Author Topic: 1983: First Unscheduled Refit 10 - 27 June 1983 'Back to Black'  (Read 5783 times)

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Offline Michael Gallagher

Cunard cancelled the scheduled six-day Iberian Isles cruise (10 – 16 June) and the following two Atlantic crossings (16 June from Southampton and 21 June from New York) in order to obtain 17 days in which to do the necessary work while QE2 remained alongside her berth in Southampton.

Captain Wadsworth and then Captain Ridley were in command.

Cost: The work and cancellations would cost Cunard £2.5 million.

TECHNICAL AND BEHIND-THE-SCENES WORK

Mechanical

The low pressure starboard turbine was removed and sent back to its maker, John Brown Engineering, to be repaired and refitted later in the year, while a new one was fitted.

It was not possible to replace all the defective superheater tubes during the repair period. A number of banks would be installed with the balance completed during the November refit.

Other

•   £3,000 was spent on work on the main Engine Lub Oil Purifer.

•   £10,000 was spent on Number 4 Hold Access.

•   Air-conditioning work was undertaken by Young Austen Young. The presence of YAY sub-contract personnel was potentially a source of trouble with the shipyard.

General Manager’s Office

On the starboard side of Two Deck, near the gangway entrance, a new suite for use by the General Manager of QE2 was built. Adjacent, a new Conference Room, utilised by the General Manager and company staff, was also built. These two areas reflected corporate changes within the ship to render her a self-managing unit within the company. £60,000 was spent on work.

EXTERIOR PAINTWORK

After a reasonable trial period it was decided to repaint the pebble grey coloured-hull of QE2 and change it in the original colouring. The grey had proved to be unpractical as well as unpopular being terribly difficult to maintain in a pristine form and no matter how careful the tugs in ports were, QE2 always lost some of her paint or obtained scuff marks from tugs nudging bows.

Evidence of close contact with dockside fenders also always showed. The light colour also always displayed unsightly streaks of rust dribbling down the vessel’s sides from portholes and hawse pipes. Her external appearance as she circled the Pacific during her 1983 World Cruise drew many criticisms and a full stem-to-stern clean-up was undertaken halfway in Hong Kong.

•   The superstructure was also to be grit-blasted using machines spraying a powerful jet of water and grit. Newcastle company Seaguard was awarded the contract to undertake the work but progress was slow due to having to remove 14 layers of paint. In the end only the front half of the starboard side was grit-blasted with the remainder of the work being deferred until the scheduled refit at the end of the year.

•   The khaki painted superstructure on Boat Deck behind the lifeboats and underneath the Bridge was re-painted white for the first time.

It is interesting to note that the hull was probably scheduled for repainting in the November 1983 overhaul. Board Minutes dated 7 June 1983 stated:

   “Certain other work had been scheduled for the November refit would be advanced... and possible grit-blasting and repainting in the original hull colour above the waterline”.

It was also noted that it would be practicable to undertake repainting above the waterline without dry-docking.


PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION

Penthouse Suites

Two of the Penthouse connecting rooms were refurnished in an Oriental style at a cost of £65,000.

Boat Deck

Eight Boat Deck cabins were completely refurbished (cost £28,000) with the involvement of Robertson Ward. The rooms were sufficiently large enough to allow for a settee to be added.

Cabin Refurbishment

In addition 60 cabins in all categories throughout the vessel were refurbished.

PASSENGER AREAS

Outdoor Decks

The area of decking forward under the Bridge was redone in teak replacing the Astroturf.

RETURN TO SERVICE

QE2 returned to service one day early on 26 June but it soon became clear that the turbine troubles had not been rectified as overheating in one of the two low power turbines was traced to a damaged inner casing. It was thought that the high speed dash to the Falklands may have caused more damage than at first thought.

It was decided that a further period of work would be required so Cunard cancelled two further 1983 transatlantic crossings  (22 July from Southampton and 27 July from New York) in order to obtain a further ten-day work period with QE2 alongside her berth from 22 July until 2 August 1983
« Last Edit: Nov 05, 2018, 01:37 PM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline Adam Hodson

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Thanks for that information Michael, interesting that the high speed journey to the Falklands caused damage to the turbines. You say it was a high speed dash, so I take it she was going at top speed for the entire journey?
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Offline Willum

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Ref the 'High speed dash' it was never disclosed and it may, or may not, have been high-speed. I remember an interview with Capt Peter Jackson in which he said 'We were given a time to arrive at South Georgia, and we arrived precisely at that moment'
Willum

Offline Adam Hodson

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Although I'm sure she was used to going at speed as she maintained a 5 day transatlantic crossing for many years, rather than a 7 day crossing.
"The QE2 is one of the last great transatlantic liners, and arguably the most famous liner in the world"

"QE2 and Concorde, a partnership that lasted almost 30 years... two stunning pieces of engineering, never to be forgotten!"

Online Peter Mugridge

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Ref the 'High speed dash' it was never disclosed and it may, or may not, have been high-speed. I remember an interview with Capt Peter Jackson in which he said 'We were given a time to arrive at South Georgia, and we arrived precisely at that moment'

It may not have been disclosed, but for the return journey the date she left the Falklands and the date she arrived home is known and the maths is pretty interesting, especially when you consider that the maths gives only an average speed...
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Online Lynda Bradford

Forty years ago the unscheduled refit resulted in the decision to change the trial pebble grey colour back to the original Cunard colour.

If you are interested go to the top of this topic to read about the changes during the refit. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Joann Scott

Thank you for your detail info. I do remember when the QE2 was painted gray. I did like it was but can see it was hard to keep. I sailed on Swedish American Line and loved the white color of Stockholm and Gripsholm. 
Also Michael thanks for photo of QE2 in gray. I did make photos to keep.
Joann Scott

Offline Ron Warwick

It may not have been disclosed, but for the return journey the date she left the Falklands and the date she arrived home is known and the maths is pretty interesting, especially when you consider that the maths gives only an average speed...

Check www.qe2abstractlog.com for the speeds. They could not be considered 'high speed' for the QE2.

My theory, and I repeat theory, is that we sailed at a speed to match those of patrolling submarines.