The Wonders of Scale

Another great Tuesday! Sometimes, we just have to step back from our scale model and remember how huge the real RELIANCE was. Case in point: Bill was working on our spreader when I took this picture. Bill is well over six feet tall. Then it hits you. How long was the real spreader? Answer, 34 feet! (I had to check our plans to make sure we hadn’t goofed. It didn’t seem real.) Wider than the beam of RELIANCE as shown in the photos.
And then Burr delivered the final version of our anchor windlass. Another piece of high fashion jewelry for RELIANCE. More bling!
Bob Dollar from R&W Rope also brought the first spools of our “manila.”
Meanwhile, Herb made another scale serving mallet and is practicing worming, parcelling and serving (worm and parcel with the lay, serve the other way) and wire splicing. Next step to practice worming and serving with wire. Keith continues to fashion our rudder – equally as monstrous as the spreader.
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A Look Back, One Year From Now

Sometimes when you think progress is slow, all it takes is to look back one year. These pictures taken in Oct. 2013 show the hull on her side so we could drill rods through the keel for a display cradle. Nothing yet on deck. In fact we still had to open up her top to insert innards. Wow! We have done a lot in the past year.

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We’ve had great crowds of visitors this Columbus Day weekend, despite the first cold and rainy spell of fall. Time to break out the winter gear for our shop!

Burr delivered the first of four finished deck capstans (photos 1 and 2); fine jewelry-like quality as always from him! One down and three to go! We are lucky to have him! He’s grumbling a little – the first one is always a fun challenge, but his creative, problem solving genius wanes a little with the subsequent carbon copies. No Burr Juniors to hand off to on this project! Wish we had an apprentice program to go along with this…

Did I really say “carbon copies” ??? Wonder what the age cut-off is to know what carbon copies are? Ah, mimeographs and the smell of mimeograph ink? Or white-out? Just another geezer criterion…

A visitor took these pictures of Reliance which I thought I’d pass along–thank you Mary F. (The real boom crotch looks much better than previous support). I’m in the background talking to a young Naval Academy Prep School student and his family. Had several NAPS families come through over the weekend. Great “kids!!”  Also had several students and families with Webb Institute connections. Fun to talk boat anatomy with all.

1. New Capstan 2. Capstan 3. Foredeck View 4. Aft view 5. Aft View with new boomcrotch

The Work Continues.

Just returned from ten day trip to Santa Fe, Taos and the Canyons of NM, AZ, and UT. Must say that our RELIANCE is certainly the equal of the great art of Santa Fe and Taos (no bias all all!) but it is very hard to compete with the grandeur, scale, and beauty of nature. No contest, it is nature every time….  We flew home from Las Vegas: I am still struggling to wrap my head around the mirage of Las Vegas appearing out of the desert after visiting Grand, Glen, Bryce and Zion Canyons and Monument Valley…..

In my absence, work continued on RELIANCE with multiple efforts underway.

We are starting to splice wire. In the first photo Herb and Bill are developing splicing jigs. In the second photo, hands of our new “expert” are worming, parceling and serving – complete with miniature serving mallet – (see 1938 instruction manual in background) 
Bill is also working on the spreaders (photo 3). 
Keith is placing miniature rivets in pad eyes (photo 4). (These latest fittings bring RELIANCE into conformity with our “Configuration Date” (First AC race). From pictures we can see that fittings and components were added, moved and changed during the racing campaign. 
Steve is working on the boom crotch (photo 5). Although our RELIANCE will ultimately be posed underway with sails, we anticipate that for a short interim period until the atrium is built, she’ll be displayed at a mooring with topmast housed, and gaff, boom and mainsail resting on the boom crotch.
Meanwhile Mike and Harrison Casting Co are making our gooseneck assembly, and Burr is completing the capstan assemblies.

1. Discussing splicing jigs 2. Hands of the splicing expert 3. Rosey the Riveter 4. Roughing out the Spreader 5. Working on the boom crotch

Thank you Hasbro!

