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


Unknown said...

Beautiful. Makes me wish I was working on boats again. Almost. I'm very glad to see Resolute looking so good. I did a few repairs on her while working at Evergreen, the mast and boom mainly.

Douglas Wertz said...

I was fortunate to sail in the "new" fiberglass Resolute (NA-12) while stationed at the Naval Academy 1981 - 1983; my first venture into sailing and taught two groups of midshipmen crew the manner of a sailboat, and the sea. Trips to Bermuda, Ft. Lauderdale, Bath, and New York City rounded out the adventure of a lifetime...Resolute gave me the start of a dream that continues today, as I own my own sailboat. Wonderful memories and happy to see the original lives!! I will make time for a visit on my trip down the coast next year.

Unknown said...

I sailed aboard the Seawulf and Resolute in 2001 and again in 2003 those boats and Cpt Pedersen's guidance led me into a life as a merchant mariner. I am very happy to see the Resolute in good hands.

Ian Weedman Yacht Rigging said...

I too was aboard Resolute and Seawulf around 99-01. Seeing these pictures is emotional as if a family member. My time on these boats rekindled my love of sailing after some years away and they are directly responsible for my current path as a yacht rigger. I'm sure there are many others who can attest to a focus of direction due to their time on these vessels. Priceless! So happy to see Resolute alive and thriving!

Ian Weedman

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WWH said...

I sailed on Seawulff in Spring Quarter 1981 for what I believe was her first academic use - Pete Sinclair's "Explorations" program. I think Resolute was by that time in the shed in the TESC campus maintenance yard, awaiting Don Fassett's attention.

I had grown up sailing in Annapolis in the 60s and early 70s, and dodged around Resolute and the other USNA Luders yawls at their moorings off the Academy before they were replaced by the fiberglass models. Happy to see that this Resolute is still around and that I might yet again cross paths with it.

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