When the global explorer Sherpa returned to the Feadship yard in Amsterdam she and her crew were assured of a warm welcome. To make sure the maintenance activities scheduled could also be carried out within the warmth of the main hall, however, required some smart thinking on the part of our dockmaster and his team.
For already safely nestled within the 160-metre ‘shed’ was another Feadship, the 88-metre ‘Project 816’. She is the first superyacht being brought to life by the Amsterdam yard since it opened in May this year.
The creative solution to allow the 74-metre Sherpa and 816 to fit partly alongside each other involved designing a Z-shaped connecting door to divide the dry dock into two. Construction of the door took two weeks and a dock bed was also built for Sherpa featuring a row of keel blocks in the centre and three jacks on each side to keep the yacht straight.
30 October was the big day to turn design theory into practice. The dock was filled with up to seven metres of water during the day and then, at exactly 17.30, the dock door was pumped out to give Sherpa access. The door weighs 210 tonnes and had to be moved with a large tug. Just two hours later Sherpa was able to calmly enter the dock on her own engine.
The next step was to replace the dock door and position Sherpa exactly above the dock bed before restarting the three pumps in the dock to remove some 8000 cubic metres of water an hour. A diver was underwater making sure the yacht was correctly positioned and checking the blocks as soon as she touched the dock bed.
Once the diving inspector gave the thumbs up that Sherpa was perfectly in place the remaining water could be pumped out. The process was completed around midnight, after which two flights of stairs were added to give access to the yacht from the quays. It’s fair to say that all those involved slept soundly when they finally got home in the middle of the night after such a job well done!