To begin we have to know all the details of what remains of the hull.
The wreck remains consist of the vessel bottom along its full length, a smaller portion of the port side and a larger portion of the starboard side. Some sections on the starboard side of the bottom extend up to become the true side of the hull. The wreck lies over on its starboard side at an angle.
The timbers used in the ship construction are quite heavy and all appear to be white oak. In the case of the frames they are of generous proportions and spaced very closely together. The nominal room and space arrangement is 24 in (60cm). This sizing would indicate the likely hood that the vessel was built originally as a naval vessel capable of carrying and firing a number of cannons and able to sustain a heavy blow in return. In addition, the frames are in pairs, making the hull almost solid. The frames vary in siding dimension (width), ranging from 8 - 10 in (20 - 25.4 cm). At the upper end of the visible portions, the frames are 6 - 7 in (15,2 - t7.8 cm) molded dimension (deep) while at the keel end they are molded 9 in (22.8 cm). The gap between the frame sets is 5 - (12-7' 15-2 cm)' The available evidence indicates the wreck has 24 frame-sets 10 forward of midship and 13 aft of midship. Beyond these the frames are notched into the apron timber or deadwood framing.
Most ceiling (interior) planking that could be measured was 2 in (5 cm) thick' while the accessible exterior hull planking measures 2 1/2 (6.3c m) with the exception of a portion of the starboard wale timber which measured 3 in (7.6 cm) thick. On the port side there are remains of up to 7 ceiling planks out from the keelson. On the starboard side there are remains of 10 ceiling planks out from the keelson.
The overall length of the remaining portion of the hull is 53 ft 10 in (16.41 m). At the midship frame location, the maximum width is 16 ft 10 in (5.L4 m).
There are two obvious damaged areas on the wreck. One is at the port bow where the port side section of a large bracing timber--probably a breast-hook is missing and long sections of exterior planking are broken and pulled away from the frames. There is also a fairly severe shattering of timbers near midship on the starboard side. Many of the remaining frame ends are charred, providing strong evidence that at least the upper portion of the hull was burned at some point in time.
Two mast steps are major features of the remaining hull structure. The foremast is set into the keelson, while the mainmast step is a saddle type, notched over the keelson and locked into place by two large blocks. These two blocks are pinned and spiked into the keelson but the mast step itself has no pins or fasteners into or through it. No supporting evidence has yet been found to confirm it, but we believe this somewhat unusual saddle-type of unpinned step may have been used to allow easy repositioning of the step to accommodate any adjustment of the mainmast angle or location. This type of step also may allow some flexibility of movement without straining the hull structure. The presence of the two mast steps on the keelson confirms the vessel carried two masts at the time of the shipwreck and would thus be rigged as either a schooner or brig.
Several other important observations were made during the survey of the hull. Most notable is the apparent craftsmanship used in the construction. Many of the joints are as tight and solid today as they were approximately 200 years ago when the ship was built.
A rectangular charred area on the starboard ceiling planking near the bow was documented during the excavation. Since we found what appeared to be parts of a stove in the same area, it is likely the charred area indicates where the stove was located before the vessel was wrecked. The charred wood in this small area was extremely fragile and eventually was fully removed to provide another access point to the bilge area below. Fortuitously, this location provided additional construction details as well as a number of artifacts which were recovered from the bilge.
Just forward of the mainmast step along the keelson, on both port and starboard sides an opening in the ceiling planking was found which provided access to the bilges Covered with loose boards, these small openings were first thought to be the location for the bilge pumps. However, no apparent pump fittings or apparatus were found in the openings. The fact that these openings are forward of the mast step is also unusual. Many ship plans of the period show the bilge pump just aft of the main mast rather than forward of it. We found no evidence of limber chains or lines for clearing the limbers in these bilge openings but it soon became apparent that the ceiling planks beside the keelson were removable limber boards used for this bilge cleaning purpose. Three of these limber boards on each side, forward of the mainmast step, were easily lifted out using finger lift-notches cut into both ends of the boards. The bilge areas under these boards provided good access to a number of construction details along a large portion of the keelson. There was a fourth limber board on each side of the keelson but they were positioned partly under the mainmast step.
Toward the end of the excavation, this mast step was carefully lifted from its position notched over the keelson.
This lifting was easily accomplished since as noted above the step was not fastened to the supporting blocks, keelson, frames or ceiling planking in any way. During this lifting of the step, the limber boards located under it were also removed and construction details beneath them were recorded.
