Tag Archives: bearings

2010 Week 13 In Review

This week, we’re still painting the Enterprise diesel on the Maris Pearl. Most of the engine is green and we’re highlighting the big E on each base door in silver, and polishing all the explosion door spring retainers.

That’s right – explosion doors.

An explosion door is kinda like a pressure relief valve. The door is designed to open if the pressure behind it is too great this is relieves the pressure before breaking anything. In the case of an explosion in the crank case, the doors would pop open against the springs and let out the fire and smoke.

In the event of a crank case explosion, the doors are designed to keep personnel safer by relieving the pressure on the opposite side of the controls and to keep the other doors from blowing off. But this is still a serious situation.

After an explosion, the oily mist that was part of the cause will then be in the engine room awaiting another ignition source and the crank case will often explode more than once if the conditions are still present. After an explosion, the crank case could be left with a slight vacuum, then draw in fresh air again through the crank case vent, thus charging the case for more excitement.

The most recent heavy duty crank case explosion in heavy-duties (the Washingtons, Fairbanks-Morse, Atlas-Imperials, and Enterprises that I work on) that I am aware of was in the John Knox. According to witnesses, the first sign of trouble was a giant explosion. The crew investigated and found a melty rod bearing; they replaced it, but then again, boom.

This time when the crew investigated, they identified a cause: one of the main bearing shells was left out during recent main bearing work. The missing bearing allowed oil to squirt out before it could reach the rod bearing and piston. The red hot rod bearing helped turn oil droplets to fine oil mist by heating and whirling the little bit of oil that did reach it. That rod bearing was likely the ignition source, though a dry piston could be part of the equation, too.

Base explosions like this have claimed lives and burned ships, so be sure your engine is carefully serviced and kept in good running order. Keep the engine room clean and free of oily rags, keep flammable things away from the explosion doors, and be sure the spring doors are operational to relieve the pressure if there is an explosion.

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2009 Week 29 in Review

News from Alaska

I’m onboard the Catalyst again and I’m meeting boat friends everywhere: the crew from the Liseron, former crewmates Chuck and Nissa from the Mist Cove, and the crew from the Catalyst, who are all being relieved today by a whole new crew. Captain Steve, chef Lisa, deckhand Lia, and I will be running the boat together for the next few weeks.

Lia and I flew in on Saturday and after some last-minute chores and drinks at the Alaskan hotel, we picked up our passengers on Sunday and headed out to Endicott Arm.

This week’s cruise was from Juneau to Petersburg, stopping at Sanford Cove, Fords Terror, West Brother, Sheldon Cove, West Brother, and Scenery Cove along the way

We kayaked through Fords Terror, picked up a bunch of Dungeness crabs at Wood Spit, made a campfire on West Brother in Frederic Sound, and watched some bears in Sheldon cove.

We got to Sheldon cove early, so I pulled four valves to clean and swap. I exchange intake for exhaust valves every so often so that they wear evenly and we get more life out of them. Washingtons are hard on their valves for some reason.

We liked West Brother so much that we stopped there again and this time we had Norio Matsumoto over for dinner. He’s a great wilderness photographer and he showed a slide show of his work. On the way to Thomas Bay we watched some whales, then anchored in Scenery Cove and went for a walk to Baird Glacier.

Once we got to Petersburg, the whole crew was anxious to connect with the world we all had a cell phone attached to one ear while cleaning the boat, provisioning, and doing other chores.

