Digital Ninja Megan here, coming at you live from the Front Street Shipyard, and I can certainly confirm that everyone at Maine DaySail has been keeping very busy with outfit activities! Here's a look at what we've been up to over the past week or so:
Caulking the Hull: The legendary Geno Scalzo has been lending us a hand with hull caulking, which is a critically important step in readying the Timberwind for sail. Due to the fact that our lovely lady was sitting in ice for two winters, a good amount of her hull seams needed to be cleaned out and replaced with fresh cotton and oakum. Oakum is a tarred natural fiber that is used as caulking between the wooden planks on the schooner-- and it smells wonderful.
The process starts with spun cotton (imagine a really long cotton ball) as a backer that is driven into the seam with a mallet and iron. The cotton is then covered with a layer (or two) of oakum, also wedged into place, then finished with seam compound. This putty material varies if above or below the waterline, but either way, it acts as a sealant to prevent water from getting to the fibers behind it (and ultimately into the boat).
The oakum is purchased in bulk and must be separated and spun or rolled into the desired size-- kind of like yarn. This is where First Mate Mouse and I come in. Hours of oakum-rolling parties during the outfitting season of wooden boats is an age-old tradition, and who are we to mess with tradition? Thankfully, we've got Netflix to keep us entertained.
Sanding... Forever: The good ship Timberwind is also in dire need of fresh paint and varnish just about everywhere, so our random-orbital and pad sanders have been running non-stop. Even on rainy days when we can't sand the topsides, there's still plenty of things to sand below decks! We've been able to tackle some of the larger sections such as the top timbers, bulwarks, scuppers, cabin trunks, spars, the entire starboard side of the hull, and the transom so far; the list of sanded and primed surfaces continues to grow each day. By the time we're done, our Schooner Timberwind will shine up like a new penny, which is just how we like her!
Construction Projects: As we've cleaned and inspected the schooner, we've noticed areas that needed some rather intense TLC: the supports for the mainmast partners (where the mast goes through the cabin house), decking in front of the helm, and a hole on the starboard quarter (back of the boat on the right side) near the transom (the boat's butt). First Mate Mouse tackled these areas with gusto and was able to repair them beautifully, the new materials making sure she's ready for any challenge.
Our to-do list is getting smaller and smaller as we get closer to June 21st! Check back soon for more outfitting updates!