Was that the issue you guys had a disagreement over on the barge ? "the extra strop" on the documentary ?
We had concerns about the main spar tearing free because the steelwork looked a bit worse for wear and an early possible solution was to lift from the spar then run a strop under the boat and lift with that instead. The disadvantage there was we had no means of preventing it slipping fore or aft so it was abandoned in favour of chancing it with the spar and using a bag at both ends of sufficient capacity that if we had a total failure of either one, the other would support the entire wreck. Each bag could lift two tons and after consultation with Ken Norris we estimated there was a ton and a half of scrap to move.
So we lifted the front of the wreck by pulling hard on the spar to see what would happen and it lifted cleanly but we discovered that the underside skin was bent downwards and even with the front lifted clear of the mud the skin arced downwards and speared an unknown distance into the mud forming a tunnel under the boat.
So what - it made no difference until the idea of passing the strop was somehow resurrected and that's where the trouble started. You see, firstly it was completely unnecessary, especially at that time when we were yet to work out how to get the back end free of the mud. Then, the only way to pass it was through the tunnel created by the wrecked underside and that was just asking for trouble. Next, there wasn't quite enough umbilical to put the hard-hat diver down to do it so it would have needed free-swimming divers, ie the volunteer team, to sweep the strop and they had no surface comm's if something went wrong.
It was a truly stupid idea and I flatly refused to have anything to do with it or risk divers in the attempt.
In the end (I suspect as a face-saving exercise) there was a strop passed under there after the boat was well clear of the lakebed and they finally had enough umbilical to get a surface-supplied diver to the job, then, as predicted, it slipped aft as the bags inflated unevenly leaving the entire mass hanging on one bag and had to be removed again.
[Edit} We had to work with a small team of commercial divers because the BBC (who had been introduced to the project by a magazine editor whose publication I had invested in) were at the time self-regulating from a H & S standpoint and needed a scapegoat in the event of an accident. The commercial divers were therefore a political appointment though we did choose them ourselves rather than let the BBC do it because at least they were rebreather friendly at a time when rebreathers were receiving much bad press. We didn't need or particularly want them, however, and it was never a very comfortable relationship except with Zaid Al-Obaidy and Ian Talor who were recruited as qualified commercial divers but also as mates who we dived with at weekends anyway.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...
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