We held our M1 rifle drawing out at the boat on June 6th (D-Day).
Gayle Higgins Jones drew the winner, while a good crowd looked on.
Our lucky winner was Mr. Jim Weller of Metairie, La. We couldn't have
a better winner! Mr. Weller is a WWII army veteran (artillery) and
landed at Normandy on D-Day. He then fought his way across Europe (winning
the Purple Heart...) finally returning to Metairie after the war. Major
General Jim Livingston, USMC (Ret) made the rifle presentation. Great
Mr. Weller has now joined our crew, and we welcome his assistance. Watch
your thumb with that M1 Mr. Weller!
June 6th was also the day Ronnie Virgets of Channel 4 came to
visit, Ronnie shot some great footage, and got some great interviews
with some of our veterans. Thank you Ronnie, and of course thank you
WWL Channel 4. By the way, good press is very important to us. Since
we have a zero budget for public relations & advertising, pieces like
Ronnie's are very important. They enable us to "get the word out." Channel
4 has always believed in our project, and they have truly become good friends
After all of the "VIPS" left the June 6th workparty, our crew
shared a large American flag "birthday" cake. You see, it is a year
since we started construction of the boat and I thought we would do something
special. Bruce made a wish (reportedly something to do with garboard
fitup) & blew out the candle. As we ate the cake and discussed
how far we've come, I again realized that our #1 asset is our people. The
energy and desire to complete this task is insurmountable. If you don't
believe me, come see for yourself.
We met with Titus Deshotel of Coastal Erection Crane Service. Our plan
was to contract with Coastal to turn the boat over (we are 3 months away
from this). We've found out that we can't use cranes though, because
the overhead is simply too low over the boat.
We are going to use the Dave Sintes method to accomplish the turnover.
Here is the plan:
1. Build a 2" x 8" crate around the boat.
2. Put a forklift under the "crate" on one side (Forklift #1).
3. Have another forklift ready on the other side (Forklift #2).
4. Forklift #1 lifts and one side of "crate" rises.
5. Forklift #2 stands ready to "catch" the "crate" as it goes over
top dead center.
6. Forklift #2 lowers the "crate" to the ground.
7. Now the boat is on its side.....
8. Execute steps #1 through #6 over again.
9. Now boat is upright.
10. Uncrate boat.
Simple, inexpensive and the boat never leaves the ground! The lower
portion of the "crate" becomes a temporary cradle!
We owe Coastal Erection a big thank you for helping us realize that we needed
to go to Lift Plan "B"...Thanks Mr. Titus!
All of the bottom canvas is installed on the port side. Our plan
is to install one side at a time, and then fit up the planks, applying
Dolfinite as we go. Bruce Harris reports that it was interesting to
see the Dolfinite squeezing from the invisible wormholes in the garboard
as it was permanently installed. The installation of this plank was
a complicated fit-up. Realize too that this board is under tremendous
tension. Our crew got it in though, and of course it is done correctly
The transom is installed. Beautiful!
Both sides of the boat are ready for installation. We will probably
have the port side permanently installed by the time you read this.
Installing one of these tremendous pieces of plywood will be cause
to step back and realize another major waypoint has been accomplished.
We will use our modern version of the "Bull Gang" to manhandle the 36' x
6' sheets into position...you see, Higgins used gangs of men to handle movement
and installation of very large vessel structural members. These guys
were human cranes! They were known as the "Bull Gang"...read Jerry
Strahan's book about Higgins' American ingenuity!
Joey Madere came through again with a neat drilling jig which enabled us
to drill dead center through the frames and the keel, enabling us to complete
this important bolt-up job. Hot, dirty, nasty work! Again, all
done perfectly. We didn't even drill through anyone's foot, but I thought
Brad Booth was gonna become a permanent installation a couple of times!
Oni at Albany Woodworks is donating a very large longleaf yellow pine timber
to us from which we will fashion our skeg. This is a great donation,
as now we don't have to do any fancy laminating! We are talking about a timber
that weighs about 275 Lbs! Thank you Oni at Albany Woodworks! By
the way, Oni runs an old fashioned lumber mill across the lake in Albany.
I haven't mentioned him lately, but he did all of the sawing on our major
pine structural members.
Fasteners Inc. has continued to help with our tremendous nut, bolt
and screw needs. Thanks to the Cotaya family!
The Levee Board has pledged to help us with our forklift needs for the turnover
(steps #1 through #6...), and they will also help us lift the skeg on
and off for fit-up to the hull (betcha a dozen times...). Where would
we be without the Levee Board?
The Levee Board also installed more circuits and electrical outlets for our
use. Now our crew doesn't have to fight for that extension cord!
This really helped our productivity.
The survey of the bow ramp has proven that we have the correct one. The
hinge will have to be replaced (the brass pin is good), and the ramp will
be sandblasted / primed and painted. OTECH has pledged support for the work.
We are happy to have this original ramp as it adds to the authenticity
of our boat!
Dave Sintes has volunteered to help us draft the permanent cradle for the
boat. I still need some design assistance. No takers yet on this.
C'mon, somebody out there can give us a hand with this. Call
me! (504) 835-7249. I'll introduce you to Dave.
All for now, stay tuned in.