Raybel on the day of the exceptional high tide (10th Feb) with the wharf covered and water 5 bricks high up the museum
In January the team got the leaky dry dock with the remains of sailing barge Westmoreland into Lower Halstow.  Welding repairs are ongoing and the plan is that the dry dock will be towed round to Sittingbourne on the afternoon high tides of the 12th and 13th of March with an overnighter somewhere in Queenborough. 
There has been a lot of interest in Westmoreland including a visit by National Historic Ships UK and their expert Dr Eric Kentley making a film on their guidelines about Deconstructing Historic Vessels.  It was an interesting day as Dr Kentley worked on the Mary Rose project and has also visited the Titanic!  
The wet weather has delayed much happening with Raybel and the barge Museum.  Boatswain Rob has spent most of his time travelling between Raybel and the dry dock with a boarding ladder in one hand and a bilge pump in the other, emptying the water, washing out the mud, meeting contractors, and shifting scrap iron. 
They now have lighting in the containers and a hand wash sink in the galley, courtesy of volunteers Paul and John.  Roger cut through the museum floor to lay in the new power supply to the wharf then cleared out another drain. Rod sourced some metal racking, John painted up a shelving unit.  They also had their youngest volunteers on board when James brought his children to help out at half-term. 
Gareth was invited to speak at the National Maritime Museum, at an event marking the 150th anniversary of the Cutty Sark.  With the shipping industry having to face up to its ecological impacts, they were there to discuss how sail power will be a part of the future, not just the past.  Interestingly a message firmly endorsed by the new Director of Royal Museums Greenwich, Paddy Rodgers. 
Their history person Faye has set up an office in the 2nd floor of the museum and will be developing exhibitions from there.  She is making great inroads into Raybel history including contact with an archive in Newfoundland.  Faye is going on a recruitment drive to get more people involved in the research, so if you know anybody who we might armtwist - Faye would love to hear about them.  She will be offering professional training in archiving, oral history recording and digital research so this could be of interest to anybody heading for a career in heritage, research, or archives.  She is printing up some postcards for distribution and would appreciate any help with your contacts please. 
We invited our neighbouring skaters to have a look round during the school holiday - it was a very rainy day but Faye managed to get them aboard. Even some reticent ones were tempted by Eric The Pug!
They will soon be welcoming the young work experience people on board so they have had Portable Appliance Testing done, upgraded their fire extinguishers, and updated the safety policy.  It also means that they are moving the regular volunteer day to Wednesdays 10am - 1pm starting on Wednesday the 18th March under the direction of Gareth Maeer who is covering project management duties for a few months.
Following their Christmas wishlist appeal they have had some very nice donations of a welding set, an electric heating ring for melting pitch, and some mooring rope worth hundreds of pounds.  They are now looking for recycled (or new) sheets of Sterling board or shuttering ply to make a proper hoarding fence to the wharf that can double as a big visual entrance to the site.  If you have a soon-to-be-completed building site near you, perhaps you could have a chat with the site manager for them?  Also - any exterior grade paint will come in handy for sealing it all.
When the dry dock pulls in there will be lots of work to do and hopefully it will stop raining! 
Will be great to have you aboard
Team Raybel 
Every Wednesday 10am - 1pm Starts Wednesday 18th March
Other days may be added depending on workload

Want to hear more before you join in? Drop-in evenings are where you can find the latest on the project and how to get involved.
Wednesday evenings 7pm - 8.30pm on Raybel

Dr Eric Kentley of National Historic Ships

Eric the Pug - Welcoming strangers to Raybel