We want to lift the ship...

Most of the time, when we build a commission - it belongs to our clients so they can do whatever they like with it. Even a 2.8 tonne, 13 metre long ship. But sometimes, there are special circumstances!

Just before our trip to Portugal, I took a phone call from DFDS. They'd been able to arrange for the world's largest LEGO ship to be put on display in the Maritime Museum of Denmark- a great collaboration and worth the trip if you are ever nearby. There was only one small catch - it would need to be placed in the dry dock, 8 metes below ground level and there's no ramp.

Cue one very large crane....

Actually, cue a lot more than a large crane. You might not know this, but lorry trailers are very flexible. Even made of steel, they bend and move. If you've looked at the ship up close, you can see what look like cracks. They are actually expansion gaps to allow the ship to bend and flex ever so sightly. Which is great... when the trailer in on the ground. Lifting it by crane means a completely different type of stress - and because this was never planned for in the first place, an unknown stress!

Between ourselves and DFDS we hatched a plan. Prior to the lift, one of our staff would visit the ship at its temporary home in Copenhagen and insert some additional steel supports inside the ship. These would secure the huge funnels, which at around 200Kg each are some of the heaviest parts of the ship. There was only one small problem with this plan. The visit would have to be the day before the ship lift and we'd need to get not just a builder, but also a lot of tools, flammable solvents and heavy steelwork to Copenhagen too. Oh, and as it's the summer - the passenger ferries are all full. In fact, because of the current terror level, DFDS were unable to take any passengers on their freight ferries all all. And finally, everyone else is busy so it looks like I'll be the one doing the journey. Road trip!

Now - it may sound slightly daft, but our team has learnt from experience that to do a job properly and well - under tight deadlines - you need everything to hand. Flying in that morning, hoping our deliveries had arrived and that we could just 'find' what we needed locally is too risky. The margin of error is too small for a project like this and something going wrong isn't an option for our clients - so it's not an option for us. In fact, for just this reason, we have a long range electric car so we can reduce the carbon emissions for these long journeys. And anyway, it's quite a nice drive to Denmark!

2017-06-19 19.46.20.jpg

So, the car was loaded and I set off for a 2800 mile road trip. Six days, six countries, two ferries and two train crossings later I was back in the UK and the ship is safely nestled in the dry dock. In fact, it was the first ship in that dry dock for a few decades! The Jubilee Seaways was on display throughout the summer, with the rather lovely Kronberg castle just next door. For the LEGO fans amongst you, she was joined by 'baby' Jubilee, the original 1/4 scale model, a build your own ferry activity, and one of LEGO's very first official ferries - a wooden model from the 1940's loaned from our personal collection.

Warren Elsmore