As mentioned above, the very heavy frames and other timbers, the tight frame spacing, and the thickness of planking and other supporting component pieces on the wreck were all seen as unusual for an early Great Lakes merchants sailing vessel especially one that was in the range of 50 - 60 ft (1.5.2- L8.2m ) long.
One of the other interesting structural details observed was that the frame sets,
while double and heavy, did not cross the keel as sets. The floor timber in each set was laid across the keel while the first futtock in the set started 9 in [+/-] (22.8 cm) away from the keel,/keelson edge. All frame sets were configured the same way. Where we could observe them, the frame sets were held together with wood dowels driven through holes drilled sideways in the frames. This would indicate that the frame sets were fabricated prior to lifting in place on the keels. The frame sets were laid flat on top of the keel with no apparent notch to hold them in place. However, a rough, split wood piece was used as a spacer between frame sets along the top of the keel. These spacers were left in place as construction proceeded and were found still in these positions during the excavation.
Another detail concerning the frame sets was noted aft of the midship frame set where the floor timber was on the aft side of the set. From the midship frame forward, the floor timber was on the forward side of the frame set. We believe that this frame arrangement provided stronger support at the forward and aft ends of the vessel.
While there were no notches in the keel for the floors crossing it the keelson 7 1/2 x 10 inches (19 x25.4 cm)--had minor, 3/4 in (1,.9cm ) notches over the floor timbers where they could be observed. It also appeared that along the top of the keelson only every second frame set was held in place with two iron pins driven down through the keelson into the frames. It was impossible to determine if any of the frame sets were pinned or attached similarly to the keel but it seems likely that this would be the case.
The ceiling planks on the wreck varied in width and tapered over their lengths. The widest ceiling planking section was 13 in (33.2c m) at its extreme. The longest individual piece measured 29 ft 9 1/2 in (9.1m). Where they could be measured, the ceiling planks were found to be 2 in (5 cm) thick. Many of the joints between ceiling planks were still tight and uniform. The limber boards and first ceiling planks were beveled to permit easy lifting and a tight fit when in place. The limber boards were 1 3/4 in (4.4cm) thick.
On the starboard side, enough of the hull was left to include some sections of a starboard wale timber. The section toward the stern measured about 16 1/2 ft.( 5 m.) long the section closer to the bow measured about 11 1/2 ft. (3.5m.). In both sections the wale timber was 3 inches thick x 6 inches wide (7.6 cm x 15.2 cm ). Those sections of exterior hull planking that were uncovered during the excavation were found to be between 2 to 2 1/2 in. (5 - 6.3 cm ) thick.
Near the bow a large shaped timber is securely attached on the starboard side of the keelson at an angle sloping down and away from the bow/keelson. It is notched in such a way as to indicate that its mate for the port side is missing, perhaps torn away when the damage to the port bow occurred, or perhaps destroyed by fire. This piece is a part of a breast-hook timber. This breast-hook section is carefully fitted into place and the ceiling planking is fitted around it in a way that indicates the larger piece was installed first.
Although we were not able to carry out any excavation of any major sections of the exterior of the wreck we were able to uncover enough of some exterior bow and stern areas to obtain significant structural detail. This included structural information which allowed us to calculate the maximum keel depth and its probable dimensions. During this exterior excavation, draft marks were located both at the bow and stern ends Both the IV & III carved draught numbers were visible at each end but were carved only on the port side at the bow and only on the starboard side at the stern.
These draught marks also provided additional information for the calculation of the location and dimensions of the keel. At the same time, elevations taken on these draft marks indicates the keel bottom would be 174.67 m at the bow and 174.49 m at the stern.
With the beach sidewalk datum at 179.00 m that means the bottom of the shipwreck is 4.5m below the level of the sidewalk, our main elevation datum.
During the exterior excavation around the stern no portion of the rudder or hardware associated with it was found. One long, relatively thin timber was found and recorded then returned to its original position near the stern. It measured 5 ft 11 in (1.81m) long and between 3 - 4in (7.7 - 10.16 cm) thick, with some shaping at one end. The function of this piece is not yet known.
While several types and locations of fasteners were observed and recorded, time did not allow recording of all visible fasteners or the precise determination of nailing patterns.
Preliminary information on the fasteners is provided in a short section in this report dealing specifically with the nails, dowels, treenails and other fasteners used in the hull construction.