Progress updates on the restoration of the 1841 whaleship CHARLES W. MORGAN.
Planking is the largest component of the project, absorbing the most manpower and materials, and has progressed far enough so that the shipwrights will be resetting the scaffolding to permit work higher up in the hull.
One year and one day from now, July 21, 2013, the Morgan will be launched. This will be a significant milestone in her over five year restoration and eventual 38th Voyage.
The Charles W. Morgan was a special focus of the WoodenBoat Show this year. Over the course of the weekend, shipwrights demonstrated the stages of the planking process: spiling (the method by which the plank’s shape is determined), steam bending and fitting, and trunnel driving.
The outer stem is being shaped from white oak found at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard three years ago when the timber basin, covered over in 1910, was excavated. This piece weighs 1,600 pounds and will be fastened to the apron.
The shipwrights and riggers, assisted by a commercial portable crane operator, installed the jib crane last week. The jib crane will be used to lift heavy timbers for the forward part of the vessel.
With the help of a large crane the new apron was slid into place on the bow of the Charles W. Morgan this morning. The apron is a key structural element in the bow to which much of the new planking needs to be fastened, and its successful installation is a major step in moving along the structural restoration in the bow.
Planking continues to be the focus of activity but good progress is being made elsewhere on the vessel. All the cant frames, which form the shape of the bow, have been replaced and tied in place.
The apron, part of the very front of the bow structure of the ship, has been removed and a new one is being shaped. To get the old apron off, the shipyard needed a crane to pull it up and slide it out of its vertical position.
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.
Planning for the 38th Voyage is well underway. Watercraft area personnel are focused on sailing the Morgan. This activity ranges from selection of safety equipment to meet Coast Guard requirements, to determining the stability of the ship and designing an appropriate ballasting scheme. The itinerary of the voyage is taking form.