This week was so nice. Getting aboard Catalyst was like coming home and I ran into each room to revisit great memories and see that everything is still where I left it. Frederick Sound is also some of the best cruising in the world – especially with the great weather we’re having. I have never seen so much sun up here. It made the glacier a beautiful sparkling blue, and it was so warm I could wear shorts and a t-shirt while on our hike there.

sunny days on the MV Catalyst

Engineer’s Log

Valves from 1 and 2 pulled, cleaned, and swapped in for out
Ex-valve for #3 reinstalled after Eric pulled it
Wiggled cord for the shaft tachometer; no improvement, still reading really low or not at all
Re-soldered wire to stateroom five port forward reading light
Cleaned and flushed bilge

We also did the numbers for this trip, the 11th of the 2009 season:

hours underway: 52:45
hours on main: 53.8
hours on the generator: 35:.6
hours on the water maker: 17:45
miles traveled: 231
gallons of fuel used: 179
gallons of water made: 1,035
gallons of gas used: 8.8
gallons of propane: 4.5
gallons of lube oil: 4
qts of half and half: used 6 (unusually high)

And finally, here’s a tasty recipe from the Catalyst‘s galley:

Crab
drop crab pots in 40 feet of water in top secret location with herring bait caught from just off the Taku fishery pier.
soak for one to two days, pull
return small ones and females
pull all legs of each crab, bracing the center of the body on the boat rail; legs and body meat should come right out of shell
scrape off gills
boil for 11 minutes
shell and eat

Kitchen notes: Crab-eaters of the world are divided into two groups: pilers and gobblers. Gobblers eat each piece of crab as they pull it out of the shell, while pilers pile up their pieces on their plate. Pilers beware, for the gobblers are happy to steal your pile.

Finally, crab-crackers are for newbies.

Waving to the Heavy-Duties

On the way into Petersburg, I saw the Katahdin, the Barron Islands, and the Cape Cross, each powered by a heavy-duty. It’s great to see the old workboat yachts out there.

More scraping at Indian Graves

In news beyond Alaska, I heard that the Indian Grave engine #3 ran for an hour and then the #2 main bearing got hot, so they scraped it down some more. This isn’t unusual – even with a good pattern on the bearing and the engine turning by hand really smooth, more scraping is often required after actually running the engine the first few times. Sounds like it’s going well.

Sexy sailor women

Diana the OTM Inc museologist had pictures taken for the 2010 Sexy Women of Maritime Calendar produced by Jack Tar Magazine this week. Apparently, the photos turned out great, but you’ll have to buy the calendar to see them because she isn’t sharing.

Social Networking

Old Tacoma Marine Inc. joined TheBoaters.com, which is like Facebook for boat trash. Check us out!

New owner for the Sound

I heard that Anthony bought the Sound. Poor sucker – he already owns the Chief. I love Enterprises, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

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2009 Week 28 in Review

Early Sunday morning, I picked up all the remaining tools from the Arthur Foss, put the yacht back in the driveway, cleaned up my desk, and got back on a plane to Quincy, Illinois.

Back to Quincy

I went back to the Indian Grave Pumpouse despite the bad news that only two sets of piston rings had arrived, so I spent the week setting up the remaining rod bearings as close as I could without the pistons. I used a spare rod dangled from above to allow me to tighten the rod bearing bolts and get a more accurate bearing running clearance. Then, I used an old technique Dan told me from a while back: how to set bearing clearances without using dials.

I adjust the shims until they’re really close, then continue to adjust them one thousandth by one thousandth until the bearing just starts to drag on the journal when I move it side to side. When it starts to drag, that means it’s basically at 0, so I add shims one by one until I get about .004 worth of clearance.

I really needed this method because without the piston to center the bearing, it was too squirrelly to bump without a dial. Once the pistons are installed all the clearances will be set precisely, but I did this initial setup to make the final bump faster.

I also made some special tools to fit in place of rod bearing shims, allowing the piston height to be easily set, since I accidentally destroyed some valuable shims using a big stack of them to set piston height earlier. I only got to use the tool two times this trip, but I also got to show it off to the Fabius River Drainage District commissioners and the operator.

custom-built tool for setting the piston height

All the roustabouts and pump guys have been working four ten-hour days, so they all get Friday off. I chose this day to invite the Fabius guys to the Indian Graves Pumphouse to discuss maintaining their Fairbanks-Morse (6)32E14s. The meeting went great! I had all the tools and Nathan’s help to show how easy it is to repair and maintain big heavy-duties like Fairbanks. As a demonstration, we pulled a rod bearing, looked at it, and then put it back and checked the piston height. All of them were impressed and Nathan and I felt like we may have saved two amazing engines from the scrapper.

