The Vermont Sail Freight Project

A Sailing Cargo Initiative Connecting the Farms and Forests of Vermont with the Lower Hudson Valley

Month: June, 2013

Photos from Rigging

Rigging up a Storm

Project riggers Carrie Glessner and Will Young have been here the last couple days making up the standing rigging. It’s quite the process, splicing rope and wire, whipping ends, and “serving” cable by wrapping it tightly with a combination of rags, twine, and pine tar. Much of the area underneath the pole barn where the work is taking place seems to be covered with pine tar, including the table with various snacks on it, and some of the snacks themselves. These guys are pretty serious and unfazed by a little surplus tar here and there.

Earlier on I mentioned the cordage would be hemp. My mistake. It’s manilla. Carrie and Will have very good judgement in matters rigging related and I tend to defer to their material choices. It’s funny, a visitor to the project questioned whether it was still possible to find riggers in the world today, saying such people no longer exist. But the disproof was just 20 feet from where we were having the conversation. Here they are! They exist!

I have been working with Jordan (Finkelstein) making up the mainmast the last few days. We started with a huge fir log so heavy two of us teamed up could not manage one end of it. We have cut down the original weight quite a lot but it is still a heavy piece, with a big square base that will fit into the tabernacle, or mast hinge. Yesterday I fitted the “hounds” which are pieces of wood that bridge the connection between the mainmast and the topmast. Combined the mainmast and topmast have a height of about 36 feet.

Ceres herself is sitting off to one side largely ignored for the moment. But since rolling her a week and a half ago we have installed decks and some of the cabin furniture, and are also well underway painting the belowdecks spaces. The deckhouses are in process too, so now it requires less imagination to imagine the finished product than it was a month or two ago. The decks have large cargo hatches, which will be sturdy enough to walk on when closed up. One priority is to have room to set up a big trestle table on deck for meals, and we can only do this with a structural, low-profile hatch. Most of the main deck is taken up by hatches.

Lots of pictures are soon to come, but I wanted to post a quick update first and add pictures later. At the rate we are progressing now it is not too hard to imagine that in 30 days or so there will not be much left to do. So, now I am off to go fetch some items of metalwork from Champlain Metals in Burlington. More soon!

For the time being, here is a graphic that we will be using for shirts. With the boat inked in white and the logo in black we can DIY print any color shirt except a white one or a black or very dark one. I hope to make these shirts available soon! shirt logo image

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Rolling the Barge, episode 2

Fiberglass work on the underside of Ceres is now complete. We have also added a skeg and a shallow keel (about 4″ x 4″ in cross section) which has a steel shoe for grounding protection. After three coats of epoxy resin we marked out a waterline at 1’8″ above the chine, which gives a total displacement of 36000 lbs in fresh water. We intend to load her to 1’6″ draft but the extra couple inches of bottom paint will stand up better to splashing than the topside paint.

Both the bottom paint and the topside paint went on really easily onto the smooth surface. Some “triloboats” have been built without any fiberglass sheathing at all, but one builder suggested it was worth investing in fiberglass just for its merits for painting. Paint applied directly to plywood often cracks or peels due to the expansion of the veneer, but with a film of epoxy between the plywood and the paint there is a much more harmonious and stable bond. You can’t quite see your reflection in Ceres’ paint, but almost.

So, with little left to do in this upside-down position, we set about rolling her back upright. Last time we performed the roll with 40 volunteers, but this time we decided to go the mechanically-assisted route, and use tractors. Generally it went according to plan, and we have Ceres on her side right now. However the framework attached to the running gear, made out of engineered lumber I-joists, cracked as Ceres slid sideways off the running gear and will have to be replaced. I had been suspecting that that framework might not stand up well to repeated use launching, loading and hauling Ceres, so now we have good cause to upgrade it before subjecting it to real duty.

We’re making plans to attend New Amsterdam Farmers market on June 23rd. Hope to see some readers there! I have another full plate of appointments in the city laying the groundwork for the project, possibly not my last trip down and back before arriving by sail. That plus interesting meetings in Albany and Beacon with new potential partners should make it an interesting trip!
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