Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Volunteer Super Sunday gives Spirit of South Carolina over  90 hours of volunteer time; that was well spent.

Carter, Danny, and Chuck
fit leathers to the  fore gaff jaws.
Sunday was super in a number of ways. 15 people- including 3 new volunteers- I started to lose count by late morning. mustered amidships  at 0900 with the Chief Mate, or appeared later in the morning after Church. They were coming from everywhere, as far away as Summerville and Beaufort. Another five brand new Volunteers, (with due credit to their recruiter, Danny Johnson) joined the muster and pitched in on the four different projects that were going on deck and on the dock.  For most who, by now, were no strangers to the enormous work challenges of the Winter Maintenance Program, this was a continuance of numerous projects begun weeks ago.
Carter Edwards, Chuck Waring,  and Danny Johnson laid in with crew members, Matt and Daniel to cut, and fit leathers to the spars jaws and tongues
Baylor, Kevin, Morgan and Abby
 heads-down on scraping the cap rail

New volunteers, Carpenter,Morgan and daughter Abby, along with friend, Baylor, and fellow carpenter, Kevin Krug, all laid in on the cap rail, scraping and sanding down to bare wood both starboard and port sides, from knightheads to the Foremast shrouds.

Tim takes his first ride up
the Mainmast to scrape it down.
Another newcomer, J.T, along with Tim Geoghegan took turns being hoisted up the Fore and Main Masts in bosun's chairs to scrape down the masts in preparation for oiling and greasing.
Joe, Gary, and Ken fitting
the last mast hoops
Ken Fonville, Gary Pope, Darren Casale, and Joe Gorman started in and finished a project they started last weekend, installing the last of the mast hoops on both masts.

Wayne and Tony inventory and
 grease  ironwork and
 fittings for the spars
Wayne Burdick joined Tony Marchesani on the dock to inventory and stage for installation on the spars, all the iron work, collars, eyebolts, and brass side rails.  Meanwhile, below decks, Ship's Cook, Hunter was concocting a hearty hot lunch.
Shortly before lunch, College of Charleston Track and Field Coach, Amy Seago and to team members, Devin and Ellie came aboard for a tour and orientation with Volunteer Coordinator, Bryan Oliver.
Coach Amy and Track Team
 pitching in on the cap rail
As projects began winding down in the afternoon, Ashley and Robin Pennington, along with Stephen Collins, also came aboard for a tour, with promises to return, and possibly bring along some additional volunteers.
It all made for a pretty productive day. More pictures available on the tab "View Volunteer Photos".

Friday, February 21, 2020

New Feature added to our Blog;  a link to a photo collection of Volunteers in Action.

Look for the tab just under the Heading picture:  "View Volunteer Photos".  Different Volunteers have been taking shots and sharing them with me for sharing with you.  See if you can find yourself. And if you can't, well, we can fix that, just come on down the the ship for a few hours and pitch in.. Somebody's always got their phone camera out. If you have some to share, please send them to me as an attachment via text or email.  If you copy the image into your email body, they may be automatically reduced to thumbnails, which are too small to viable for posting. At some point we will be able to enable you to post directly. 

Here's what the Next several days are holding for us Volunteers on deck.

The following priorities will be advanced, over this week, before the spars can actually be swayed over onto the deck.

Several heavy bullhide Leather pieces, used for anti-chafing must be replaced, new pieces cut, shaped, and renailed around the jaws, and other selected areas of the spars on the dock.  

The masts must be scraped  from foot to  cross trees and then coated  with linseed oil (currently in progress. That requires crew riding a harness or bosun's chair up the mast with a scraper. 

All ironwork that supports the spars or connect to rigging having recently receiving a coating of black, will be sorted and reinstalled on the spars.

 All Spars will receive extra coats of varnish and white gloss;  as will all deck(varnished surfaces) furniture. 

We might start scraping and sanding down the Cap Rail

 Running rigging, currently stowed or coiled, will be broken out, inventoried, and staged for re-iinstalling on spars. 

 An equal priority for Capt Dan, is building out a competent Volunteer crew.  As  time allows, or individual projects reach a slack point in the project plan, the Mate will organize for deckhand skills training, refreshers, and practice.  So review your Deckhand Skills Checklist, or print out a copy from the link on this Blog.  Those are the black and white skills to be demonstrated by deckhands, Volunteer or Paid.  

