Jeanie being built at Blennerville
Built at Blennerville
Jeanie at Fenit pier
Fitted at Fenit Pier
Jeanie's sea trials
Jeanie's Sea Trials
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The Jeanie Johnston Chronicle

Latest Updates on
Jeanie's progress

14th August, 2000
Jeanie Johnston
    Work on the Jeanie Johnston's interior continues at Fenit this month. I visited the pier last week and spoke briefly to Captain Forwood, asking him about the planned departure date for the round Ireland tour. He told me "I have a date in my own mind, nearer November than October." I wondered if the weather would not be too severe to take Jeanie out during November and December, and he replied that, no, Ireland benefits from the Gulf Stream which means our winter weather never gets too severe. The most a bad storm could do would be to briefly delay entering or leaving a port for a few hours. Once at sea, Jeanie would have no problems withstanding anything our Irish weather can send.

     When Jeanie is finished, she will be opened to visitors before leaving Fenit, and we will be posting a page of pictures of her interior on this website. The delays in fitting out Jeanie have been due to the extraordinarily high standards used to build her, some imposed by the Department of the Marine, some by the project managers themselves. The result is a truly unique ship, the likes of which has never been seen before.

    The key to Jeanie's uniqueness and what sets her apart from any other timber vessel afloat is the design of her "Tween Deck". The Tween (Between) Deck is the first lower deck and lies between the surface deck and the lower storage area. At first glance it looks like a sleeping area, with bunks arranged on either side, partly hidden by wooden panels. But this deck actually has three purposes, as the sleeping quarters and dining area for the crew, as the corporate banqueting area, and as the onboard museum.

early morning at Fenit harbour August 12th
Early morning August 12th
The brown plate on the hull holds one of the two anchor pipes.
    The central area of the Tween Deck will have a permanent dining table running along the centre, which can be used by both the crew or by any of the corporate events planned on the ship. The real secret lies in the 'cabins' which line the walls. Containing two wooden bunks and a canvas wardrobe, the top bunk will slide down onto the lower one at an angle, forming a seat. The wooden partitions will be removed to open up the cabins to the rest of the dining area, which will have seating for 66 people when in "dining mode", and 40 when in "sailing mode". When the Tween Deck goes into "museum mode" in port, the bunks will be used as exhibition space, as will the central table. Life size figures of Irish emigrants will be installed in the area, and concealed lighting and speakers will be used to evoke the atmosphere and sounds of an Atlantic voyage at the time of the Great Famine. Air conditioning, while making the area comfortable for the occupants, will also extend the life of the ship. This ingenious threefold use of the Tween Deck means the ship can house the crew, host corporate functions and act as a museum in one day.

    The project managers are convinced that the Jeanie Johnston is unique in using her interior space in such an ingenious manner. You could have a corporate breakfast hosted in the morning, then a museum between 10am and 4pm and in the evening have dinner, then change into sailing mode and sail to another port. When the ship arrives in the US it will be working 24 hours a day with non-stop work going on. Project foreman, Ciarán O'Regan says "The sophisticated nature of the ship has set me a tough task, it's a big challenge. The building of the hull was straightforward enough but it's the three-in-one system and the fitting-out that gets complicated".

     Because of the 24 hour shift onboard, the separate sleeping area for trainees at the front of the ship will also be used by any crew wanting to catch up on some shut-eye. Directly below this area lies the shower and toilet area for use by the crew. The toilet system is the same as that used on sea liners and aircraft, using a litre of water and a vacuum system. At the front of the Tween Deck lies the boatswain's store, while the area on the deck below houses the forward thruster. This is effectively a hollow cylinder running through the ship's bow, which will allow Jeanie to manoevre herself into shallow waters. Not only does the ship become easier to handle, it also means she will not have to have to use tug boats in tidal harbours, and save a lot of money in the process. Another advantage is that the Jeanie Johnston will be able to move at ease through the complicated lock systems in order to get into the Great Lakes of North America.

*Next entry* in the Chronicle during November will detail the layout of the rest of the ship, including the Captain's Great Cabin, the galley and the lower deck. Also how you can reserve a nautical mile of Jeanie's historical trans-Atlantic voyage to be sailed in your name or that of your nominee.

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Naming Ceremony,
13th May
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August progress
14th August
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