Restoring the Iconic Sloop Clearwater

Watch the sloop Clearwater restoration from the first day in October, 2015 to her splash back into the River on June 16th, 2016.

Prepping the Wood
Floating the Topmast
Removing the Gaff
Removing the Centerboard
Removing the Centerboard
Removing the Centerboard
Centerboard
Removing the Fuel Tank
Fuel Tank
Shed Frames built
Winter cover goes on.
Centerboard trunk removal
Bedlog Demo
Frame Patterns
Battens
Beglogs
Volunteers
Keelson Scarf
Bedlog Mortises
Starboard Bedlog
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Foc’sle Ceiling
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The iconic  Sloop Clearwater is in the midst of her largest restoration project yet!

The Hudson River’s Environmental Flagship

Click here or on the link above to watch a video on the restoration of the sloop Clearwater!

Sloop Facts: The sloop Clearwater is a historic replica of the cargo sailing vessels that sailed the Hudson Valley and New York Harbor in the late 18th century and 19th century. Two hundred years ago, sloop cargo was mostly comprised of farm and agricultural goods from upstate, which were delivered downriver to New York City. The finished manufactured goods were then delivered back upstream.

Today, Clearwater’s cargo is made up of people, including children, youth and school groups, college students, maritime and river enthusiasts, environmentalists, and visitors to the Hudson Valley region who join us onboard the sloop as she sails the Hudson from Albany to New York City sharing the inspiring story of how Pete Seeger and his friends came together in 1966 to “build a boat to save a river.”

Restoration Updates

Restoration Phases

Watch the sloop Clearwater go from sailing on the River to being hauled out on the barge and taken apart.

Prepping the Wood
Prepping the Wood

Before the sloop was out of the water for the season, the crew got to work preparing the wood.

Floating the Topmast
Floating the Topmast

The crew floats the topmast down the Rondout creek to store it in the Barn for the winter.

Removing the Gaff
Removing the Gaff

The gaff and boom were removed from the boat as part of the down-rig process

Removing the Centerboard
Removing the Centerboard

In order to lower the centerboard, we first need to remove its pivot point, a 2″ diameter steel pin, which is below the water line. That means water flows into the boat while it’s being removed!

Removing the Centerboard
Removing the Centerboard

It takes a lot of hard work and heavy lifting

Removing the Centerboard
Removing the Centerboard

The 4,000 lb centerboard finally emerges from beneath the sloop

Centerboard
Centerboard

The centerboard was lifted on land by a forklift

Removing the Fuel Tank
Removing the Fuel Tank

Disconnecting the plumbing and getting ready to remove the fuel tank from the bosun’s locker.

Fuel Tank
Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is ready to come out!

Shed Frames built
Shed Frames built
Winter cover goes on.
Winter cover goes on.
Centerboard trunk removal
Centerboard trunk removal
Bedlog Demo
Bedlog Demo
Frame Patterns
Frame Patterns

After the patterns are all faired, we lay them out on slabs of lumber, and cut them out on the ship saw.

Battens
Battens

Thin strips of wood called battens are used to make sure the patterns for the new frames are all “fair,” meaning that the planks will have a smooth surface to sit against, without recesses and protrusions. The burlap shown in the photo covers the planks replaced in the bow in 2010 and in the stern in 2013. We will wet the burlap with salt water once a week, to keep the planks moist, so they don’t shrink too much.

Beglogs
Beglogs

Bodhi and Lydia are sitting where the port bedlogs used to be. They’re working on removing the last of the starboard bedlog, which is located beneath the keelson.

Volunteers
Volunteers

Volunteers service the blocks.

Keelson Scarf
Keelson Scarf

Scarf joint at the forward end of the new keelson section.

Bedlog Mortises
Bedlog Mortises

This timber will become the starboard bedlog. Mortises will be cut into it to be joined with the tenons of the starboard futtocks. Mortise and tenon joints have been used for thousands of years by woodworkers to strongly and securely join pieces of wood.

Starboard Bedlog
Starboard Bedlog

You can see the starboard bedlog on the right as the crew works to chisel out the mortises in the upper bedlog. This timber will go in on the port side of the centerboard trunk.

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Why Restoration?

Clearwater docked at the Kingston Home Port

Hudson River Sloops of the 18th and 19th centuries were built to last about 15 years, before they were scuttled and replaced.  Back then, raw materials and labor were both much cheaper (and the materials were more abundant) than they are today. So, instead of building a new version of our 18th-Century replica sloop, we need to take care of the one we have.  After this winter’s project is complete, we’ll feel much more confident about the structural integrity of the hull beneath the waterline, and we’ll be ready to focus on restoring everything above the waterline in the near future.

The midships hull restoration is a very expensive undertaking – estimated to cost $850,Float graphic000. We have a large matching grant from the NYS Department of Historic Preservation.  However, we must raise about half the total amount in a relatively short period of time.  The “People’s Boat” needs your help! Please donate generously to our Float the Boat campaign.


Sloop Specs:

Builder: Harvey Gamage Shipyard, South Bristol, Maine
Laid down:  October, 1968
Launched:  May 17, 1969

General characteristics
Type:     gaff sloop
Length: 106 ft (32 m) overall
Beam:   25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft:    8 ft (2.4 m)
Propulsion: sails; auxiliary engine
Sail plan: mainsail, main topsail, jib
Notes: 4305 sq ft. (387.5 m²) total sail area

The Clearwater
Location: Beacon, New York
Built: 1968
Architect: Hamlin, Cyrus; Gamage, Harvey Shipyard
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference #: 04000376[1]
Added to National Register of Historic Places: May 4, 2004

Full Boat Scan