Tag Archives: rigging

Topmast, Spreader, and Rudder Updates

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.

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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.

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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.

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Truss and Rigging Progress

Keith has been completing the truss and it is now mounted onto the mast.

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Laura has now started to fabricate and attach the truss and spreader guys.

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Meanwhile, Laura and Herb have been studying photos of the Reliance bowsprit and are now completing all the little bowsprit details.

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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.

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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…

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The Crew At Work

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.

1 Keith's rudder

Steve is our amateur Astronomer, so we give him work on our mast so he can get closer to the stars.

2 Steve works on mast

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.

3 Tim works on the boom

Meanwhile, Laura works on bowsprit rigging. The bobstays are tensioned by tightening the bowsprit retaining bar; there are no turnbuckles on the bobstays.

4 Laura splicing bowsprit rigging

5 Laura's 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.

Design Exploration and Some Extra Recognition

Mike and Sandy took a trip to the Museum’s sail loft and curatorial space to check out special thimble, span hook, and hank designs. Span hooks were used for gaff and boom spans, and we’ve got 65 hanks to make along with 75 rings. The hanks were not clipped to the forestay and topmast stay, but instead to rings on these wires:

11 Special Thimble

12 Span Hook

13 Span Hook

14 Hank

15 Hank

This past week also brought news that German yachting magazine Goose had published a┬áthree-page article on our model. We’ve also received inquiries from other yachting and travel magazines, so our RELIANCE seems to be showing well!

16 Goose

Steve, the SCOUT, and the Steam Engine

Steve continues to work to the upper section of the mast; the angle iron cheeks and, as you can see, the fourteen ladder rungs which Burr had made for us earlier in the year are involved.

7 Ladder rungs

We also had a visit from the Okerholms. Bob brought his beautiful model of HMCo’s SCOUT which was one of the first boats through the Cape Cod Canal when it opened.

8 Scout

SCOUT’s external condenser coil must have made running aground a real nightmare, even in mud!

9 Scout external condenser coil

These photos lead us to Don working to restore our triple expansion steam launch engine, another of our projects in Building 28 (Don’t you love candid photos!)

10 Don works on engine

Busy Opening Weekend

It’s been a very busy weekend…

Saturday was a whirlwind. Laura was splicing halyard pennants; these are wires spliced into a circle in an endless loop. She unravels a piece of wire 7x the length of the loop, then re-braids the wire as you would a grommet. Unfortunately, her day ended before I could take a picture.

Mike brought alot of hardware from Harrison Casting; you can see seven half-round angle irons on the gaff.

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We’ve started to file and shape these to take eye-spliced ends of the peak halyard span wires. Another picture shows the angle irons to hold eye-spliced loops of the forestay, upper main shrouds, preventers, and throat halyard. We’ve started to grind, file, and persuade these into shape. You can also see that work continues the spreader.

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Burr dropped off three new turnbuckles with incredible eyes. These and three other turnbuckles he delivered earlier have been shipped off to a local machining center to drill out slots typical of Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. turnbuckles. We can’t wait for this to be done so we can nickel plate them. They’re a critical path for rigging the bowsprit and mast!!!

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Bill also stopped by and brought another 12′ of sail track for the boom. This has been provided by our friends: the Wrights at AMA Engineering.

Our Roger Williams University intern Zach created our new “Wonderfully Modern Herreshoff Manufacturing Co.” exhibit from lecture material given earlier this year by the team.

And of course Zach and Sandy spent a lot of time sprucing up Building 28 for opening day on Sunday. RELIANCE is really looking great and we’re hoping our new exhibits will excite you as well.

Getting Ready for Opening Day

Burr just delivered the RELIANCE bell, complete with a clapper, with engraving done by a South Carolina engraver. You can see its size compared to a U.S. Quarter! We can’t wait to see the reaction of our riggers when we tell them one of them will need to braid the cotton lanyard…

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Joe brought back our wood hatches, companionway, and monitor with final finishing. They look great and bring the deck to life.

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We’ve also finally received the uniforms for our 52 crew members! They look exquisite; thank you very much, Denise.

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Laura rigged the topmast shrouds and backstay eyes, and even brought her sister and parents to see her handiwork. Great to see pride for all involved!