Sunday, November 9, 2008

The outside...

This picture is just prior to Hurricane Hanna buzzing the coast. The guy acting like he is working, might just be your author. We put out eight 1 1/2 inch nylon lines going to the dock... at the height of the wind, an elephant could tight rope walk them. In order to control the boat as they came under tension, I put together a 4:1 block and tackle pulley system to pull the boat off the pilings to starboard.

That day was almost like work...

This is what she looks like out of the water... She drafts 6 feet, which means it takes 6 feet of water for her to not be lounging around on a sandbar. I'm 6 feet tall, and can walk under her when she is out of the water...

Noel has a steel shoe protecting her wooden keel. Her hull profile is looooong and skinny, which gives her spectacular fuel economy for her length and weight.

That is her bow... When we first started working on her... she floated at the navy blue boot stripe. After months of stuff removal, furniture, and random bits of string... she floats on that light blue bottom paint. Bottom paint, eh... such colorful boating terminology.

That is a propeller. Quite useful for stirring sand, cultivating barnacles, and occasionally propelling Noel through the water on adventures. She has two propellers.

On deck...

Yikes. This is your author a couple years ago standing on the brink. Well, it sure felt like the point of no return. As you can see... the bulwarks needed some repair, oh... and the deck beams too. Maybe a few frames... Sarcasm alert: Wooden boats have a life cycle, they return to dirt. They are the antithesis of the Pheonix, much more like a parrot. When the parrot kicks the bucket, you have the choice to give it a burial at sea, or get it creamated and then place a new one on its perch. It is hard to recycle a spent parrot, even as a pattern to make a new one. Noel is a bit like that, except we've had to rebuild the perch too. The moral of the story... Wood boat restoration is for the birds.

Bulwarks? We don't need no stinking bulwarks. (For the non-nautical... bulwarks are the hand rail around the deck that keeps the people on board... and water off.)

They also keep boats from looking like a unicorn with their stem (Or parrot perch...) projecting up into the air. She does look a bit naked in this picture...
That is better!

Everybody needs a battering ram... or at least an anchor chute! Also... New rub rails the whole way around, the wood under the metal band is new too. (Yikes.)

What about some hand rails?

The view from my "little" 28 footer. This fits into the top ten things I never want to see approach from behind.

The pictures! Inside the boat.

The Helm. The middle window would make life difficult for those of us without X-ray vision. It used to be an opening window... but the frame needed to be replaced and haven't "got to it yet." Glass is left for last, as broken panes are a pain.

The Cabin House... and work shop. One day the galley and settee will occupy this 47 foot long space. That big hole in the floor goes down to the engine room. The dry stack exhaust used to go up through that hole.

This is the inside of the bow. The white box is the anchor locker, the stainless steel stalactite is a hydraulic motor that drives a winch on deck. All the frames are new. The boat lists slightly to starboard at the moment... the camera guy might have been flying a little high on paint fumes too...
Through that water tight bulkhead, is the anchor locker. This area will soon have a state room. Yup... new frames here too.This is the master stateroom. This area is 17 feet long and nearly 16 feet wide. The plywood box in the left corner, are stairs that I'll be removing and changing into something more comfortable to walk up and down. For the most part, if it is painted white... it is new wood.
This is the primary diesel generator. It puts out 30kw of 240 volt AC current. It is a three phase generator, but is currently wired up to provide single phase.
That is the crash pump. It is driven off of the starboard engine, all those valves allow you to select the compartment that is filling up with water... and pump it out. There will soon be an electric pump on the left side, in case the starboard engine conks out. *This will double as a fire hose, just in case jet skiers get to close for comfort... (Grin)

Those two gray lumps of steel in the picture are pipes that keep the boat from twisting when it is rough out. The two white lumps of iron, are the main engines and propulsion for the boat. Twin Cummins 855 cubic inch diesel engines. Total, about 400 horsepower... This boat goes 1.1 miles on a gallon of diesel, and will knock off a mile every 6 minutes at cruise speed. Weeee! She's a tractor, not a speed boat.
That is an 8kw Northern Lights diesel generator, it is a back up in case the 30kw feels cranky.

*You are now looking towards the back of the boat.
Those two shiny squares on each side of the walkway, are diesel tanks. Each holds about 600 gallons of diesel. While the tanks are not new, they are painted white. The wood that is painted white... is new.

This is the lazarette. Those big timbers are called floors, the "floor" is plywood and not pictured. On a boat... the "floor" is called the sole. The bolts in oval patterns are what hold the shaft struts on. More about that later... Yeah, it has white paint, what do we know about that? (Grin)
The back wall in this picture is the inside of the transom. The transom is mostly new. That big metal pipe houses the rudder shaft. This boat has twin rudders, the starboard (right side if you were looking towards the bow) is not pictured. Noel has mechanical steering, which means the steering wheel (helm) turns a chain that is connected to long cable. When you turn the wheel, the chain pulls one cable. The cable is wrapped around a big quadrant... which is shaped like a slice of pie. Metallic pie... The radius of the quadrant determines how much leverage the captain has over the rudder. On this boat, the wheel turns 2 1/2 times to go from hard to port to hard to starboard.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The History Of Noel. 1942 83 Foot Coast Guard Cutter.