Had a great session this week. Burr has been making four of the large capstans – three on deck and one for the boom. These are similar to the one on display in the museum store – which is of slightly later vintage, (photo 1).  The winch barrels are jewel-like (photo 2) and we can’t wait to see the completed winches.

Bill has been looking at the mast plans to see how the shroud eyes are kept in place. On wooden masts there would be cheeks – bulges in the mast on which the eye of the wire rope shroud (properly wormed, parceled and served) would rest. With a steel mast there’d be angle iron instead of cheeks. We’ve been wondering about the shape of these and along comes another RELIANCE serendipity moment as one of our guests, a retired Newport News employee, came to us wanting to understand how rivets in RAINBOW’S metal mast were bucked. We quickly showed him our RELIANCE mast construction and engaged him in a discussion of mast construction including our angle iron dilemma. He’s going to check RAINBOW drawings and Newport News archives… How cool is that!

Our 1903 pre-commissioning crew arrived today and were waiting on deck for their allotment of RELIANCE uniforms. The deck of RELIANCE will soon be a busy place! (Photo 3) 

I mentioned in an earlier blog that we’d received 35 G.I. Joes from Hasbro and I want to heartedly thank them for their donation. As you can see and imagine when they are in proper uniform that they’ll be an awesome addition to the display. THANK YOU!! (photo 4)

1. Display winch 2. 1.5 inch tall model winch barrels 3. 1903 crew 4. Thank you Hasbro

Configuration Management

There is a lot of effort going on behind the scenes to make sure our RELIANCE is accurate. Boats, especially race boats, change during the season. We chose late August as our configuration date, when RELIANCE was measured and raced for the Cup, since this timeframe is when we had the best pictures. Ours has been a constant battle for configuration management. 

For example, NGH’s approved drawing 86-126 (from MIT Hart Collection) shows the original placement of three topmast backstay staples and a trysail staple as shown in picture #1 and as placed on our model as in picture #2.  Our visit to the NYYC in NYC last Spring to see their model showed a discrepancy which was confirmed in picture #3 as blown up in #4. 

Our metal casting expert, Mike Mirman, then used this picture to created a new fitting, shown in #5.

1. 86-126 Stern Details 2. As designed configuration 3. afterguard on fantail 4. As raced configuration 5. As raced configuration

Post-Summer-Vacation Blog Post

Well, we’ve been on vacation and things slowed down — but interest remains high! The lads are charged up…

Just was given a new book “Legendary Locals of Bristol.” Lo and behold RELIANCE and RELIANCE DEDUX – our model are featured!! Holy Cow, can you believe it…

Our Muse Maggie returned for a brief visit (photo 1). Unfortunately she is having too much fun in Boston to stay longer. We also had a visit from Adam of Nat Wilson’s shop who showed us how to make miniature fids for wire splicing (photos 2 and 3) and as you can see the first shipment of scale wire arrived from R&W Rope, New Bedford(photo 4). We’ve installed the martingale (dolphin striker) (photo 5) and nine bollards and a lot of other bling. RELIANCE is looking well indeed.

Many other notables and very interesting people visited us this past week, and while I cannot comment on all their visits (except to say that Barbie Bristol is a big hit) I do want to say how much we’ve enjoyed each and everyone.

We also received a large shipment of GI Joes from HASBRO while I was on vacation, so we now have 60 crew members ready to sail (FYI 12 of the full crew would be below deck manning winches). Another visitor, a sculptor, said she’d help us recreate crew faces so we’re looking toward a full complement from Iselin to NGH to Barr and mates and crew. A few more sculptor volunteers and we can have a party… But the GI Joes and rigging shipments really deserve a blog to themselves, along with a huge THANK YOU! We’ll get to that shortly…

1. Muse Maggie 2. Adam makes a fid 3. And it works 4. First shipment of wire 5. Martingale-Dolphin striker