Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Restoration Planning

The plan of action for Monomoys No. 2 and 3 is still being developed, but right now I'm identifying all the hurdles and determining where to start. Here's what I have thus far, and some general guidelines on how we're to proceed:

General Considerations
Both boats need to be stabilized in place. This means allowing the keel to rest on a flat plain to prevent possible distortion due to loading during restoration, and minimizing the force at concentrated points along the planking. For these reasons, improvements need to be made on the existing cradles.
Basic stabilization is as follows:
Keel Blocking. A series of six hardwood blocks will be assembled under the keels at intervals not exceeding four feet. Attention should be paid to not obstruct the centerboard opening. Judicious use of shims, tamped ground and wedges will ensure all blocks load as evenly as practicable.

Upright Support. Two diagonal risers are to be fitted on each side of the hull under the turn of the bilge, perpendicular to the keel, and secured from lateral movement on the ground. A plank will span the upper ends of these, and allowed to bend outward along the curve of the hull fore and aft. Careful treatment to span a large area for maximum distribution of forces shall dictate the execution of this process.

Caulking. The existing caulking of both boats needs to be entirely removed and the seams closely examined. New caulking throughout shall consist of an agreeable blend of traditional techniques and modern materials per sound and proven practice. In other words, its a complicated evolution. I won't say we'll keep 100% historically accurate, but I will find a blend that duplicates historical practices as much as possible but gives some advantage in terms of performance, durability and longevity.

Painting and Finishing. Both boats shall be painted and finished in a similar a manner as practicable, the goal being that they should be as close in appearance as possible. Colors, stains and finishes shall be determined at a later date. You can bet they'll look similar to Monomoy No 1.

Oars need to be produced for both boats. Two extant patterns are available and these will be cranked out assembly line style when the time comes. Each boat requires 8 12-foot oars and one 14 foot steering oar. Oarlocks and sockets need to be located and procured.

Centerboards and rudders also need to be produced for both boats. We have drawings for these. Locating and procuring the rudder hardware may prove difficult, but at least the original attachment rails are in great shape.

The restored sailing rigs are in question. Both boats had a sprit-rigged mainsail and a jib. However, there are 9 different rigs known to have been used on Monomoys that we've identified so far based on the official Navy sailplans. There are two schools of thought - 1) make each boat different, or 2) restore both to the original sprit rigs. The thought behind the different rigs is to permit the use of a greater range of sailing rig types, thus a broader range of educational opportunities. Restoring both to the same rig makes for equal footing in racing under sail. The jury is still out, but we have plenty of time. Sailmaking season doesn't start until February.

On the individual boats:
Monomoy Pulling Boat No. 2
Removal of Fiberglass Sheathing. The fiberglass sheathing on the outside of the hull needs to be removed before any other work is undertaken. We will attempt this with a heat gun, pulling the glass away in sheets. Protective suits, respirators and gloves will be worn by the crew doing this. Work on No. 3 must cease while this process is carried out, and may not resume until completion. This will avoid potential hazards to those personnel while limiting cross-contamination with glass dust and fibers from No. 2.

Once the glass is removed, work can begin on stem and sternposts. These exhibit severe shrinkage, cracking and failure of fasteners. Much of the original material will need to be replaced, using the original parts as templates where possible. Attention must be paid that materials and techniques are duplicated as closely as practicable. The bronze drifts may be salvageable.

Monomoy Pulling Boat No. 3
Stem and Sternpost Repair. Though not as severe as No. 2, the stem and sternpost are exhibiting some of the same symptoms of deterioration. These need to be addressed. Extent of necessary repairs will not be known until the material is removed and inspected. Work should immediately follow the same repairs conducted on No. 2.

Replacement of Broken Frames. Several of the steam-bent double frames are cracked or broken and need to be replaced. All other frames should receive close scrutiny, and possibly be removed for inspection.


There are undoubtedly more issues that will arise as we progress. For now, we are GO to begin stabilization and to prep for glass removal on No. 2. Expect complete plans on both of these evolutions, along with required tool and material lists by the end of the week. These efforts will be followed in short order by the stem and sternpost repairs, and then frames and floors.

We have an exciting winter ahead.


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