Wednesday, 3 February 2010

King Kong's Venture mast removed

I got a call from the Wellington Harbour Master yesterday giving me a quick heads-up to "something I might not want to miss" - one lucky person has managed to secure quite a major souvenir off the now doomed King Kong vessel, the Venture. This morning the crew was due to remove the main mast off the front of the boat (as you can tell I'm not of the sailor ilk, or I'm sure I would have called it the bow or something. Or the aft? Can't remember which is the front bit).

Underway I picked up a few mates who might be interested in witnessing the historical event, and we arrived at the Miramar Wharf just after 8:30am, just in time to watch the proceedings.

As we arrived, the mast was still up, although the rope ladders to both side were already hanging slack. The crane arrived shortly after, and started extending towards the top of the mast. The mast was secured into place with the crane as well as a few other ropes from the side, so that it won't fall to the ground (or worse, on the wet side of the boat) after the cutting is done.

One of the workers started seriously cutting through the mast. The whole process took about a minute or so.

He left a few very small tabs connected, so that the crane was besically keeping it in place.

Here's the cutting process in action (let me know if it doesn't work; it's my first YouTube video) :)

The blue ribbon cable in the photo was one of the last support left, apart from the steel cable above it (not in this picture). Once that was removed, the mast was loose. Here's the final moments of the mast, for posterity;

And off it came. It was a bit of a sad sight, a mastless ship. Especially after seeing it every day, and pointing it out to literally hundreds of people over the last four years.

On closer inspection, the mast did have a few treasures still on it - two lovely glass lamps.

I'm hoping the new owners will put the whole thing upright again somewhere, possibly even in a publicly accessible place. They certainly looked pretty chuffed with themselves afterwards!


After speaking to the Harbour Master again, it looks like the final paperwork on the sinking of the vessel will be completed next Monday the 8th of Feb. After that, they will wait for the right conditions - less than a one meter swell, less than 15 knot winds, and two tugboats have to be available for the whole day (in other words, not on a cruiseship day, of which there are four next week). I couldn't help thinking that if we have to wait for a 15 knot wind (or less!) here in windy Wellington, it may not go down for a few more years! But I suspect I'm being overly optimistic (or pessimistic, about our weather).

In any case, its days are numbered. More updates as they come to hand!

  - Jack

No comments:

Post a Comment