Monthly Archives: November 2014

New Contributions; an Early Christmas!

Bob Dollar of R&W Rope, New Bedford, Mass. has again contributed to the RELIANCE Project; this time, with various sizes of faux manila line (manila fibers do not scale down by 1/6th and thus would not look appropriate). Now all we have to figure out is how to translate 12, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 size line (as shown) into real world manila line dimensions. The size of manila line is measured in circumference, while wire rope and new synthetic fiber lines are measured in diameter.

1 Manila Line

We also just received our first lot of nickel-plated chain plates, staples, and turnbuckles from Tom Perkins of R.E. Sturdy Company in Providence. A number of RELIANCE fittings were nickel steel, but we are limited to casting and shaping brass or bronze. Our “Guy Upstairs” Dave Stewart of Systematics Inc. has been our intermediary for this project, so we do not know who to thank… it was all very hush, hush, so we’ll just thank them both!

2 plating

Burr has also given the RELIANCE Project an early Christmas present! Burr brought over four capstans, three of which go on deck and the fourth onto the boom. Our next step will be to fabricate the teak pads and then fix it in place. The barrels turn, so we’re a little weary of showing these to Mike–our caster–who are is a miniaturist and clock maker. He’ll probably want to make the internal gears and ratchets!


Meanwhile, rigging continues to go well. We’ve been worming, parceling, and serving the galvanized wire every day; hopefully that will be all finished soon.




The Spreader

Bill is making a fixture to shape the spreaders. The spreaders are swept upward at 4.25 degrees on each side. However, we didn’t pick up on that when looking at the spreader diagram. There’s no statement anywhere of this fact, though the insert drawing of the spreader on the mast drawing does show the angle at the mast joint piece as well as on the truss drawing. Our approach will be to build the spreader up with laminates so it will hold the bend at the mast. Spreaders on each side are straight pieces. (You can see the shape of the spreader in an earlier blog.)


Progress: Splicing, Traveler, and Rudder

Herb is continuing to develop wire splicing skills as well as passing his knowledge to the rest of the team. In the photo below, Steve is worming 1/4″ wire for the first of two bobstays. The original RELIANCE used 7 strand Roebling special plow steel wire.

In other news, Keith has finished fitting the traveler and is waiting for the paint to dry. In the meantime, he’s starting to shape the rudder, also seen below.


Blocks and Sheaves

Joe has been scheming to mass produce our 140 blocks (complete with 240 sheaves) of various sizes. Below, we have a 12″ single block–2″ in our scale–and a sheave. The side view shows the concave hollow for the wire at the top and convex stripper shape at the bottom to stop the wire from going around the sheave twice. The hardest part of this process will probably be forming straps to fit thimbles, straps, and shackles.

6. 12 inch Preventer Stay blocks7. Side view


The Traveller

We’re continuing on the massive work we put into building the RELIANCE scale model. Keith and Steve have been working on the Traveler for a while now, and it’s looking like it’ll be finished within the week. As of now, it’s tapped for threads at the ends and pinned at deck level to avoid slipping. Bondo will be used on the access hole that was drilled into the hull to make it seem like it was never there; as of now, the boat is dry fitted and waiting for finalization.

9. Steve prepares metal traveler pads and teak bases8. Keith drilling out holes for traveler

11. Dry Fitting whole traveler system12.10. Dry fit of traveler12a





A New Bench

9 new work benches

13. 12 foot long work bench

As part of our movement to further expand Building 28 as a boat repair and restoration shop, Bill and Keith have constructed a 12′ long work bench for the maintenance crew working on the H12.5. This, on top of a 5′ long bench Sandy had built them earlier on, should leave the crew content (it better!).

While it’s main purpose is to help that team on their work, we’ve been conspiring putting it to use with the RELIANCE Project. We’ll see where that leads us…

On a Wire: Perfecting the Craft

8 wire worming and serving2 Splicing wire cutting #7 core wire and beginning the splice3 Herb splicng wire4 Splicing wire1 Making a splicing jig5. Sheet Block Attachments

Herb has been honing his rigging skills and has proven the worming, parceling and serving fixtures, and developing tables of lengths for each size of wire. He did the same for the worming, parceling and serving materials. Above, he is seen making a splicing fixture and perfecting his wire splicing techniques. Tim, from the Saturday crew, is following in his footsteps, so we’ll have a production line. Together, they’re completing the two sets of mainsheet span wires, scaled at 10′ long, 1/8″ diameter. The wire is seven strand galvanized steel, just like on the actual RELIANCE (Special Roebling Plow Steel Wire, as in Brooklyn Bridge Roebling). Sandy drilled out some sleeves on the span wire sheet block attachments, also seen above, which Mike had previously cast. Once completed, the spam wires will be shackled to eyes in straps that Mike has also made. Then we’ll be ready to hang blocks, which Joe is starting to fabricate.

A Wild (But Interesting) Goose Chase

3 Brown U flagpole4
6 cap5 cap

News travelled fast to the RELIANCE team that the flagpole in Brown University’s commons had collapsed from the recent storm. Why did this catch our eye? Well, the flagpole is actually a topmast that was given to the university by C. Oliver Iselin in 1918; later on, Hope Goddard Iselin (the real Barbie Bristol) apparently attributed it as the topmast for COLUMBIA.

After a little bit of research, we shot down that claim: drawings for the COLUMBIA show a much shorter topmast with a straight cylinder, wasp-shaped, hollowed-out interior (much like on RELIANCE).

However, the cap–shown in the bottom two photos–is very similar to the caps of RELIANCE and COLUMBIA. We’ll definitely keep that information for later.

Looking Into the Details


Norene Rickson, Herreshoff Museum’s archivist, stumbled upon some photographs of the RELIANCE that prove very useful when zoomed in.

You can see, in good detail, the scuppers, deck capstan with a massive winch handle, and a bight of large manila line.

Welcome Aboard, Hope Goddard Iselin

7 Hope Goddard Iselin

Within the last few weeks, we discovered that our Barbie doll on the RELIANCE model does in fact belong. Hope Goddard Iselin was a female racing crew member who served as timekeeper. This realization brings in a whole new conversation on female pioneers in the America’s Cup. Hopefully, she’ll be donned in the blue and white sailor’s outfit soon.