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Posted (edited)

I got hired as a rigger on a tall ship, the Sloop Providence, which is a traditionally rigged replica ship built in 1976. I and three other riggers have been up in Maine working on her for seven weeks as of this writing, May 12 2019 and I thought I’d post some photos of the progress.  

In the winter of 2015 the ship had a near catastrophic accident as she fell off her jackstands at a Rhode Island shipyard and her rig was smashed to pieces, her Mast and Bowsprit broken. She languished for a while before a Virginia organization purchased her and hired shipfitters and riggers, under the direction of Leon Poindexter, to make her seaworthy again. The head rigger is Jim Barry and I’ve worked with Jim and Leon on two previous tall ship rigging jobs.

although I’ve been on the job for quite some time, there has been very little to show in terms of dramatic photos so I waited till now to start posting stuff. For many weeks we have been working off-site on a farm preparing rigging and blocks in an unheated greenhouse surrounded by chickens. It’s only now that the spars, the ship, and the rigging have all started to coalesce in the small town of Wiscasset Maine and we anticipate stepping the mast within the next week.

here are some photos of the ship and the work I’ve been doing.

94100833-EFD9-47D6-8A45-80C27839DC3C.jpegIn better days. We are recreating this rig with few changes.

686F6EB8-D0D3-4E26-8A29-C06E940FBB7A.jpeg

9BBD1D33-083C-4535-96D0-8E366BCBC257.jpegThe accident in 2015.

4B780146-09E5-4D0A-B632-1E0D9D993C8D.jpegHer spars. At far left is the old Boom adjacent to its new replacement.

F05C6C27-DA97-4793-85DB-CE96C83862F0.jpegSplicing wire in a rigging Vice.

E116A376-8583-4377-BD5F-4F11C21200A1.jpegThe original plan from 1976 which is inacurate as there was and is a martingale.

78679A84-46B2-4E96-8397-BDA34C3DF25C.jpeg

5B533441-CC20-47B5-9775-5DFCAD509CC1.jpeg

9A101477-40AC-47D0-A2FA-A1A3517DD91A.jpeg

CB1099A6-406B-4397-804C-F530A7902D25.jpegBlurry but this is the head of a serving mallet in use.

7A7AF844-2816-4F3E-8EFE-384E7B64E2BE.jpegAt the far end of the Mallet is the spool.

DEC4BFE3-AC2F-478C-83E7-8DC0FB73AA9D.jpeg

E61EB196-9C6C-4DEF-BD47-60B1921DC832.jpegTar squeezed out by the serving going on so tight.

748B7FF5-4A06-4517-8B60-FEEA9E6BC7E4.jpeg

8A5A0141-1D77-4638-9D4F-C670A3F3A89B.jpeg

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E367DF4A-CBD0-4DFF-8551-9A2A25145283.jpeg

A894CFDA-AE10-49B8-8FBE-7A370C543674.jpeg

DDDED3D3-686D-4FB1-AB76-2743440AE1E6.jpegA rose lashing.

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173B6772-14E8-4671-9B82-0FE6E68866A8.jpeg

B36B1C49-A9E6-47A9-BE44-AB7E31CC770E.jpeg

801764B3-42E4-4247-B8F3-4C21333197B8.jpegPine tar!

D6C4D802-5855-441F-8322-A046B204B92E.jpeg

197E0BC6-5E75-4A00-BEFB-0108285A7786.jpeg

9FB2AD15-C95B-4CA6-918A-6ED6BCD42432.jpegStropping a block on a temporary stretch.

4C2CCCBC-1035-49B7-A740-03793F7F06E9.jpeg

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F95D3AEE-3CB3-44E4-A22E-739FAC739421.jpeg

C0DA2A5A-97A3-414B-8E6D-2B90126A3368.jpeg

48097535-8A9E-49BE-BC05-322ED09CD46F.jpegSeizing on a ratlin.

FEE2242D-6AC9-4544-B3BC-D30CA848BA28.jpeg

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Some beautifully executed rigging work there, Frankie! I hope that the weather was milder where you are than in Southern Ontario!

 

What was the cause of the ship's supports collapsing?

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1 hour ago, druxey said:

What was the cause of the ship's supports collapsing?

She had been hauled out for the winter as was the usual practice when a heavy storm came through and knocked her over. Most people seem to think she would have been better off in the water. 

