Friday, May 25, 2012

The Boat arrives in Boulogne-sur-mer

Tuesday 10am in the office and the director of the company, Dr. Paul Bennett approaches me and says he wants me in France the next day to help deliver the Dover Boat (which I had in all honesty thought I'd finished with), of course I'm going to say yes! The boat has been residing in the marina storage yard at Dover since it's last launch attempt, still mounted on the yellow trailer it was displayed on at the launch event. The trailer + boat were being loaded onto a hiab and transported by P&O ferries who very kindly allowed free transport across the channel.

Boulogne is beautiful. The old city is completely surrounded by the original medieval walls and is accessed by 4 entrances in the middle of each wall; a rare thing in this day especially for Northern France. The museum is in a castle, built on top of a Roman Fortress, in one of the corners and is surrounded by a very deep moat that has recently been restored and refilled with water. Lovely. Well, lovely if you are visiting but not so much when you are trying deliver one and a half tons of boat and trailer. The streets were too narrow and too busy to pull the trailer through the town so it was suggested we took the whole lot up onto the ramparts and to the castle from there. From here on in I'll let the pictures do the talking:

The general width of the streets in Old Boulogne.
Cayole Gate. We need to get the trailer through here. The arch is too low for the hiab to go through so we had to hire a separate vehicle.
On top of the ramparts.
The boat arrives in Boulogne...
...and is unloaded off the hiab.
Through Cayole Gate. Just.
Up on to the ramparts.
The next obstacle.
Not much room for manoeuvre.
In the end the trailer is unhooked and turned manually...
...and off again.
Next problem. The boat needs to go through that stone gate on the right but the road doesn't allow for an easy turn. The dome in the background is from the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Boulogne.
The front of the gate. This lucky tour group got a preview of the boat before the exhibition officially opened.
And after much more manoeuvring the trailer is ready to be reversed into the castle courtyard.
And finally in the courtyard. Now we need to take the boat off the trailer.
Everything is prepared.
The boat in it's new home.
So there you have it. Piece of cake! The boat will remain in the courtyard and two of the builders will be putting some finishing touches to it. The exhibition opens 29th June. It was a real opportunity to meet the French side of the project and to come together in a practical way, though we unfortunately didn't get a tour of the Basilica or the Museum, maybe next time! be continued...

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