Monday, February 12, 2018

Resolute, a Life of Training and Education at Sea

Resolute, a Luders 44' Midshipmen Naval Training Yawl which served the United States Navy and The Evergreen State College's academic programs has been given a new life.  In 1939, 12 Philippine mahogany planked vessels were commissioned by the Annapolis Naval Academy, built and delivered by the Luders Shipyard in 1942.  These wooden yawls operated for about 20 years providing sail-training for Midshipmen and were campaigned up and down the eastern seaboard. They were replaced in the mid 60's by a similar fiberglass version which were upgraded with engines.  The Academy sailed this fleet of yawls hard, first wood then fiberglass, for roughly 40 years.

Navy Academy graduates acquired fundamental seamanship skills and gained a respect for the sea by running classic sailing vessels. After years on the eastern seaboard Resolute and her sister Flirt shipped out west to the Navy's outstation fleet. After retirement from navel service, this training vessel continued to give her life to education in many expanding forms.  In the late 1970's Resolute and Flirt were acquired by The Evergreen State College for the price of $1 each. They sat next to each other on campus, one facing north, the other south.  It was decided that resources only allowed the rebuild of one Yawl. Resolute was chosen based on her favorable condition. Under the leadership of Don Fasset,  she received a new deck and rudder in addition to an engine and fixed galley which she'd never had. Accommodations and amenities were very spartan due to design specifications and original purpose.

While at TESC, she was used in company with the college's cutter Seawulf and ventured on various excursions with compatriots Swirl and Venitia, exploring the Salish Sea and beyond.  These salty platforms were used for interdisciplinary study courses in Navigation, Marine Biology, Literature and the Arts. The inland waters of the Pacific Northwest were both classroom and inspiration.

Students described their collegiate experiences on-board Resolute as "life changing", and how they benefited from  cooperation and working with a tight knit group where trust and responsibility are shared and reciprocated.  Students became aware of how leadership and communication skills  helped them work more efficiently in group dynamics. In realizing that everything on a boat require the effort of the whole for success and enjoyment. 
Many students described that they took to the environment with the dedication of a true scholar, devouring the  seamanship books and waking early to do more extra reading.  One student happily proclaimed that the more he learned the more he became interested.  For one student it was the most challenging and interesting program they experienced. 
Andy Stewart, who at the time of Resolute's first revival, was a student at Evergreen, and was later with Olympia Shipwrights, made subsequent repairs such as replacing her mast step. It was both a pleasure and a challenge to bring Resolute to Emerald Marine Carpentry to aid this venerable boat toward her next adventure.  Former students faculty and instructors stopped in during the duration of the most recent repairs to reminisce and encourage the restoration. During reconstruction she was also visited regularly by a United States Coast Guard marine inspection team in order to retain a Certificate of Inspection and keep her charter privileges.

Resolute, sailing under jib and jigger (mizzen sail).   In strong winds this is a safe and balanced way to go.  For the uninitiated, yawls are different from ketches by the mizzen mast being stepped behind the rudder post.

Demonstrating the repairable nature of wooden boats, 80 year old Resolute, is again structurally fit and will sail again in good form and with new purpose. She is in her new berth in Santa Cruz, California as Forest Roberts completes the finishing touches for her new life as a sailing charter out of Santa Cruz Harbor.  Thanks to Forest for bringing us the opportunity to get Resolute out there in the wind again.

We would also very much like thank Sarah Pedersen, Evergreen State College professor, for bringing us pictures, history and for remaining involved and interested.  For all of us who have spent time on the water, in many different kinds of boats with many different people and conditions, we appreciate that  boats instill and continue to breed a sense of awareness, camaraderie and expanded horizons.  We are happy that Resolute will go out there and continue to carry on the best of these experiences.

Time passes and the college sold their boats. Resolute stayed in Olympia under the ownership of  one of the professors who had used her previously.  When he crossed the bar, the yawl was
perched on the edge, needing a new owner, Forest Roberts stepped up with his vision of use. 
Here is rot evident in the planking. The stern had been shortened 3"
and a new transom fit during Evergreen's rebuild in the 80's

These boats were built with bronze floors and strapping. This has  been  important in the keeping the hull's shape and integrity over the years. The new deck in the 80's helped too but it only was replaced outboard to the covering boards.

We began by removing the bulwarks and covering boards after taking the bevels and heights every two feet to facilitate rebuilding.

The oak stem is in good shape!

The quarter knees were rotten. Notice the plywood inner transom which, somehow, was not.

The sheer clamps and shelves are yellow pine and in good condition.

Part of the new stern deck had to be cut up to gain access to the framing below.

It was easier and better to take the entire sheer and binder strakes off the vessel than try and repair and work around them.
The planking had been through bolted at every frame. This added substantially to the structure of what is a fairly lightly built boat. 

Some of the original framing had been sistered or replaced  during  Evergreen's time.  We  added  14 other new laminated frames where necessary.

New blocking at the mizzen chainplate

New quarter knees. We have removed the inner most layer of plywood in this picture.

New binder strake, new deck beam, old frame head repaired,  old bolts still to come out.

The boat has a big twist in the stern, low to port. Since we were rebuilding the stern we added an inch to the port side of the transom to make it eye sweet with the cabin. It worked out. The bulwarks are different from each other but that is not very noticeable and over all the lines look much more harmonious.  This picture is the pattern for establishing the new shape. Below shows laminating in the fix.