At some point next week, Capt Dan will identify a time window for Mar 1 for rigging up the spars for swaying back onto the ship and installing Sails and  running rigging.

Every day of the week offers an opportunity for advancing the work of the ship, or/and  building on your deckhand skills. On weekdays, check with Bryan to make sure somebody will be there to work with you. On Weekends confirm yourself for the Volunteer Day, or we might work out a training opportunity with another Volunteer as Coach, when the ship has a day off.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Spirit of South Carolina Volunteer Effort is making a serious impact .
January Volunteer Hours top 120, while February totals are set to double that number.

The months of January, and February are demonstrating the impact that Volunteer efforts are making in sustaining Spirit of South Carolina. 

In January, Volunteers contributed 122 hours of effort to Spirit of South Carolina's Winter Maintenance. In February, with 12 days left to go in the month, Volunteers had already stacked up 129 hours.  That's the equivalent of having an extra full-time crew member on board for the past six weeks.  The payoff is self-evident in the advancement of the coating and rigging projects over the Winter Maintenance period, and goes to show how individual volunteer commitments of hours here and there, building from an increasingly larger Volunteer Corps, are providing the decisive push to complete Spirit's Winter Maintenance on time.
So, don't think your few hours, don't count. When we volunteers combine efforts it doesn't take but a look over the deck at the end of a day to appreciate what's been accomplished, and Spirit's crew appreciates that.

Capt Cleveland announces the final phase of Winter Maintenance with up-rigging of Spars to commence on February 24. Volunteer help urgent

Volunteers focus weekend efforts on coating spars and bending on mast hoops.

11 Volunteers ignored chilly temperatures Saturday to tackle two projects critical to completing Winter Maintenance on schedule;  lay on final coats of varnish and white paint on Spirit's gaff's and booms, bend on the 30 mast hoops that had been taken off for scraping/sanding then resealing and refinishing.

With Capt Cleveland setting out the priorities for the day, Volunteers  organized themselves into two teams.
Tony Marchesani, Darren Casale, and Ken Fonville
compress and secure a mast hoop onto the foremast.
 Darren Casale, Tony Marchesani, and Ken Fonville took  on the tasks of moving freshly oiled mast hoops from the dock, and staging them with each mast. After locating the fastening hardware, they began a slow, often frustrating task of bending and sliding each hoop, like a giant key ring, around a thick post without straining it to the breaking point.  Once the mast hoop was completely encircling the mast, volunteers pushed and pinched ever tighter, the rings until  all screw holes aligned enabling seven different screws to be forced through the the rings ans secured with nuts on the outside of the hoop.
Freshly varnished and painted spars cure
 in the cool afternoon.
Meanwhile, the larger Volunteer Group;  Danny Johnson,  Gary Pope, Carter Edwards, Pearson Chesney, Tim Geoghegan, and Dani Feerst, set up a coatings station of ground cloths, rags, spirits, varnish, white paint, and brushes.  Next they organized into pairs to tack down then apply another coat of Deks Olje D2 varnish to the Fore and Main Mast booms and gaffs, and various thumb cleats.
As both projects were kicking off, Danny Johnson introduced two new Volunteers he'd recruited , to Volunteer Coordinator, Bryan Oliver. Hopefully, the scene of apparently  barely controlled chaos of activity, wouldn't dissuade them from returning to pitch in on the next project. As of this writing, here's hoping we see Drea Bauer and John Whitsitt back on deck soon.
By lunch time, fourteen mast hoops had been reinstalled, and all four spars received another coat of varnish, flipped over, and white ends prepped for a coat of white paint .  Crew took a break and mustered below for a rich lunch of Hunter's Seafood Gumbo.  Fighting off a strong urge for siesta, crew mustered on deck for one last two hour surge to finish their projects.  By end of day, a total of twenty mast hoops had been reinstalled, and all four spars had received a coat of white gloss paint around jaws, shoes, and ends.
Crew wrestles the foresail off the cart after hauling it to Liberty Square
for lay-out and inspection.
As crew  secured tools and prepared to stand down, Capt Cleveland announced the objectives for the final phase of Winter Maintenance.  On 24 February, the crew and all available volunteers will rig the booms and gaffs for swaying back onto the ship.  Over the following days, Feb 24-29, all running rigging will be reinstalled, as well as the mainsail, foresail, and jib.
Volunteer effort didn't stop with Saturday.  Sunday morning, Layne Carver and a new Volunteer, Bruce Zimmerman drove all the way up from Hilton Head Island for the day,  to further advance the work, from the day before. By their departure after lunch Sunday, they had added more mast hoops and final coated remaining varnished surfaces.

