Newsletter Masthead - 34KB

[September 1998]


[November 1998]

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 ramp!

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.  Thanks Buddy!

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 247!

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 splices now...

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!!!

[September 1998]

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