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An “Enterprize” out of water

30 Jul 2019

An “Enterprize” out of water Image

The Docklands-berthed tall ship Enterprize was sailed to Appleton Dock slipway last month and raised out of water for maintenance works for the first time in three years.

While the ship’s general manager Michael Womack admitted that such works should normally be carried out each year, the event marked a sight rarely witnessed.

“It used to be done every year but this has been three years now since it was last done and that’s too long,” Mr Womack said. “With a wooden hull the maintenance is crucial.”

While maintenance is important, as a not-for-profit organisation, the process of utilising the slipway isn’t easy and Michael said that the Port of Melbourne was very supportive in waiving a lot of fees associated with using the facility.

A reproduction of the original 1830s topsail schooner Enterprize that founded Melbourne in 1835, the current Enterprize was built over six years using the traditional methods of the original ship.

With hemp rope sourced from Holland, flax sail cloth sourced from the United Kingdom and sheep fats used for lubricating the masts, everything about Enterprize is as traditional as it gets and its volunteers care for it with the same level of passion.

Volunteers Jeff and Kevin sailed the ship from its berthing place at 2 North Wharf Rd in Docklands on July 15 to the slipway, which slides into the water underneath the ship before cranking it up on land using nothing other than a very thick cable.

With maintenance carried out by a number of different volunteers over two to three weeks, Jeff described the process of looking after the ship as a real “labour of love.”

“It’s very nice to work with materials and do that type of work whereas some of the other ships I work on use synthetics so it’s cheaper, it’s easier to maintain but it’s more of a pain to work with,” he said.

“When you’re splicing lines with hemp rope and do seizings and stuff like that it’s just very nice and all very simple engineering. We do a lot of stuff the same the way that we would have done it back then.”

The boat provides a truly authentic 1830s experience and is the most accurate replica of an early 19th century top sail schooner in the world. It is the only tall ship training vessel operating and based in Victoria and provides education experience to over 3000 primary and secondary children each year.

For more information visit enterprize.org.au

 

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