Road Trippin’

Right after the meeting, I wrapped everything at Indian Graves up to go back to the airport, so that I could get to Seattle and immediately turn around and fly to Alaska to ship out on Catalyst.

Well, things just got ridiculous. I got a flat tire on the rented Prius. Damn. Oh, well. I put on the spare tire, then made one more trip down to the levy to drop off an engine manual, and then I’ll be damned – I got another flat and picked up a nail in a different tire.

With the flight leaving in 3 ½ hours, I was able to look up the closest tire repair shop on my phone. “Ron’s Tire Shop” sent a truck right away. I reported the incident to the rental company over the phone, and arranged to have someone drop me off immediately once I got to the rental office in the off chance that I got there in time. Then, I arranged new flights in case I missed this one, and reserved a hotel room across the highway from the airport, and began re-scheduling the flight to Alaska (currently set for 10:30 AM pacific time).

While on the phone, the tire repair guy was carrying on with the mechanic. He had to drive back to the shop and get two new tires. I’ll take the time to file a claim later. Finally, the tires were installed and the one with the nail patched, then I hit the road. The drive from Quincy to St. Louis (which I’m getting really familiar with) usually takes two hours; this time, I made it in one and a half and made the flight with seconds to spare. Wow! Once I got my boarding pass and went through the security check-in, I heard the elevator music movie scene from the Blues Brothers where they are in the elevator after the best car chase ever.

The Ready hauled-out

We heard that the tug Ready was hauled out and looks great. Sounds like the new owners are making progress – I hope they get the engine running again soon!

A new Portolan is out!

I just got a newsletter from Nortwest Seaport with all the non-engine news from the organization. They included a feature article on the YMTA Engineer for a Day field trip that I ran for them last February. They’ve put up a .pdf version on their website if you haven’t gotten yours by mail, so go check it out.

It looks like they’re doing really good things these days. I might even renew my membership.

Hand-fitting versus precision parts

Whenever I’m scraping bearings in, I get a lot of grief from spectators who see all my fuss over each engine part and how I seem “overly concerned” about fit and how the method is slow. Fitting bearings does take a long time, but it’s not a process that you can take shortcuts on. I rarely use power tools on parts that must fit precisely, because the margin for error is just too great. Scraping in a bearing is a time-consuming process that requires patience and seems to be seen as a dying art.

New engines use all precision parts that you can just bolt on and go. This is desirable because labor rates are higher than the cost of parts and parts can now be machined with fairly close tolerances. The same holds true for a lot of things these days: engines, furniture, trains, buildings, jewelry, or martinis. Houses can be assembled without using a saw, trains are delivered in a box, and I even drank a mixed drink from a can while I was on the airplane. However, I know I’m not alone in my belief that finding a mechanic who can hand-fit bearings is like finding a bartender who can make that perfect cocktail the old-fashioned way: it may take longer and it may be more expensive, but it’s totally worth it at the end of the day.

I do regret that the fitting take so much time and believe me when I say there is progress – though it may be hard to see behind the ever-mounding pile of emery bits. Most of all, be patient!

Off to Alaska

On Saturday, OTM Inc’s lead mechanic took off to Alaska again to work on the Catalyst until September 1.

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2009 Week 25 in Review

This June is a very busy month for Old Tacoma Marine Inc. Right after last week’s great Diesel Engine Theory class, I got back on an airplane for Illinois.

