One of my favorite parts about yard are the independent projects. These are projects where you have the necessary skills and tools, and are consequently let loose to finish your work by yourself in a timely manner. At the beginning of yard, these were somewhat rare, due to the fact the majority of us had never worked on a ship let alone fixed one. So most of the projects involved us all working together or occasional supervision. But throughout the past month and a half of ship maintenance, we have all been given opportunities to use our new skills, or take advantage of our past work experience, to check off more of the projects on the impossibly long task list.
The emphasis this week has been on projects to make the ship more livable. To clarify, we have been living on the Roseway for the past six or so months, and I can unquestionably say that this ship feels like home. However, over those same six or so months we have all came up with certain realizations about how to continue to improve this ship. Much of that work has been centered around fixing or adding shelving and new storage spaces, or improving current storage spaces to make them easier to get into. This will make it much easier to not only get around the ship, but also to find tools, paints, and other items we need. Many of the deckhands are working on these projects, using their past experience with woodworking, among other things, to improve the living spaces on the ship.
One of our Deckhand Educators, Ben, built these shelves in the forepeak so we can keep things organized and accessible! Look at all the extra room!
The most woodworking I had done before working on the Roseway involved making small bridges out of glue and balsa wood at summer camps, so I do not really have any useful skills in regards to building things out of wood that are supposed to last longer than a few days. So unless Captain Flansburg needs any tiny wooden bridges, I've left the woodworking to the experts. That does not mean I have had nothing to do the past week. My primary project is prepping the ship's hull for painting, which involves a lot of scraping, sanding and priming. I also have to fill in any open or broken seams with a special putty, and prep the chain plates which involves grinding off rust and more priming. On the surface this project may seem rather dull, but I've really been enjoying the challenge it provides me with. There is a lot of hull space to prep, and not a lot of time left to do so considering we also need time to paint and let that paint dry before the ship is put into the water. I need to make sure I am using my time efficiently and effectively, since a good paint job on the hull and well filled seams are some of the many things that ensure this beautiful ship will continue to sail.
As I said before, my favorite part of yard are the projects where I am given a task to work on independently, and this is one of those tasks. I am not a novice when it comes to challenging work, but this is a new type of challenge for me, which makes it one I am happy to take on. It will be a great experience to watch the Roseway reenter the water in less than a month, knowing that all of our hard work and effort is on display for everyone to see, and that we have all helped continue the legacy of this vessel.
Eric, the author of this post, assists the shipwrights as they prepare to weld the gammon iron, a piece essential to the rigging of the ship.