Please join us on September 10 at 5 p.m. at Dry Dock No. 2, operated by Rhoads Industries at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, to celebrate the completion of a project to repair and inspect Philadelphia’s official Tall Ship, Gazela Primeiro. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see a 114-year-old wooden ship in a 105-year old dry dock! There will be wine, beer, and light fare.
Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets for $35 for Ship Guild members, $50 for non-members, plus service fee. Proceeds benefit the continuing preservation efforts for Gazela.
The primary purpose of the recent dry docking project was to inspect selected framing of Gazela‘s hull below the waterline, which will help determine the extent of future rebuild work. The ship is scheduled to be relaunched later in September. The project is funded entirely by individual donations and a generous matching grant from the W. W. Smith Charitable Trust.
Check out our Facebook page at Barkentine Gazela for photos and video of the project.
On Wednesday, 29 July, Gazela entered Dry Dock No. 2 at Rhoads Industries in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She crossed the sill at 0805, followed by the barge Poplar, and the water was pumped out beginning at 0955; at about 1230 she touched the blocks.
This is the first time the ship has been hauled out in ten years and the first time the barge has been hauled out in probably twice that time. Once the dry dock was pumped out, the scaffolding was built around Gazela.
During the week of 3 August, workers and volunteers began taking off the copper and inspecting Gazela‘s framing and wood under the copper. After the copper was off, we began removing selected planks, which was accomplished with chainsaws, chisels, pry bars, clamps, big wooden levers, and plenty of teamwork.
The condition of the framing under these planks is better than we had expected, which is quite promising. We also started work on the thru-hull fittings, which will include replacing plastic fittings with copper or other material, and on removing the zincs (sacrificial anodes) that will soon be replaced with new ones.
With the planks removed, work started on prepping the ship for new planking (cleaning up seams, reefing seams, cleaning between the hull planking and the ceiling planking, etc.); in addition to this, the shipwrights began the process of roughly shaping the planking stock so that when the patterns are made they will be easier to cut.
During week three, we worked simultaneously on documentation, inspection, minor repairs to plank edges, and plank prep. There was spiling (using the space that the plank will go in to work up a pattern to make a new plank), cutting, steaming, and fastening, and by the end of the week we got the first plank of the project in and got another ready to steam.
With about fourteen more planks to make, we have a planer to get them to the proper thickness, after which the shipwrights will cut them to shape based on the patterns that they have made for each plank.
Getting the shape and size of each plank is critical, as they all have very specific places in the ship where they have to precisely fit. After the planks are put into the ship in the coming weeks, we will be putting copper back on.
Work on the barge Poplar
During the first week, we started with chipping rust and power washing the hull, and we also removed the sole boards on the port and starboard side in order to clean up those spaces and inspect them.
In week two, we continued the rust chipping and moved all of the combustibles off the barge in preparation for hot work. We also began needle-gunning in order to further eliminate rust (and to try to make more holes in the hull, since this is our chance to fix them) and continued removing things that need to be removed/moved.
We continued the prepping of the barge for hot work during week three, and with all of the concrete and rust removed from the bow and stern rakes, we began the removal of bad steel in those areas and cleaning up the hull in preparation for welding and painting.
Dry docking update – we had a great turnout of volunteers on Saturday, July 11, to learn more about an important project to assess the condition of Gazela’s framing, and to make repairs to our barge Poplar.
Gazela and Poplar will be going into the dry dock at Rhoads Industries at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on or about the 21st of July, and will remain in dock for about four weeks.
The work on Gazela will include pulling a strake of planking off 5′-6′ below the waterline, which will involve stripping the copper off in that area, taking out planks and their fasteners, inspecting the frames and all visible sections of the vessel, putting new planks in where ones were taken out, caulking, and re-coppering. In addition to this, we will be checking thru-hull fittings, replacing plastic piping on thru-hulls, inspecting the cutlass bearing, and mounting a new depth sounder forward.
This critical project will also help inform our plan for a more comprehensive hull project in the future.
Current PSPG members will be able to help, though we will have a limit of how many can be in the dock at one time and all volunteers will need to sign a waiver, watch a safety briefing, and provide some of their own safety gear, such as steel-toed boots. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest, expertise, and availability. The volunteers will be working alongside a paid crew of about twelve shipwrights and laborers. If you aren’t able to volunteer your time, donations are also welcome.
This is a huge step forward for the PSPG in fulfilling our mission to preserve our historic vessels and it can’t happen without your support!
Letter from Guild President, Al Ponessa to the Guild
July 10, 2015
I have been holding off on this Newsletter so I could announce the Dry-docking date. It is now officially in the signed contract for ‘on or about’ July 21. The uncertainty of the date and my hesitancy to announce it was due to a crane-barge that was in the dock that has just been un-docked (on Wednesday). The dock needs to be pumped down and cleaned (in progress) and then we can start building the blocking next week. As Lisa mentioned in the Weekly News there will be meeting this Saturday for volunteers. If you are interested in helping, especially during the week, please be sure to attend. The docking is scheduled for 4 weeks so we should be out on Aug 18. Don’t assume you won’t be needed or that if you can only spare a few days that won’t work for us. We need you!
There will also be a briefing given by the shipyard (Rhoads Industries) (date to be announced) for those working in the dock. As you can imagine there are lots of safety rules.
We are also looking at the possibility of a fund raiser near the end of the docking period so stay tuned for that as well.
As previously mentioned the intent of this docking is to repair a known leak, fix any damaged copper and pull a strake of planking below the waterline to assess the condition of the frames. Zinc replacement and hull fitting inspections will be done as well. This hull assessment is a key element to help us gauge the extent of future work.
Poplar will also be docked at the same time. She is in need of some plating repairs and painting. There are opportunities for volunteers here also.
Tall Ships Festival
Thanks for all the volunteers for the Tall Ships Philadelphia-Camden event. The ship looked great. I received several compliments including some from Tall Ships America staff. A special thanks goes out to Lisa Kolibabek, the Volunteer Coordinator, the GLAD Committee (Marie Jordan, Alice Krieg, Alex Stewart and Steve Schmid), the Persons-in-Charge and cooks under Debbie Greenspan’s guidance. Given the complex logistics of the festival and a rainy Saturday, we did a fantastic job accommodating over 9000 visitors. All enjoyed their visit. To support participate in the event we needed to renew our USCG Certificate of Inspection and, thanks to the preparation under our Superintendent of Ships, Patrick Flynn, we accomplished that goal as well. Well done to all involved in preparing the ships and serving as crew, including volunteers from Oliver Hazard Perry.
Come get the best view of the 4th of July fireworks at Penn’s Landing this Saturday from the decks of the Tall Ship Gazela! Enjoy the use of our clean onboard heads (That’s boat-talk for bathrooms). Bring your own picnic dinner or snacks to enjoy.
Gazela will provide some limited seating, although you are welcome to bring your own chairs as well. Please note, Gazela will be tied up to the dock during this event.
Because of the inclement weather predicted for Saturday, the Delaware River Waterfront has postponed the Penn’s Landing fireworks to Sunday, June 28th. If you purchased tickets to view the fireworks from Gazela’s decks, your tickets will be honored on Sunday.