Search for £300k to repair RSS Discovery

The RRS Discovery ship in dock at Discovery Point - it is currently in a dry dock. Picture: submitted
The RRS Discovery ship in dock at Discovery Point - it is currently in a dry dock. Picture: submitted
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SCOTLAND’S most famous ship, the RRS Discovery, is in need of over £300,000 of repairs.

The ship, which is docked in Dundee as a popular tourist attraction, requires its rigging to be replaced after years of being exposed to the elements.

RRS Discovery in Simonstown'August 1926

RRS Discovery in Simonstown'August 1926

The vessel, was launched in 1901 and was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in Britain.

Officials at the Dundee Heritage Trust have estimated that the work will cost £340,000.

Directors at the Discovery Point tourist attraction now need to find the money to fund the replacement project.

Mark Munsie, operations director at Dundee Heritage Trust, said today the process of re-rigging the ship could take up to five years to complete.

He said: “The rigging is open to the elements and we are continually having to work on it.

“We had an inspection of the rigging earlier this year and we have so far tightened some of the lanyards which hold the masts in place to stabilise it.

“We have now started work on the shrouds, which was one of the issues highlighted in the inspection.

“If you look on a ship that’s the bit the sailors would have climbed up.

“We are working to make those safe, which will allow us to make a more thorough inspection of the rigging.

“At the moment we have had one estimate for the cost of taking down the rigging and spars for refurbishment in the region of POUNDS 340,000.

“That is for a three to five year rolling maintenance programme.”

The 113-year-old ship was lifted from the waters of Discovery Point earlier this year.

The boat is in dry dock while Craig Harbour is filled with rubble as part of Dundee’s waterfront revolution ahead of the construction of a V&A museum.

Heritage workers decided to use the time to make vital repairs to the vessel, as well as planning a 3D laser scan of the Discovery.

Mr Munsie said their main concern was finding the cash for the refurbishment of the rigging.

He added: “At the moment we do not have the funds in place.

“We are obviously concerned that with the waterfront development going on that we would like the ship to be looking the best it possibly can.

“But to find that kind of money us difficult.

“The first thing we need to do is a full assessment of the ship. It’s a big challenge especially for a small heritage trust like ourselves.”

The ship was designed for Antarctic research and built by the Dundee Shipbuilders Company.

Its first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, which carried Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their first, successful journey to the Antarctic, known as the Discovery Expedition.