Monday, February 10, 2020

16 Volunteers  use Sunday morning to advance the Winter Maintenance Project by over two work days.

Sunday morning, 16 volunteers mustered on deck.  They were a mixed bag; an Old Salt, Joe Gorman,  long-time volunteer, Bryan Oliver, several regulars like Ken Fonville, Danny Johnson, Gary Pope, Carter and Alexa Edwards. A few, like Wayne Burdick, Charley Johnson, and Shawn Patience, returning after months of handling higher priorities, were coming back to the ship. And most notably, the largest group were first or second-time newcomers; Tim Geoghegan, Darren Casale, Blake Scott, Pearson Chesney, Tony Marchesani, Ricki Washington.   

For Spirit of South Carolina, this was good news. A third straight week of increasing Volunteer participation,  a promising sign that she might someday see a tipping point of regular volunteers regularly supplying the power, skills, and effort to sustain her mission.  

But for this day, the immediate priority, was to tackle oiling of her mast hoops, add a 6th varnish coat to her booms and gaffs lying on the dock, and haul in the anchor chain off the harbor bottom and deck wash. 
So, while a small group of volunteers joined crew member, Matt at the windlass to haul up anchor, then hose down and wash the deck, the remaining group hauled out to the dock, cans of preservative/sealant D1 and Varnish, bags of disposable brushes, yogurt cups, rags, groundcloths, and mineral spirits.  Lining up approximately forty recently scraped down mast-hoops along the dock benches, volunteers started an assembly line of wiping down every surface of the 'unwound" mast hoops with a D1 oil based preservative and sealant. 
Tony Marchesani finishes oiling the last mast hoop
 with its 3d coat of D1 oil.
 Once all forty mast hoops had been thoroughly coated, and the oil absorbed into the wood, Volunteers started on them again with a second wiped-on coat, followed by a third,  at which the absorpsion slowed down, indicating saturation.
Gary Pope and Tim Geoghegan team up on coating the
Foresail boom
At that time, the Volunteers shifted effort to the spars.  Some volunteer chamois-ed down the surfaces to wipe off condensation, then tacked the surfaces with mineral-spirit saturated rags. Meanwhile others marshalled-up foam brushes and measured out D2 varnish in re-purposed yoghurt cups.
After volunteer, Bryan Oliver, led a detailed demonstration of the Porzelt Marine Varnish Application Method, volunteers lined up on either side of all four spars, and began a deliberate sequence of  blotting and feathering, interrupted by frequent eyeballing for hard edges and holidays.
By shortly after noon, volunteers had completed coated all four spars.  Mast hoops were still drying from their third oil coat, which left nothing left to do but go to lunch.  Chef Hunter had prepared a nice Shepherd's Pie-style beef-stew casserole.
Following lunch, with coatings done and drying, the tempo shifted to deckhand training.  Volunteers broke into two groups, one following Old Salt, Joe Gorman to the line locker to dig out training aids for some knotwork. Another group followed Bryan Oliver aft, to the main shrouds pin rail for some demonstration and practice in line handling, coiling, and hanging. By end of day, volunteers had checked off several tasks of the Volunteer Deck hand Skills list, (available for download on this blog).

Joe Gorman and Wayne Burdick finishing up the Main Sail boom.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

..And That Record Lasted One Week

Last week's Best Volunteer participation since 2013 was smashed  when 14 volunteers came aboard Saturday.

