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The Duchess of Cornwall: Diary Entry 8

9 June — 14 August 2008

Stage 8: Fitting out and finishing

Seats, railings and painting are all part of the “fitting out” of a boat and during the past week, seven men from Cockwells Modern and Classic Boatbuilders in Penryn have been working flat out to put the finishing touches to the new St Mawes Ferry.

The wooden ferry, which will carry 100 passengers between Falmouth and St Mawes 364 days of the year, is due to go into the water next week for two weeks of sea trials carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, before being certified safe for passengers.

Four apprentices are in the process of applying six coats of paint to the ferry – two primer, two undercoats and two top coats – in the same light blue, cream and navy blue used on all the fleet of St Mawes ferries.

Three shipwrights and engineers, led by project manager Jonny Mills, will complete the fitting out by installing the seats, bar, toilet, navigational equipment and stairs.“The wheelhouse is being clad in iroko hatd wood from Africa at the moment, then we will be moving on to installing the seats both on the lower and top deck, complete with life jacket boxes underneath,” Jonny explained.

"As part of the MCA stipulations, we have to make sure there are sufficient life jackets for all the various types of passengers we are likely to have onboard, so there are 100 lifejackets – 70 adults sizes and 30 for children.

“The quantity and quality of the paint we are using for the outside of the ferry is long-lasting, but as with all new vessels, we will find that when the wood settles, we will need to do a little touching up – and this will be carried out along with work to the entire fleet during the annual Winter/Spring spruce-up,” he added.

The ferry has a bar area for light refreshments during bespoke trips, complete with a solid wood surface, and the toilet has been designed to accommodate a person in a wheelchair.Jonny has also had to install a special access on the port bow for when the tides are particularly low; wooden cappings to all the handrails made from west african opepe wood; and toughened glass in all the windows. The next diary story will feature the launch of the new ferry down the slipway in Penryn.