Directors Blog 8 - Refit Update: Getting there, slowly, safely but surely!

On the 28th of October we entered Willemsoord Den Helder for our refit period. A lot of good work has been done by all the workers of the Damen Shipyard Den Helder, the various subcontractors and also so much done by our own crew. Some considerable milestones were reached in the week before Easter when the Clipper became a three-master again and the new main engine came on board!

Projects of such complexity can be faced by unexpected events and necessary works, even though you try to keep all different scenarios in mind. The good thing is that when you’re working with a team of professionals you can generate alternative ways to adapt to the latest developments and still make progress in the right direction. 

The past four weeks things have slowed down due to the coronavirus restrictions, but we’re still moving forward. For safety reasons, the work at the shipyard in Den Helder is now done in small teams, a so-called skeleton crew, that includes only a few officers and crew members. This team will coordinate with the Damen Shipyard team and (sub)contractors who will also continue their work in smaller teams. 

As we mentioned in earlier updates, the Clipper crew is doing the work on the rigging themselves. The work on the rig maintenance is done in one of the old Navy workshop buildings at the historical shipyard Willemsoord. Everywhere you look you see spars and yards in shiny new paint, freshly sanded and varnished blocks, all neatly organised.

A few weeks ago the Dutch news site NH Nieuws came to visit us in Den Helder and talked with our bosun Nils about all the work the crew is involved with. Watch the video (Dutch spoken, but this amazing video says more than words;-) ) to see what the crew is working on at the moment. 

Our own crew has so much love for the ship and so much knowledge of all the techniques we need to use to maintain the rigging, it is really special. There are not many companies who are specialised in this work, for the quality and the best result of this project it was simply the best choice to get our own crew involved. 

On the technical side of things a lot of work is in progress as well, a highlight of last week was the installation of the new Caterpillar C-32 main engine and this week the hull will be closed on starboard in order to start with painting the hull and making the Clipper ready to float again in the latter part of May.

And progress to be proud of and looking forward to updating you later on.

Meanwhile stay safe and healthy!