During the week leading up to the RELIANCE volunteer appreciation day, the team built out some accompanying exhibits highlighting the metal hull large yachts built by HM Co. The exhibit area is taking shape, and over the next several years we’ll build content to make a comprehensive exhibit. No rest for the weary!
Meanwhile, the last major rigging was added to RELIANCE. We’re hoping to display two new elements. Steve Thurston delivered a stunning #1 Jib Topsail. It is HUGE– long and lean. But, it is too large to haul up. We need that extra 14′ of clearance that isn’t in the Hall of Boats. Sometimes we just wish we could take a can opener and cut a hole in the roof!
Work has been progressing over this early winter on all the details of the rigging; the blocks, splicing, and making up the shackles are all getting done. We recently dry-fitted the main sheet system. You can see Herb in the background making a micro-splice. Poor guy!
The Saturday crew has been working with extra gusto!
Laura completed all splices for the two topmast backstay runners and started the wire-manila peak halyard tail splice. Joe has been repainting the deck which, over the past two years in the shed, has become shop worn; Bern has been helping with making blocks.
Meanwhile, Burr delivered his latest masterpiece: the topmast cone assembly. You may remember that last fall, Bill fashioned the lignum vitae truck, and several years ago, Mike cast a topmast cone. Well, Burr took those pieces, machined the cone, then made the topsail halyard sheave and metal housing, and assembled everything together. We couldn’t even find the housing solder joint. So awesome!
Did we mention that the average age of these guys exceeds 80?!
Laura made boom lift pennants and a peak halyard pennant. These doubled-over wires are made similarly to grommets: an endless loop of wire seized together at the thimbles at each end. Thimbles at the mast are directly attached to the mast eyes with no shackles, so Laura makes up the wire on the mast.
Sandy has been fabricating blocks; shown here are the eight 14″ blocks on RELIANCE, six including a double block for the main sheet (the other two are for the peak and throat jigs at the base of the mast).
Bern routed out grooves for the straps and the strippers in the base of the block.
Finally, here’s RELIANCE fully painted after Buck and Don’s hard work!
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and thanks to everyone who has supported us thus far!!
We’ve started assembling the jib halyard. Burr made all the links, while Bruce threaded he shackle pins. Bern tapped said shackles to receive the pins.
Meanwhile, the endless toil of filling and fairing both the rudder and the boat continues. Bruce, Bern , Zach spend plenty of their time working on this; just look how much dust we can make!
Chris Broman visited the museum this past weekend, flush from victory with his “footie” yacht at the World Marine Trade Conference in Providence. He’d also attended a breakfast presentation Sandy gave there on the wonderfully modern Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.
We have our own “footie” champion, Mike, so the challenge has been issued!! Note, Chris has a split mainsail and boom; an airfoil shape but also goes wing and wing downwind! Just a little G2…
The crew has been working diligently so that the RELIANCE model can be finished for the museum’s opening this coming spring.
We have put hanks onto the rigging for both the jib top sail and the stay sail; these pieces will be used to sew the sails directly into the rigging.
Meanwhile, Laura is working hard to finalize the overall rigging within the mast system.
While this has been going on, the struggle to perfectly fair the hull and keel has continued. Sandy spent a good portion of time on this duty, while Zach sanded the rudder down so that it would form well into place. He managed to take a short enough break to get a quick photoshoot!
We’ve now got the topmast lodged onto the rest of the mast’s body, with Herb working on some rigging details. While slaving away in his lonely corner of Building 28, Herb noticed an error on the spreader’s rigging: one of the wires was too short. Fortunately, he was swift to correct the wiring, and has since progressed on the spreader/mast system.
Keith is beginning the process of attaching the rudder to the model. He’s screwed a long metal piece–a set of gudgeons–to the back of the keel; the rudder will be pinned to this piece by a series of pintles.
An interesting fact we discovered is that the RELIANCE’s rudder was actually held up by a bearing attached to the lower part of the ship’s hull. Still figuring out how we’re going to work that into the design.
Meanwhile, Steve is working on setting up turnbuckles to be plugged and added to the overall structure.
Keith has been completing the truss and it is now mounted onto the mast.
Laura has now started to fabricate and attach the truss and spreader guys.
Meanwhile, Laura and Herb have been studying photos of the Reliance bowsprit and are now completing all the little bowsprit details.
They have also completed the upper ends of the standing rigging and, as shown, have them tarred, varnished, and ready to go. We’re just a week or two away until the mast can be hoisted upright in our mast jig and the standing rigging can be completed at deck level.
We thought we could find tasks for Steve that would not involve power tools, but Sandy caught the ever creative Steve with a Dremel tool in his back pocket… we’re just trying to excite his inner crafts person, but the power tool guy always comes to the surface…
Keith works on the rudder between all the other tasks we give him. He likes engineering problems and more often than not come up with simple, innovative solutions. He has a Notre Dame engineering degree and Michigan advanced degree, so he’s a conflicted soul. Here it looks like he is invoking a higher spirit into a solution.
Steve is our amateur Astronomer, so we give him work on our mast so he can get closer to the stars.
Tim is a psychologist so we gave him 450 screws to set the boom sail track in place; it’s finicky work that requires precision. We try to play with his mind every once in awhile because we’re worried that in the background he’s writing a “tell all” book about the RELIANCE inmates. In this picture, he has about 150 screws in place – only 300 more, Tim! In the background, Herb is proving his wire to manila splicing technique.
Meanwhile, Laura works on bowsprit rigging. The bobstays are tensioned by tightening the bowsprit retaining bar; there are no turnbuckles on the bobstays.
Ken from Hall Spars dropped by on his evening constitutional and we talked about how boats today tension their shrouds with hydraulic mast rams since the turnbuckles are too short to perform this function. He also noted that on large racers rigging eyes are replacing tangs.