Winter Work

Spars scraped clean and re-oiled.

Winter work has begun in the shop in earnest. Every winter after down rigging we bring the spars in to our shop, one after an other, to scrape them clean and re-oil everything.

This shot shows almost all the spars. The end of the yard that is visible in the right foreground is the main yard. (54 feet long and weighs in at about 1 ton).

The smaller spars to the left are the topsail yards, and the flag staffs. On the right in this shot are the main topmast with it’s square end and heel rope sheave facing the camera, the mizzen yard in the middle and the fore topmast all the way to the right.


During the original crossing in 1957 Alan Villiers, the captain, found the fore topmast  was a focus of concern as he referred to it as a “broom stick”. Apparently he was more used to the large steel spars of the grain ships of his youth. His fears were well founded generally as the fore top yard actually broke early on during the voyage.

A sharp eyed observer may notice the fore top yard is made of spruce unlike all the others which are made of  Douglas fir.


The fore course yard and the sprit yard are in the shop but not in the photo.



  1. George Cushman

    Hi Peter, great to see the work done on the spars. After 55 years they still look terrific with a few fresh coats of boiled linseed oil and turps. Is there a winter haul-out in the plans for 2012 and, if so, can you tell what work is expected to be done in the yard? Certainly the stern quarter on the starboard side and the port side cathead are items needing to be finished off… All the Best, George C…

    • Hi George – I has been a while since I have been back to the blog. We are doing work on the ship ourselves this winter including the starboard quarter that you mention. Take a look at the most recent post for some pictures of that work.
      thanks for commenting.

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