May 26, 2018
This last month has been kind of a blur and the speed is picking up. With the ship’s wheel all complete (thanks, Judge) we mounted the wheelbox permanently and I installed the hydraulic helm. It’s a variable-displacement pump that the wheel mounts on, with copper lines to a steering cylinder. It was fun to finally make the rudder go back and forth! We got busy and fastened down the main hatch tracks and skylight, the sea-hood for over the sliding hatch, and finally glued that hatch together. There were lots of interlocking parts. Chris Taylor has been making wood trim for around the companionway and skylight, mounting trim for the companionway doors that he made and the deck boxes, which also got mounted and glued down in a frenzied couple of days of epoxy work. The companionway doors have sliding lexan pieces for light and screens for ventilation.
Tom Doerr came up from Tennessee and made all the underpinnings for the floors in the head and shower, and we glued them down. We calculated the length for the centerboard pendant and spliced it in place. Tom made a nice handle for the centerboard latch mechanism from black locust that fits well with the trim Chris made for the top of the trunk. I welded up some mast steps for the bases of the masts and the Judge coated them with a special waterproof coating.
Julie has been kept busy – the hull sides got sanded, primed, sanded, enamel topsides paint, and Nick Martinez came up from downstate and sanded again and sprayed on the final coat. Larry Reeves came up from Taylor in time to help with the painting and gluing. The deck seat boxes and cabin sides got sanded and primed, and the boxes painted. In between getting all that done, Julie primed and painted the overhead in the foc’sle, and varnished the cabin roof beams.
Whew! A myriad of other projects, too many to remember. I made brackets and hooked up the control cables to the engines. Chris planed and beveled the cedar for the bulwarks. I shaped and oiled the main gaff, the fore boom and gaff and the bowsprit. Next is that main boom, all 30 feet of it, whenever I can either make sawdust inside again or carry it outside. The dorade box for the brass ventilators is mounted, glued to the front end of the skylight and the screened pipes for the air to come in to the boat are in place. I cut two big holes for the masts to come through (more holes!) that seem big enough to fall through. Alan Hosler came in from Washington State to help with various tasks including painting, sanding and drilling holes in coins and mounting them on the various sheet and halyard blocks. The coins keep the axle pins in.
Visitor and summer neighbor Katherine Andrews stopped in and got herself a part-time job helping Julie with marketing and media. She’s been doing a terrific job spreading the word about the schooner via social media and press releases. You can now book your trip on our website www.ditallship.com. We have lots of terrific special events planned.
Julie has been busy working with Jack Miles of Bear Graphics and Lori Ogden at the Islander Shoppe to get schooner merchandise ready for your purchase. Dave Gough of Les Cheneaux Coffee Roaster stopped by with some coffees for us to sample and choose the breakfast blend that will bear the name of Huron Jewel; ask for it at your local store as it will be available within the next month!
Next is lifting up the seat boxes after painting them and fastening them down, then sanding the deck and painting on some non-skid deck paint on the deck and cabintop. Then there are the bulwarks to mount and the lifeline stanchion bases to mount. The rest of the blocking for the mast partners, and of course, the last really big epoxy job, the masts themselves.
It has been a busy month but the next few weeks promise to be even busier including the boat survey and launch! We’ll then motor around to Nate’s Marina to have the masts put in and the rigging and sails attached. Then you can find us at Drummond Island Yacht Haven, from where we’ll be sailing, and join us for the big christening celebration on June 23!
– Captain Hugh