All shipshape on the Trinc

Trincomalee staff pictured adding rigging to the ship. Picture by Tom Collins.
Trincomalee staff pictured adding rigging to the ship. Picture by Tom Collins.

A GIANT crane has helped ensure Hartlepool’s iconic tourist landmark remained in tip-top condition.

The impressive sight of a 50-tonne crane with a reach of around 130ft could be seen at the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.

It was there to do work on HMS Trincomalee but bosses stress there was no risks to public safety at all.

HMS Trincomalee Trust general manager David McKnight explained why the work was needed.

He said: “The main thing we were doing was maintenance on the rigging of the ship.”

He said one of the old rigging ropes snapped recently and the team at Trincomalee wanted to remove it from the yards. A yard is a spar on a mast from which sails are set.

Mr McKnight said there was no risk to public safety, or any health and safety risk, but he added: “If the yards move a bit on the mast, it will wear.”

He said it was better to get the work done and it went ahead at teatime on Tuesday.

“We thought we would get a crane in and get the rigging back, and everything will be back in well maintained order again,” he added.

While the work was going on, Trincomalee staff took the opportunity to put new blocks on the gaff (the ship’s flagpole).

The gaff is a spar attached off the mizzen mast and Mr McKnight added: “It is the gaff from which we tend to fly flags on holiday days and that type of thing.”

Mr McKnight added: “We felt it was an appropriate moment to do the work.

“In these light nights, it meant that we could bring the crane in, and could do the work while the site was closed to the public, and while the weather and the lighting was fine for doing that.

“It is a good time to do essential maintenance. It is also about keeping the icon of Hartlepool in great shape.”

Visitors to the ship can enjoy an event with a difference this Sunday when a Steampunk convention starts at 12pm.

Steampunk is a type of science fiction. Sunday’s event will feature costumes, contraptions, Steampunk authors and live music. For more details, contact (01429) 223193.