In the beginning of November, Ben and Bleuenn, our shipwright friends with their amazing ship Swallow, came into Holbaek Harbour from Brittany. Beating to wind, they manoeuvred the ship under sail and moored alongside Hawila. They used only their huge sculling oars at the stern of the boat to steer the bow away at the last moment, as the vessel came to a comfortable stop.
Ben and Bleuenn were our master shipwrights last spring, leading the project of replanking much of the mid-section, forwards below the waterline, and our galboard. We were awaiting them to start on the next big step of the refit – the forward upper hull: replacing stanchions, beam shelves, upper frames, ceiling, shear planks and covering boards.
With their arrival, chainsaws and axes emerged, and worn-out, tenacious timbers were removed at exhilarating speed. In a single week, so much was removed from the bow that our naval architect noted the stern was sitting in the water a centimetre lower than before. When major deck beams were removed, we had to install temporary supports to maintain the boat’s shape and integrity.
Deconstruction was followed by re-construction, and it came with similar velocity. The process of reframing a ship like ours, with double sawn oak frames, can be approached in various ways.
Stay tuned for a technical post coming soon, detailing the process that we have used for each frame, from templating to roughing out, fairing, and fixing in place.