Restored 1903 Nathaniel G. Herreshoff

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As found by Jeffrey Rutherford on Cape Cod, JOYANT was in challenging condition: a hulk, minus the lead keel which had been sold to pay for transport to there in the 1970s (see HISTORY section). So the first process was stabilisation, then transport to California. Copies of the original plans were procured from MIT, and the project began in late 2000.

A strategic decision was made to save every piece of wood that had some prospect of salvage. This included enough planking (largely the pitch pine) to plank about 30% of the hull, the deadwood, knees, sheer clamp and some deck beams. The only hardware that could be saved was the bronze strapping at the mast and the pin rail.

JOYANT was then carefully rebuilt in detail to the original plans, in the traditional Herreshoff inverted manner. Tapered steam bent frames were formed over stations and bolted to the floors. The keel, a piece of 3½ in by 14 in oak, was steamed and then fastened to the floors and shaped. The hull was double planked (as originally) with a clear yellow cedar inner layer and pitch pine outer layer. In between the two layers, epoxy was used. Finally, the planking was fastened to the frames with bronze screws.

One of the most important elements during construction was keeping in mind the details of the final finish. The desire was to have a very varnished interior: much attention was paid to having the inner layer of yellow cedar clean and carefully fitted plank to plank; one individual spent a month inside the hull when it was upside down, sanding and varnishing the interior.

The hull was carefully prepared for an Awlgrip paint job. The planked hull was then longboarded fair, covered with a layer of fibreglass cloth and microballoons and longboarded again until completely fair, during which process most of the bonding agents and microballons were sanded off. This has enabled JOYANT to not have to be painted each season yet maintain her pristine look.

After the hull was turned, it was married to the new lead ballast keel, faithfully following the original plans.

The deck is a sandwich between a first layer of spruce, v-grooved spruce on the interior side, followed by a 4 mm layer of marine plywood and finally a layer of ⅝ in teak. The deck was glued in place and blind fastened. Cabin sides and bright work are of Honduras mahogany, incorporating classic portholes forward and carefully reproduced skylights in the cabin top. All hatch parts and fittings are as per the original drawings.

Below decks, JOYANT was fully fitted out for inland cruising, as originally designed. The bulkheads were executed in the same form as the original panelled units except that the layers are sandwiched around a layer of 4 mm plywood for stability.

No engine was installed because the vessel did not have one when launched. The rig was altered slightly to take topsails. Hardware was copied from the plans and installed as per faithful reproduction. The only other exception from the original rig was the use of winches for safety.

Apart from the low maintenance topsides described above, properly wintered JOYANT is a relatively easy boat to maintain. At the beginning of each season two coats of varnish are applied on the brightwork and spars. A third is commonly applied in August. The interior is carefully wiped down in the beginning of June and that is the extent of the maintenance.

Here’s a Wiki for Nathaniel Greene Herreshoff, designer of many now classic wooden sailboats.