Bringing down the house

By the way, don’t forget: Shutter Plank Party, Friday May 10 at 2 PM.

It’s a pretty common thing for museum guests to walk back through the shipyard and ask someone, “Where is the Morgan?” It’s not always obvious that the huge shed around the Morgan actually has a boat inside of it. Once they realize the scale of this project, the normal reaction is, “Oooohhhh. Wow.”

We’ve been pretty spoiled having this cover to protect us from wind, snow and rain for the past year, but now it’s time to take it down as we get ready to move the boat. Bob is spearheading this project, and he’s beginning with the plastic sheeting walls.

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Inside the cover, the transition is startling. Suddenly we have a view! Not only that, but now we’re aware of how high up in the air we are on these little scaffolds…

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Not a good place to work if you don’t like heights.

As more and more of the boat becomes visible, the comments change to “Oh my look at them working way up there!”

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The crew has only been seeing the boat in the small areas visible between layers of staging. A little while ago, the staging was pulled back from the bow, and for the first time, we had a Wall Of Boat visible. It was quite impressive, particularly when you realize that the expanse of timber above you is only half the height of the boat. Here’s Gino caulking this wall, inch by inch.

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The hurricane house (the structure with the green tarp on it) has been disassembled over the past 2 days.

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Down below, the apprentices and volunteers have been clearing out the small mountains of debris that have been gathering around the boat over the past year.

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Wood cut-offs, dropped fasteners, on and on. It’s a huge job, and the area around the boat looks prettier by the day.

Jeff and Chris have put the finishing touches on their last planks. Jeff gets his next to last plank up on April 26th.

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On May 1st, Chris had just one left to go. Here’s Shelly trunneling in the one above that last plank.

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And then his last plank was finished up,

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And… I can’t believe that I didn’t get a photo of it being installed. Sorry Chris, I’ll get one of the finished area soon! Instead, here’s a wide angle shot of the bow just above the area where Chris’ plank went in.

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Jeff is making the shutter plank. This is fairly high along the aft starboard side of the boat.

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Putting the shutter in is a big deal. There’s ceremony, and, more importantly, there are Onlookers. Because of this, it’s traditional to have this plank be one that will go in smoothly. No drama. No struggling with exotic clamping arrangements. A nice straight plank is ideal. Jeff is taking no chances with this puppy. He’s taken his time with making a very accurate spiling pattern,

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and he’s really taking his time to make sure it’s perfect.

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It’ll fit like a glove.

Of course, this has put the pressure on the folks closing up the transom. After all, what use is a shutter party if some of the boat is still unplanked? Walt and John started this last section at the end of April, and I joined in at the start of May. Most of these planks are short since they’re interrupted in the center by the rudder opening. Here’s Walt working on the lower port side plank on April 30th.

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Hauling it up into the boat that same day,

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and fitting it with John,

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and followed quickly by John fitting his plank on starboard.

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By May 3rd we had the next level up and fastened.

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You can see the rudder hole interrupting the planking here.

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That big bronze strap is the upper rudder gudgeon. The rudder has pins (called pintels) on it that will fit into the gudgeons and allow it to swing like a hinge.

By May 6th Walt had finished and fit the long upper plank.

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The next day, John and I cut and installed the last transom planks.

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By the end of the day they were fastened and John was working on trimming them to fit the rudder shaft hole.

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Phew. NOW it’s truly a shutter plank.

With the planking essentially finished, many of the crew have been working steadily on fairing the hull. Here’s Chris working the section that he finished planking.

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John, Jamie, and Shelly work the starboard side.

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As a section is finished, it’s coated with boiled linseed oil to keep the fresh wood from drying out.

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The look is positively yachty.

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More soon!