|History of the Col. Lewis||I only have vague memories of sailing
in this boat. I was still fairly young (10 years old) when it went
out for its last sail in 1979. Stories from my family
that it "sailed like a pig" and "it always had way too much sail for its
size" haven't deterred me from wanting to salvage this old boat.
I first got interested in salvaging it back in 1987. At that point,
it had been beached, upside down, for almost 10 years. The fiberglass
sheathing that Grandpa Berk had applied in the 1950's was mainly acting
to keep water pooled against the hull planks, causing extensive rot damage.
So the first, and only, step I took towards salvaging the boat back then
was to remove the fiberglass so that the hull planks would be able to dry
Fast forward to 2006. The boat has been used as a back-drop for several family reunion photos, but basically hasn't moved in over 20 years. The bare wood is now badly weathered, with a thick patina of algae and lichens growing on it (see photos).
Photo of hull planks, showing heavy weathering. The dark area
in the lower left of the
Photo of hull, from the bow. The central hull plank was removed
by me in
Inside the hull, most of the frames have rotted out. I may be able to salvage 3 of the 8 frames, and most of the transom will need to be replaced. Most of the rotting initiated in the ends where they butted against the hull planks. Here is a QuickTime video clip of the first looks at the boat in 2006:
My main goal in the summer of 2006 was to get the hull stabilized for transport from northern Minnesota to my home in Bellingham, WA--across 7 miles of lake and 2000 miles of pavement. To stabilize the hull, I made a few temporary frames and added extensive cross-bracing to keep the hull from "taco-ing" when the boat was rolled over. Here is a QuickTime video clip of the stabilized hull:
After the hull was stabilized, I took a page from the Eskimo/Aleut boat building playbook and wrapped the hull like an Umiak. I temporarily sheathed the hull in heavy plastic and held the plastic in place with firring strips screwed through the hull into the frames (see photo):
If you want to see how my plan worked, continue on to
float in 27 years.......