Winter Rigging

Or  – How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Polar Vortex.

You don’t find many ship rigging text books suggesting a snow blower and shovels  as indispensable items in your tool kit. This year we could not have rigged the ship without them.

Since the time the museum closed in December the marine staff has been dealing with the rigging on the ship in anticipation of a sailing opportunity for early March. The first step was to remove topmasts, all the yards and rigging. That happened in December. The second step was to inspect, overhaul and prepare the rigging in our shop for re-installation. That all happened in January. The third step, of course is to re-rig the ship. That happened during one of the coldest and snowiest Februarys we have had in some time.

Four wheel drive is essential to the modern riggers

Four wheel drive is essential to the modern riggers

Previous blog posts have articulated the rig up process. Add to those rather mundane descriptions: chip ice, shovel snow and salt the pier prior to lifting spars with the truck. Just ahead of the truck the reader can see the patch of dock  we had cleared to give us better traction for lifting.

Rigging worked best when we stayed on the cleared path.

Rigging worked best when we stayed on the cleared path.

Bring the topmast into the exhibit space in preparation for raising. It was interesting watching the ice flows drift past the pier as we worked. One day we saw a peregrine falcon sitting on the ice eating its lunch. It looked like Cold Duck. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture.IMG_0731

Mizzen sail, bent on, and set with lovely light snow falling for atmosphere.

Mizzen sail bent on  and set with a lovely, light snow falling for atmosphere.










Of course rigging the ship is only one part of preparing the ship to get underway. The gun doors need to be bolted and caulked tight as well. Andrew is in the skiff he rebuilt working on that in odd moments around the rigging process.

Oddly, it was snowing that day too.IMG_0749

This shot was taken on the beach here in Plymouth directly across the harbor from the where Mayflower II is docked. Recently, Birders are talking about the Snow Owl invasion we are experiencing here in coastal New England this winter. These birds  comes to us from the arctic – It is interesting to note how at home they appear to be around here this year.

A Snowy owl and Mayflower Model

A Snowy Owl and a Mayflower weather vane










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