The spars go on

Just after the last post, we had three days of crane work to get the spars up and chain in the hold. I’ll get to that in just a bit. There’s always tons of prep work before a big event like this, and here’s a few of things that needed to happen.

The control lines that come down from the spars need to be tied off to something, and we use belaying pins that go into pin rails. These are sturdy pieces of oak, solidly attached to the boat. Here’s John fitting one on the starboard bulwarks up forward.


Matt had to finish up the head rails (I may have been calling these the gammon knee braces earlier… not sure, but both terms may be acceptable) that go between the gammon knee and the hull.

The port head rail installed:


and working on starboard.

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and… installed.


The foot of the jibboom has a tenon that fits into a mortised block attached to the knight heads. This block had to be finished up before the jibboom could be installed. John fashioned this block from a big chunk of live oak. After patterning it, he sawed kerfs to define the sloped face,


and then used an adze to cut the face.


Here’s the location where it will eventually go, between the knight heads.


The older looking white piece is one of the breast hooks that tie the two sides of the boat together.

First fit:


Checking for where it needs to be tuned up.


A little more tweaking, and some stern looks.


There we go, bedded and spiked in place.


The dolphin striker (some call this a martingale)  goes on. It’s the long stout spar coming down from the end of the bowsprit.


Ok, now we’re ready for the crane. On the first lift day, the riggers installed the jibboom. It’s surprising how small it looks once you get it out of the shop.


You can see the tenon that goes into the mortise in the piece that John was working on to the right.

Alex and Haley were on board to guide the spar onto the bowsprit, while Matt handled the ground operations.


They made it look easy. And, if you prepare everything properly ahead of time, it is.

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It fit like a glove.

Next up, setting up the various lines that attach to the jibboom.


We use chain falls (the red devices) to pull lines tight.


That first day, the crane also loaded 10 shots of chain down through the chain pipe and into the chain locker in the hold. .

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Each shot is 90’ long and weighs almost 1100 pounds. They get connected together with a special link that comes apart.

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The next day, the riggers started putting the yards on. First up, the fore course yard. This is the lowest yard on the foremast.

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As they were doing this, other folks were setting up the lightning protection. The rod at the top of the mast connects to a serious copper cable running down the standing rigging.

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The cable is led down one of the shrouds.


Later on it will terminate at a copper plate below the waterline.

Next, the fore lower topyard goes on above the fore course.

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Followed by the fore upper topyard.


A fair amount of bodies are needed when attaching the yards, sometimes to simply hold tag lines that keep the yards from turning in the wind.


Next comes the main yard,


followed by her upper and lower topyards.


By the end of day 2, she was looking a lot more like a real whaling ship.


The next few days were spent tightening up the rigging. Here’s Matt and Sara working on the shrouds.


The next crane day was devoted to setting the upper masts. We started with the fore t’gallent.

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The arrangement of the various lines has to be thought out ahead of time so that each will end up in its proper location and not interfere with other lines or with the process of setting the mast. Matt, Sara, and Alex look over the main t’gallent before it goes up.


Alex is positioned to receive the t’gallent as Sara climbs up to assist.


Yes, that’s him way up there.


Together they guide the foot of the mast through the gated square box in the cross trees.


After each t’gallent is set, the standing rigging that supports it is attached to the cross trees. You can see the lines going up from the ends of each of the four ends of the trees.


Until the lines connecting the bowsprit and jibboom to the hull are properly tensioned, the various forestays (rigging that connects the masts to the front of the ship) are led but not tensioned.


The mizzen topmast is set on deck for now. It will later be hauled up using the windlass.


Sara gathers up tag lines after another long day.


It’s deceiving just how much work still needs to be done. But for now, she’s beginning to look like herself again.


ps:  we leave for New London in 16 days.