Captain’s Log: November 2014
As October wanes away, November promises to bring a flurry of activity to the Fiddler’s Dream as she splashes from her summer yard period and makes her way back to Brownsville. Once she is home, we will have our work cut out for us as we will need to get the vessel’s winter cover up so we have a dry work environment to address the leaking deck.
There are yet a few challenges before the splash. The ballast must be weighed before being put back in, hull welding must be completed and inspected, and everything must pass the critical eye of our United Stated Coast Guard Inspector; they have been tasked with making sure that all the work we do is up to the highest standards for the safety of the mariners, volunteers, passengers, and students who will enjoy the vessel for years to come. Our current challenges aside, moving forward into the winter season will be a very exciting time as the deck gets replaced and the ship’s systems get a major overhaul.
The vessel has been in great hands at Citadel Marine where the media blasting, sealing, and re-welding has all been done by top notch craftsmen. The completed work includes: the unloading of the ballast, media blasting the interior of the box keel and exterior hull skin, sealing the hull so it doesn’t rust while work continues, installing a proper packaging gland on the rudder post, re-fastening the rudder, re-designing the box keel access hatches, and ultrasonically testing the hull plating to ensure minimal structural integrity loss due to rust and corrosion. The projects that will be completed prior to splash and are on-going at the moment are: grinding out and re-welding all undercut and porous wleds, finishing coats of epoxy sealer on hull and inside box keel, cold tarring the interior of the box keel to load ballast and bottom paint.
As we get closer to splash and we are able to firm up dates and weather windows for transit back to Brownsville, I will keep you posted.
-Captain John J. Morrison, Project Manager Fiddler’s Dream Re-fit