As you can see, the project's progress is really moving forward. Let
me fill you in on a few important things that have been happening "off site"
All of our marine engineering is crated and ready for shipment. We
have negotiated a price for these items, and Stewart and Stevenson Services
is graciously picking up the tab. We are working with a motor carrier
to provide "no charge" shipping for us (an $800.00 value). When the
crate arrives, Stewart and Stevenson will go to work to rebuild our engine
and marine gear. If you have any friends who may require diesel engine work,
please tell them about Stewart and Stevenson's tremendous show of support
for our project. They deserve a real "Thank You!"
In addition to the all-important marine engineering crate, there is another
crate coming which contains lots of parts for the boat.
We've got the rudder and rudder quadrant, steering foundation, helm,
engine/shifter controls, cleats, Groco twin bell sea strainer(!), to name
a few. I got all of this really great stuff from a boatyard in Portsmouth,
VA. We are paying about $2,000.00 for all of it, and that is a steal!!!
Chip and Linda Houston own the yard, and they are big supporters of our effort.
Thanks to the Houstons as well.
Irish Bayou salvage expedition:
Well, this turned out really interesting. Earl Fredricks ran this operation
safely and efficiently. They scavenged the wreck of the LCVP on site, then
Bert Duplantis decided he wanted to take the thing home with him! With
a firm knowledge of physics, some good old American know-how, and lots of
determination - Bert has floated the wreck and is going to bring it to us.
No kidding. Fetch, Bert. Good boy! Hats off to the crew
of the USCGC White Holly for the able assist!
We still need that darn strut. Unfortunately, the strut had been removed
from the Irish Bayou boat. Earl Fredricks has been investigating the
possibility of having one cast for us. What we need, though, is a wooden
pattern made from the machinist's drawings. Enter Bill Phelps. Bill
says he can make our pattern for us! Go get 'em Bill! You see
people, somebody is always coming up with the "big play." Once the
pattern is made, we can see about getting it to the foundry to have the rough
casting made. By the way, the strut will be cast in it's original material
- manganese bronze.
The large timbers you see have been donated to the project by the Hines family
of Midland Pipe Corporation. These hard-to-find longleaf pine timbers
will become our headlog, skeg and "corner posts." You don't just go
to the lumber yard to get timber like this any more. Another tremendous
donation - thanks! Albany Woodworks in Albany, LA is doing the resawing
of these old timbers for us. Oni at Albany Woodworks has become a real
friend to the project.
We put the bow door on hold until we flip the hull over and do some critical
measuring. OTECH in Harvey is standing by and ready to build the door when
we give 'em the go-ahead. Trinity Industries has come through with our marine
paint (haze gray of course). We will all become familiar with haze
Ipik Door Company (the Pick family) has pledged to make the plywood sideshell
for the boat. What a gift! You see, the Pick family supplied Higgins
with plywood during the war. Randy Pick is working on this tremendous
project right now.
We have an offer of assistance to pay for our bottom (about $3,500.00). It
is a bona fide pledge, but it isn't in the "bank" yet. I have every
reason to believe that we can count on it though.
Bruce Harris is working on a story for the WoodenBoat magazine. Great
stuff! This will really give us some national exposure. Remember
Bruce, "I" before "E" except after "C" etc.
M1 rifle raffle ticket sales - this has been a terrific source of funding
for us. Please sell some more tickets. If we run out, I'll make
We own everything you see (except the woodworking equipment). All of
the wood is paid for, to date. Additionally, we have paid for the parts
coming in from Virginia. We are going to stay on a "pay as we go" basis.
I like to sleep at night.
We are in really good shape right now, especially with Stewart and Stevenson's
offer and with the promise of the bow door from OTECH and the sideshell from
the Picks. Let's not go to sleep though. Other issues will arise,
repeat - will arise - down the road. Think about other sources of funding.
I still need some legal assistance to help draw up some papers for our "Higgins
Boat Trust" and the eventual donation of the boat to UNO. The need
for this is looming larger every day.
Well, no organization seems to be the best organization. We need 6-8
volunteers each weekend, and this is what we usually get. Until further
notice, we'll stay like we are...come when you want, stay as long as you
like. The team leaders report the system is working. Good job!
I went aboard the Cabot earlier this week to search for any boat outfit items
we might need. I got a few old items, but we are in need of more. We
need an old "A. LAFRANCE" CO2 fire extinguisher. It should be painted
red, and it has a large plastic (bakelite?) bell on the business end of the
hose. We also need some inflatable WWII issue type life belts. What
about an old first aid kit? Anchor (35#?), grappling hook. We
need some manila line. What size and how much? Heaving line needed?
Come on some of you old boatswain mates - think think think. What did
this boat have on board?? Whatever was on board has got to be found
for display purposes.
I need a weekday volunteer who can spend a few hours assisting in coordinating
the eventual display area at the D-Day Museum. Bring your measuring
tape, I want some double checking done...not to worry, I've got a plan "B"
if it won't fit!
If anyone is interested in doing some public speaking for our project, let
me know. I've got four dates this month alone (I'm doing these) and
I could really use a hand. Anyone interested let me know. Help!
Finally, an item of great importance to the project. Montgomery, Barnett,
Brown, Read, Hammond & Mintz law firm has donated $5,000.00 to our project.
This phenomenal gift is going a long way toward seeing our goal realized.
This firm was Higgins' law firm of record during WWII. Many thanks
to our friend Mr. Gordon Grant of that firm for assisting us in obtaining
this gift. BRAVO ZULU Sir!!!