RELIANCE: Another Good Day In Building 28

Another good session. We continue to fix in place all the fittings on the waterway -  there are so many and it gives us pause to think about the rigging task that lies in front of us!
In addition we are building #2 club topsail yard and club to be placed on deck. (#1′s will be aloft.) Herb is finishing off shaping the matched set of sides and Steve is calculating the height of the “keel blocks” required to get the correct taper when we lay the top and bottom against a side in the glue phase. Our tolerances are quite tight – about the thickness of a piece of paper – to ensure good fit and even tapers.  The eye readily picks up even the slightest deviation! (See blogs from a year-ago last fall for construction details, when we constructed our first sets of spars.)
In addition, the eighth grade mentorship program graduation ceremonies were held in the space adjoining ours. Pictures tell the story so well. Bet you can tell the personalities of the three lads from the second picture! Peace and quiet returns to building 28 today…ImageImageImageImage

RELIANCE: The “WOW!” Moments

Every once in awhile (actually quite often) our team does something that just stops you in your tracks and all you can say is “WOW!”
So, I present Burr Sebring’s shroud chain plate. He brought this in so we could discuss the rivet hole pattern needed to attach this to our mast. Can’t wait to see this one completed and its mate on the other side…
Ooops, all we’ve seen so far are the port side fittings…. There is so much creativity and hard labor into making one of these that we need to work on his motivation to do the starboard side ones….


TEAM RELIANCE: The Tale of Two Sticks

Ken Madeiro of Hall Spars stopped by the shop last week for a brief peek, and an hour later we were still talking! Now he’s got the Reliance bug, too.

Last Saturday he called to say they were just getting a 154 foot long mast ready for shipment and he wondered if we’d like to see a “big stick.” Since they are a local Bristol firm, Bill Lawton and I hightailed it over. This mast is for a new Baltic 108′ and all up with rigging , paint,  hardware and spreaders weighs about 3900 lbs. — mast tube with paint and some hardware  about 2100 lbs.   It’s 21″ fore and aft and  10 3/4 ” side to side .  If you look closely in the first picture taken from the foot of the mast you can see Ken standing at the mast head. That’s tall! In the second picture we’re standing at masthead and Ken is talking with Bill. The third and fourth pictures were taken from the second floor looking down. The mast is carbon fiber. Even the shrouds are carbon fiber tapered wing-like from the bottom spreader.

Not to be outdone, we casually mentioned RELIANCE’s mast was 112′, telescoping topmast 58′ and yard 68′ for an overall height of about 194′. But we were one-upped! Never brag around the Hall Spar shop…  The fifth photo shows a base section from their 218′ tall mast for a Wally 164′. It is 28 1/2″ x  14 1/2″ in cross-section. The full structure weighed about 13,500 lbs., all up with PBO rigging about 16,250 lbs.

I wish you could see Hall Spars. Amazing!! We were like kids in a candy store. Have to believe Capt. Nat would have been all over this. Imagine an autoclave large and long enough to “cook” these structures! The mandrels, mast tape laying machines for laying carbon fiber tape, and shroud machines! And there was more, they make other stuff too, from UAVs to rocket fairings.

I’m hopeful that they’ll take a look at our RELIANCE mast drawings and offer their insights. Maybe they can even estimate how much it weighed. But I’ll save that for another blog.



RELIANCE: Making Progress and Uncovering Facts

We continue to make progress. As you can see we put our first coat of color onto the waterway and have been sanding the deck smooth to take canvas. The work will progress slowly since we want to make it right.
In the meantime Burr has delivered another metal work assembly – mast truss chainplate
I also thought you’d enjoy the 1903 pictures showing the manpower required to raise RELIANCE’s mainsail and topsail. No wonder she needed a crew of 64! Also a picture of RELIANCE and CONSTITUTION at the start of a trials race.
We always look at pictures for clues to what was really on RELIANCE. We’ve often wondered about RELIANCE’s lifeboat which in our drawings is shown as a 14′ lifeboat of very particular design. About a dozen years ago the museum commissioned a 12′ version. The picture showing the mainsail being raised clearly shows the 14′ version. So, we now have a 12′ version for sale!ImageImageImageImageImage

RELIANCE: All the Bits and Pieces

We continue to work on the deck preparing it for paint and canvas, but in the meantime we are receiving more and more of our bits and pieces. These are really small jewel-like masterpieces from Mike Mirman which we’ll finish up with buffing and polishing.
The first picture is the mainsail clue outhaul slide. In real life it fits onto a 6 foot long heavy duty sail track at the tip of the boom. Inserted in the top is a fitting sewn into the clue of the sail and then pinned to the slide. You can see its size compared to a penny in our scale. The second picture shows the mainsail outhaul sheave holder which is to be attached at the very tip of the boom.
The third picture is of our the belaying pins – about two inches long. The longer ones will be threaded and be used for the forward and aft legs of the pinrail which fellow RELIANCE teammate Steve Siok is making.
MIke has also made a port and starboard mainsheet sheave holder, the fourth picture. It also is about 2 inches long. It sits amidships. The mainsheet comes from aft to here, through the bellow and around an internal sheave to drums and winches below deck. He’s taken them back to his shop to attach brake levers and add the internal sheaves. We also received two mainsheet span shackle assemblies from Mike. The whole assembly is about the size of a silver dollar! Upon close inspection you a see that the shackles are actually twisted.

Meanwhile Joe Uzzo continues to work on his hatches and companionway. Here you see the barometer, race card and clock sitting on a ledge in the companionway. If you really look, you’ll see actual barometer and clock faces complete in all detail. The second picture shows the companionway and its ladder.
We also have a new RELIANCE team member Burr Sebring who brings a wealth of metalworking skill, having retired from Gorham – the silverware company . In this last photo you can see his work-in-progress on the metal strut that forms the back edge of the douglas fir mainmast spreader. The little insert that will carry two shrouds to the top of the mast has been completed. Same piece count in 1/6th scale as the original!