Monthly Archives: August 2013

Wooden Spars

As we’re starting to complete our 4′ sections of the wooden spars, I thought I would tease you with pictures of the topsail spars posed as a set.

Remember, the topmast is 58′ tall, the #1 topsail yard 68′ tall, and the topsail club 58′ long. For reference, the peak of our bldg. 28 workshop in which theses pictures were taken is just shy of 26′.

In the pictures, the rectangular cross-section yard is standing next to the round topmast. The club lies next to the yard and it would have been made up to the fabricated steel gaff.

The luff of the #1 topsail which these spars hold up is about 105′ long at the luff.

Our 4′ sections weigh:
Topmast 95 lbs.
Yard 62 lbs
Club 40 lbs

(The spinnaker boom shown in the background and as a separate picture weighs 58 lbs. and was more than 83′ long)

Come and visit these guys!





Building 28 – An Ever Changing Exhibit

As we progress on building our 1/6th scale model we’ve become aware that:

  1. The effort must be thought of as part of a larger exhibit to represent the grandeur of the large America’s Cup boats and racing schooners.
  2. Visitors have difficulty translating 1/6th scale into original size.

We are also building RELIANCE in the old Herreshoff Manufacturing shops, to original plans, and using HM Co practices where we can. It is as if the ghosts of old workers are looking over our shoulders! So, we think we have some insights into the question “Why did Henry Ford visit HM Co before building his own factory?”

So, as you enter Building 28, we are creating a small exhibit area over the course of the summer to explore with you these topical areas:

  1. Pictures and discussions of HM Co. built America’s Cup boats and large racing schooners
  2. Display of 4’ sections of real-size wooden RELIANCE spars; reliefs of boom, bowsprit and mast; and comparisons to the real RELIANCE
  3. Picture exhibit of the shops and workers
  4. Our thoughts on advanced HM Co business practices
  5. Nat Herreshoff’s experiments with fin-keel boats (There are two examples in Bldg 28 awaiting restoration)

We hope you’ll visit us as we create these exhibits and that you’ll add your insights and thoughts as well.


Good things just seem to happen at the appropriate time! Let me illustrate:

There was Sarah who visited from Tasmania and stayed for several days to work on Reliance.

And there’s Chuck. Last winter the two of us were pondering over drawings on how we’d make about 250 sail slides. We looked up to find Chuck reading our drawing upside down faster than we could right-side up! He quietly said that he had our solution and with pencil and paper showed us how-then announced he had to leave to return to his ill wife. Several months later, I was bent over a drawing of the mast spreader trying to figure out how to marry metal and wooden parts; feeling a presence behind me, I turned to find Chuck. He quickly gave me the solution and announced he had to leave to return to his ill wife. Last week I was again stumped by a drawing and looked up to find Chuck with his practical solution. This time before he left for his ill wife, he asked if we’d like his basement workshop!

A month ago, I was giving a tour of RELIANCE, showing this couple the spars when for some reason I mentioned that all we needed was a thin sheet of leather for the saddle. The husband then mentioned that he had a custom shoe business in NYC. Several days later we received a FED EX with thin strips of beautiful custom shoe leather complete with instructions!

Several weeks ago a couple came in for a visit, and I casually mentioned that they could follow our progress on our blog site. They then pulled out their iPhones, and suddenly I was getting advice on internet marketing- they being in the marketing consulting business.

This weekend I had a visit from a sculptor who said he’d make a couple of heads of the RELIANCE crew for our GI Joes. So, we’ll have Capt Barr and his mates with their real visages! Now, to convince him to do the other 40 GI Joes!

And the list goes on…

We’re famous!

Take some time today to read a post from a fellow blogger, depicting his visit to our Museum. We are very thankful for this recognition, and we hope to inspire more visitors with our incredible history and current projects.

-Aaron Towers