Getting to XL426’s fin and rudder has always been a challenge and until now we have used our set of giraffe steps – a long flight of steps on a mobile base and erected by using a pump-action handle to lift the platform hydraulically to the required height.
The steps weren’t ideal – particularly as they didn’t reach to the full height of the fin – so in 2014 we acquired a cherry picker. It wasn't in the best condition when we bought it and needed a lot of work to bring it up to standard. It was taken to our workshop where the long process of stripping down, removing rust, replacing some of the hydraulics and almost all of the electrics, began.
This was a major time-consuming project, led by Andy Wagstaff (Trustee and Lead Engineer) with several other engineers helping out at various stages to get all the work done over the spring, summer and autumn. At long last the work was completed and the by now compulsory coat of NATO green paint applied.