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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
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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.

Deck Beam Update

Our shipwrights scarf joining and epoxy laminating sections of the next deck beam.
The fabricated beam in position under the aft end of the main deckhouse.
Here looking aft we see two beams under coated in red, installed in their final location forward of the aft deckhouse and spanning the engine room. Note the knee at each beam end strengthening the beam joint at the side of the ship. In the foreground is a beam ready for painting and final positioning over another part of the engine room.

Deck Beam Replacement

A new deck beam has been installed at the forward end of the aft deckhouse. The beam was made in the shed from laminated spotted gum boards left over from the hull planking stock. Weighing in excess of 600 kg, it was a massive task to lift the beam onto the ship and position it. Another five of these full width beams and associated smaller beams will be required in the replacement deck. Laminating the largest of these in-situ will reduce the work of transporting and lifting fully made beams from the shed.
Beams which may have looked sound from below the deck, here show significant iron degradation of the timber. The shipwrights have removed some surface material to expose the extent of damage. Where rot has not penetrated too far into the beam, a lamination of new material glued to the old may be sufficient to restore a beam. Failing this, the shipwrights will opt to install a new beam

One day in September

How will we get Alma back in the water?
A lift ship similar to this has been arranged for a day in September. Our barge where Alma has spent the last eight years will be towed downstream and Alma will be lifted by two cranes and returned to the water. A hugely exciting moment with lots of work going on in background at present to make it happen.

Deck Reconstruction

Total reconstruction of the deck has commenced with all planks being carefully removed for later reuse. The process involves using a holesaw to drill over the existing deck spikes then levering the planks from their location after having raked out the old caulking.

Where planks have been removed, the shipwrights will assess whether a deck beam needs replacement due to rot or iron degradation of the timber. The deck structure and slope will also be assessed and beams replaced as necessary to ensure drainage of the new deck. The replacement deck will consist of layers of plywood screwed and epoxied in place with an overlay of the refurbished Queensland beech planking. Not a traditional deck, some may say, but replacement beech timber is not available and this method will stop water coming through the deck and pooling in your bunk as happened in the past.

Making Alma more accessible for everyone

Boarding Alma from a dock or other boat will now be much easier as a section of the rail around the topsides has been cut and hinged. A door or other opening between the two stanchions will also be fitted into the bulwark planking. A successful grant application has provided funds to ensure a more accessible Alma. Later work will provide for deck level accessible accomodation and toilets.

More hull items complete

Fitting of the rudder is complete and the propeller shafts fully installed. Restraints have been fitted to the shafts in the engine room to ensure the shafts do not pull out of the hull after the propellers are fitted and the ship is being towed following launching. Engines will be fitted after launching.
The hull now has one complete coat of the four required coats of red antifouling paint. Timber pieces have been added on both bows just above the waterline to prevent damage from the anchor flukes. The bow thruster tunnel has been bolted into the hull around the flange plate and sealed with a welded plate on the end. This will keep the tunnel dry inside the ship so that fitting of the thruster machinery can continue after the ship is returned to the water. The tunnel projections will be cut off at a later time to allow water to flood the tunnel.

Hull finishing and antifouling.

Prime coating ( grey paint) of steelwork is being completed near the stern on the port side. Over coating with the red antifouling paint then proceeds over the steel components and hull timber.