Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thinking out loud

As a sudden change of plans, I'm not travelling for the holiday. And so I'll be in the Dockyard for the 4-day weekend and I want to make the best of it. How might I do this, you ask, when Great Bridge plans are nearly complete and everything is in readiness? I get back to work on Monomoys No. 2 and 3, that's how! So now, just thinking out loud (or on the blog, as the case might be), I'm devising a plan of attack to hit one or both HARD while I have all this free time.

First things first. I need to get the tents back up over the boats. Leaves are starting to collect inside and while the cleanout is relaxing, I need to shelter them somewhat. Problem here is that not only did the 30' ridge poles become unfastened and in one case crack when the whole assembly was inadvertently pulled over by a volunteer heaving on the wrong part, but the cheap tarps that make up the tents are starting to give at the grommets. Solution? I can work with what I have for the time being, but eventually I'll want to stitch up canvas covers. After all, we're not looking for shrink wrap here - its okay for the boats to get wet, just not to accumulate standing water. And that means I need to order several rolls of canvas and break out the palm, needles and twine again. Oh boy was that relaxing - and a great movie watching activity (I don't seem to ever be able to sit still or I feel like I'm wasting time).

So, first item - repair the ridge poles and get the tents back up.

Second item of business - I'm going crazy, and taking NHS with me. I have re-directed my plans yet again and decided that God dammit I will make these boats float as they are or die trying. A few weeks ago, I had all but resigned (and happily so) myself to the idea that we would rebuild the boats piece by damned piece, replacing as we go. Now, as I look at YouTube videos of yokels caulking up old worn hulls I am inspired not to perfection but to a hell-or-high-water sense of getting these things finished and out of the Dockyard. The planking is mostly sound, and with the exception of a few strakes on No. 2, in good shape. True, No. 3 has a cracked keel, but I'm going to tackle that replacement in place. SO. Item number two on the list is to proceed with advanced stabilization in preparation for keel removal. Advanced stabilization and keel replacement consists of:
  1. framing up longitudinal supports under the 'flat' of her bilge, to transfer the weight of the boat off of the keel. These will be made up like the wall of a house, only in that the "header" will be curved around the hull. I expect quite a bit of shimming and wedging and lots of Dockyard S&M.
  2. Once the longitudinal supports are in place, the 'droop' of the sides should be pushed back into place. Of course, I will force the issue if needed. Fit beams transversely across her gunwales to prevent movement, then remove the thwarts and centerboard top.
  3. Proceed to remove keel bolts. This is going to be a bitch. Pardon my Anglo Saxon. But I like my dog so I'll take out all of my worldly frustration on those rust scaled ferrous pieces of vulcan excrement and drive them bloodily before me.
  4. IF all goes well with the bolts, the keelsens can then be removed. I fully expect to be disappointed with the condition of these as they come out - we found plenty of soft spots in the keelsens on No. 2. But once removed I should be able to use them to make templates - and if not, they'll be sacrificed on the pagan altar (fire pit).
  5. Removal of the keel means pulling the centerboard trunk with it. Hooray for two birds with one stone. Or two problems instead of one.
  6. Keel removed, a new one can be fabricated using the old one as a pattern. Once that's done, reinstall and get the mess fitted in the way of the centerboard trunk.

So plenty of work there. And while I don't expect to be able to get all of that done, I do hope to be able to get the first part accomplished - building the longitudinal exterior framing.

On No. 2 we have other issues. First, the stem still needs to be removed, and we haven't even touched the sternpost yet. Both show signs of rot, a great deal of cracking and other forms of horrible structural deterioration. Much of that work is done, but we are now learning that the gunwale, gunwale clamp, rub rails and sheer strakes need to come off. AND the garboard strakes - those wonderfully twisted planks that are fastened to high heaven - they still need more work to remove them as well. Oh what joy I have ahead of me! If time permits, I'll start tackling that as well. Once removed, we can make patterns from the original parts and attempt to fit them back into place.

Lots for me to do by myself this holiday weekend. But that's always when I seem to be most productive - when I work alone. If my energy permits, I will try to keep posting as the weekend progresses. I anticipate a rush of energy, time and some epic ninja boatbuilding and repair skill comminatcha!

To all - enjoy your Thanksgivings and rest up - we have a busy week ahead when Monday rolls around, and I suspect that nobody will be safe from the onslaught.



Special K said...

Oh man, that sounds like a ton of work. Are we still planning to build our own?

As for the covers-what if you mirrored #1 with a tarp over the boat, a board holding it up so water doesn't collect, and just weight the excess on the ground so it doesn't blow away?

NHS Dockyard said...

No, we're no longer "re-building", aka completely building of new construction, new Monomoys. After a few visits from experienced boat builders, I became convinced that we could "make" the structures of the boats work. This will not only be faster but cheaper.