SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
SHACKLETON EPIC EXPEDITION NAMES ITS NEW BOAT
The Shackleton Epic Expedition to be led by Tim Jarvis in 2012 has named its newly commissioned replica of the James Caird. It is to be called the Alexandra Shackleton after Sir Ernest's granddaughter and the Society's President.
The James Caird Society Newsletter reports that the boat has been built at the International Boatbuilding College at Lowestoft (the original James Caird was built to Frank Worsley's specification at London's East India Docks) under the supervision of Nat Wilson.
The Alexandra Shackleton will begin sea trials in 2011.
Though the builders have been scrupulous to match the essential outer features of the James Caird, Nat explains that inevitably in some respects she is not, or cannot be, an absolutely exact replica.
For various reasons, instead of expensive Baltic pine planking on steamed oak timbers, European larch from Scotland has been used. Additional watertight bulkheading has been added for safety.
The replica has a full deck of pine boards and canvas, whereas the original - initially timber planked only fore and aft - was further decked by 'Chippy' McNeish with dismantled sledges and canvas.
On the ice McNeish built up the James Caird's sides by three planks fitted to the hull with short timbers, also extending the stem at the bow and the stern. To strengthen the keel and allow a mast step for the main mast he bolted a section of a spar onto the hog/keel. The Alexandra Shackleton follows the same principles. The mizzen mast was stepped on the aft athwart.
The plank seams are caulked with cotton, as they were with the original James Caird, and the boat's seams are paid up with a mixture of putty and white lead paste. Originally McNeish & co. had to make use of George Marston's oil paints for this touching-up process!