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J Harreld

SS Norlina (1909-1926)

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As I mentioned in the member intro section, I'm working on underwater mapping the entire wreck site (debris field) of the 385 ft cargo steamer SS Norlina that ran aground in 1926, broke in half, and was dynamited at Salt Point, a bit north of the Golden Gate in California.  I'm hoping I can get some help identifying some of the scattered features of the wreck with the help of the many subject matter experts here in this community.

 

I'll start here with one that I've been curious about, and we'll see how it goes.  Thanks so much, in advance!

 

This piece is about 12-18 inches across, and I was guessing it might be a hawse pipe, but it must be much too tiny for that!  Could it be a thimble for a great big eye splice?  I'm learning all this as I go, so I hope I'm using the correct terminology.  Please correct me otherwise and I will learn.

 

Cheers,

John

unknown 1.1.png

unknown 1.2.png

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Wow, this is exactly the kind of expertise I thought I might find here.  It looks very much like it could be a fairlead, which I guess is like a hawse pipe for lines instead of chain.  Thanks, Andy, for the quick and spot on ID!  No I can start lining this (and any others I might find) with the several bollard pairs I've located.  Good stuff!

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I'm going to try another item that I've seen in two instances throughout the Norlina debris field (at least I think it's the same thing).  It looks like a rectangular block with three rectangular insets and holes through the outer two insets.  Any ideas?  These are maybe a meter long or so.

 

1065855253_SS001_00b.png.3545f770f560d2167680c4b7572c950a.png1486466315_SS001_00a.thumb.png.dbea06ad2f03df510ccc67fcf14ba215.png829534958_OS003_00c.png.55b77c3d82710bc1f839d2bd5413a4ee.png1259273604_OS003_00b.thumb.png.f2a1cc68b113199ff1f6c1f725cbba04.png2034798333_OS003_00a.png.34804a467caedea4017d31f318b62e7b.png

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Hey, Andy.  That's interesting to think that it might be related to mooring bitts, since one of them (lower 3 images) is in the same general area as the two intact mooring bitts I've located.  I've been calling them "bollard pairs", but mooring bitts is probably better.  So I think these bitts I've found are quite different than the above holey rectangles, or maybe just a different type of bit on the same ship.  One thing I noticed about them was that the through-holes are quite smooth. 

 

Below are the two other instances of bitts that I've found so far...

 

 

 

 

SS 020.00 a.png

SS 004.00 a.png

SS 004.00 b.png

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Posted (edited)

Typically bitts are secured to the deck (never through it). The deck is generally made of thicker plating in the areas where things like bitts, and winches are located. In the era of this ship, likely bolts, or even rivets would be used (modern versions are welded). It's a pretty substantial casting, and it doesn't look too dissimilar to the bases of the intact bits. I've only managed to find a few low res images online of the ship in question, so lacking decent reference photos (pre wreck), it's a best guess. I have my doubts it's anything mechanical.

 

Andy 

Edited by realworkingsailor

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Good to know.  The best pictures I have of the deck are these from 

http://www.mendotraintony.com/s-s-norlina-wrecked-off-salt-point-near-gualala-california-in-august-1926/

 

They were actually taken just after the wreck.  I'm hoping they'll help me put all this stuff together.  I see a winch, but no sign of any bitts there amidships.

 

 

image012.jpg

image010.jpg

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John, My guess is maybe they are castings for the boom pivot points. Looking at the above picture of the ship aground, you see that there were two booms on each side of mast. The boom pivots may have shared a casting? Might be that the holes are to large as I don't think pivot pins were very large. Otherwise I don't have a clue😖

steve

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Relatively speaking, the derrick goosenecks are fairly small. The opening also wouldn't appear faired, it would have a hard edge. Mooring bitts, despite their appearance are, in fact, hollow. Also, if the casting in question was part of the derrick base, there would be more remnants of the rest of the crosspiece on one side, and not a clean edge all the way around.

