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Saturday, September 6, 2014

More Front Street Shipyard

     Rumor had it that the larger boat was going to be de-masted today.  The rumors were right.  The Roths were early, but I was a bit late.  When I got there the mast (187 feet and 16 tons) was already horizontal.

     There were problems in laying it down amongst the buildings, some of which are scheduled to be removed.  The mast is a massive thing.  It does not show any signs of a lightning strike which allegedly is the reason for the overhaul.  At 187 feet it is a beautiful thing with nothing but the finest of stainless steel fittings and cables.  It was lowered into two carefully placed cradles. 


     A long slender mast cannot be supported just from the base and the top.  It would buckle in the middle.  Therefore "spreaders" are employed to make the mast think it is much thicker than is actually the case.  I'd bet the mast for this boat cost more than all the RVs in the campground combined.  Once the mast is down, I believe that they are going to reposition it for temporary storage.  As I left, it protruded a foot or so onto Front Street.  
     The cradles that support the mast on the ground are welded steel frames with canvas slings into which the mast is lowered.


      The cradle had to be positioned so that the straps did not interfere with the mast-mounted running lights.  Also, the mast had a "conduit" running along the aft edge of the mast that could not bear the weight of the mast.  That required that some cushioning boards had to be positioned on either side of the conduit.  The operator controlling the 250 foot boom got it close and the ground crew did the fine tuning on the ground.  At one point, amongst all that multi-million dollar gear there was a guy using an eight foot 2X4 as a lever to get that cradle exactly where it was needed.

     Eventually the mast was stowed. The wind vane and anemometer had to be removed from the tip.  
     
     Once the big mast was down, they went after the"smaller" one.  


Soon he was joined by another barefooted rigger.


     They sat there and watched the happenings below while they ate their lunch.


     At this point some of the crew came off the ship.  I'm led to believe that they have rented a house in Belfast until they are ready to depart.  They all wore their team tee-shirts and looked the part of a professional crew.


     Also worth noting is the old building that is not long for this world that sits in the middle of the shipyard grounds.


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