Today was a real nuts and bolts kind of day. Paula and George continued with the relentless task of tightening up and tarring the rigging. Jack and I continued repairing and re-planking the various holes in the side of the ship.
The picture above shows Paula out on the bowsprit getting ready to tightening the big lanyard that in turns tightens the forestay. She and George lugged out the come-along, (a ratcheting tool with a chain and hook that provide mechanical advantage) some rope strops, and other bits of rope out onto the bowsprit and little by little hauled in slack from the lanyard until the forestay was tight. The forestay is the big cable layed rope that runs from the bowsprit up to the tip of the foremast.
After that they tightened the mizzen stay. It runs from low on the main mast to the top of the mizzenmast. This one is a lot easier to tighten as it can be reached from the deck. The foremast lanyard requires a lot of energy. Holding on is a chore in itself. One person ratchets the come-along and the other person tugs on each leg of the lanyard until everything is tight. After all that Paula and George helped us handling the steamed plank in the bow then spent the rest of the day tarring.
Jack and I managed to fit and fasten three planks today. One, 2” oak plank in the bow and 2 wanna planks in the stern. The oak plank required a lot of set up time. We dragged the steam box, a propane burner, propane tank, extra sawhorses, and water, down to the pier and set up the steam box so that after steaming the plank for two hours we could lower the hot plank over the side of the pier into the skiff then across to the staging we have set up on the bow of the ship.
We predrilled holes in the forward end of the plank, and a single hole in the after end of the plank. When it came out of the steam box after 2 hours is was as flexible as boiled linguini and bent around the hull very nicely. We spiked in the forward end of the plank, ran a line through the hole in the aft end of the plank into the ship and used that come-along again to draw the plank into position. Ah, as satisfying as seeing a well cooked meal on the table at last.
The two planks on the after castle were less dramatic but no less satisfying to see go on. There are only a three planks left to close in the stern and two planks to close in the bow. There is an old tradition in shipyards to celebrate the last plank going on a ship. They call that last plank the whisky plank for some reason. We’ll have to see if we can figure out why.