Skip to content

Final Works for 2021

Our shipwrights are now taking a well earned break after working on the deck beams and many associated tasks. The yellow fairing battens on the deck guide the shipwrights in cambering and shaping the deck beams, knees and other timbers which are planed to receive the first layer of plywood decking. The two white steel water tanks are temporarily sitting on the engine beds awaiting installation of fireproofing material on the hull sides where the tanks will finally be positioned.
Until the decking is installed, every opportunity is taken to complete tasks in difficult areas. This area in the forepeak functions as the chain locker for the main anchor chain at the base of the temporary ladder. An intermediate floor has been installed below the original breasthook, with an access ladder to a deck hatch. A heavy partial height wall will be installed aft of the floor to contain the chain.
Volunteers skilled in metalwork have taken on the task of fabricating two new 4500 litre fuel tanks. These tanks will be a better shape for the engine room space, freeing more space for black water tanks and ensuring the fuel tanks meet current standards. Seen here in the middle of one of the tanks is the baffle wall which prevents fuel sloshing around in a seaway. The cutout in the baffle coincides with the inspection hatch opening in the yet to be installed front of the tank, allowing inspection of both halves of the tank.

Update on various works

At the forward end of the engine room, the shipwrights have been installing heavy timbers which will bear the weight of two 4500 litre diesel fuel tanks. New tanks are being fabricated, as the old tanks were found to be deficient in metal thickness.
A new section of deck beam was required above the bulkhead forward of the main deckhouse. The scarf joints in the old beam are seen here ready to receive the new section.
Eighty plywood sheets for the under layer of deck have been prepared with a V groove similar in appearance to the underside of a traditional laid deck. Sheets are being pre-coated with epoxy paint prior to installation. This pre-coating will minimise overhead painting after the sheets are installed and the use of epoxy paint ensures bonding with the glue applied to the deck beams.

Deck Work

Spanning between two deck beams are the timber mast partners which surround and support the mizzen mast at deck level. The mast sockets into the keelson at the base of the white temporary upright. The mast partners are of huon pine and have been reused from the earlier deck structure.
Main mast partners aft of the main deckhouse.
The lead ballast blocks (10 tonne in total) are being slowly returned to their position on the floor frames while good access is available through the open deck areas above. The lead blocks are 45 kilogram each and are only roughly being distributed to their areas at present, as they may need repositioning to finally trim the ship. After final positioning they will be fixed to the floor frames to prevent movement at sea and will be mostly unseen under the internal floors.

Completion of Deck Beams

The last two replacement deck beams have been laminated and placed in position. The one in the foreground sits in its final location on the bulkhead between the engine room and the accomodation wet areas. The other beam forward of this is still supported by a sling above its final position. What looks like a dividing wall under the centre of this beam, is the aft centre board casing.
Looking aft over the same area shows the beams complete around the opening above the engine room. When the final beams are bolted in place, the shipwrights will begin the process of fairing the top of all beams in preparation for laying the deck.

Return to Water, Saturday 16 October 2021

If you follow this site, you will probably have watched the live stream return to water of Alma or visited our Facebook site. The images below are just a small snapshot of the many photographs and videos from this milestone event.

The moment after eight years when Alma is free of the barge and hanging by four massive 50 tonne slings lifted by the two cranes on the lift ship. The barge was towed back to Docklands where it will await possession by its new owners.
No going back now. Alma is afloat next to the AAL Shanghai lift ship. Shipwrights and others were on board at this stage checking for leaks and ready to start emergency pumps if required. No leaks were found. Alma is floating about 3-400 mm above her final projected marks since there is about 50 tonnes of machinery, tankage, fitout, rigging etc still to go back on board.
After being towed back to North Wharf, Alma was shepherded back to her berth by the two Svitzer supplied tugs which had assisted us all day.
Our Captain for the day was Matt McDonald, CEO of Searoad Ferries. The First Mate position was filled by our Restoration Director, Peter Harris OAM. Whilst Alma was not under her own power during the day we were still required to have trained mariners in charge.
The team of shipwrights and volunteers required for the days on water activities. There would be many more if all those people working behind the scenes could be shown. Thanks to you all.
A reminder of what Alma looked like in 2013 after she had been loaded on the barge in Williamstown and towed back to Docklands.

Return to Water

How to witness the event
Live Broadcast will commence from 2pm


The Lift is happening this Saturday.

Return to Water Latest Information

The following email has been provided by the Alma Doepel Supporters Club with more exciting news –

October 2021 Return to Water
UPDATEAAL Shanghai has arrived in Melbourne and is now undertaking her commercial responsibilitiesAAL Shanghai moored in Appleton Dock – the proposed path of Alma Doepel to the AAL Shanghai on Return to Water DayRETURN to WATER Event
We wait to learn the day the AAL Shanghai will be free to perform the long anticipated LIFT and Return to Water of the Alma Doepel hull.

Today we learned this could be as early as Friday. We will know very soon so keep your eyes on the website and Facebook.

Arrangements for the Live Stream of the event are well advanced and we will be streaming live from the Lady Cutler and other strategic locations.The Alma Doepel is ready and waiting for her Return to Water date with the AAL Shanghai. The crane ship is in Melbourne and unloading cargo.Due to Covid restrictions in force, there will be no access for the public or Alma Doepel supporters to the area in front of the Alma Doepel Restoration Shed and the adjacent vessel berthing area during key parts of the Return to Water activities.  This restriction on access is required for safety reasons and as part of COVID control requirements.  At all times during the Return to Water, access to the Alma Doepel Restoration Shed will be restricted to those who are authorised participants in the Return to Water activities.
The best way to witness the event is via the LIVE STREAM broadcast. 
The event may take anything up to 4 hours to complete, so you may like to monitor the stream until the lift takes place and then you can be glued to your TV or smart device.

