Is the latest in a long line of forts built by the team to enhance our displays. The first consisted of a dock structure with fold out backdrop, the second, Adrian in a box, on a pontoon in the middle of 2 Basin ( some say his finest hour! ), the third a large polystyrene outboard engine casing plus extras ( it burnt briefly but brightly! ), the fourth, our longest serving, the Big Cheese, a fold out affair that lasted nine years, and the fifth, our most posh up to this point, an inverted pond liner with interchangeable details ( sadly suffered a catastrophic electrical melt down.), and now the biggest of them all, Fort Whitehouse ( named after the lump head who thought it up in the first place! ).
Originally designed as a shore mounted prop to enhance the sailing ship displays, it grew a bit when the Secretary proposed putting the affair out on a long jetty, placing the whole assembly away from the operators and public. This evolved into what you see being built now.
The build started in 2013, concentrating on the fold flat fort and lighthouse. That winter mostly concerned the build of the jetty components and joining block houses. A number of members have been involved in different ways, building, painting, donating materials, drinking tea and chatting. All helped to bring the structure up to how you see it now. On Sunday March 9th 2014 the fort was launched at a secret testing facility. Assembly was quick, with the structures being assembled while afloat. Nothing sank, everything was stable. Some points regarding mooring were discovered, resulting in the decision to use four mooring weights and two stakes
split evenly between the port and starboard assemblies.
It took about fifteen minutes to assemble and it all floated stable, structurally stiff at the joints, and to an interesting, variable waterline. Monsieur Bod can be seen waving his surrender flag, he needs the practice, he could be using it a lot!
Pyrotechnic installation was next, this involved the use of the ten shot Pyropod in the lighthouse, operating six cannon and four hits, and the old forty function wheel from the last fort, operating all the effects in the main fort, including hits, smoke, cannon, sinking sailing ship and surrendering Frenchman!
The 2014 Season has seen the new Fort become a core part of our displays and worth the many hours put in by the members in its construction.