Back to Quincy

I got back in to Quincy and the Indian Grave Pumphouse to pick up where I left off two weeks ago: setting up the rod bearings on engine three. As always, I spent some time at the beginning cleaning and finding a workspace in all the piles of parts and tools. Once we actually started putting pistons in, though, we got into a good rhythm. I cleaned the bearing, fit the felt and felt springs, and put it onto the journal. Then Keith and Nathan put the piston in on the piston holder tools, then bolted down the head. Then I set the piston height by stacking about ¾ of an inch of shims between the bearing halves and pistons, using a jack to push the piston into the bottom of the head while measuring its travel with a dial indicator. The Fairbanks-Morse manual calls for .125 to .188 of an inch piston-to-head clearance. Using the above method, I could easily set them all at exactly .125.

After that, I set the rod bearing clearance. I pulled out the big stack of shims and guessed at the required shim pack, then I bumped the bearings and adjusted them. The manual calls for zero clearance and good fore-and-aft motion. This is much tighter than on pressure-lubricated bearings like those on Washingtons. The bearings on these Fairbanks only receive a few drips per minute while running, so the bearing needs to be much tighter to create the hydraulic wedge action necessary for it to work.

Now, with this in mind, I did set up the bearings much tighter than the pressure-lubricated rule-of-thumb, but I was afraid to set it all the way to zero. I know that when the book states “zero clearance” they mean “zero with a good film of oil” and probably not with a heavy-duty hydraulic jack pushing up on the bearing and maybe not using a dial indicator measuring to within ten thousandths of an inch.

So, I set everything at .004 of an inch. I see this as fair and might go to .003 if I could be there for the first 100 hours of running.

Once all the rod bearings were finished, we set up the turning tool again to see how smoothly the crank turns. It turns great! Then, we started shooting soda bottles out of the injector holes.

Also, on Wednesday, I had a nice dinner with Indian Graves Drainage District Commissioner Duke and his family. Duke really likes these old engines; he’s telling the folks at Fabius River Drainage District to keep their two 32E14 (6)s. I’m going to keep badgering them as well, and I hope to get a grant to go down and refurbish them, rather than replacing them with new high-speed diesels.

I’m scheduling another trip for July 5th to finish the next two engines.

Diesel Engine Theory Session Three

On Friday night, I flew back to Seattle just in time for the third session of Diesel Engine Theory aboard the Arthur Foss. The next morning, I got up even before the chickens – which is really impressive because Saturday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

I stopped by the shop to get it ready for the class, then got coffee, then went to the Arthur to start up the diesel stove for Chef Kim. Then, I went back to the shop just in time. Everyone but Sterling and the three TAP guys (who canceled) were there waiting. We spent the morning cleaning more parts, testing and setting the spring pressure in the injector, and lapping the intake and exhaust valves to their seats.

lapping valves

Just as we were getting ready to head out, 200 naked bicycle riders went screaming by the Shop down Leary. For those of you not from Seattle, the naked bicyclists are a nationally-known tradition that opens the Fremont Solstice Parade (you should Google it). Of course, Diana the museologist and class photographer was in back photographing engine parts or something at the time, so we didn’t get any OTM Inc photos of the bicyclists. Maybe next year.

Just before lunch, we took the air intake manifold to the car wash. I’ve found this is an efficient way to clean large engine parts – it gets all the big chunks of stuff out of the parts, and car washes are all set up to handle diesel gunk, anyway.

Cleaning the intake manifold at the car wash

With that done, we got to the boat where Kim had the galley baking hot and French onion soup, salad, fruit, and fresh bread, all made on the Arthur‘s diesel oven waiting for us.

lunch cooked on the Arthur Foss's diesel stove

It was great – maybe the best lunch ever because of the bread:

bread baked on the Arthur Foss's diesel stove

We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the piston ring grooves and measuring them, then measuring the piston ring gap. I think that many of the students would say that measuring the ring gap was a favorite part of the class because to do so one must get completely inside the crankpit. Wow. Standing in the crankpit, leaning on the crankshaft, and reaching overhead to place a ring in the liner to check the gap is an amazing task for those who do not regularly get into engines.

measuring the ring gap on the Arthur Foss

Then we lowered the piston into the cylinder and set it on the crank to get it ready for installing the rings. That job will need to wait for next week, though.

