I would be surprised if ever again we have a challenge so great as to have to prepare 2 custom instruments for simultaneous shipment to customers 12000 miles away. With staff flights to New Zealand booked weeks ahead any delay in the instruments dispatch would mean our team was in place but no instrument was there. That could have been tricky to say the least.
Also when using as we did passenger planes for the haulage (they are much cheaper) you can not be sure when the freight travels as if customers turn up with lots of luggage the freight is stood down to the next available flight. How else could that work. So freight joins a queue of indeterminate length.
We allowed 3 weeks travel time and I am pleased to say that was sufficient as we saw the Wellington Cathedral instrument crate arrive on Facebook before we left the UK. Game on!
Specialist crates for our bespoke organs
Specialist crates were made for the two instruments travelling. These crates with specialist foam packing were almost works of art in themselves. Both instruments fitted well and we managed to include a number of tools and accessories we would require in New Zealand including wheeled skids to move the instruments about in case we had to.
It took a full day for 4 people to secure everything in the crates. Pedalboards were strapped to the crate walls, benches to the crate floors. The doors of the Cathedral console were removed for shipping so as the cargo inevitably rattled and twisted in transit no damage would be inflicted on them.
Finally, the next day the job of lifting them onto the lorry came. The Cathedral instrument weighed in at 750 Kg and the smaller private client instrument at 500 Kg. Never have I driven our fork truck so carefully across the concrete and lifted the load so slowly. An accident at this stage was not an option.
We now know the outcome was successful but as that lorry drove away with its precious load I must confess to a high degree of apprehension as to what would confront us when we open the crates in New Zealand.
Next stop New Zealand
We leave you with a video from Wellington Cathedral as they opened the crate live on Facebook earlier in October.
You can read more soon about the installations on our blog….keep an eye out for it!