18th century, the hull on Götheborg has a protective layer of sacrificial planking, outside the hull planking. The sacrificial planking is made of fir tree and much thinner than the thick oak hull planking. Between the hull planking and sacrificial planking there is a layer of "tar felt" to protect from shipworms.

From the waterline and up to the "övre bärhult" the sacrificial planking has been removed, the hull inspected, caulked and pitched, and the sacrificial planking has been put back, and when needed replaced with new planking. The hull is caulked with flax fibres to seal the seams between the planking. The seems are then pitched to keep the flax fibres in place once the ship is in the water. (Check out caulking and pitching of the deck in this video.)

The same work has been done on the buttends underneath the waterline. The rest of the hull has been checked, caulked and pitched during previous shipyard visits, but the buttends (joints between the planking) need checking more regularly, as the movement between the planking means greater wear. 

Work in Machine Department

We've also done a lot of work in the machine department. One of the biggest jobs have been removing, inspecting and putting back all the vents and pipes in the underwater board vents. 

 

Painting of the hull

The hull underneath the waterline has been painted; the black paint as well as the white paint at the waterline. Above the waterline the hull will be painted later with "båtsmörja", a mix of tar, turpentine and linseed oil. 

Maintenance of the rudder

The rudder was lifted 5–6 centimeters so that all the gudgeons and pintles could be inspected.

Repairs to the stern

An unplanned job was also carried out at the stern of the ship. When the sacrificial planking was removed a rot damage was found just above the waterline by the stern post. Although not planned, it was not an unexpected find, as rot damage is something that affects all wooden ships. Due to time constraints this was repaired with a modern solution with steel plates welded to follow the shape of the hull. As it was a complicated and time-consuming welding job it delayed our stay at the shipyard. We always try to use historically correct methods when we can, however in this case this would have taken too long.   

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