Tag Archives: Roger Williams University

Resources Page

Today we have launched a new “resources” page to our blog. Here, you can access an ever-growing assortment of reading material for those interested in learning more about RELIANCE and the Herreshoff family. Many of the books can be purchased through our Museum store, which can be accessed by clicking on the titles. Let us know if you have any titles that should be added to our list. Thank you!

-Aaron Towers


Top Secret Revealed!

It is time to take the wraps off of some of our secret weapons. Mike Mirman our casting volunteer and Harrison Casting Company, Inc., Johnston RI. Mike creates wax molds for individual parts and rubber molds for repetitive parts and Harrison Casting does the actual bronze casting.

I’d like to publicly compliment both for the hard work and exquisite castings. Thank you so much!!!

Mike takes the Herreshoff drawings and as you can see in the pictures, reduced them to our scale size – 2″ to 1 foot or 1/6th scale. Hence a 6″ piece is 1″, and a 3″ piece is 1/2″ on our model. From the pictures provided by Mike, you can see size comparisons of parts to quarters, nickels and pennies. Tiny! He and Harrison Casting have many more than a 1000 such fittings to cast!

I should also note that Mike takes the bronze castings and grinds them to finished size and then buffs them to brilliance. We joke about this, since contemporary pictures and our museum’s collection of castings show that HM Co. was more concerned about functionality than polished brilliance! It was after all a racing yacht not a pleasure boat. But we’re not sure that our viewers want to take off their sunglasses.

Some of these castings will be given to Roger Williams University’s School of Engineering for a collaborative project we’re doing. As part of their review of our model’s structural integrity and design of the display cradle, they’ll take representative castings for destructive load tests of the model’s rig. We’ll give you an update on that project at a later date, perhaps to include a picture or discussion of the testing scale in the Museum’s half hull room.


Gaff Jaws and Other Fittings



Hooks and Staples

Shackles and Staple


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!