Tag Archives: topmast

Winter Progress

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!

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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!

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Did we mention that the average age of these guys exceeds 80?!

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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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Solving Another Problem

RE Sturdy has once again done an awesome job of nickel plating our bronze pieces to look like real nickel steel. Here is the last batch of shackles as well as the rings to attach the staysail and jib topsail to their stays (Mike is currently fabricating the jib hanks).

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Bern installed the topmast heel rope sheave and topmast fid and slot. As you may remember, the topmast is sleeved into the mainmast.

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These efforts have revealed another Reliance conundrum. The hole in the upper and lower sleeves holding the topmast in place are 13.25″ in diameter, and the topmast is 13″ in diameter. The heal rope is .375″ diameter wire, so how could the topmast telescope into the mast? There isn’t enough clearance and there are no slots or holes noted in the drawings for the wire…

Bern has also been working on Columbia’s 1899 topmast and we’ve obtained detailed drawings of the cap and truck. Lo and behold, our Reliance topmast drawing refers to this drawing….so now we can complete this task as well.

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Deck Edge Milestone

Today marked another major milestone: the first deck edge toe rail went in place. We still have the port side to do, but we have the process well-proven; though we still have a lot of faring work to get the new railing to flow evenly as a continuation of the shell plating, but we can see how it’ll all work together. Whew, another risk milestone overcome!

These rails really change RELIANCE ‘s profile.
Keith and Bill, with help from Laura, Don, Sandy, and new volunteer Bern worked all day on the 24’ long starboard rail.

Bern has begun restoring the 1899 COLUMBIA topmast, which we’ll show in upcoming blog posts. Turns out that COLUMBIA’S topmast truck served as the model for RELIANCE’s, so we’re looking at this with great interest. As an exhibit accompanying RELIANCE, our COLUMBIA topmast will also show how massive these spars really were.

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Deck Edge Update, Shipments, and Spreader Progress

Work continues on the deck edge toe rails. One is complete and the second one is going into the jig for some final-finish work.

1 deck edges

We received a large shipment of nickel plating from R.E. Sturdy, our third such shipment from them. Again, we give them our most sincere thanks and praise for donating to our team’s success.

2 received new ni plating

Also received in that shipment were plated topmast shroud turnbuckles and mast hoops; thank you Tom and Dorothy!

3. And mast hoops and topmast shroud turnbuckles

Keith continues to make amazing progress on the spreader and now it is on to the truss!

4. Spreader progresses

Finally, we moved our benches to align the mast, topmast, and topsail yard so initial work on rigging can be done. This will also enable us to complete our topmast with sheaves and cone parts.

5. Alignment

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:

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12 Span Hook

13 Span Hook

14 Hank

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

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Spreader and Topmast Updates

Bill and Keith have been working on metal collars for the spreader. The inboard collar has been fastened to the mast and we’re fitting it to the wooden spreader as shown.

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We’ve also inserted our telescoping topmast to ensure that we understand how to fasten it in place. The topmast really changes our appreciation of the rig; we’re almost as long as Building 28 is wide, without even mounting the topsail yard! We may have to open a window…