Category Archives: Builder’s Notes & Pictures

Moving On to New Projects

As we complete RELIANCE, several of our team are moving on to their next Museum projects.
Shown here, we’ve been stripping WEE WINN, a lovely “half rater” from 1892. It is a bulb fin keel boat built for Englishwoman Miss Winifred Sutton. She raced WEE WINN in Cowes that year, winning 20 of 21 races.
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Our RELIANCE, WEE WINN, and steam launch #199 projects have attracted a new group of volunteers, and it’s exciting to feel their fresh enthusiasm and energy. Several are machinist artisans whose skills will be important to make a rudder and tiller for WEE WINN and to complete steam launch plumbing; you may remember that last year, volunteer Don Berrett restored a triple expansion steam engine which fits #199.
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Kicking Off the Summer

The museum held an event recently that focused on our RELIANCE Project, allowing us to fully celebrate the sum of all our work here. Speeches were given by museum director Bill Lynn, longtime family and friend Halsey Herreshoff, and–our guest of honor–Senator Jack Reed!

11. Speaches E.D. Bill Lynn13. Halsey Herreshoff14. Sen. Jack Reed

Sandy gave the closing speech, where he spoke about building the model through the hard work of our dedicated and amazing team. He also detailed the important exhibit messages RELIANCE has for us all.

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Also in attendance was Barbara Bartram, widow of Joe Bartram, Jr. The Bartram family donated great deals to the RELIANCE Project in honor the former NYYC Commodore, who was instrumental in re-igniting the America’s Cup post-WWII.

8. Reliance, Sandy  with Barbara Bartram20.  Christening24.

Overall, it was a very memorable night; it’s been nice to reap in some celebration after all the dedication!

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Making Our Manila Authentic

For the past year, we’ve been making eye splices and wire-manila splices in our “manila”, which was made for us by Martin Coombs. Since manila fiber does not scale down in size, our manila line wouldn’t look correct if made from the real thing, so we opted for cotton.
To add a touch of manila color we steep our lines in Lipton tea. The irony of using Lipton Tea bags has not been lost on us! So I ask, who really won? Who is best remembered from the 1903 series?
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Lines have been hanging to dry and going slack. These had been pulled taut and all kinks and twists taken out when hung to dry.
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Our process also highlights old school seamanship items. From the Marlinspike seamanship chapter in “The Bluejacket’s Manual 1944,” given to us by Chris Bade:
1. “Line shrinks in length when wet and , unless allowed to shrink freely, subjects itself to a strain as great or greater than it would carry under a load. For this reason, lines which are belayed should be slacked when wet…”
2. “The size of fiber line, except small stuff, is specified by the number of inches in its circumference…the length of fiber line is given in fathoms.”

A Visit From the Senator!

Recently, Senator Jack Reed of our beautiful state of Rhode Island stopped by the museum to look around and observe our progress with the RELIANCE Project.

He seemed thrilled with what we’ve accomplished! Here are a few pictures from the visit.

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A Long Line of Blocks

We have 146 blocks to make of all sizes- 14″ to 4″ original sizes, from single to quadruple blocks, beckets to fiddles, and those with shackles, open hooks, and Coleman hooks.
Here’s the latest handmade batch of 37 blocks being varnished. Only 16 more to start and then we’ll have a full set to rig!
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Quarter Tradition / Frostbite Bash Pics

As we get ready to step our mast, we are observing an old maritime tradition of putting coins on the mast step. Here we have a 1903 U.S. silver dollar, a Rhode Island quarter as part of the “State Quarter” collection with our RELIANCE on the back face, and a U.S. Naval Academy graduation coin. Bill’s grandson, Liam, graduated last May.
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In addition, here are some more pictures of the RELIANCE model at the Frostbite Bash last month!

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Thank You, RE Sturdy

Over the past several years, you have seen on our blog site the wonderful nickel plated parts we’ve received from RE Sturdy Company. This week we received our last shipment of plated parts from RE Sturdy Company along with a note that this 158-year-old family-owned business was closing.

We are humbled and honored to think that as they were struggling with NAFTA and free trade competition, and burdensome, inequitable regulations, taxes, fees, permits, and licenses, they would support our project.  We thank the Perkins family for their generous support, and wish them well in their new endeavors.