Last night was the first “official” kickoff of the restoration project, and some of my fears were alleviated once we got started.
Anytime you begin a project like this, there is always the risk of disappointment. My biggest fear was that the hull would buckle under the stress of taking it off the trailer for the first time since 1992. Combine that with the majority of those years being stored outside at the mercy of the Pacific Northwest elements……………..things can go south in a hurry.
Note: Tim Ramsey has volunteered to lead the project, and will serve as the teams "Crew Chief". I will assume the "Team Manager" role. Tim will be in full control of the restoration, I will handle the media and promotion related stuff.........that I can handle.
As we lifted the hull of the trailer (a trial run), we were pleased with the results enough to move forward. Removing the bolts that secure the hull to the trailer for transport was a challenge, as they were nearly rusted together. But with some patience, we were able to take the nuts off without breaking the bolts……………which surprised me. I was sure we would have to cut them off to get them out, so that was a plus in our favor.
Once we hooked up the gantry and forklift, the hull came off relatively easily………nothing too concerning. Getting it into the museum itself was somewhat difficult, but we pulled it off without damaging anything in its path. You could feel the excitement in the room; this was a big moment for me personally. I have been waiting for 3 years to get this project started…………..and now it was actually happening.
It was tough helping out with the move, and trying to take pictures at the same time. I only get one shot at this, so I didn’t want to miss anything on camera. I captured what I could, but it was fun to get my “hands dirty” along the way too. Tim was positive everything would go smoothly, so that was assuring............but you just never know sometimes.
Once we lowered the hull onto the support saddles and pushed the hull into position, I knew there was no going back………….we had did it. I took a couple minutes to soak up the achievement, and then it was back to work. I unbolted the engine cowling from the deck so we could have access to the engine well. I also removed one of the skins from the vertical stabilizers with our names on it. It won’t be needed for the restoration, and it makes for a nice souvenir for my family. It’s not every day that you have your name on a hydroplane, so we wanted to keep that piece for ourselves.
As I walked on the deck of the boat, it felt “softer” than I remembered it being only a couple months ago. No doubt, the fall rain has been taking its toll on the wood components. We will begin removing the decks in the next couple weeks, as we have to let the hull “dry out” some before then.
We can only imagine what surprises await us when we expose what lies underneath the decks; hopefully it’s not worse than we hope. Regardless, we will save as much as we can………………and go forward from there.
Personally, I like a good challenge…………so it looks like we’re all going to get one!
First time off trailer since 1992!
Bringing the hull into the restoration workshop.
Laying the hull down flat on the trailer.
Lifting the boat up off of the trailer - for real this time!
Photo Gallery: the hull brought into the museum for the restoration to begin!