Volunteers Layne Carter, Bryan Oliver, Pearson Chesney,
Dan Maurin, Ken Fonville, Gary Pope,
 crew member Daniel, Darren Casale, and Chuck Waring,
hands warm in pockets, listening to the Captains
 instructions for the day.
Cold high 40-degree temps and damp overcast didn't discourage 14 volunteers who mustered on deck at 0900 Saturday morning. Reinforced from a quick trip below for a cup of Hunter's hot coffee, the ship's company was ready on time when Capt Dan Cleveland took charge.  To not waste any time, he decided to forego the usual pleasantry of a round-the-horn self-introduction session, relying on the day's intense team activities to create the same effect. After a quick recitation of his plan for the day, Chief Mate Charlie took charge.  Crew and volunteers intermingled in separate tasks to prepare the ship for casting off.  Crew introduced and explained the sequence, jargon, and commands for swaying off the gangway, singling up, then taking in the dock lines and fenders.  Since all sails but the Jumbo had been sent ashore for repair, there would be no sailing, but there would be enough to do. That was the end of explanations. From then on it was total immersion in deck operations, and the operating tempo never slowed down. For the next four hours, crew and volunteers together, cast off and coiled all lines, and stowed fenders.
Bryan Oliver easing the jumbo boom lift
 while Gary Pope, Tim Geoghegan,
and Dan Maurin observe.
Once off the dock, they drilled on launching then retrieving the rescue boat- three times, and executing their first complete Man-Overboard Drill, recovering the ship's soccer ball in a respectable time. 
At slack tide, Capt Cleveland brought the ship around, and directed crew to prepare for a starboard tie-up. This time crew members stood back, coaching volunteers in laying out and making bowlines onto dock lines, and setting fenders.  Volunteer, Chuck Waring joined Charlie in the rescue boat to climb onto the dock and take lines.  Heaving lines were bent on to bowlines and coiled, ready to throw on command.  As the ship edged to within 30 feet of the dock, heaving lines were tossed, dock lines followed. The dock team used the heaved messenger line to haul the heavy dock lines across and threw their bowlines over cleats or pilings. On deck volunteers took up slack and made fast their end of the dock lines. Fenders were adjusted, in seconds before the hull came to rest against the giant Yokahama's (floating hard rubber barrels chained across the dock face. Crew and dock-side volunteers rigged up and swayed across the gangway and all secured.  Onlookers along the pier could never have suspected the smooth docking was operation was crewed by first-time volunteers.
Lunch break in the Salon
That was the first time crew and volunteers  likely took time to notice some savory aroma's wafting out of the galley hatch.  There were no stragglers in climbing down the salon ladder and lining up for a plateful of Hunter's Pasta and Sausage casserole and garlic bread.  

Chief Mate Charlie allowed a decent interval for lunch before mustering the crew on deck for some sail setting training.   The Jumbo staysail had been bent back onto it's fore 
Gary Pope hauls away the Jumbo
halyard while crew member Matt tails.
stay the day before, and was ready to be worked. Together, crew and volunteers worked through through two sets and douses, each time rotating stations, so each volunteer experienced the tasks of hauling, sweating, tailing, and belaying, and finally laying out together along the bowsprit to harbor-furl the Jumbo. 
With all secure, Capt Cleveland  gathered the crew, brought out some adult beverages to share and recognize some work well done. 

Ship's Company gathered at the end of a productive training day,
Back row; at the Jumbo boom; crew members' Daniel and Matt
Second row;  Ship's Cook-Hunter, Blake Scott, Ken Fonville,
Darryl Darby, Bryan Oliver, Gary Pope, Mate, Charlie Porzelt,
Front row; Tim Geoghegan, Darren Casale, Dan Maurin, Carter Edwards,
LayneCarter, Joe Gorman, Pearson Chesney
Not pictured:  Chuck Waring

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

MLK Holiday provides a weekday opportunity to join the crew.

Chief Mate, Charlie, demonstrates his dry brushing
technique to Danny Johnson and Carter Edwards during
 their Master Class in Marine Varnishing
Given the great progress made on winter maintenance projects on Saturday, due to the extra 8 sets of Volunteer hands, the crew saw some momentum there.  So, given a good weather window and to keep it going,  the crew decided to make Monday a work day. Two Volunteers, Danny Johnson and Carter Edwards, fresh from Saturday's progress returned to join the crew,, ostensibly to pickup some high-quality varnishing techniques in a Master Class hosted by Chief Mate Charlie.  The lessons must have taken well, the result being obvious in the perfect sheen of 1st Varnish coat on all four spars (Booms and gaffs), by end of the day.  
Bryan and Daniel stroking on the Varnish
 over the Main boom while Mate, Charlie
 and Danny Johnson in the background,
 tackle the Main sail gaff .
The next Volunteer Day, Saturday the 1st of February hints at opportunities for more Volunteers to join the Exalted Guild of Marine Varnishers.. But you'll have to put in the time to earn it.  Hope to see you on deck in February, and we'll work to make some beauty. And if you start with the crew, stick around, since Chef, Hunter will be cooking up some lunch.
Crew enjoys a lunch break over some hand crafted
 heartiest-ever Schooner Beef Stew and Rice.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Volunteer Turn-out Sets a Record

