Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sweet sweet planning pain

Okay, we're at T-8 days to soft launch, and there's no going back on the announcement now. True, it's just a facebook post that not many people will pay attention to, but we need to draw the line somewhere. So where do we stand?

- The 3D rendering glitch that caused me to have to delete the whole hull has been fixed - in fact I figured out how to reduce the number of faces that were created when I exported the Delftship file (ship/boat design software) into Blender (the 3D rendering program). This simplifies things greatly, and I'm swimming along nicely. Getting faster every day - and I plan to take this evening away from the shop to really get things moving on deck details etc.

- The website is coming along, and we're in the final development stages. We've all been swinging by http://www.firetree.org/ - that's FireTree Productions, the brainchild of our Multi-Media Assistant Alex Lutz's creative efforts. She posts the draft websites there for review, and we're cranking out the revisions and tweaks and trying to polish the site as best we can before the release. Of course, that's going to be an ongoing thing.

- Mini-Hornet, our name for the 1:12 scale model, is also coming along nicely. Knocked together the main- and mizzen-tops yesterday, trimmed the masts to height and put shoes in the bottom of the hull to prevent 'bottom blow-out' with all the weight pushing down on the foam. We decided last night that we're going to save time but spend money to buy dowels for shaping rather than plane down the spars from square stock as we've been doing - getting the octagon right just takes for bloody ever. And what's the worst effect? The heels of the masts won't be square - chock that one up to nobody will notice, and besides, it's not museum quality, it's a visual aid for crying out loud. Bill Rodgers and his wife Noemi have been hard at work cranking out the sails - which are made from four (!) queen sized bedsheets. Apparently its quite a little mountain of cloth. The foremast is rigged with shrouds, forestay, and fore preventer stay, although we're going to have to go back and replace the line on the forestay - I used bungee and should have used nylon. As a sort of armchair model maker I fully realize how absurd all this sounds, but have to admit that even I'm impressed with the product.

- Vic Keranen, our Historical Director, is coming out to the Dockyard on Wednesday night and staying through Saturday to lend a hand, and I hope to knock out casting the carronades, getting the lower deadeyes and chainplates on all of the channels, and rigging the main and mizzen. Then we'll strip everything down, pull the masts out, move the hull into the Lofting Bay to finish up work there while the masts are laid out in the Framing Bay to be assembled and rigged. Final rigging will need to take place in a gym or something - we can't have this thing outside in any wind at all or the huge sail area will blow it right over (the hull is foam and plaster, afterall).

- In the midst of all this, I was supposed to drive up to NY again to take care of family business, but I really need to put off that visit and get more done around here. Rest when we're done, I suppose.

- I should give a shout out to the NHS staff in other areas. DC Crew - Joe Sturiale, our Finance Director (in real life a VP at Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate), who has been working long hours on business end pieces and Joey Fuller of Kutak Rock who has been combing through the legal side of things. Down in Florida and in Maryland, Melbourne Smith, Hal Whitacre and the rest of the design team are cranking out the submissions to the USCG for conditional approval of Hornet's design. In New York City, Janet Bartucci and her network of strategic communications gurus are turning and burning making up that end of our plan. In Maryland, Jerry Todd cranked out a pattern for mini-Hornet's carronade barrels, a great help and time saver for the Dockyard crew.

We are ALL busy. Someday I'll look back at this and smile that we were ever able to pull this - even just this announcement - together in such a short period of time. But that's what you get when you have great people! Rock on, guys.


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