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2009 Week 24 in Review

OTM Inc spent most of this week working on the Arthur Foss‘s Washington, but first:

Update on the Lightship #83

Following our successful preparation of a Preliminary Engineering Report two years ago, Northwest Seaport has asked OTM Inc to submit a bid to serve as project manager for the Lightship Rehabilitation. We assembled our project management team and had our first meeting at the Northlake Pizza Tavern to discuss how to effectively perform the duties outlined by the Seaport. The meeting went well (and it was $2/pitcher PBR night!) and we’ll have the bid in early next week.

More Restoration Workshops?

Brian, the Ocean Bay Marine Inc shipwright and OTM Inc shop partner, has been working with the Seaport on assorted projects since 2007, and he’s really interested in doing public classes like Diesel Engine Theory, only with wood stuff rather than engines. I met with him this week to talk about I got the engine programs up and running. Trouble is, it takes a lot of time and effort to develop programs like this. I told him to be patient and persistent, and offered to talk more any time. I hope he gets something going – the Arthur is a great boat for people to learn on.

Work on the Arthur Foss‘s Washington

The Shop is now plugged with Washington parts from the Arthur Foss. After last week’s exciting Session One of the 2009 Diesel Engine Theory Workshop, I loaded all the parts we took off Cylinder Four into my truck and brought them to Ballard to be cleaned, tested, painted, oiled, lapped, and set as needed. This includes the fuel injector, the intake and exhaust valves and valve cages, about half the intake manifold, some couplings from the exhaust manifold, the rockers and rocker arms, the push rods, and pieces of the water cooling system. Pretty much all of my work space is covered with Arthur parts, but it’s great.

Valve cages from the Arthur Foss

We spent most of the week getting all these parts stripped down and ready for the class to work on. Crystal, OTM’s mechanic, worked with me to clean engine parts, and she also serviced the Arthur‘s generator. I also hired on Sterling the future towboat captain to get ahead a little, since I’ll be heading out to Qunicy again next week.

We also spent a lot of time getting the cylinder head off. Following last week’s class, one of the head nuts just would not come off. We tried oil, fast heat, slow heat, paraffin, and hammers, but it wouldn’t budge – it destroyed two of the output drives for our big torque multiplier (don’t worry Brian, we ordered new ones). Then I talked with Dan, who said to get a slugging wrench from Pacific Industrial Supply (they’re in South Park now). I went and got the wrench and we strapped a comealong to it real tight, then wailed on the wrench with a really big hammer. It finally did the trick – the head nut came loose in about three blows.

using a slugging wrench to remove a stubborn head nut from the Arthur Foss's Washington

Even with all the head nuts off and a serious strain on the lifting straps, the head was not going anywhere. The engine is more than eighty years old and all the minor leaks and corrosion over that time had caused the head to become one with the cylinder and studs. Crystal and I had to use sawzall blades to cut through all the corrosion in the seam, then we hammered dozens of little wedges in to pry it loose.

freeing the cylinder head on the Arthur foss

After a lot of hammering, it finally came off with a little tiny “pop,” and we winched it up. The Arthur has the biggest size of cylinder that Washington Iron Works ever produced. Its cylinders have an 18-inch bore and are really, really big. We estimate the heads as weighing about 2,200 pounds. As we lifted the head off cylinder four, I pictured it as a wrecking ball until we had it secured it to the deck.

After that excitement, we spent the rest of the week cleaning more parts, until…

Diesel Engine Theory Session Two

Early Saturday, the Diesel Engine Theory class all met at the Shop.
We spent the morning cleaning parts using wire wheels, sandblasters, hot lye, needle guns, flapper wheels, belt sanders, hammers and chisels, acid baths, solvent, 409, rags, and fingernails.

cleaning the exhaust system with a needle gun

At lunch time, we all headed down to the Arthur for hamburgers and salad prepared by chef Kim in the sizzling-hot galley.