Noel was built in 1942 by Wheeler Company of Brooklyn, NY for WWII. She is one of the Matchbox Fleet, of 230 boats. 83 footers had that title, because they were wooden... and filled to the brim with 2,000 gallons of gasoline!

She was Commissioned 9/29/1942 at 1622 hours, for an approximate cost of $80,000.00

Advertisement from Yachting magazine, September 1942.

Her name is an interesting story. Her number in the coast guard was CG 83370... which was learned after naming her Noel. When she was decommissioned in 1959 her number was changed to 83394 which is the hull number of another 83 footer, which happened to have the radio call sign... NOEL. 83370's call sign... NLXL. Noel sounds a little better.

She is 83 feet long, and 16 feet 7.75 inches wide (Beam) and a draft (Depth) of 5.3 feet. A picture of her in a travel lift from 2002. (Name at the time... Rendezvous.)

Her hull is mahogany planked, and "originally" had steamed white oak frames with a spacing of 12 inches. Originally she had a small bronze wheel house, and twin 8 cylinder gasoline Sterling Viking II, Model TCG-8 engines. A total of 1200 horsepower... that could drive her to a maximum of full load speed of 18.2 knots. Empty and without armaments they could run 20.5 knots. All this with a fuel bill only the government could afford! Full speed... 120 gallons per hour. Cruise, only a hundred! For an idea of scale in the picture below, the engines were 12 feet long... and weighed 6 tons a piece! A wet exhaust ran out the transom for superior sub hunting abilities.

Noel, went across the atlantic on the deck of a ship, to be part of the Normandy Flotilla, she was #12. June 6, 1944... D-Day, she was part of the invasion of Normandy.

"83370 (CG 621 1942-4 assigned to EASTSEAFRON---stationed at Fernandina Beach. FL; 1944-45 assigned to the COM 12THFLEET---stationed at Poole. England; Jun 44 assigned to USCG Rescue Flotilla No. 1 ---served in Normandy Invasion as USCG 12; Jun 45 assigned to the EASTSEAFRON: Aug. 45 shipped to the Canal Zone; 1 Apr. 59 decommissioned: 9 Oct. 59 sold."

She was stationed:
Fernandina, Florida 9/29/42.
New York, New York 3/28/44
San Francisco, California 7/27/45
CG Base, Alameda, Cal 2/15/46

From 1946 until 1959 she ran back and forth from Alameda to Pier 47 in San Francisco. She was assigned to the 12th Coast Guard District San Francisco.

She was also a star in the the John Wayne movie "High and the Mighty." 83370 is the first of the two white Coast Guard Cutters leaving the dock, when they are off to rescue the plane.

She was decomissioned on April 1, 1959 and stored at the Alameda Coast Guard base, until October 9th, 1959 when she was sold to Frank J. Ravis in Compton California. became a pleasure boat... documented as Apache Maid and converted over to a motor yacht in Washington State in 1960.

Her name was changed to Conciliator around 1967. A gap in the documentation where she was registered as a motorboat in California makes us uncertain when.

Here are some advertisements for Conciliator:

In 1971 she was purchased by Bob and Judy Mersey (Then President of Columbia Records.) and named Princess Helen. A news clipping saved by a past owner says that, "The ship's log indicates the yacht on more than one occasion entertained recording stars Perry Como, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, and even the Beatles George Harrison and other celebrities of the music world."

In 1972 Princess Helen sailed from Marina Del Rey, California through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From 1972 to 1974 Princess Helen was based in Fort Lauderdale and cruised the Bahamas and Keys. From 1974 to 1976 her home port was Port Washington, Long Island, NY. During this period she made a trip to New England. From 1976 to 1979 her home port was back in Fort Lauderdale, and she was cruising the Dry Tortugas to Jacksonville.

From 1980-88 she used Sarasota, and then St Petersburg, Florida as her base. She cruised the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, through the keys and up to the Chesapeake.

In 1982 a Fire destroyed her cabin house when she was docked in Moorehaven, Florida. She was rebuilt in Tarpon Springs by George Saroukos. He/his company did a three year refit. The Hull and deck were sheathed in diagonally planked 1/2 inch marine grade plywood, with about a million screws. Then on top of the fiberglassed deck, a new cabin house was built, the exterior of which was also fiberglassed.

From 1988-91 Ft Myers. Florida was her home port, and she went back and forth to the Chesapeake for the summers. In 1992 Tierra Verde, Florida was her base of operations. From 1993-95 Ruskin, Florida was her home port.

From 1995 to 1997, there is another gap. Not sure where she was during those years. In 1997 she was sold, and renamed Low Flying Duck, by a couple who ran her as a charter boat based out of Everglades City, Florida. Evidently she spent a lot of time in the Dry Tortugas from talking with previous owners.

Low Flying Duck:

She was in the charter business from 1997 until 2001, when she was sold and timeline has another gap until Februrary 2003, when she was sold and renamed Rendez Vous, with a home port of New Orleans, Lousiana.

The current owners bought Noel in November 2003, documented February 2004... spent a few months revamping the shaft struts, rudder posts and framing in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Then took her to North Carolina via the Inter Coastal Waterway, across the Okeechobee and North... With a few memorable moments along the the way.

If you have any memories of 83370, under her various names, and owners... please leave a comment!