Thursday, June 24, 2010

A visit to Erie, hanging out with the big guns

Apologies for the hiatus but I've been travelling again. This Monday I stopped in Erie, PA for a few hours and visited friends and respected colleagues at the Erie Maritime Museum and Brig Niagara. I spent two hours with Niagara's Senior Captain, Walter Rybka, possibly one of the best and most experienced square rigged captains in the world (no exaggeration) catching up since my last visit in September and discussing NHS Dockyard activities. Niagara's Chief Mate Billy Sabatini also stopped in, and we discussed NHS sailors crewing the ship en masse this fall (!).

Capt Rybka has been working on many things we can relate to, including a dipping lug rig on Cutter 2 - nearly the same as ours right down to the leeboard. He was gracious enough to provide me with a draft of an illustrated manual he's been working on for sailing dipping lug boats, which I'll send to the web guys for posting as soon as possible.

Thanks gents, I can't wait to get up there again this fall!


Yesterday in the heat, we managed to get some work done on the 25 foot launch. We cut all the templates for the new mold patterns and cut and stood up Molds 1 and 2. Tonight, we'll cut and stand up molds 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Later in the week, we'll loft and cut the transom pattern, followed by the transom itself, and hopefully by next week we'll have mounted both the transom and the inner stem, and can proceed straight into setting up the inner keel. Once the inner keel is set up, our progression looks like this:

1. laminate 26 of 32 permanent frames in place on molds 1-13.
2. laminate 6 temporary frames in place on molds 14-16.
3. bevel all frames to match planking.
4. bevel inner keel to mold lines.
5. rip and plane inner planking stock.
6. lay up inner planking.
7. rip and plane outer planking stock.
8. lay up outer planking.
9. build up outer stem, keel and skeg.

Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do this summer. As I see it, we need to hustle, as we're already behind the power curve.


Preparations for the Blackbeard Pirate Festival in July continue. Tuesday we recieved 5 sea service muskets, 2 boarding pikes and 50 rounds of training ammunition. There is still lots of activity splicing and setting up lines (don't ask what for!) and gathering more anchors and grappling hooks. So good progress is being made, and we'll be ready on time for that.

More to follow soon.


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