We spent the afternoon cleaning the bigger pieces still on the boat. We cleaned the piston with scrapers and flapper wheels, then cleaned out the piston ring grooves using a broken ring with a handle duct-taped to the other end. This gave us a tool exactly the right size and shape to scrape out all the gunk clogging up the ring grooves, and there were plenty to go around.

We also cleaned the threads on the studs that protrude from the cylinder. I decided that the best way to do this was to run the nut up and down the stud using lots of valve-lapping compound. This gritty mixture machines off the rust and dirt and makes sure to keep the threads the right shape. The downside to this process is that it’s painfully slow, but the students all did a great job – especially the TAP guys.

We also pulled out the rod bearing. The babbitt is cracked up, but not too bad considering that it’s been at least 40 years since it was last re-poured (and probably a lot longer than that).

rod bearing on the Arthur foss

We’re not going to have it re-done this time; a full chapter in one of my diesel repair books is dedicated to running on cracked bearings. It says that as long as there aren’t any holes in the babbitt larger than a dime, you should be okay. The number four rod bearing babbitt is mostly just cracked, with only one little hole that’s way smaller than a dime, so I’ve decided that it’s okay for now – especially since we run the engine so lightly these days We’ll plan on re-doing the rod bearings after we service all six cylinders.

Last and most tiring, we used the ball hone to clean up the liner. It was agony because our ball hone is 16″ and the Arthur‘s cylinders are 18″, so we had to swirl it around to get the liner cleaned and patterned correctly.

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2009 Week 23 in Review

Still scraping bearings

OTM Inc spent most of this week scraping and fitting rod bearings for the Indian Grave Drainage Pumphouse‘s Fairbanks-Morse diesels, and making some fine adjustments to the main bearings. I did this with much relief, after getting satisfactory results when testing the main bearings.

Report on the MV Tuhoe

Old Tacoma Marine Inc’s intrepid investigative reporter Jacoba took a field trip to see the Atlas boat MV Tuhoe in Kaiapoi, New Zealand. This neat old boat (the only Atlas boat we know of in the Southern Hemisphere) is an old cargo auxiliary schooner, powered by twin 6EM327 Atlas-Imperial diesel engines.

Atlas-Imperial diesel engine on the MV Tuhoe

Interestingly, the association that owns her (the MV Tuhoe Preservation Society) has a third identical engine that they use for parts. It sounds like they’ve put a lot of love into the boat and they have a lot of community support. Jacoba wrote up a great article about the boat that talks more about that:

The twin Atlas-Imperial engines of the M.V. Tuhoe rattle in well-tuned percussion as John Thompson, one of the ship’s chief engineers, eases on the throttle. The engine room is tidy, and the fixtures are color-coded with bright, glossy layers of paint to help newly-trained volunteers.

Read the full article

Arthur Foss Cylinder Four Overhaul begins!

I flew back to Seattle on Thursday night, just in time for the Diesel Engine Theory workshop on the Arthur Foss. OTM Inc runs this in partnership with Northwest Seaport and the Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union. We’ve been planning this session – overhauling cylinder four – for years, and getting ready for the class was stressful since I was in Illinois most of the month. I really wanted everything to go well despite only preparing over the phone, but I shouldn’t have worried too much.

The first session went very well. We had eight participants (a full boat!), including four guys from The Anchor Program (known as TAP) who’ve been doing a bunch of work on the Arthur. After coffee and introductions, we took a tour of the boat, oiled and greased everything, and ran the engine and both generators for a while. I got a lot of good questions and everyone was really interested in the boat and the engine and diesel engines in general.

