Efforts to preserve a historic lightship stationed at Dundee waterfront have taken a “massive” step forward.
The two lifeboats have been removed from the North Carr Lightship in preparation for a complete refurbishment.
It’s the first step in a major restoration project involving the last lightship to be based in Scotland.
And it has been hailed as a huge step for the charity which saved her from the scrapheap 11 years ago.
Taymara bought the North Carr for just £1 and has already spent £70,000 conserving her.
The ultimate aim is to get her into the Eastern Graving Dock with HMS Unicorn where they will form part of a double maritime attraction.
The North Carr Lightship is in a fragile state
The North Carr Lightship was stationed off Fife Ness and survived bombing during the Second World War.
She was also involved in one of Tayside’s most notorious sea tragedies, the 1959 Mona disaster.
The North Carr 100 team successfully moved the 2 life boats of the North Carr to our secure unit for restoration. The first time in 50 years they have been moved. Well done to all involved @CllrAlexander @LynnesnpR @STVNews #Taymara #NorthCarr pic.twitter.com/RkrOfmOI1t
— Derek Taylor (@DerekTa84030213) October 3, 2021
This saw all eight of Broughty Ferry lifeboat’s crew members drown after launching to assist the North Carr which was adrift in St Andrews Bay.
She was used as a museum in Anstruther before Taymara bought her from a scapyard but she is in a fragile state.
Last year, she began taking in water and her condition was described as critical.
However, the removal of the lifeboats is the first step towards a change in fortune.
Taymara director Derek Taylor said: “It’s a massive step.
“We’re going to get Perth Men’s Shed to restore them in our secure unit as they’ve got shipwrights among their team.
“We’re really chuffed.”
‘We’ll do it bit by bit’
The lifeboats’ removal was a painstaking process, however.
“They are so fragile we were concerned they might collapse in on themselves,” Derek said.
“But we put a bit of wood inside the frames and there was no damage done. They held perfectly.
— Derek Taylor (@DerekTa84030213) October 4, 2021
“We think the hulls are quite sound, It’s more about the sides and the top.
“They need to be inspected once they’ve dried out a bit.”
Taymara always said the lightship’s restoration would be a gradual process.
“I said I wanted to start with the lifeboats and we’re doing that,” he said,
“We’ll do it bit by bit and this is a big, big step.”
Meanwhile, the biggest challenge is keeping the integrity of the main boat intact until she can move to the dry dock.
“We’ve got pumps on board in case she springs a leak,” said Derek.
“We’ve done a fair bit of the refurbishment inside but in the Scottish climate she deteriorates quickly.
“It’s a bit like painting the Forth Bridge.”