Rolling the Barge, episode 2

by Vermont Rice

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!