In view of airstrikes, I decided to rent a car, and first visited Ferguson, Port Glasgow, 09:45 April 22, 1977.
The only person at work was Mr. Semple, Director, who had specially come over for our visit.
Their yard was rather old fashioned, had 400 workers, and was closely connected with other neighbouring
yards and fitters, including Lithgows. As most UK yards, they would be nationalized on July 1, 1977.
They had constructed two large research vessels, the R.V. "Cirolana" and the R.V. "Scotia", both of which I visited later elsewhere. The former was a success, while the latter appeared cursed. Both featured elaborate 'rafts" for the diesel-electric motors, to prevent vibration. As to prices, the "Cirolana" cost about 4 million Pounds Sterling, and a recently constructed stern trawler/purse seiner of 46m cost 1,875,000 Pounds. Our vessel would cost about 2 million Pounds, delivery 15-16 months. Wages of workers were 1.5 Pounds per hour. NOTE: the UK provides 70% of shipcost financed over 7 years at 7.5% !
He recommended variable pitch props, White Gill-unit (which alone can propel ship to 2 knots, and a choice of these diesels: Rustin, Mirrlees or Allen, all rated at 600-750 rpm, rather than CAT, which has too high speed and is too noisy. Winches he recommended were Norwinch (made in Bergen, Norway) or Braadvag, also Norwegian. For cranes: Fishing Hydraulics, Scotland: TWX 73355.
He gave me a large package of drawings, showed me over the yard and its neighbouring yards, where I saw PacNorse I, a drilling vessel with 3 bow- and 3 stern thrusters: a N.Z. R.V. with helicopter platform, Roros and large tankers built in sections, and took me to lunch in the Lithgow's mansion.