Earlier in the week, as this Saturday approached, Volunteer Coordinator, Bryan Oliver, kept the Ship's crew informed of respondents to his call for volunteer help. By Thursday afternoon, slightly over five volunteers had responded that they would show up.  Reassured by the response, the crew shifted their normal Saturday day-off so they could join the volunteers on Saturday to work together on the projects facing them.  Hunter, the Ship's cook, just returned from his holiday vacation, volunteered to cook lunch.
On Saturday morning, the day started out chilly with a breeze, but promising to warm into the 6o's.  Hunter already had breakfast waiting, and coffee standing by as crew arrived for Muster. This time, they were even more gratified to meet a total of eight volunteers on deck waiting for instructions- the best showing since 2015!
Alexa Edwards and hubby, Carter
lay in on a pair of disheveled mast hoops.
In addition to regulars, Ken Fonville and Bryan Oliver, Danny Johnson had brought along his daughter, DanielleWayne Burdick returned after an absence taken up with his own sailing adventures. Newcomer's Carter and Alexa Edwards, had been looking over the schooner from the Aquarium, and decided to jump in. Rick Washington had spent several afternoons on the dock over the months, observing the crew work, and finding time off from the road and his trucking business, found time to pitch in.

Danny Johnson shows off a collection
 of white paint dust, while daughter
 Danielle tries to keep her distance.
Chief Mate, Charlie Porzelt wasted no time in organizing the projects. First priority was sorting out, then preparing over 40 mast hoops, that had been uninstalled from the masts for a new coat of linseed oil. Preparation required, first, separating out damaged hoops, then scraping and sanding down the surfaces so they would properly absorb several coats of linseed oil.    As hoops were completed, Volunteers would finish finish prepping the spars (gaffs and booms) by sanding and scuffing, the white jaws and ends. By the time the last prepped hoop had dropped on the completion pile, Hunter called for Lunch. Volunteers  beat their clothes to knock off saw and paint dust and filed back down the gangway into the Salon for a spaghetti and meatballs lunch, with garlic toast.
Volunteers and crew muster amidships after lunch
for the Mate's next priorities
Following lunch, Charlie mustered the ships company midships for instructions on the next priority.. Tacking down the spars, and the mast hoops - wiping all their surfaces down with mineral spirits to remove last vestiges of sawdust, paint dust and grime, that would compromise the application of linseed oil, or paint.  As that work was completed, so was the day.  As others put away tools and departed the dock, a few volunteers stayed behind to refresh on basic deckhand line handling skills.

Without doubt, Volunteers had accomplished likely the most productive workday in months,  putting the Winter Maintenance project ahead of schedule.  All the more satisfying, since the Mate announced that the Ship had already booked two day sails for the Spring. Additional Volunteer Maintenance days will follow into the spring, accompanied by opportunity for deckhand skills training and shake-down sailing.  Continued volunteer involvement will remain crucial to getting her ready to take to sea.  Looking forward to seeing you on deck.
Rick Washington, Danny and Danielle Johnson
working on the pile of mast hoops
Wayne Burdick and Ken Fonville 
focusing their tools on the inside surfaces.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Spars Refinishing Project is under way. 

With this past weekend full of rain forecasts, the Volunteer Day was cancelled, and Spirit of South Carolina wouldn't see any hoped for weekend volunteer help in advancing the preparation of her gaffs and booms for varnishing.  Nevertheless, thanks to Tim Geoghegan and Bryan Oliver who showed up at the dock on the previous Friday, the crew could boast of getting ahead of schedule in prepping all that wood to a state ready for weathering  a weekend of rain.

Volunteer, Tim Geoghegan, on left starts
 sanding on the foresail gaff.   Capt Dan Cleveland, on right, works
on the surface of the Foresail boom.
Friday morning, Tim and Bryan joined crew members, Capt Dan, First Mate, Charlie and  Deckhand Matt with power sanders, scrapers, heat guns, and sanding blocks to complete the removal of all varnish, sand out stains and weathering, and fine sand the surfaces in preparation for oil sealing.  By early afternoon, all four spars had been stripped and sanded.  With rain forecast thru the weekend into the following week, that status would remain until dryer weather will permit wiping on the first of several coats of D.1 oil sealant.  

Monday, with fog and high humidity settling over the harbor, delayed for a day, starting the D.1 treatment. Instead, the crew set to uninstalling all the mast hoops on the fore and mainmasts, piling them on the dock, for sorting salvageable hoops from disreputable ones. 
Matt checks tension on his serving tool before
 adding a turn.

