Sunday, April 17, 2011


So we prepared today for a "snowing hurricane" that never came. Sure, we had the fifty knot winds and the driving rain, but it stayed around 50 degrees out, so at least we didn't have the snow, which was nice. The Jib got bent on, so we have one sail now and the rig was organized and more lines were sent about. I spent the day back at the wood pile, which isn't real exciting, but is very satisfying. We now have an estimated two months of wood cut and bagged with just a bit left in the pile to finish up. All in all, it was a really amazing week as far as our productivity goes, and we've got enough energy among the crew to keep that going and get everything up and running ahead of schedule. Go crew.


Big day. Got the last of the big sticks on her.

So now she's ready to take on her sails. All the yards are on, the jibboom and flying jibboom are extended and we got the spanker gaff and boom on her after no little bit of work. She's looking like herself. The last big project is getting the sails bent on, and then it's a lot of little projects. You can feel the energy building as we get closer and closer to ready... We're making great time and are definitely going to be ready to go come may. The crew is also getting better and better as we get to know each other.


Got the last two yards up today, which was far more work and time than the others, but they are pretty huge and heavy, so a bit of extra caution was justified. In the mate's words, however, we got them up without so much as scraping the paint, which is awesome. It was definitely a good effort on everyone's part.

I also took apart, cleaned and altered the pantry shelves in the shore galley, getting them up to fda spec. Time consuming, and not really exciting, but it had to be done, and now the pantry is a bit better organized, which is good.


Today went pretty solidly as planned for me today. More time in the galley and more time on the capstain getting the top yards in place. Definitely heavier work than yesterday, but good work. Every day she looks a bit more and more like herself. Soon she'll be rigged up nice. I spent a little more time up aloft, rigging and prepping for tomorrow's yards. A little more confident every day.


Sixteenth work day since I arrived, and we sent the first yards up. She's got both her t'gallants on, which was really light work on the capstain. It looks as though my week will be a lot of working in the galley and then coming out to walk around to send things up, which is fine with me; I'm pretty good at brute force. I also got to go up aloft and run braces in preparation for the top yards tomorrow, which is good for me. It forced me to really think about how things have to work, making sure that the lines lead where they need to. I'm getting better slowly, actually coming to understand how the ship works, which is good. With a little luck I'll actually get to be worth my weight at some point here.

Till then, however, I'll still march that capstain hard as I can.


This week I am the assistant cook, which means a little less time working on the boat and a little more time working in the galley, cleaning and organizing things. Working with the cook is, however, a good time. She's good people, and I tend to like those.

Between these duties I did get to spend some time out in the headrig seizing on safety ropes and foot ropes, which will make working out there a little easer than it has been so far. A few more things to grab onto and stand on are always good. We are also just about ready to start sending up the yards, which is really exciting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Today was mostly spent on important side projects. I was given a handful of volunteers and sent below to clean the bilges. Not the most exciting of jobs, but it is rather important to have the bilges cleaned out before we start stowing all our gear and food below. That took up the morning, but everything got pulled out and then the bilges themselves cleaned.

After all that crawling around in the hold, my team and I were sent over to the giant woodpile to start cutting firewood for the season so we can eat. I have to admit, I find that kind of work very relaxing. It's mentally simple, physically satisfying, and requires enough focus to keep you paying attention. We got twenty six bags of wood stored, with probably another five or ten chopped before the end of the day, so I estimate the four of us did a little over three weeks of firewood in a few hours. I'll call it a good day.


Well, the weather today was better than yesterday, but that really doesn't mean a whole lot. It wasn't snowing any more, but it was still pretty cold and windy. I spent most of today working on the headrig again. One of the other hands and I started out on seizings in the headrig, getting the heelrope for the jibbom solidly in place. I then got to set up the jibstay for being sent aloft and prepped the jib's backstays to tension with come-alongs. This process did involve putting on an immersion suit, setting up a ladder on the paint float and climbing up to the backstays, which was one of the more foolish seeming things I've done in a while, but it turned out well and eventually came to remind me of the big A Frame ladder in the black box at Goucher. Fun memories.


Another good day, though cold and densely foggy. I started the day aloft, helping to guide and clear the fore t'gallant mast on its way up to its seat. There was a bit more standing around than any of us were really planning, but the job got done, and the boat is now as tall as she's going to get. We also finished running out the jibboom and got it lashed into place. The bosun came up with a brilliant method for getting the entire lashing bar tight involving a couple rig tackles working on one another. The jibboom is set, the masts are up and we're apparently a little ahead of schedule.


Today we woke to milder weather and got to work. There was a bit of bopping around on a below decks clean up and a deckwash before we got into the harder stuff.

