'Relief' as RRS Discovery rudder successfully removed for restoration

It took days to remove the six tonne wooden rudder from the historic ship, which is undergoing a multi-million-pound restoration.

Specialist engineers working on the restoration of the RRS Discovery say they are “relieved” the removal of the rudder has been a success.

Cranes and hoists were used to carefully lift the eight metre-long and six-tonne wooden rudder from the historic ship in Dundee as part of a multi-million-pound restoration project.

Jason Struthers from JPS Restoration said he was “relieved” all had gone well to allow them to move onto the next stage of the project.

He told STV News: “The large support structure we need for the second phase utilised the well the rudder’s fitted into, so we needed the rudder removed to allow us to move onto the next stage.

RRS Discovery undergoing multi-million pound restoration in Dundee

“The rudder was seized, so we spent numerous days releasing it off and then we had to design a method of slinging it which would allow us to carefully rotate it and not lay it on the ground.”

Built in Dundee in 1901, RRS Discovery is one of the most famous ships in the world.

Under the command of Captain Robert Falcon Scott it was the first ship to bring back scientific research from Antarctica – data which is still used today.

It was during this expedition the rudder was last removed and replaced after being damaged on the ice, but instead of cranes and hoists it was down to the crew to take it off the ship.

With the rudder now removed from the ship, the weight and stress will be taken off the already damaged and rotting beams – allowing specialist restorers access to areas which haven’t been seen for over a century.

Ali Gellatly is the ship and facilities director at Discovery Point. He says the work will also give them access to carry out any repairs needed on the rudder.

He said: “We’re taking the chance to do some small restoration work while it is out.

“There are a few small cracks through it but considering its age and what it’s been through, it’s in really, really good condition. People can come see what it looks like.

“But it would be crazy not to take the chance while it’s in such an accessible position to get some of those repairs done and make sure it’s in a great condition for the future.”

Discovery Point is still open to visitors while the restoration work is being carried out.

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