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P.O. Box 91    Gloucester, North Carolina     (252) 729-8021   blakeboatworks@gmail.com

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Journal of Our
Huckins
Restoration


We love Paris in the Springtime...

Notes from the Field - "Cherokee" Huckins Restoration Project

April 26, 2004  As Down East bursts with pink, red, and white azaleas, Cherokee enjoys her spring finishing touches. Below shows the Huckins in full regalia. Kerry, after spraying the final clear coating, is unmasking the lettering installed by Sharon, Caroline, and Garrett. Tom Parker is installing wingwall trim, and Bryan and Steve are up top securing the canvas covering. Steve also installed antennas. The rest of the crew is below detailing and doing punch-out trim carpentry. It won't be long now!

ninety-seven, ninety-eight - hey, you guys are hiding, right?
Shaping Up to Ship Out


Climb the stairs and take a look - below left shows the stair treads installed, and to the right is the aluminum structure that the guys from Hancock and Grandsons built, with gray canvas top, sewn by Coastal Canvas, attached.

Stop Stairing! Dude, it's your turn to hold the kite...
Stairs with Treads, Fly Bridge Aluminum Framing and Canvas Top


Bryan has been assembling the many layers of sound insulation for the engine hatches - first a layer of 3 inch fiberglass batting, then a quarter inch of loaded mat, and finally another inch of quilted fiberglass batting, all encased in a light weight perforated aluminum housing. Below right Bryan is working on the "ram", or hydraulic hatch opener for the center hatch.

Who put all this junk on my bed of nails? <Ram-a-Lam-a-Ding-Dong!
Sound Insulation for Engine Hatches

Two-armed Bandit
Center Hatch Installed


and this is where I got that speeding ticket...
Navigational Map - We are Here

Steve Gilpin got the computers on line, including the navigational software. Above he's touching the touch screen, pointing out where we are (well, we're about an inch to the right of his finger). Look how great the channel shows up! This mapping software ranges from the above specificity to broad ranges - Atlantic waters from NC to FL, for example. Below are the wingwalls and doors - the door is closed on the port side, blending in with the curve of the wall, and open on the starboard wall. Tom is shown in the right-hand photo installing wingwall trim.

Smooooooooth It's time I went metric...
Wingwall Doors and Trimming


Cherokee received her final survey from clipboard-weilding Bill Gladding of Gladding Marine Surveying in Florida. "This is by far the best Huckins restoration I've ever seen," Bill told Bryan. Guess she passed with flying colors!

Did you record that I can bench-press 30 pounds?
Surveyor Bill Gladding Checks it Out


Launching a boat is like having a baby - long preparation and labor and a split second splash into the world. Remember crane-operator George Brown's steel trawler that we featured two years ago? The Chelsey Girl finally hit the water - check out the pictures! The 65 foot vessel was put on wheels and pulled down the road with a tractor. Then the crew (friends, family, and community members who voluteered their strong backs) had to turn the boat into a grassy field toward the sound. Huge oak mats were laid out with George's crane, forming a makeshift path and enabling the crew to nudge the trawler along without destroying the grass. The third day was the toughest - the vessel was pulled alongside a boat basin, but had to be pivoted on greased skids so that the stern pointed toward the mud bank. Instead of launching her that evening the men decided to cut off the Chelsey Girl's skeg and wheel with a torch to avoid expensive wheel or shaft damage should the boat hit bottom - it's not hard to weld it back on later. By day four at noon, all systems were go - the trawler was blessed by Reverend Ellis Bedsworth of the Marshallberg Methodist Church, christened by George's 12 year-old daughter Chelsea, and shoved down the bank for a big splash and perfect launch. The four day project brought locals and newcomers together and turned into quite a community event with plenty of food, music, and storytelling. Guess it takes a village to launch a boat or, as one elderly resident said, "It takes a steel trawler to get us all out!" Signing off for now, Barbara "Fish Doctor" Blake
Chelsey Girl of Eve of Launch Odyssey

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