On November 18 & 19, Team Rubicon from the Philadelphia region united to help the volunteers of the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild prepare Gazela for the winter by installing a greenhouse structure over the deck of the ship. This structure protects the vessel from snow and ice, while providing a shelter for the volunteers to continue to work aboard during the winter months. In just two days, the entire framework was assembled.
Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters. At Team Rubicon, “disasters are our business but veterans are our passion”. Team Rubicon strives to find ways to continually engage volunteers outside of active disasters. It enables more people to be able to volunteer and serve with the team, and it benefits communities close to home. Team Rubicon chose Gazela as a unique project that many of the military veterans who served in the navy, coast guard, and merchant marines can connect with. According to Jenna Brandolini from Team Rubico, “winterization of the ship is a bit like disaster prevention; it helps to preserve a piece of Philadelphia’s history.”
A great turnout from our volunteer crew over the past two weeks saw a lot of small jobs get done, including general clean-up of areas above and below decks, and a very big job is almost done – the removal of the winter cover frames! If you’d like to join our crew and help get Gazela ready for the summer, please contact us at email@example.com
A huge thank you goes out to everyone who pitched in to assemble the rig and make crane day on May 15 at the Navy Yard a success. By the end of the day, the masts were re-stepped and the ship was moved back to Penn’s Landing.
The task of attaching and tuning the standing rigging, as well us sending up the spars, prepping and painting, and a myriad of other tasks to get her ship-shape is underway.
Bring a dish. Bring a bottle. Bring a friend and turn them on to the ship. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you can help by bringing a big pot of something to eat or help with set-up or clean-up.
For those of you who are new to our little band of sailors and are looking forward to getting underway this season, we are offering sail training classes this spring.
The mandatory Level 1 class – Introduction to Gazela – will be offered four times on Sundays. All dates 10 am to 4 pm, aboard Gazela:
Please register for one of the classes at this link.
This class, provided at no cost only to active Guild members, covers a variety of basic topics ranging from knot tying, line handling, learning the ship, emergency stations and watchstanding roles. For new members, you will receive a copy of the Gazela crew manual, a log book, and a complimentary piece of rope for knot tying.
The Annual Dinner in February was a great success, with a healthy turn out and a good bit of money made for the Guild with the auction items. We got a recap of last year’s work and successes and got a glimpse of the year (and work…lots of work) ahead. In addition to that, we awarded our volunteer of the year awards:
Gazela Volunteer of the Year went to Debbie Greenspan for organizing the cooks and making sure that there is always lunch for the crew, even if that means dropping something off the night before or cooking multiple weekends in a row; she certainly has made a huge difference in crew morale by ensuring that the volunteers are always fed on weekends.
Jupiter Volunteer of the Year went to Hank Mahlmann for taking a keen interest in Jupiter and coming down multiple times per week to work on projects from cleaning and organizing the fo’c’s’le to assisting with the #2 generator work. Hank brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to Jupiter and the other vessels, and we are thrilled that he happened to find us by chance one day (and has decided to stick around!)
The William W. Smith Award was presented to Rhoads Industries for their extreme cooperation and understanding during this past summer’s dry docking. From allowing us to have our volunteers working alongside their and our employees, to their willingness to help us out in any way possible, they certainly helped make a lasting contribution to the Guild.
We were featured in the new edition of Marlinspike Magazine! They did a great job focusing not only on the work we were doing but also on those doing the work on Gazela and Poplar. While this is only a sampling of those working in the dry dock, all those who worked and volunteered in the dry dock put in long hours in sweltering heat to get the job done.
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 email@example.com 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.