Exercising the Arthur Foss's AC generator

Part of any workshop we do with Northwest Seaport is the Galley Program, where we use the boat’s galley and especially the diesel stove to make lunches for everyone. Chef Lia prepared the best and possibly the most tacos ever cooked in the Arthur‘s muy caliantá galley:

After lunch, Dan gave his Diesel Engine Theory lecture, which was even better than last time. He brought along a lot of parts to illustrate his points, along with dire warnings to not damage the injector tips!

Crystal examines an injector tip

After the lecture, it was time for the big moment: taking the engine apart and fixing it. I’d gone and gotten a lot of tools while preparing for the class, so I divided the students into two groups. I set one group to taking all the jewelry off the head, and the other group to taking the access panels off the bottom of the engine and getting ready to take the rod off the crankshaft.

George takes apart the cooling system

Now, I bet a bunch of you reading this are thinking “holy cow, he just let a bunch of students start taking stuff apart and he wasn’t watching them like a vulture watches a dying horse?” Well, heavy-duties like the Arthur‘s Washington come all apart pretty easily with socket wrenches and screwdrivers, but there’s a lot of hardware that has to be taken off. All the students were really doing was turning wrenches, but if you’ve never taken apart an engine before, you learn tons from just turning the wrench and seeing how it’s all put together.

By the end of the day, we had cylinder four nearly all stripped down. We got stuck on one head nut just as five o’ clock rolled around, so we left it like that for the night. I’ll have a lot more to report about the class next week, so stay tuned!

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2009 Week 22 in Review

Still scraping bearings

This week in the Indian Grave Drainage District pumphouse, I measured the bearings for Engine One, then bounced from engine to engine lapping, scraping, lapping, scraping, lapping, scraping, and cleaning.

Lia flew out to visit and we had a real Quincy lunch with one of the pumphouse operators – a snapping turtle pulled straight out of the drainage ditch.

OTM Inc goes to Erie

Diana the Museologist went to a conference this week in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Council of American Maritime Museums is a professional group that’s been meeting for years to talk about how they’re trying to save old boats and stuff that came off of boats. This year, the themes were “Collaboration” and more importantly “How to weather the recession.”

She gave two presentations during the conference. The first was about the Lake Union Park Working Group that’s been meeting for a few years now to coordinate heritage programming at South Lake Union. Apparently, everyone in the country is really pumped up about collaboration and working together, but us Seattle folks are some of the first to really get a good idea of how to work together on a week-to-week basis. Diana said that the other people at the conference were really excited to hear about the work that we’ve been doing around here, especially the kind of teamwork that went into the Holiday Spirit event last December (back in 2008 Week 50).

Diana’s second presentation was on hauling out the Arthur Foss:

Diana the museologist giving a presentation on hauling out the ARTHUR FOSS at the 2009 Council of American Maritime Museums conference

Sadly, we did that amazing project before OTM started blogging, but we’ll tell the full story soon. As a museologist, Diana wrote two huge long final reports for the haul-out (posted on Northwest Seaport’s website here, but had only twenty minutes to share it at the conference. The coordinators apparently were really interested in hearing about the “non-profit/for-profit partnership model” used during the haul-out. That basically means that Northwest Seaport, who own the Arthur, hired OTM Inc to manage the haul-out, rather than having their own volunteers and staff do it. This worked well for everyone, since NWS had experienced professional boat repair people working on the project, and OTM and the other boat repair people had a good contract on a great boat. The folks at the conference were apparently really impressed that the haul-out came out on time and under-budget – unheard of when the museum tries to negotiate with a shipyard. The “estimators” at a shipyard can smell inexperience in a project manager like sharks can smell blood in the water.

After the talks, the conference people also got to go sailing, in both smallcraft and aboard the museum’s replica brig, the Niagra. Here’s Diana and other museologists in a “dipping lugger”:

Cutter I, a dipping lugger carried by the brig Niagra

And here’s the crowd on the Niagra, a great replica of a 1913 naval brig:

2009

One of these days, we need to send the entire OTM Inc crew to one of these conferences to show how we do it.

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