Today, the the warm dryer weather set the stage for next steps on the spars.  Crew first tacked down the four spars with  swipes of  mineral spirits, going over each spar repeatedly until the white rags finally came up clean without discoloration of residual sawdust.  As the spirits dried out of the wood surface, Matt and Bryan used the time to  team up to touch-up paint the hull topsides under the gangway, and continue serving with tarred seine twine, the spreader topping lifts stretched out on the dock.  After some training and coaching from Charlie, Matt and Bryan completed the service, and could boast of another marlinespike skill added to their repertoire.

Oiling of the spars will continue in the week, and transition to initial coats of varnish, likely by the weekend.  Volunteers will be needed Saturday to keep the project progressing on schedule.
Bryan taking tight turns of tarred seine twine
 around the wormed and parceled wire cable of a spreader lift.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Recommended Books, and Internet Sources

Are you interested in learning more about The Tall Ship's world, building your own skills as a traditional sailing deckhand, or just knowledge, or even a good story in the genre?

Below is a list of Books, video's, websites, other blogs that you will find useful.  Titles are hot-linked to a retailer, or website for more information.  Contributions to this list are welcome:  contact bryan@spiritofsc.org

Hand, Reef, and Steer;  Traditional Sailing Skills for Classic Boats
 Tom Cunliffe   (Hot link to a copy for sale on Amazon)

Last time I checked, a copy of this book was stowed in Spirit of South Carolina's Salon Bookcase.  Check it out, and decide if you'd like your own copy.  I did. It's recognized by most tall-ship sailors as a one of the best go-to references for all-round knowledge and basic skills in sailing traditional gaff-rigged vessels.. Although focused on small vessels, the principles, tips and techniques for sailing and deck-hand skills are 100% applicable to Spirit of South Carolina's deck and sail operations.

The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework (Dover Maritime)

Hervey Garret Smith
A copy of this book has also been sighted aboard in the salon bookcase.  Along with it's companion, by the same author (below), they are the reference for all things having to do with rope, it's structure, maintenance, knots, splicing, both utilitarian and decorative, as well as other deckhand skills, such as canvas mending and sail repair and fabrication of objects from canvas buckets, ditty bags, to mast boots. 

Hervey Garrett Smith
A copy of this,, barely holding together from years of use, is also in the salon.  Some of it's content overlaps with Arts of the Sailor but the two books complement each other well. This book is your how-to do-it-yourself when you're ready to create your own ditty bag.

The Complete Rigger's Apprentice - 1996 edition
Brion Toss
There is a new, updated 2016 edition of this book for around 35 bucks, but this edition (used condition for $18 at the linked site) will more than suffice your needs relating to traditional rigging knowledge, tips, and techniques.  It's as complete a resource as you'll find.

Knot-Tying Apps for your mobile device.

Useful Knots 3D   for Iphone/IpadApple Store

Knots 3D    for Android Google Play

Over 135 knots demonstrated. There are several apps of this category available, but this, by far is the most complete, covering all the knots you are authorized to use onboard, both utilitarian and decorative.. Using animation, and 3-dimensional views which you can stop-action.. They are the next best thing to watching an expert in demonstrating front of you.  Unfortunately.. You get what you pay for.  The free version only offers a few knots, with plenty of ads.  I've found the price to access the full collection to be well worth it.  Ask me.. I'll show you mine.

Tall Ships America  Web Site
This is the National umbrella organization whose mission is to support and promote the ships, people, and programs of sail training through scholarships for youth, professional services and advocacy.  Spirit of South Carolina is a member.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Volunteers Take on the Spars Refinishing Project

Gaffs and Booms down-rigged and swayed over onto the dock for total overhaul

..And they sorely needed it. 
Foresail gaff showing 6000
sea miles worth of  wear and
 This is what faced volunteers, Ken Fonville, Bryan Oliver, and Dan Maurin when they arrived Sunday morning to start the next phase of the Spars Refinishing Project; taking the Gaff's down to bare wood, in preparation for sealing and revarnishing.  It had been four years since these spars had seen serious varnish.  Over 6000 sea miles later, they were showing lots of wear and weather damage.  And now, crew members and volunteers face the task of restoring them to like-new condition in time to be rigged, sails bent on and ready to sail in two months.

The weather started fairly nippy as the group, fortified with a dose of strong galley coffee and a few donuts, broke out scrapers, power sanders, and extension cords, and started to work.

