Now I'm going to show off a little of my new found nautical knowledge.
The “car,” as I have come to learn from my times photographing with the gang on the Ernestina-Morrissey and Bowdoin projects at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, is the name of the device upon which a vessel “rides” as it is winched up a railway toward “the hard.”
It is essentially a platform made out of wood and steel which accommodates boats of many shapes through adjusting supports, blocking and lines. I was able to watch firsthand the hauling of the Bowdoin this winter, up close and personal, to see all that must be accomplished for successful extraction from the water. It’s a pretty involved process.
I made this week's accompanying photo the day after our last big storm during one of my regular visits to the yard. It is sort of a neat graphic which, against the harbor backdrop, shows many of the components of the car clearly. Without a boat being cradled, it’s easier to see how this sophisticated, yet simple, device works.
The car at the shipyard is one of two remaining from the full tilt shipbuilding days at Sample’s. It rides on the smaller of the two railways but is still quite capable of hauling fairly substantial vessels.
Because of hard use and the wear of time, the car must be replaced and rebuilt from time to time. This particular unit was designed by Joe Jackimovicz, a learned and longtime employee of this yard. Mike Beauregard helped with its construction as did Joe Ernst, who did most of the metal work upon which the wooden car rests. The railway has been there for a while – it may be original.
As you look out through the car you can see the side supports which cradle a boat and help to keep it properly aligned and balanced as it is raised from the water. There are adjustable supports with notches that are drawn into the hull securing it in place. The long wooden box is not part of the car. It is used for steaming planks. The round snow covered balls were flotation aids used to help cushion and support the Bowdoin.
It’s a real balancing act with constant measuring and adjusting as the boat comes out of the water. Quite impressive process to watch as a gang of 12 or so workers scurried around the deck and on the water. Even a diver to check below the water line to be sure supports were making perfect contact in precise locations.