Andy

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Thanks, Steve.  I think that's a pretty fair guess.  I believe there are paired booms running to the fore and aft of each mast, so 8 booms in total.  I'm interpreting the mounting points as hinges on the mast cross-piece.  It's difficult to see if the rectangular pieces are part of that joint on each side, but that gives me a focus to research one - generally how these booms were attached.  This is what I came here for; I'm learning a lot, just be formulating the questions!

 

Cheers,

John

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1 minute ago, realworkingsailor said:

Relatively speaking, the derrick goosenecks are fairly small. The opening also wouldn't appear faired, it would have a hard edge. Mooring bitts, despite their appearance are, in fact, hollow. Also, if the casting in question was part of the derrick base, there would be more remnants of the rest of the crosspiece on one side, and not a clean edge all the way around.

Andy

Ah, I see what you're saying.  So next time I get out there, I should make it a point to see if I can see or feel around on the bottom of one of the intact mooring bits and see if there are insets or holes.  Due to the relatively clean edge of the holes on the rectangular pieces, it must be the be the bottom and not the top with the bits broken away.  Anyway, I'll have a lot of food for thought next time I'm able to visit them.

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I realize that I'm asking a lot and gaining a lot of benefit from the community, and until I start building my own ship model I don't have much else to contribute back.  So as a more concrete thanks to all here that have helped (extra special shout out to realworkingsailor) and will help in the future, I've mad a modest donation here on their behalf.  Thanks again for the welcome!

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Steve, yeah, I think that is likely true here.  I will be sure to track each one I can locate!

 

Related to that, from my intro posting, some were curious of my basic method.  Although I've had the privilege to work with actual marine scientists and archaeologists, and I have training and certification as a scientific diver in general, in this field I am just an amateur volunteer.  In any case, here is the system I've built up on my own to satisfy the needs of this "hobby"... 

 

I have an inventory of every piece I find, some small as a stray condenser tube or large as a boiler, some distinct parts and others just a pile of ribbed plating or fragmented double hull.  So far I have about 250 pieces and for each I have the general location and each video time instance of when it is seen in each video.  Still this is just in Excel, but my general database for local shipwrecks started on Excel and needed to be moved to Access due to size and complexity.  From pouring over the videos and knowing where I was and what direction I was going, I can sew together maps of the site labeled with the artifact inventory numbers.  In principle and so far in practice, I can get back to any articular bitt or winch I ever locate.  The more I map and identify, the more the layout helps me systematically find and identify additional features.  It's a bit like mapping a forest at night with a compass and flashlight, but it's loads of fun if you just love diving and organizing data!

 

Cheers,

John

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Thanks much, Steven!  Honestly, after joining this community, the thought had naturally crossed my mind.  At this point my knowledge of her is still primarily as a tramp steamer with just a few structural details.  But as I find out more about her specifically, it seems natural to model her in some medium.  Since there will certainly be not kit for her, I may need to use Lego as that is the only scratch medium that I have experience with.

 

~ John

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Posted (edited)

Well, there's at least one person on the forum making a model out of Lego. But you might also like to try making a solid wood hull - easier than a framed model. There are a few of these as well, I believe.

 

But I suppose you first need to have rather more information on the ship herself. I take it there aren't any plans available?

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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Steven,

 

The company that built her, William Gray @ Co. in West Hartlepool, UK, finally shut down in 1963; but I contacted the museum there to see about records or plans for the Norlina.  They said that no ship plans from that early have survived, but they generously sent me copies of the original shipyard book pages from when she was built and launched.  That has some very interesting details that I otherwise never would have found.  I also have some magazine accounts of her launch with some additional descriptions.  As far as plans go, I'm going to have to rely primarily on general layouts for this sort of ~1909 tramp ship based on what I can see from the photos (stacks, masts, kingposts, cargo hatches, etc.).

 

So plans may be out there somewhere, maybe from the second owner in the US or the USN when they commissioned her for WWI, but I haven't been able to find any yet.

 

Cheers,

John

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