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My recollection is that the accident was caused by a large winter storm, one that generated a lot of news coverage, her accident was one of the stories. But in truth she had been in a state of neglect. Her mast broke in half at some middle point and that spar was cut up and I never saw it. But the head of the mast also broken in half  just above the shrouds and we saved that to retrieve its gear and it had substantial rot in it and that’s why it broke. All of the blocks looked like driftwood and all their pins were corroded into lumpy rusty sticks. Here’s a photo of two bolts that were holding the Gamoning Iron to the stem.

B2C54F14-CF8A-43B2-BBD6-7B932F9D180D.jpeg

4C5BB157-8917-493F-9BDD-B23BFDE9D74E.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

Her hull is fiberglass! The interior has been entirely rebuilt by some of the worlds most talented and experienced Shipwrights. The ceiling planking below decks is AMAZING. No corners were cut. Today we set up and rattled down the Topmast Shrouds, I literally spent the entire day just splicing and seizing ratlines.

1F095E9A-FBFD-4790-A3BF-DDAF5D9722F8.jpegFor the crane lift we’re doing it with the topmast already fidded and all standing rig in place, when the crane puts the mast in we’ll be busy reaving lanyards on multiple deadeyes.

00301F43-BF83-438B-9950-B8DEDE69E5E0.jpegThe old ships tiller in the scrap pile.

91F72711-A2E5-4A29-B6CD-5F297E379E51.jpegNewly made cannons. I’m told they were turned on a lathe. They’re functional.

F82337FA-50F9-4FA6-B069-61D256353E0B.jpeg

9118A3BD-C468-4B84-B621-DFC47BA9225D.jpegTopmast Masthead.

83187C05-0FBD-4C63-887D-7A998620E1BE.jpegFiber rope ratlines give way to wooden ones near the apex of the shrouds. The reason we switch to wood is that you need at least five inches for the tucks of each splice, so a ratline with a properly tucked splice on each end can not be shorter than ten inches.

49FAFD55-BC3D-48DE-97F5-545E0D352539.jpegLook at this amazing Douglas Firr. Have you ever seen such a clear and strait grained piece of wood? It’s about nine feet long.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Posted (edited)

In my down time I’m also building a crude cardboard model of Providence. I brought a pair of scissors and an exacto with me so I’m building this with Elmer’s out of cardboard and frozen pizza boxes. The spars are bamboo skewers glued together and wrapped in newspaper.

CC62A7F9-FB3F-47F6-A5F4-F3B8B32973A3.jpeg

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EDCAF137-5C2D-4BD9-AA8A-66A10575E9FD.jpeg

12A70E1E-DAF7-48D4-A476-EF3799EEF897.jpeg

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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On 5/13/2019 at 6:00 PM, JerseyCity Frankie said:

Fiber rope ratlines give way to wooden ones near the apex of the shrouds. The reason we switch to wood is that you need at least five inches for the tucks of each splice, so a ratline with a properly tucked splice on each end can not be shorter than ten inches.

Would this be true of the original ship as well? Or is a product of modern day requirements, practices, or regulations?

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3 hours ago, lmagna said:

Would this be true of the original ship as well? Or is a product of modern day requirements, practices, or regulations?

Splice tucking is the same no matter what. However it’s posible to make rope grommets to nearly any size and I suspect rope grommets were often employed, as they are even today. 

However a bigger problem-one solved by wooden ratlines- is the deminishing size of the gap between the shrouds. At a certain point the gap is too small to get your foot in there. It’s hard enough dealing with getting onto the topmast crosstrees without also getting your foot caught in a too tight ratline gap.  This gap issue is at its worst in the topmast shrouds since they are always very narrow to begin with so the too-small gap issue can appear long before one can reach up to grasp the crosstrees or futock shrouds. Wooden ratlins solve this problem by remaining wide enough to stand on all the way up.

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Posted (edited)

What a gift you are providing to the MSW forum! You are gifted and fearless. Had I your knowledge and capability I may have turned and walked away, confronted with all the damage. Where is all this taking place and where will her home port be when finished? Please keep the photo and comment log coming it is a treat!

Joe

Edited by Thistle17

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Posted (edited)

Crane day is just two days from now! We’re almost ready for the lift. 

CE018376-AF86-436B-B907-FBE40314C7EF.jpegThe doubling with the topmast shrouds in place but not yet tensioned. Sharp eyes will spot some oddities, there are two sheaves in the heal of the topmast. Plus the crane iron for the course Yard is designed to allow the topmast to be struck with that yard still in place.

