What we believe to be Pilgrim’s first lift in her lifetime happened at Tom’s Yard in Polruan in Cornwall this week. Conventional practice is to slip or beach Pilgrim when she needs maintenance below the waterline. Neither of those approaches are ideal for work to be done, especially if she is beached, as the tide returns twice every day and limits the work that can be done.
This year Pilgrim needs to have her shafts removed for inspection and some hull caulking is required. We are regular visitors to the yard of C. Toms and Son Ltd in Polruan on the south coast of Cornwall. They now have an amazing 200 ton boat lift with 9 computer controlled strops which enable them to manage the load on each strop. That means that even wooden boats like Pilgrim can be lifted without undue stress on their keels.
For Pilgrim it also means she can be placed level on her keel in a dry area and that makes the working environment much safer and more practical. We believe it is Pilgrim’s first lift in her lifetime as we have no other record to suggest she has ever been craned out of the water. Before her restoration in 2009/10 that would have been very risky due to the fragile nature of her timbers.
The lift went smoothly thanks to the professionalism of Paul Toms and his team. They lifted her out and manoeuvred her in the yard with ‘inch perfect’ precision and we can now get on with our essential maintenance. She was due to be out of the water for 10 days but owing to the adverse weather conditions forecast, we undertook the passage to Cornwall early. The yard lifted her out to keep her safe from Storm Ciara.
Pilgrim expects to be back in her home port of Brixham before the end of February to finish her winter refit and to undertake crew training. The sailing season for her 125th Anniversary year starts on April 10th.