Tag Archives: cradle

A Milestone Reached

Bill built a wooden cradle to hold our 1,500 pound steel display cradle. As you can see in the pictures, it has been tilted at 15 degrees so the boat will be level while we paint her hull and complete our work on deck and attach deck-level rigging (when on display, the steel plate will lie on the floor and RELIANCE will heel over.)

6 Bill's cradle support

7 Ready to go

Finally, after more than a decade on its work cradle, RELIANCE will be lifted off and bolted onto its display cradle. We send you the last pictures of RELIANCE in her work cradle and all movable fittings removed in preparation.

8 Last View

9 Last view -stripping loose gear

10 Last View - ready

Drilling Complete and RELIANCE is Righted

Well, on Tuesday we completed our drilling operation and RELIANCE was turned upright and returned to her cradle in front of our workbench. We didn’t take too many pictures because we were busy making sure the rods and blocks were properly aligned and then the up-righting was quite a delicate hoist.

We locked and aligned the rods and blocks in place, both at the top and bottom. At the bottom, we ensured the blocks were parallel to the waterline and to each other. Wedges kept the right distance from the keel and then a 2″ x 6″ plank was fastened to the block bottoms. At the top of the keel, we wrapped the rods with tough rubber wrapping which was clamped with radiator hoses to keep the assembly from slipping down.  All this is temporary until we are ready to put RELIANCE on her display cradle – when everything is completed on deck.


1. Rods inserted aligned and braced



2. Ooops, a little adjustment


3. Rods locked in place


Then easy-as-can-be, RELIANCE was righted and placed in her working cradle.


4. Lifting straps in place. Keel on dolly to swing underneath



5. Hoisting away



6. Settling her on an even keel



7. What is Capt. Trivia doing up there


So, now RELIANCE is back at our workbench. Our next steps are to build thwartship braces with donuts to brace the tops of the rods. After that we’ll install the mast step assembly shown a few days ago. We’ll also install blocks and cleats below deck to handle below-deck halyards and sheets. We’ll access these through a hatch when all is done. Finally, we have to sort through all the on-deck fittings and determine our fastening strategies for each. When all this is done, we’ll button her up and proceed with deck activities. 



8. back home




9. Bill and Sandy looking her over




10. Reliance and friends Jilt and Trivia




11. View from the guy upstairs




12. Goodnight Reliance, until tomorrow

Roger Williams University Collaboration

I thought I would take a break from telling you about building spars, to tell you about another aspect of our project – our collaboration with Roger Williams University (RWU).

Shortly after starting on RELIANCE we became aware that our project was much, much more than building a model; there are tasks that involve:

–          Designing a display cradle

–          Advice on structural integrity and materials use

–          Designing an atrium in which to display RELIANCE at the museum

–          Communications and project documentation

–          Developing related exhibits

–          Capturing oral histories

–          Understanding Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. (how they delivered RELIANCE 190 days after receipt of order while completing many other boats as well; advanced design, engineering, and manufacturing; HMCo’s place in the industrial revolution etc)

We have project commitments with RWU on the first five topics and expressions of strong interest in the others. Please contact us if you’d be interested in participating/ mentoring these projects.

Last June we contacted Roger Williams University’s Community Partnerships Center about RWU support. After discussions, we prepared 11 proposals; six of which RWU responded to affirmatively-the seventh fulfilled through student intern assistance.

The RWU School of Engineering cradle design project has progressed well. We just held our Design Concept Review meeting last week. Dyer Jones, Larry Lavers, and I met with the RWU student design team, faculty sponsors Professors Bill Palm and Jim Brunnhoeffer, and CPC sponsor Arnold Robinson. The student team members are George Dalton, Sean Damico, Eric Doremus, Brian Fortier, and Jeff Goncalo. We were most impressed by capabilities of the team, their ideas, and enthusiasm.

I enclose sketches (not to scale) of three of their concepts which allow RELIANCE to be heeled over at a slight angle for viewing and to enable the sails to draw well:

–          Cantilever cradle

–          Free Floating cradle

–          Cutting edge

We believe a hybrid of the cantilever and free floating design appears best. It would have a forward support piercing the hull directly under the mast, and an after support piercing the bottom of the hull aft of the rudder. These would be supported by angle bracing; both of which are attached to a base plate. The top of the supports would be attached to a center beam internal structure which secures load-bearing stays and halyards, since the existing fiberglass hull and deck are not reinforced. What are your thoughts?

This week the student team is presenting their project at a Professional Engineering symposium, hoping to gain P.E. support to enter this project in a national university competition.  If any of our readers are certified engineers and willing to mentor them, please contact us. The museum and student team would be most grateful for your support.

I must also recognize RWU student intern Kellie Fox who has single handedly helped shape our communications capabilities including this website/ blog space. We are using the blog site to document our project.

Thank you to all these students, their faculty and the CPC. You are critical to our success!