On Target

“The Morgan is on target for a July 21, 2013 launch,” said Quentin Snediker, Director of the Shipyard. Up forward the final outer stem piece will be installed today. This will complete the rebuilding of the foremost part of the bow consisting of the apron, stem and outer stem. This assembly is made up of several large pieces of wood, either white oak or live oak, some weighing over fifteen hundred pounds. Further up in the bow the bulwark ceiling is complete and the shipwrights are working on the outer planking. Similar good progress is being made aft. The covering boards in the transom are done and both inner and outer planking are proceeding nicely. Overall between 24 and 30 new planks remain to be fitted. While this is excellent progress, there is a lot of fairing of new material and caulking to be done once the planks are in.

Meanwhile at the very lowest portion of the vessel a new wormshoe is being placed. This piece is affixed to the false keel, which in turn is attached to the keel. The shipwrights will return to the original dimensions of the wormshoe. It was five inches thick when built, but in the 1970’s a three inch replacement was installed. The process is tricky as the keel blocks supporting the ship must be removed to permit the installation of new material. In a recently made decision the shipwrights will copper the entire keel structure both to help preserve it (all of it is original dating from 1841) and to seal it from water. Shipwrights are also installing the butt-end copper rivets on planks below the waterline. These rivets reinforce the butt-end seams of the planks to help prevent them from loosening and springing out. They were not part of the original construction but were required by the insurance companies in the 1880s when the Morgan moved to San Francisco as her new homeport.

All the hanging knees in the hold are complete and two new deck beams, whose ends are scarfed to old deck beams, have been installed. The scaffolding in the hold will be removed shortly and mountings for the 38th Voyage mechanicals will be located just aft of the mainmast on the starboard side. The rough turned spars are now due for delivery in late February. One, the lower foremast, may further delayed, but the new bowsprit, which is the largest in diameter and hard to find, will be part of the shipment.

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has committed to build a whaleboat, which is the 10th one being constructed by outside parties. The museum hopes to have three or four on display or in the water at the WoodenBoat Show in June.