1CEA16E4-3F24-43DE-96F5-9F5F44FD4C40.jpegScrewing the mast truck in place. The entire mast stack is 96’ high, only six feet of that are within the hull.

B5D42030-FA1D-4E44-BD4B-673D3116E0B6.jpegMy rigging tools.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2019 at 6:54 AM, Thistle17 said:

 Where is all this taking place and where will her home port be when finished

The work is all taking place in Southern Maine near Bath. The ship is in Wiscasset and our workshop is in Phippsburg and another shop on Hermit Island. Mostly we’re now working at the ship but we spent many weeks at the shop, which is unheated! 

The ship will be in  Alexandria Virginia as a tourist attraction. https://tallshipprovidence.org/ is the website for the organization which Will run it. I’m told there will be period costumed Historical interpreters.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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9 hours ago, Gregory said:

Could you elaborate, without getting too personal, about how you landed this exciting opportunity?

Back in the early 90’s I got interested in ships through an earlier interest in WWII aircraft. Steel navy at first but then I read the Trafalgar essey in the book The Price of Admiralty by John Keegan and became fascinated. I got the Heller plastic 1/100 HMS Victory and found I needed to understand the rigging so I began reading everything. Around the same time I discovered the Patrick O’Brian novels and soon after I began volunteering at the South Street Seaport Museum in NYC. There I was working with real-world historic ships and was learning rigging techniques and realities. Fascinating stuff and the two schooners in the Museums collection had to be uprigged and downrigged every year so there were a lot of hands-on opportunities. Profsional sailors were always passing through and I’d learn stuff. Eventually the phone rang and someone wanted help on a rigging job and ever since I get a big rigging job offer every few years. I’ve found that ship model building gives you the tools you need to understand the rig and coming into a big ship rigging project when all the parts are spread on the floor in a wearhouse, a ship modeler can grasp quickly what they are looking at and be able to identify mast cheeks and anchor stocks just by their shape.

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Tomorrow is going to be Crane Day, when a crane comes and lifts all the spars onto the ship. We’ve spent the last few days prepping the spars and carefully arranging all the rigging so that the stays and shrouds are going to be easy to grab. The crane will first step the mast and we will scurry about the deck reaving lanyards on eleven deadeyes, then the crane Will grab the gaff and boom, which already have  the mainsail bent to them and furled and the two spars and sails are bound together in a bundle. Finally the Bowsprit, which we couldn’t rig until today since the shipwrights hadn’t finished it yet. It’s now complete and has the jibboom bent on along with Martingale and whisker Poles and all the standing rigging that goes with them. Phew! Long day.  The shipwrights delivered the new cannon cairages too today. 

DAB433D6-E331-4DA5-9B6A-433BC90F0709.jpeg

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505F4CD9-7CDD-4761-A89E-52857DA9973C.jpeg

D668369D-9D66-4997-8E37-FA0EA134CE71.jpeg

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Not unlike rigging a model: our lower mast and topmast are going in together as a unit, as are our Bowsprit and Jibboom, each already rigged in terms of stays and shrouds.  Later in the day we will swing in via crane our two yards, already dressed and the topsail bent  to it’s yard. I’ll try yo get pictures but I know I’ll be very busy.

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Today was Crane Day! We got all the spars aboard and into position. I don’t have photos of every event since I was too busy most of the time. I’ve got no shots of the yards going in since I was on the mast at the time, to shackle the halyards and run the lifts. Then my phone battery went flat with the cold, so you’ll have to wait till tomorrow for decent shots of the entire ship. But here’s some highlights: 

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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90246937-9260-448E-B851-F2CF3678443A.jpegCrane arrives!

D77D4180-CFB2-4397-8E02-5AEA5C7C9A45.jpegLiftoff

B1E43188-D273-4B6B-B64A-6266E6F18119.jpegAll the standing rigging is on, all the stays and shrouds and also the boom topping lifts. All are tied in a bundle at the base of the mast.

D1F2B546-38A3-43B3-A386-93A9C773FF29.jpegI was out of the loop on the coins but to me it looks like they kept  the old ones and added some new ones. I know some were minted in the 1700’s.

