Hello once again from Gloucester Marine Railways!
This week marks Roseway’s last full week out of the water, and we have been working extra hard to prepare her for her splash date on Tuesday June 12th. Due to the extensive restoration project around the rudder, the aft most section of the hull has had a large hole in it for most of the yard period. The shipwrights have been working to remove old, rotted planks, which are the long pieces of wood that form the outer most area of the hull. This week, they began fitting and installing new planks. These planks are massive, the longest being 36 feet long! Since there are only four shipwrights, and us deckhands have been assisting with the process of moving and fitting the planks into the hull. The process is amazing, and I feel lucky to just be able to witness how a traditional vessel like Roseway is constructed. The shipwrights begin by cutting the planks to size with a chainsaw, and then they are planed down to size in the wood shop, which involved all shipwrights and at least three deckhands, including myself. Next they are placed into a large steam box for a few hours. This enables the planks to bend to the shape of the hull, because curvature is an important feature for the ship’s overall performance. Once the streaming is complete, the planks must be quickly moved and fitted in their respective area. They are only pliable for a short period of time, and it is impressive to see the expertise and skill of the shipwrights as they work under such pressure. My vantage point for the fitting has been quite unique, standing on scaffolding, sometimes above water, holding the weight of these massive planks with other crew members as they work to fit the plank with the help of huge clamps. Wedges and levers are important to ensure the planks fit properly by giving us added mechanical advantage, an important factor in operating a traditional vessel that we teach to our students during educational programs.
As we near closer and closer to Roseway’s return to the water, it is impressive to see the work that is being done between us crew, the shipwrights, and the yard crew. We have been working short handed for some time with John and Holly running education programs on the Harvey Gamage and Adventure, and we look forward to them rejoining us in Boston. Once the ship is in the water, the masts will be installed and then we will begin up-rig, an extensive project that will take a few days. Once that work is finished, we will begin our journey to Boston, and we are all looking forward to a great summer season in Boston!
Above: The aft section of the hull, with the newly installed rudder post and planks. Left: The ongoing hull painting project.