Our accomplishments this month have been:
Aubrey Adams built the BEST deck box you have ever seen! You
can see it in the background. I talked about this before, but the box
will be a temporary installation in the boat during sea trials. It
will serve as stowage for life jackets, fenders, mooring lines, ice boxes
and lunch pails while the boat is underway for sea trials this summer. It
will also give us a great place to SIT! The box comes out when the
boat gets displayed.
Aubrey is also fabricating the engine cover. The cover is a
very complicated framework of mahogany which will be covered in marine plywood.
With regard to the deck box and the engine cover, you couldn't find
better cabinet making anywhere. Aubrey Adams (as Jim Weller says) is
a surgeon with wood! Fantastic work Aubrey! By the way, Aubrey's
father worked at Higgins for years, including during the war.
Many thanks go to Paxton Lumber Company of New Orleans for donating the materials
Aubrey used to construct the deck box. Thanks for the assist Paxton
By the way, Tommy Falcon (BM1 Falcon, USCGR) has taken the lead in
helping us locate the equipment and deck gear we need for the boat. Tommy
is chipping away at it as this is written. We appreciate your efforts Tom!
We installed the deck cleats. You can clearly see them installed
along the starboard side of the boat in the picture. They've been painted
Navy gray since the photo was taken.
The coamings and coaming brackets are installed permanently. The
coamings are those two "splash boards" running fore and aft along the decks
on each side of the boat. They look easy to install, but the decks
have camber (slope) so those brackets are a bear to get just right! Beautiful
work from our crew on this installation.
The towing eyes are permanently installed. You can see the starboard
eye at the lower right hand corner of the hull. These are there in
case WE need to be towed. We'll have a bridle made up too...in the
deck box...in case we need it...probably never will...but you never know.
The steering system is installed. Look closely behind the cargo
bay bulkhead, over on the port side and you can see the helm (steering wheel).
The cable is run through all of the sheaves (pulleys) and to the rudder
quadrant. We went with 6x42 stainless wire rope instead of "galvanized
improved plow steel wire". This steering installation is a "forever"
job. We wanted to be double darn sure that there is never a problem
with steering on this boat. Earl Fredricks was instrumental in locating
the dozens of pieces parts to put our steering system together. We
are taking care of final adjustments to the cable run right now! The
wooden stand that houses the telescopic steering system is fabricated and
installed as well. Ray Asprion built the stand. Great work Ray!
The battery box is built and installed. Jefferson Battery pledged
the use of a battery to us as well. Thanks Jefferson! We will be calling
for that battery very soon.
Every bit of bilge piping is now in and permanently installed.
George Benedetto and Earl Fredricks were the work horses of this
complicated system. We have to remember Jimmy Dubuisson too. Jimmy
installed the two backup electric bilge pumps and their piping systems. Great
work from the bilge crew, George, Earl and Jimmy!
The exhaust system is installed. What a deal this system
was. Joey Madere has been head down on mufflers and exhaust piping
for weeks now. Lotsa angles and brackets and of course two mufflers.
All of this stuff is HEAVY folks. Our forward muffler weighs
over 100 pounds! Remember too that the exhaust penetrates one bulkhead and
of course the transom. This was a very complicated system, so you know
we had Joey Madere in charge of it! We are all very happy to have this
job done. Ed Daroca and Al Haydel had MORE work to do in that fuel
tank compartment to accommodate the after muffler. You really ought
to look at that little compartment sometime. Talk about jammed with
While we are talking about that fuel tank compartment, there is one
more piece of gear to be shoe-horned in there: The Magnesyn Electronic
Compass System! This complicated system is essentially a radio transmitter
which indicated the position of the boat to the mother ship. We found an
original Magnesyn unit last year and we are going to install it very
soon. The only component we couldn't find was the after deck installed
bakelite cover for the Magnesyn transmitter. You see, the system mounted
under the deck in the fuel tank compartment and all you could see externally
was a little domed "blister" on the deck. In lieu of the original cover,
Mr. Haddock volunteered to fabricate one from plans using fiberglass
reinforced cloth as the material. Mr. Haddock made a pattern from wood on
his lathe, and he is molding the cover from that pattern. This is another
touch of Mr. Haddock's magic added to this great boat!
Able Machine Shop of New Orleans, La. fabricated the reach rods for
our fuel and raw (sea) water piping valves. Reach rods are long rods
with handles like a water faucet which allow the crew to remotely (in our
case up to 5 feet away) turn valves on and off. Jimmy Dubuisson took charge
of this system. Thanks Able Machine and Jimmy Dubuisson (again)!
Our great weekday crew has stuck together and continued their hard work so
that our progress will leap forward on Saturday. Jim Weller, Ray Asprion,
Brad Booth and Roy Redler have hung tough week in and week out doing very
necessary and difficult jobs. You will usually find these guys sanding,
cleaning, scraping and painting in the bilge of our boat. Jim, Ray,
Roy and Brad will often spend a day a week or MORE out there working in places
you can't SEE! When visitors board the boat, they will probably never realize
all of the intricate work which took place below their feet...BUT WE KNOW!
Pride in a job well done...I repeat PRIDE IN A JOB WELL DONE has always
been a hallmark of this project. Thank you Jim Weller, Roy Redler,
Ray Asprion and Brad Booth.
In case you are wondering when we will put the bow ramp on...the answer is
SOON! Bruce Harris is planning for it now. This installation is
essentially the last phase of construction. We are waiting until everything
INSIDE the boat is complete before we put the ramp on. Ron Maranto
and Brad Booth were prepping a form for us this past week. This plywood
form will be used as a "dummy" to assist us in the installation. It
will be easier to deal with a 10 pound piece of plywood instead of that 800
Ray Asprion has a bunch of the nicest looking ball caps you ever saw!
They are Navy blue with gold letters that read across the front
"PA33-21" "Higgins LCVP". We are selling these caps for
$10.00 each, and Ray is handling the concession. The boat is making
$2.00 per hat on this deal, SO BUY ONE! If you want one mailed to you,
include $3.50 for priority U.S. Mail delivery. Send to: