On Friday 7th March 2015 SWL Rope Lifting and Testing Ltd was contacted to design the rigging assembly for the naming ceremony of Britannia by HM Queen Elizabeth, on the following Tuesday 10th March 2015. Testing the system had to be completed by Monday 9th March 2015.
Two Engineers were sent on a meeting with Cunard Executives to discuss the design. It was decided that the £4500.00 bottle of champagne should break on the ‘I’ in Britannia. A pad eye was welded above the ‘I’ and we tested it. The tides in Southampton raises and lowers by 3 metres, so the wire when fitted to the pad eye could not be fixed, so we designed a floating block system that would allow a constant tension on the wire.
The wire was attached to the pad eye taken to the top of the visitors stand and with a system of 5 change direction blocks attached to the floating weights some 100 metres from where HM The Queen would be standing. A quick release system was attached to the rope near the top of the stand and an additional rope reeved from that to the control box at the back of the stand. When HM The Queen pressed the button a light came on in the control room and the quick release system was activated. The champagne bottle smashed on the ‘I’ a perfect result, completed on time and on budget.