Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Charles W. Morgan: Main Topmast: Part 1


This weekend I had the opportunity to go back to Mystic Seaport and see them adding a taller part to the middle mast, known as the main topmast, to the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. All three lower masts were in when we arrived, and they were preparing to attach the extension with an enormous crane.


The crew began prepping the rig.

 

Quentin Snediker (front left) oversaw the production as the crew worked and the crane loomed overhead.


A tall spindly ladder was hooked onto the crane and swung around onto the Morgan so that Alex, one of the key crew-members for this installation, could climb up to the very top of the lower mast to perform the installation.


 
This is not a job for those afraid of heights.



A block of concrete bricks was hauled onto the ship as ballast to help stop the Morgan from listing.


Alex climbed to the top of the mast and secured the necessary ropes before they brought the top portion of the mast to install.


The crew on the ground hooked the mast onto the crane.


The crane swung the topmast, as big as a tree, over our heads and above the Morgan.


Perched atop the mast, Alex and Matt guided the topmast into its locking position and began securing the two together.


The top of the mast now has two "spreaders" which look like outstretched arms. 


With each new addition, the Morgan becomes more and more stately and grand. After she was lowered into the water at the launch in July, the ship felt a little short and squat, with less of the immense impact she had out of the water. But as she grows taller and taller with each new piece, you get closer to seeing how impressive she will be with her full rigging and sails.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I get to ride in a small boat in the river as the crew actually moves the enormous whaleship!

2 comments:

Audrey Hawkins said...

I love it, Evan! What a great reportage!

Evan Turk said...

Thank you Audrey! :)