We had to push up the main t'gallant mast, so we marched the capstain round and sent it up. There were a full ten of us on the bars, and many hands make light work so it was a comfortable stroll around the deck. Then I went forward to get the jibboom ready to put aboard. I got to climb the stays to hang a rig tackle from a strop about half way up the fore stay. Then we ran that to the dock and hooked it to the jibboom and hauled it up and onto the ship, eventually running it onto the bowsprit.
Then I helped with getting the martingale and the backstays ready and on the cap, along with the iron for the flying jibboom. It was right around here that the snow started to come down heavy and start sticking. We eventually had to knock off early because it was getting too deep and slick to safely work.

I finished my day with laundry for the first time since coming to Erie, and it was good.


The cold and wet made a comeback today with scattered showers and a bitter cold wind for the day. I spent most of the time with the bosun working on the sprit yard. We got it up on the jibboom and I did the seizing to hold the bridle together. I'm finally really doing boat work, and learning little bits every day. I need to work on getting faster, and trusting my work a bit more, but that will come with time I'm sure. It is really nice to be in an environment based around teaching and training us to be better.


We sent up another spar today, getting the main t'gallant up and starting to get it dressed. Each step gets her looking a bit more like she should. Today was relatively warm, but windy with a fairly hard rain, which negated the niceness a good deal. I spent a lot of time aloft with some of the other hands, tensioning the topmast stays. I got to stand on the mast cap, straddling the gap to the stays while cranking on the come-alongs in gusts that we estimated around thirty knots. It was certainly a bit exciting, and my hips are a bit sore, as my legs are short and it's a pretty solid gap. The most unnerving moment however, was when after a few hours of constant wind, everything got quiet. The other person up on the cap with me and I looked at each other with a confused and worried look; sudden changes are always a little worrisome, but then the wind came back and our little world made sense again.

It was a good day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Actually did boat work today, which was really exciting. Started out prepping spars that we had brought out to the plaza, getting blocks and chafe gear on and whatnot. Shortened the tails on some pieces, which gave me a chance to work on my whippings and seizings, which is always good. We also had sail training for a lot of our volunteers today, and I got to help with the aloft training. It was rather cold and windy up on the fighting top, but the volunteers needed to come up and we needed to be there to help them stay safe; got to make a few friends while I was up there.

Then we started tuning the topmast, so back up the main for me, watching where it was sitting in the mast cap. Every time I went up it got a little colder, and I had to add new layers, but I haven't gotten to go aloft since october, so I was pleased for the chance. I'm glad that I'm finally getting to work on the boat itself, though I understand that the indoor things were important and other people with more experience than me were better suited to the things that have been going on aboard for the past week.

So the yards are almost all ready, the various booms are starting to move out to the plaza... I suspect that things are going to start moving fast soon. I'm exited to see her really be a ship again.


Spent most of the day getting the galley stuff finished up. We were supposed to get the last water hookups done, but our plumber apparently had some problems.

We did, however, get all of the equipment back in the galley, cleaned, stowed and inventoried so the cook could know what we have. It wasn't particularly exciting, but it is nice to have the galley pretty much ready to go. Hopefully monday everything will be set and ready to go.


Today we spent a good part of the day on a tour of the entire operation that is the Flagship Niagara League, along with getting my paperwork done so that I can officially work here. The tour took up most of the morning and some of the afternoon as well. We wandered around the various shops, learning where tools were and how they are organized. We went over every detail of a boat check, along with all kinds of other information that probably would be dull to put in here.

As for the paperwork, I'd like to point out once again how annoyed I am at the concept of the "TWIC" card. I had to, once again, get federal and state background checks, and I'd love it if, just once, the twic card actually covered something like that, as I have been background checked by pretty much every agency with initials, you'd think that would be good enough. Oh well.

Other than that, more galley work, along with rearranging the Captain's outer office to make it into the coffee room, due to a lack of space in the shore galley. The plans are all starting to come together.


More galley today for me. One of the mates and I spent pretty much the entire day painting the shore galley, but we did manage to get that done. By the time we had worked our way around the room, the place we started was ready to go again. At first, I admit, I was a little confused and surprised by the color that the bosses picked, but the sort of merlot red is starting to really grow on me. Makes it feel a bit more "homey" than a sterile white. Work is continuing along on the boat, getting the yards prepped to go up and all that. Things are slowing getting ready to start making big moves.


Serious progress on getting the boat back together today. Today we sent the topmasts up, marching around the capstain. It was a lot of work but she looks a bit more regal already. We still have a lot to do, and I suspect the days are going to start getting longer soon in order to have her ready to go in time, but it is nice to have a win for the day.

I've still been doing a lot in the galley getting everything going. Today we had the floors professionally cleaned and polished, and I was given the chance to use some pretty hardcore cleaning agents to get pitch off the floors of the shore heads, which was a new experience for me. When all was said and done, the floors did look really nice, so there's nothing for me to complain about there.


Monday morning was cold and dreary, but we had things to do, so we did them. I did spend most of my time in the shore galley, continuing all the work we have to do to get it up an running. The cook is coming in tomorrow, so we need to have it at least kind of ready to go. I have been spending a lot of time cleaning up drywall dust, which it turns out, is quite a pain, but that's the job. Admittedly, not a whole lot to talk about at this point.