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Lifting the Cuddies

Visitors to Discovery Point on 15th February had the chance to marvel at the spanker boom and cuddies being lifted from the deck of Discovery and temporarily removed onto the quayside, as part of the Urgent Works To Discovery’s Stern.

The spectacular lift was the first time that the cuddies had been moved in almost thirty years; each weighing close to two tonnes! The cuddies housed the toilets on Discovery, with one reserved for use by only the twelve officers and the other used by over thirty crew.

The Royal Research Ship is now 123 years old

The spanker boom – the horizontal beam holding the sail at the mizzen mast – was removed first, in order to allow access to the cuddies and for them to be safely removed.

This work is being undertaken to reduce weight on the stern section; the removal of the spanker boom and cuddies has alleviated almost five tonnes of weight on the ship’s ageing stern. This will then allow for work to repair or replace existing timbers in the stern, to strengthen the area.

As part of the works, a newly designed temporary frame will be constructed over the stern section to provide an element of lifting of the stern, in order to realign it to original specifications. It is also expected that the rudder (which measures over eight metres and weighs up to eight tonnes) will be removed at a later date.

Members of Dundee Heritage Trust assessing the hull of Discovery

The spanker boom, cuddies and rudder will all be placed on the visitor side of the compound, allowing the general public a unique chance to see the rudder up close. The rudder will sit lengthwise on a specially made frame.

All will be refurbished during the works before being returned to their normal places. The £1.4million urgent works to RRS Discovery have been funded by the National Heritage Memorial Fund and will continue into 2025. Despite the works, the ship will remain open as usual – with occasional limited access – and we invite visitors to come along and witness this incredible moment in Discovery’s ongoing story, a century after she underwent her Vosper refit to equip her for ground-breaking oceanographic science!

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