This is expected to be announced tomorrow (Thursday 14 Oct). We are ready to go! Monitor the Alma Doepel website and Facebook for latest updates. As soon as I know I will send out a final newsletter.

What you need to do to watch the event LIVE.
Check the website or

There you will find the link to the LIVE STREAM and full details regarding date and time.To better appreciate the task to perform the lift of Alma from her barge and return to water, here is an image of the replica Duyfken being lifted on to a crane shipThe Lift Plan:
The plan is to lift Alma with 2 of the 4 cranes on AAL Shanghai. 
Referring to the Yacht Lifting Proposal schematic below, you can see that four slings will be in use. Two at the bow and two at the stern. 
The Slings will be attached to the crane with 8 bow shackles 
The strength of the hull to endure the lift is provided by 7 bulk heads within Alma’s hull. Yacht Lifting Proposal Schematic of the proposed liftThe actual lift will be gradual slowly taking up the weight. 
Alma will be lifted off the barge, and will temporarily hang in the air while the barge is removed by Svitzer tugs back to Shed 2. Alma will then be lowered into the water gradually. Once safely in the water, the slings will be released. Alma will be afloat.
The tugs will then attach lines to samson posts on board Alma and gently commence the tow back to Shed 2. It is important to know that these tugs are very powerful and capable of pulling the samson posts off Alma if too much power is applied, so slowly slowly nice and easy does it back to shed 2. Acknowledgments

has been made possible by the generous support of:

City of Melbourne
Development Victoria

Michael Smith – Sun Films
Searoad Ferries

Royal Yacht Club Victoria,  (use of Thorsen (ex Pilot Service Boat), Cerberus Pinnace)
Lady CutlerYour Donation is appreciated

Help continue the work of the Restoration. Once Alma is floating again, the refit will commence and we need your help!
Donations may be made byclicking this link
Alternatively read about the Blocks or Pulleys and maybe Sponsor a Block.
If wine is your thing, then have a look at our Buy some Wine section. We have partnered with Prospect Wines as a fundraiser.
Become a member today – read the section on Membership.
There are many ways you can help.Blocks or Pulleys for AlmaThe ‘Blocks’ or pulleys are an essential component to the ship’s rigging. Lines (ropes) run through blocks in order to change direction. Use of pulleys creates a ‘purchase’ that reduces the force required to haul.

These blocks have been hand crafted by volunteer Francis Crome using timber and steel. Some pulleys have been adorned with a bronze logo of the ship.

We need your help to raise $20,000 towards the refit of Alma Doepel. All block donations will be recognised on a Block Honour Board similar to that of Plank donations.
Click to Buy a BlockHard at work, Francis Crome methodically goes about his work crafting new blocks from templates of the old blocks that are no longer fit for service.Buy some Wine – Support Alma Doepel

Prospect Wines are helping the Restoration by donating part of the proceeds of wine sales. If you are ready to reorder your wine, please consider Prospect Wines offerings:

You can complete a form by clicking here or email your order to:

or you can fill in the Prospect Wine Online Order form.

Thank you for your supportJoin or Renew Alma Doepel MembershipAn important word about membership

Subscriptions are a major part of funding for the restoration. Covid-19 lockdowns meant our fundraising events could not take place in 2020 resulting in significant loss of revenue for the restoration. 

Now, more than ever, we need our financial members.

You represent more than membership revenue, you represent a level of physical community support that potential sponsors look for, when considering applicants. So we ask you to please become a financial member today.
If you can afford it, a 5 year membership represents excellent value.
You get 1 year free and you do not have to worry about renewal for some time to come.

So please download the Application for your 2021-22 subscription today.
 Click the link below to download your application
Supporters Club Application Form ADSC Committee 2020-21President – Norm Boreham
Vice President – Bill Reid
Secretary – Karin Otto
Treasurer – Tom Parks
Membership – Rod Alsop
Members – Tim Horton, Val Webb, Peter Harris, Daryl Brooks,
Colin Lill, Andrew Cohen, Peter van Duyn (positions remain vacant)
Warm regards,
Bill Reid
0416 153 116
Take a look at the Restoration Chronicles to see how far we have come….
Alma Doepel Restoration Chronicles
Copyright © 2021 Alma Doepel Supporters Club, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are a member of the Alma Doepel Supporters Club.

Our mailing address is:
Alma Doepel Supporters ClubPO Box 188Hawthorn, Vic 3122Australia
Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Further information as it becomes available.

Propelled closer to Relaunch

Another milestone reached with the recent installation of our magnificent new propellers. Thanks to our shipwrights and volunteers.
One more coat of anti fouling paint, some work on the sea water intake valves for engine cooling and fire fighting, and woodwork on the stem head beak will see Alma ready for the water.

Deck Beams (continued)

Looking forward from the aft deckhouse, our shipwrights have moved on to shaping and installing the shorter beams spanning from the ship side to the carlings which support the sides of the deckhouses. These smaller beams are socketed or dovetailed into the carlings and reinforced with the lodging knees seen here. Further along the deck can be seen the red painted longitudinal beam (carling) which will support the deckhouse over the engine room. That deckhouse was removed as one structure when the engines were taken out and sits in the shed awaiting reinstallation.