The new transom beam

On a very cold and blustery morning on March 27, the Shipyard crew gathered to hoist the stern’s new transom beam into position. The beam is a critical timber as it is the transverse support for the entire transom. The beam sits centered on top of the rudder post and supports frames called “tail feathers” that project up and provide the structure for the transom planks to be fastened to. As this is such a critical part, much care went into selecting the right piece of white oak. The finished beam is 22 feet long and weighs more than a ton, and it was no small accomplishment to find a log that could produce a clean blank that large.

Hoisting the beam into place high up on the stern presented quite a challenge and required the services of a large crane. The beam was carefully rigged and then lifted directly above the roof of the scaffolding and dropped through a slit cut into the plastic. To get it to swing back to the horizontal so it could be slid into its final position required poking out through another slit in the plastic on the scaffolding’s side and then gingerly lowering it onto some temporary supports. The whole process took only about an hour, but there were many sighs of relief when it was finally done.

Elsewhere on the hull, nine planks have been placed but some of these are only partially held in place with butt spikes and clamps. The shipwrights will now go back and complete the fastening with trunnels. Some of the trunnels will be so-called “through trunnels.” These are fasteners which are driven through the planking and the supporting futtock (framing) into the ceiling (interior planking). Two knees have been shaped and work has commenced on a third of the twelve to be undertaken.