|As usual, lots to report so here goes!
All screw holes in the hull have been plugged and faired. The hull
planking has been faired and sanded smooth. The skeg was expertly shaped
and fit to the hull, along with the strut. These components are now
permanently installed on the boat. We were originally going to remove
these components, and then roll the boat over and reinstall them with the
boat right side up. We decided to go ahead and flip the boat with skeg /
strut attached. This is a big time saver for us. We need to make up
some of the time Georges cost us.
Hurricane Georges hit our friends at the Orleans Levee Board pretty hard.
The storm caused serious damage to the electrical system in the building
that houses our project. Initial reports were that we would be without
power or lights for up to a month! The Levee Board, with our needs
in mind, made the electrical repairs a priority. Thanks a million OLD.
We certainly could not afford the downtime.
As an aside, I had gone to General Ernst of the U.S. ARMY 377th
TAACOM UNIT for a loan of a couple of trailered generators to get us
through our pinch. The 377th was ready to come through for
us when our power was restored. THANKS GENERAL! By the way, the
377th has an awful lot of interest in our project. The Higgins
Boat was a real workhorse for them during WWII.
The wooden engine foundations are fabricated, as are the deck beams. The
headlog fairing is almost complete. The caulking process will begin
in earnest very soon. The Wednesday crew will probably take care of
the majority of the caulking duties. For weeks now, we have been pushing
through a very tedious stage of the construction of this vessel. Our
volunteers have absolutely hung in there, putting in the HOURS...and not
always seeing lots of results. No short cuts have been taken. The
sawdust gang is doing it right. We will get the satisfaction of realizing
MAJOR progress very soon when we turn the hull. As an example, we will
be ready to install the engine as soon as the hull is turned over. Lots
of work on the hull interior is already done.
In case you're interested...during turnover the hull will move through a
14 foot high arc. The hull will also move 30 feet Southward during
the movement. Once right side up, we will drag the boat back to it's
original position in the workshop. Bruce Harris is ramping up right
now for the rollover crate we have been talking about for a while now.
Sheriff Charles Foti sent one of his big flatbed wreckers out to the boat
to load up the bow ramp for transportation to OTECH for repair / refurbishment.
Earl Fredricks supervised the load out. The ramp is now at OTECH, and
work on this important component will begin ASAP. By the way, this
bow ramp was rescued from an LCVP wreck we located in a horse pasture outside
of San Francisco. Earl Fredricks & my dad had gone out there to
salvage that wreck, but they couldn't fit the bow ramp in the trunk of their
rented car...The USCG from our Support Center in Alameda sent a team with
a winch truck to bring it out of the pasture. Mr. John Kushner paid
the freight to get the ramp home. Thanks again, John! The really
neat thing about THIS ramp is that the LCVP it came off of was definitely
WW II Higgins built. Great story! Graham Haddock designed this
Sheriff Harry Lee and his company MANUFAB really came through with some metal
fabrication for us this month! We needed some steel plate engine foundation
support brackets custom made, and the Sheriff stepped up and provided them
for us. The pieces were made to plan spec including galvanizing, and
they are beautiful. THANKS SHERIFF!
Karen Reisch and LT Glynn Smith have the christening committee humming along.
They have had several meetings already, and are well on their way in
the planning process of this historically significant event. If you
have information or suggestions that may help Karen and Glynn, call the Higgins
Hotline (663 4460) to leave messages for them. Karen and Glynn are
being ably assisted by: Annie Fredricks, Charisse Grant, Fletcher Isacks,
John Daniel, James Woodward and Jerry Strahan. If you are interested
in assisting this committee, LET US KNOW!
Our christening committee will reporting progress to the National D-Day Museum
through the Museum's Grand Opening and Special Events Committee. This
committee is headed by Maj Gen Jim Livingston, and will coordinate events
leading up to the grand opening of the museum itself in June (6th)
2000. In addition to holding a seat on the Museum Board of Directors,
I also serve on this Spec Events Committee. The Higgins people are
well represented, believe me! Our christening and commissioning will serve
as the beginning of the countdown for the opening of the museum.
I haven't thanked Buddy Stahl and the great folks at Radiophone lately for
the continual use of the Higgins Hotline. It really comes in handy.
DONOVAN'S MARINE gave us some terrific hull caulking this month, as did AMERICAN
LEGION MARITIME POST #247. We really appreciate the gift of this super
important caulking. Thanks again DONOVAN'S and welcome aboard POST
Tommy Falcon has agreed to refurbish our WWII (display only) fire extinguisher.
Go get it Tommy. By the way, we are always interested in WWII
vintage boat equipment for the display. If you find something, call the Hotline.
Someone will be in touch. I know we still need a correct anchor.
Erston Reisch (former USCG) has volunteered to make our mooring lines (display
and working). Thanks for volunteering this Erston! Nice tight
Mr. George Jones of the National D-Day museum gave us a very nice donation.
Thank you very much Master Sergeant!
NEWSBREAK! Erston Reisch's loaner plastic owl seems to be working!
We are keeping a weather eye on this developing situation. Thank
you Erston, for your support.
We have been meeting with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra this month.
It is a very strong possibility that the LPO may be working very closely
with our group to explore some interesting new ideas in the composition and
performance of original musical scores. I won't go into detail now,
but members of the orchestra have visited the boat project and have begun
their initial planning process. I'll be keeping you apprised on this.
We heard from LCDR Paul Glandt, USNR that his people have begun fabrication
of our muffler system. Whew! We are so pleased to hear that important
system (which will be needed soon) is in progress. Thank you sir!
Earl Fredricks came up with a great plan to replicate the original canvas
covered rubber bow ramp gaskets. C.V. HAROLD RUBBER CO. gave us some
neoprene rubber gasketing which we will run through a router to achieve the
correct shape. Cover this with canvas and VOILA!!! Great work Earl!
Many thanks to Anne Rochell of the Atlanta Constitution Journal. Anne
wrote a great piece on our project. I've gotten lots of positive feedback,
and requests for information from our friends to the East because of this
article. Thanks Anne! I'll be posting a copy of it on the Hot
Word board very soon.
The fuel tanks have arrived at the boat. They are exact replicas of
the originals of course. AVONDALE INDUSTRIES fabricated them from plans
for us. Great work from a great local shipyard. Thank you very
much Mr. Bossier! George Benedetto is investigating a coating system
for the exterior of these tanks right now.
We are looking for a set of original or original type cleats for the boat.
Here is the description:
12" cast steel on rectangular base measuring 8"x3". There are 4
mounting holes. We need six of these cleats if you can help.
We need 100' of 6x19 galvanized improved plow steel wire cable. This
cable will be used for the bowramp hoisting rigging. Time to break
out those riggers vices!!!