Although Spring is technically three weeks away, daffodils are already pushing their heads up out of the ground, cherry trees are blossoming, and the Spring herring runs are underway in the Albemarle Sound. The Cherokee crew are as busy as carpenter bees, preparing the vessel for her future debut. Tom and Leonard have rigged up a Spanish Windlass to hold the shape of the vessel sides while they glue in the transom structure.
Spanish Windlass at Vessel Stern
Their work on the transom is impressive. They finished constructing and intalling the fashion pieces, or the frames forming the corner of the transom and the boat sides. "Fashion pieces," explained Casey, always trying to show off his nautical terminology, "are the aftermost timbers in the run of a ship which form the shape of the stern."
Casey Explaining Fashion Pieces
Leonard and Tom are building the massive framework for the transom. The old wood on the sides has been cut back to allow new wood to be scarfed in. Have we mentioned that the overall boat length will be 64 feet and seven inches with the newly extended transom, an addition of five inches?
Leonard Working on Transom
Above deck, Jeff Heyland continues his work on the pilot house windshield. Nearby, John Stein has completed the king plank, which is a structural member on which the anchor winch and forward cleats bolt. John has made progress on the bulkhead of the anchor locker. He's cut the vent holes and glued the locker frames to receive the separately constructed bulkhead. Meanwhile Robbin is patching the bulkhead between the tankroom and equipment room. She has also installed the sistering frames in the forward equipment room. Jeanette is chemically stripping the bulkhead next to the engine room.
King Plank and Pilot House Windshield
The boat keelson had to be cut and removed to allow the installation of the bow thruster. In order to transmit the load of the keelson through the area of the bow thruster, Bill Brown laminated three layers of plywood to the hull - the knees (the curvy pieces visible in the photo below just above the blue tape lines) transmit the load to the frames and this additional planking. A similar arrangement of knees connects the rear end of the cut keelson to the same planking area. These extra layers of plywood planking also allow for the relief cut behind the bow thruster tube on the outside of the boat, which will cut down on turbulance created by water passing over the tube area.
Cardboard Mock-Up of Bow Thruster Tube
Coastal Carolina enjoys its rituals to break up the bleak weather as much as any other area. They range from the very old, like the Hatteras Island rite of Old Christmas where, as J.M. Brown recalls, any men with a beef could engage in a fist fight and clear it up for the year, to recent events like the Cedar Island Boom Truck Parade. Folks living east of the North River bridge have become accustomed to seeing bright, hand-painted signs through the February fog, announcing the Gloucester Mardi Gras. Bryan Blake has held this long enough for some kids to think it's been here forever. They think it's perfectly natural for everybody to get together to chop onions, fry turkeys, and stir gumbo...not to mention bedeck themselves with glittery beads and gaudy colors. Even though it's not a native celebration for these parts, Mardi Gras conjures up old sentiments of community, celebration, and the survival of another winter...
Signing off for now,
Barbara "Fish Doctor" Blake
Kings and Queens for a Day