Thursday, June 9, 2011

A guest blogger.... Or The Story of Dockyard Travails

This morning's guest blogger is IC1 Caleb Bryan, one of our best volunteers. Take it away, IC1:

Most Monomoy pulling boats are Carvel planked. The strakes (or planks) are attached to the frames and set edge to edge. The seam between is then sealed with cotton or oakum and a putty or pitch. The cotton is driven into the seam between the planks with a caulking iron and mallet and then payed with the pitch or putty. Now the Navy never, never, never ever neglects maintenance on it's boats and ship's, right? Right?!?! Well, in the case of our beloved Monomoy #3, maintenance was done many a time with a plethora of different procedures and materials - some of which were probably purchased at Wal-Mart. Reefing the seams (the process of removing the old caulking material) on #3 has produced an interesting variety: household caulking, paints and other substances used to keep her watertight are brought to light after long hours of painstaking work. Sore fingers, blisters, sweatsoaked clothing, raw mosquitobitten skin are just side effects of this process while the Dockyard Superintendant cracks his whip and shouts orders.

Back to reefing....

Proper maintenace should have been reefing and recaulking the seams ever two years or so... Or you could just shove more caulking of different flavors into the seam and call it good. This worked splendidly until now. The seams have widened and the planks require some squeezing to bring them back together tightly. It's going to be another long process of arduous work reefing and cleaning out the seams. I foresee hours of volunteer time spent toiling underneath the Monomoy's hull pulling the caulking out inch by inch, cringing at every crack of the whip and hesitating to slap that mosquito feasting on my blood for fear the Dockyard Nazi might see the slight break in productivity.

But remember: A bitching Sailor is a happy Sailor!! I can see her now - planks squeezed tightly together, new framing and a handsome rig.... She's going to be a beauty and the pride of our growing NHS Fleet.


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