Butt block detail, binder strake

New framing in place and faired, note the bronze plate that ties together the chain plates.

The new planking and framing is made of sapele.

We built and dry fit the covering boards and bulwarks before the planking was complete so that we could clamp into the hull. All the pieces were then labeled and put aside.

We struck new lines on the bulwarks as eye sweet as practical using a 30' batten
Shoring to clamp the taffrail over the transom's camber

Getting close, cap rails on.

Deck rebuilt and payed, taffrail being fit

Let the fairing begin

Headed for the the truck that will take her down the freeway. This project required 1500 hours of labor thru 4 1/2  months of time. 

In the water in Santa Cruz, awaiting her rig. Such a pretty, powerful boat that has taught three generations of sailors.
She will now be day chartering under the eye of her new skipper. Hope to see her in the Master Mainer's Regatta 

The second phase of important work continued in California where the mast passed certification by the Coast Guard for desired uses. The main mast has new spreaders, the mizzen and main have fresh paint and the rig is expected to be raised again mid February. If all goes well, Resolute will be sailing again by the end of the February 2018. We are excited to hear about new adventures!

California Classic Sail: Sailing Charters and Tours in Santa Cruz

Monday, January 8, 2018

Flying Eagle, Maine Lobster Boat, New Home on Orcas Island

On May 1, 2015, Flying Eagle arrived in Anacortes  after being trucked on a flat bed from the East Coast.  Rick and Diane Strollo purchased F.E. in Rockport, Maine,  in 2014 where she'd been owned and partially restored by Artisan Boatworks in Rockport, Maine.

After a season in service, it was evident that F.E.'s hull needed more attention. Artisan Boatworks had replaced the forefoot and some planking forward  but along the keel and at the turn of the bilge aft, water was leaking in at an unsafe rate.  Emerald Marine Carpentry would continue the restoration. The boat's original oak ribs where past their usefulness; many where broken at the turn and split at the heels. The boat had been re-framed with sisters once before but the stainless deck screws that had been used as fastenings had corroded away, leaving the planks adrift.  The oak floor timbers that tie the hull to the keel were rotten and cut away in places. Fortunately, the keel itself was in good condition.

Flying Eagle, a Maine Lobster Boat, was built for Floyd Pinkham of Gouldsboro, MA.  Her keel was laid by the Beal brothers in 1962 and she was launched on Beals Island in 1963. She earned her keep lobstering until the mid 1990s.  After many years of service, several owners and various name changes, Flying Eagle was returned to her original moniker after being purchased by the Strollos.

Rick has a fondness for the type and appreciated the rarity of finding a working boat in condition that could be saved and enjoyed. They have an efficient, seaworthy hull form, a good turn of speed, rich history and great looks!  His aim is to preserve this vessel as authentically as possible and pay homage to the past and share some of this treasured history with others.

Being in very nearly original condition and with a new V-8, allowed Rick to fit her out in a traditional manner while using her as a day boat from Orcas island, Wa.  Those of us who are fortunate enough to have the San Juans as our regular cruising grounds may glimpse this picturesque boat enjoying the many pleasures of the archipelago.

Here are pictures of the repairs and results:

Andy Stewart caulks some cotton in the seams after FE's arrival on the west coast in anticipation of her return to Emerald Marine carpentry where further work will be completed.  Notice the bronze prop cage: Original equipment to prevent lobster lines from becoming entangled, saving equipment and lives.  Picture from Rick Strollo

One year later, set up in the shop, with  temporary shoring to keep the shape at the turn of the bilge

In the cockpit, as found, with the cabin sole and ceiling removed. Original frames are marked for replacement.

Planks removed for access and proper fits later. Shores to keep the shape. The hull was detached from the keel in this area as the frames and floor timbers where removed.

Clearing away old framing, temporary wood in place of the floors. This is Shawn Huston, who did the most work during this refit.

Old holes in planking filled with woodnails and epoxy 

Almost ready for new frames

Three new ones, bent, clamped and clench nailed.

Heron as guest shipwright, clamping from the outside

Repairing some areas of rotten planking. Also repairing under the fiberglass lobster pot guard.

New frames and floors plus new "cheeks" on the keel sides to receive the frame heels.

Using visquene tube as a steam box to twist in a new garboard plank forward.
(Thanks to Tips from a Shipwright)
The original white cedar board had a rent through at a knot that was leaking.
We used yellow cedar as planking in our repairs. Beautiful stuff!

Allen cutting in the trim, Seth plumbing a new fuel tank under the side deck.

Rick has all the details right.
Notice the lobster traps on the stern. Photo: Rick Strollo
Flying Eagle graced Victoria Harbor and won honors in the Classic Boat Festival for Best Restored Power Vessel in 2017
photo: Rick Strollo
Nested pram.  Photo: Rick Strollo

While in attendance at the Victoria Classic Wooden Boat Festival It was remarked how much F.E. looks like a Nova Scotia boat, which makes sense, given its proximity to Bealle Island.
Maybe the Beal Brothers would be proud. We are honored to be able to preserve their history.

There is a great article written by Rick Strollo himself in NW Yachting magazine February 2016 edition pages 98 and 99 on the archived PDF.  Further details for those interested.