Bryan taking a wrench to break free
 the bolts securing the foresail
gaff throat iron collar
During the previous week, the crew, with volunteer, Bryan Oliver completed the first phase, down-rigging all four spars (gaffs and booms).  Re-purposing the throat halyard and peak tackles as lifts, they separated the spars from the masts, hoisted them up and over the rails,  and swayed them onto the dock.  Once secure on the dock the team finished up by un-installing and removing all iron and brass fittings, irons, collars, leather chafing strips.
Bryan and  Ken, taking the last
 sanding strokes on the foresail gaff. 
Dan, in background, inspects the
Mainsail boom

Throughout the morning, Ken and Bryan scraped and sanded the top-half of the foresail gaff, then flipped it over on it's cradle and started again on the bottom half.  Warming temperatures, and disappearing clouds helped morale, and jackets came off. During a break for a spaghetti lunch in the galley, Dan arrived from Summerville to reinforce the effort, starting in on the mainsail gaff. By quitting time, the team had the foresail gaff completely stripped to new wood, and ready to take on first steps of varnishing.  Dan had completed  half of the mainsail gaff. After securing the tools and cordage, it was time for some refreshment, and reflection.

The Volunteer team advanced the refinishing project by 12% to completion. 2 and 1/2 spars will require stripping and prepping before the next major phase can begin, applying several coats of sealing oil followed by 12 coats of Varnish.  The three professional crew, Capt Dan, Mate, Charlie, and deckhand, Matt, will advance the work as they can during the week days, with help from any volunteers that can lend a hand during the week.  Next Sunday, 12 January provides the next opportunity for Volunteers to fill in and make a big difference.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year Winter Maintenance kicks off Early.

Come down next Saturday,Sunday January 4, 5 and help !

Dani Feerst, aloft  on the mainmast, loosing ties
and lowering the Christmas lights.
Never too early when you want to get a head start on things. So, Dani Feerst and Bryan Oliver kicked it off this last Sunday morning, with a well-known routine at this time of year; taking down the Holiday lights.  Dani even recruited crew member, Ryan, to come down for an hour or so, to go aloft with her.  With lights and the glittery huge star all disassembled and stuffed back into their boxes for next year, Volunteers shifted over to linseed- oiling the starboard kevels and Mainmast fife rail, advancing the Chief Mate's program to ensure a monthly application of the stuff on all selected deck furnishings.

Volunteers took a lunch break below over bowls of  seafood gumbo that Bryan had brought along.
Back on deck the sky was getting darker.  The spatter of rain drops thwarted any further on-deck projects, but there was just enough time left before the rain started pouring, to fire up the pumps and empty the bilges.
It made for a productive morning.

More Maintenance Days have been scheduled for weekends, ensuring plenty of opportunities for Volunteers to get involved.  Projects are varied to fit any skill level .  Very soon the Booms and Gafts will be swung down for sanding and revarnishing;  To make it happen will require a barnraising-like event with plenty room for volunteers to pitch in.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Volunteer Winter Schedule set for Maintenance and Training Days

Capt Dan Cleveland and Chief Mate, Charlie are asking Volunteer help for four Weekend days per month beginning December 29, thru April 5, to lay in on projects, including, but not limited to the list below, that must be completed before Spirit of South Carolina can go to sea.

With only four full-time crew aboard, Spirit of South Carolina will need all our help to be ready to board students, trainees, and passengers, and go to sea in the Spring. While our Executive Director and Ships Officers work together to plan the Ship's operations, and itinerary over the coming weeks, there remains a sizable list of maintenance project to be completed. 
Here's a sample:
Cap rail to be scraped to wood, prepped and varnished.
All sails transported to sail maker for repairs 
Capt Dan, Charlie and Matt, last Thursday
load the Foresail for carting over
to Liberty Square to be laid
 out for inspection. Took four of us to move it.
Mainsail was next .
Foresail and Mainsail booms scraped, prepped and revarnished
All sails returned from sailmaker and bent on.
Belaying Pins, Pinrails taken down to wood and linseed oiled
Boat hook staffs sanded down and linseed oiled. 
Canvas and leather fittings sealed, preserved, or oiled.
Various Canvas and leather repair, cutting/sewing projects
Mast Shrouds inspected for wear, wormed, parceled, and  served as required.
Hull paint damage resurfaced and repainted.
Berths cleaned out, linens and bedding inventoried cleaned and stored.
Ship's Monthly Safety Inspections conducted.

