Sixty-five planks

The restoration of the Morgan has reached another important milestone. Sixty-five planks representing over 50% of the new planking have been installed. Thirteen strakes are complete. Planking work will now move further up the vessel. This has necessitated relocating many of the stanchions which support the vessel from positions higher in the hull to places lower in the hull. Scaffolding is being repositioned higher up in the hull near the “between decks” and the waterline. Work will soon commence on the so-called “zipper line.”

Framing of the Morgan consists of many paired assemblies of material. Each frame consists of really two frames. The components of the frames, called futtocks, are 4 to 6 feet in length. The joints of these frames are butt ended, which is an inherently weak joint. To compensate for this weakness the frames are paired, the joints staggered and the pairs fastened horizontally with trunnels.

During previous restorations, which were less extensive in scope, new material was sometimes installed without the appropriate staggering. To make the Morgan secure for future display and sailing on her 38th Voyage, the zipper line needs to be remediated. Initially the shipwrights had thought they might need to replace 20 futtocks on each side of the vessel. They now believe this number is closer to 10 on each side. Not only will this save on materials and man hours, but it will eliminate the requirement to remove relatively new planking material in order to access the frames/futtocks.

Work on the bow and stern continues. Approximately 50% of the new planking on the inner side of the bulwark is in place. Fairing of the transom framing is nearly complete and a large rot pocket found in the aft-most deck timber is being fitted with a dutchman.

New rigging progresses. Seventeen spars have been ordered and work has commenced on a lathe to shape them. A third rigger will join the team October 1. The lower mizzen is on the floor of the main shed having its paint removed after which it will be recaulked and painted. Although more than 20 years old, this piece has been in storage and never stepped in the vessel.