Friday, March 9, 2012

A Tall Ship's EPIC Restoration Update

Boat enthusiasts, rejoice!

March is here and we are quickly approaching the sailing season.  Much has been done over the last few months and we are quickly putting the ship back together in anticipation of the Spring Crew arriving!

The short of the story is that we are getting more for our money then expected and, so far, without any major hitches.  We continue the excellent precedent set over the last number of years regarding our relationships with Haven Boatworks and other vendors, our paid and volunteer crew, our successful Volunteer Work Weekends, and all the local passers-by.

Tail-Shaft Replacement
Adventuress was originally designed such that her propeller shaft could not be easily removed for inspection.  To withdraw the shaft going forward through the ship, we would have to wreck much of the interior.  To remove it aft, we would have to cut the "prick-post" which aligns with the ship's rudder shaft.

Removal of the Tail-shaft with the Prick Post cut
The solution was a redesign.  We’ve reconfigured the after-end of the ship so that the old tail-shaft can be easily removed from the stern without wrecking anything.  In the future, this will allow for very efficient inspections and, if necessary, replacements.

The removal of the existing tail-shaft went smoothly and quickly.  Within the first week out of the water we had the tail-shaft removed, the hardware out and the prick-post cut.  This gave us good insight in to the original construction of Adventuress, including the great condition of the shaft log where the tail-shaft runs through the ship.

The re-design of the Prick-Post
After consideration of both design and cost – we moved forward with the purchase of new hardware and machining the new tail-shaft.  In the process, we were offered a “gift” from Sound Propeller.  Originally, we decided to leave the intermediate-shaft out of this winter's scope of work due to lack of resources.  Sound Propeller generously offered to provide the intermediate shaft as well as the machining involved to replace it!  The estimated in-kind donation value thus far is around $8000.  Another testament to the power of relationship building and the magic of the ship.  Thank you to all those involved.
The “necking” of the old shaft just forward of the sleaving for the cutlass bearing.

Floor Timber / Shaft Log
Fasteners removed from the Floor Timber.
The decision was made to remove and replace the existing floor timber.  This timber is butted perpendicular to the shaft log and accepts the stuffing box.  There had been considerable delignification of that floor timber and, with the new sizing of the tail-shaft necessitating a new stuffing box, it was an easy decision to replace it.

The timber has been removed and we are glad we did due to the condition of the fasteners and the wood itself.  The new timber, replaced with a new piece of purple heart, has been expertly patterned and installed and awaiting the new stuffing box.

Remains of the Floor Timber with “Pulled Pork” consistency.
The new Floor Timber – Made out of purple heart and fastened into the associated frames and Shaft Log – Nylon bushing is inserted between the two logs to help with the watertight seal – ready to accept the new stuffing box.
The Sailmaking Class at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is building a new Mainsail, Staysail and Jib for the ship.  With eight students they have already seamed all three of the sails, have begun building the corner patches, and are starting on the hand work.  We are salvaging some material off of a previous sail as well as acquiring some new bronze rings and hanks from Pete Langley of the Port Townsend Foundry.

At various points we’ve been utilizing a group of volunteers to help out with “schlepping” and other fun aspects of the job.  Sean Rankin, with help from other local experts, has been leading his students through the process.  The sails are getting ready to be delivered and bent on just in time for the spring season.  Our previous Chief Mate, Nora Coseby has been scholarshipped for the class and is keeping an eye on the daily goings on for me ☺.
Boat School Students with Adventuress Volunteers, and Sailmakers Sean Rankin and Sugar Flannigan – 2nd Layout at the Community Gym
Only three days after being out of the water we removed the Foremast with the intention of a detailed inspection of the spar itself as well replacing the hardware aloft to match the work done on the Mainmast last winter.  Inspection revealed a few minor, but necessary repairs including the rebuilding of the trestle trees aloft.  Given the age of the mast, it is in remarkably good shape.  Some rigging updates will be included as part of the work being done around the mast.

We continue to utilize the inspection and inventory process that we’ve been developing over the last year in a proactive response to new USCG inspection notes and impending regulation.  We are working closely with our local inspectors and the leadership in Washington DC to help create a model for traditionally rigged vessels.  After our recent presentation at the Tall Ships America Conference in Newport, RI, we feel that we are certainly on the right path for our own ship, as well as supporting the industry at large.

General Maintenance/ Volunteers
We have yet another great team this winter working very hard to get the ship ready for another 200 days of operation. The ever dynamic list morphs as work gets completed and we set priorities for winter maintenance as well as supporting the Restoration Project.  We now have three live aboard volunteer interns working along with the Winter Mate and Engineer.  We also have a cadre of local volunteers that come down to work on both specific projects as well as what is on the menu for the day.  We’ve held three successful Winter Work Weekends with one more planned.  These weekends continue to be great opportunities to get big projects completed, build community and have lots of fun.  As of yesterday, we have logged almost 2000 volunteer hours.
Some of the Gray Beards reuniting at a recent Volunteer Work Weekend


  1. Thank you for your sharp-eyed inspections and great work!
    Did you see Mate Rachael in Rhode Island?

  2. You Go Sailors!!!! :)
    I'm proud to be associated with you all!!

    Fair winds!
    Edie Graybeard

  3. Congratulations to Johshua and "A's" family of crew and volunteers. Great work!