If you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to since the euphoria of buying our boat 3 weeks ago, this is the blog posting you’ve been waiting for….
It has been an exhilarating and exhausting few weeks. We knew that when we bought the Belinda K., we were not getting a turn-key vessel. So we’ve dug into the process of repairing and refabricating the boat to be a commercially-active shrimp boat once again and accomodate our need for a Shrimp Boat Projects home base.
We hit the ground running on March 1– the day we purchased the boat– with an extensive deck cleaning and removal of various gear that we’ll be either rebuilding later (water tanks for holding live shrimp) or repairing later (nets, trawl doors). Since that auspicious day, our work has been a combination of selective removal and rebuilding of the basic boat architecture. Some of the elements we’ve replaced so far, and an introduction to the vocabulary: the gunwales (the upper edge of the hull), the transom (the flat surface across the stern of the hull), and the combing of a bilge hatch (the edging that the hatch cover sits on). We also now have a fully removed winch (the machine that lets out and pulls in the nets) that we’ll be repairing and rebuilding a bit before putting back in place, and a mostly gutted cabin that is will soon be receiving an interior renovation.
We’ve been fortunate to get a fair amount of help on this so far, much of it has been in the form of sound advice. The largest part of this sound advice comes from John Collins, who is both the previous owner of our boat and quickly becoming our mentor in this rebuilding process. He also owns the boat yard where the Belinda K. is currently docked and has made his amazing repository of tools, hardware, and surplus materials completely available to us. It is hard to do justice to the the value of having all of these amenities so close at hand. But we will try to do justice in the near future with a photo essay dedicated to John’s boat yard, it’s an amazing place.
Beyond John’s regular presence around our work, we had the added benefit of some of our students, friends and colleagues actually spending part of their Spring Break or off-hours working on the boat, spending seemingly equal parts problem-solving and donating labor . We’ve tried to impress upon people the built-in reward of working on a bay shrimp boat, but I don’t think we meant a boat that was tied up at dock. Apparently it works both ways. Thank you John Reed, Tony Day, Travis Johnson, Natali Leduc, Alex Tu and Anton Sinkewich!