Monday, December 01, 2014

The Victory is like the Forth Bridge

It was clear that something was missing. Staring up at the Victory's masts ... well, you didn't have to look that far.

No top mast, no spars, just a lot of sky.

"When will they put them back?" I asked, expecting an answer like next summer or maybe the one after.

But no, it might be decades before we see the work finished. The original estimate was five years, back in 2011, then this summer was up to 15 years and the guide on deck was talking about 20 years.

"It's a bit like painting the Forth Bridge" he went on to say. "It's never really finished."

HMS Victory is, after all, arguably the world's most famous warship, forever associated with Trafalgar and Nelson. But after all that work would it really be the same ship? I asked, curious as to the philosophical position.

"The keel is the same as the original construction" I was told. "This is still the same HMS Victory."

I hope they do a better job than the Cutty Sark, heart broken by holes cut in the side and decks, where wood was replaced with plastic.

Most importantly, unlike that clipper, the HMS Victory still could slip lines and head out to sea and float, and that should be a goal of the renovations.

Everything is being re-examined, even the famous yellow of the gun-ports:
Budgets have gone up to an estimated £ 45 million.

This is going to take some time, but I'm very glad they're doing it.

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