Check the Volunteer Calendar for the designated Saturdays or Sundays you can help. Email or Text Bryan Oliver so the crew know you're coming. (Weekdays are open invitations to come help the crew). 

The Foresail spread out on Liberty Square
 for a thorough inspection, identification of chafing, holes,
boltrope separation, seams pulling out, grommet lashings
 and seizings worn.
Experienced crew is imperative to Spirit of South Carolina's operations whether at dock, doing harbor sails or putting to sea.  To advance that goal, portions of these weekend days will be devoted to building and practicing the deckhand skills to build that experience.  That will include training/shakedown cruises to exercise both the ship and crew. 
Experience is built on involvement, time and practice.  If you can come down regularly, the better the crew will know you, and better prepared you will be when opportunities come to set sail.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Spirit of South Carolina Volunteers enjoy an evening aboard at the Annual Holiday Parade of Boats

Executive Director  designates Volunteer Appreciation Night aboard the Schooner in conjunction with her Hosting the Annual Christmas Parade of Boats.

Just after the Thanksgiving Holiday,  Fletcher Meyers announced the first Volunteer Appreciation Event, since the resurrection of the Volunteer Program in February 2019.  A select group of Volunteers, recognized for their hours logged this past year in supporting Spirit of South Carolina, were invited with their guest aboard Spirit this last Saturday for a Dock Party. The added bonus was the Ship's hosting during the same evening, the City of Charlestons's judging committee for the Annual Holiday Parade of Boats.
Spirit of South Carolina's sponsor, Goslings Rum provided an open bar of Dark and Stormy's, beer and wine. Bryan Oliver brought along a Hot Buttered Rum mix.  Immediately following the judging of the Parade, Captain Dan Cleveland called muster of all guests, and proffered a well received toast recognizing the hours, efforts and accomplishments by the attending volunteers, and expressing appreciation for their families supporting their work.
Volunteers attending Saturday's Volunteer Appreciation Night
 were:from left to right: Chris Sosnowski, Two Co-owners of TowBoat US,
 Lee, guest of Jonathan Shew, Sean Mcquilken, Dan Maurin, Jonathan Shew,
 Danny Johnson, Layne Carter, Bryan Oliver, and Tim Geoghegan.
 Not pictured, but remembered for their efforts this year,
 are Ken Fonville, Phil Frandino, Chuck Waring, Dani Feerst, and Joe Gorman.
Afterward, Bryan Oliver, awarded Layne Carter, the Jibsheet Volunteer Pin, recognizing 50 hours of time devoted to the maintaining and crewing the ship; the third award to be made since it's re-inception  in February 2019.  The evening resurrected the tradition of  annual Volunteer Recognition events from 2002 through 2013.  In those days as many as 300 active volunteers were engaged in over ten different functions.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Winter Maintenance Steady Progress

Bryan and Dan finshing the last 220 grit
sanding round before breaking for lunch.
Saturday, December 7th granted a day of great weather over the Charleston Maritime Center Docks, enough for Volunteers, Dan Maurin and Bryan Oliver to team up on the Sapele Half-Round trim around the Forecastle Hatch. Together, they scraped and sanded the trim down to bare wood, and tacking it with 6 successive wipe-downs to clean out the  microscopic sawdust and debris left on the surface. After a break for lunch, Dan and Bryan followed it up by wiping 8 coats of Deks Olje D.1 oil over it.  By 1500 hours the work was done, just in time for a threatening squall to pass overhead. 

Winter Maintenance to couple with Deckhand skills sessions over the Winter.

Spirit of South Carolina has accumulated a good sized punch list of projects that should be completed over the winter period. Most of those are perfectly suited for Volunteers to lay into, for a few hours, half day or whole day. Larger projects, include the moving of the Foresail, and Mainsail up the dock over to Liberty Square so they can be spread out an inspected for repair issues prior to transport to the Sail repair guy. Scraping and sanding/ oiling the Fore and Main sail booms.  
Volunteers, you watch the posted Volunteer Calendar, or text Bryan the Volunteer Coordinator for days on which to advance the work, and also advance their deckhand skills.     Look for a few of those Saturdays to turn into Harbor Training cruises, if sufficient volunteers  respond. 
Check the Volunteer Calendar, for Available Saturdays, or weekdays, when you can come down to the docks and pitch in with the crew.