DFD4D91F-F6BE-4A99-8496-FBC50E119548.jpegThe bundle they are about to lift is the boom and gaff with the mainsail already bent on

07E93ACA-2B93-429F-B2F6-8DF270925D6B.jpegYou can make out the boom in the background. After the mast is dropped in the first thing we did was reave the deadeyes for the mainstay and the backstays and only then did the crane disengage. You can see the backstay is too tight but only because the rig isn’t tuned yet and at the point this was taken there was no Bowsprit.

4DEFF570-AD20-4481-A0AD-AB87E2784BDC.jpeg

F4340B3D-CE63-4D71-AF97-DAE13F6FE883.jpegThe topsail Yard was also fully rigged while on the ground with sheets tacks buntlines and sling and while the crane held it in place we reaved the lifts and shackled in the halyard to make it stable and safe. Braces are just temporary line. 

8F2C8F89-3FD1-494E-BDF0-422C0E075A65.jpegMe with one of the fiberglass cannons. There are four real cannons.

2EAE23DC-A072-4667-984F-A4478789EB46.jpegBowsprit going in.

4F1A1B55-190E-4F49-B9B5-2AF4440F3DD6.jpegThis is the topmast head while still on shore.

0A1169A9-AE18-4839-98C5-1F2271601127.jpeg

5ECF4040-0BFF-4C5A-A886-FAA8A6EBCF9B.jpeg

C15A1D48-A09A-4938-8501-E900667E081C.jpegThe head rigger revered to this lashing at the heel of the jibboom as a “Krupper”, a term I’d never heard before.

1669B218-9261-470D-A9AA-32BCBA18A865.jpeg

112CA15D-B421-4260-A637-FA701CE00934.jpeg

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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It is so nice seeing her coming back together at last! I only wish I could be there. Thanks for the vicarious view Frankie.

 

I bet the crew on the original Providence wished the cannon they stole back from FT. George in 1774 to re-gun the then Katy were as light as the one you are holding. They not only stole back what is thought to be her original 10  four pounder guns, but went back two more times and removed all of the remaining guns from the fort before they had a chance to fall into the hands of the British. Some of them were as heavy as 24 pounders!

 

Captain Wallace of the Rose was furious as he often was at Abraham Whipple. He truly hated the man!

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Here’s the ship the very next day.

FFFB8C62-1794-40BB-990F-ABEDBE0D039E.jpegThis is a full size pattern for a deck plank, made of luan plywood.

E99F5BF8-B083-4A8D-855C-1B4B9D0BB76D.jpegWood hippy carving a swirly hance. His tools were amazing.

73040E98-3039-4293-92F0-F57A2444BB7F.jpegI think this is the plank from the pattern above?

D12AC9C1-8E6C-4D5C-B8B6-D90B7F74B62C.jpegHer length between perpendiculars is under 70’.

9FEE1BCD-E8E2-47F3-971C-C9076BE76AC9.jpegThe double blocks are for the boom topping lifts.

3C691829-B54D-4D96-99F4-F4721BD603F8.jpeg

75A9CB33-533A-48BD-9C25-7D075F3D5B26.jpegThe riggers are close to being on schedule but the shipwrights are a bit behind. Now that we got the spars in the pressure is somewhat lessened on us and falls more on the shipwrights.

A0A3295B-CBD9-45F7-AB31-F540766EB05D.jpegPlus there’s a bunch of interns and sail crew who are now in the daily mix. They all work very hard.

AB6CFD0A-2BAE-4F1B-866E-95CC14789AA3.jpegThis bit of wood wizardry is amazing.

057E5CC6-95B8-44FF-81F5-3CCBEBC141AE.jpegAnother amazingly complex plank going in.

16E80BB0-005A-4ADF-93B3-CB85EC58C515.jpegThe one on the right has a very subtle curve.

438488EC-9869-4611-98D8-3FE4F49C7D3C.jpeg

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Here’s the exterior view:

F4ED7049-155F-4950-8AEC-6A46641D06FE.jpegThe very next day. 

1F00B723-7A29-43C4-B2BB-CC488D2FE297.jpeg

 

8F0FA8AA-C348-47FF-964A-00A700E70161.jpeg

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097D1611-9E05-4D7A-BD0B-3E7920F0D408.jpeg

53CE6700-901E-4411-BC55-1CC97BB76BC9.jpegTo access the underside of the Bowsprit before we could tighten the rigging, we rigged a door that used to be the winter cover entrance. Later I quipped: woodworkers and riggers each know how to hang a door”. Lol, I’ll show myself out

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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