Before we look to the future of the cervia, we must first look at the past
In july 2009, the cervia was closed to the public by order of the ramsgate harbourmaster, for health and safety reasons, quite frankly it was considered dangerous to step on board. There was also a genuine fear that the cervia would be scrapped due to her appalling condition.
There was a massive amount of rust and rotting deck timbers everywhere. This in turn led to holes forming throughout the vessel.the holes in turn allowed water penetration all over, which of course created more rust throughout the interior. She was in a terrible state, with the aft deck resembling an alotment; such was the vast amount of weeds, grass and flowers that covered the planks.
The volunteers, having worked five days a week, for the past four years, have transformed the cervia. Not a weed in sight, tons of rust removed, so much in fact that we now are 9 inches higher in the water than in 2009, due to the vast amount of the rust removed.
So what is the future of the cervia now,
In the short term,
The work continues, although we have now reduced the number of days on board for the volunteers to two, having completed a large part of what we set out to do. we are now concentrating on individual projects, such as the restoration of the lifeboat and forming the aft deck grating. Another milestone was to install a 50 inch plasma screen and computer in the officers cabin, which allows us to show several films of the river thames, they include ships, all of the docks, and of course tugs. A truly great experience to the tug enthusiasts.
The long term
The next major project will be to raise funds to buy, transport, and instal, a new main mast, the old one having rotted and collapsed many years ago, after that, the mizzen , which is beyond saving and needs replacing but, by far and away the biggest problem is the hull. The cervia has’nt been out of the water since 1977, and some of the plates on this riveted hull are extremely thin. Therefor, we need to raise a serious amount of funding to allow us to get her up onto the slipway to effect the necessary repairs.
After that particular exercise, the sky's the limit, once the cervia is declared seaworthy, this could see her taking a limited number of passengers on short coastal trips, attending sea festivals and pageants both in the UK and on the continent. But to realise that dream will involve lots of dedication, continued hard work, and the support of you, the members of the cvc (cervia volunteer crew).