Adventuress undergoes major restoration project

11But it’s high time the grand dame of the sea had a face-lift.

The 133-foot Adventuress, built in 1913 and now owned by the nonprofit Sound Experience, is currently in dry dock at the Port Townsend boat haven, undergoing a $360,000 “Centennial Restoration Project.”

The historic ship, which is based in Port Townsend, is used as a floating maritime classroom on Puget Sound, with the mission of educating, inspiring and empowering all to care for Puget Sound and to continue to preserve and promote the region’s maritime culture and heritage.

More than 3,000 participants sail on the Adventuress every year.

The two-masted, gaff-rigged schooner was pulled from the water in late December, and restoration work began in earnest in early January.

The project is being undertaken at Haven Boatworks, with the work being done by the Adventuress winter crew, volunteers and Haven Boatworks shipwrights.

The work is being managed by Senior Capt. Korie Mielke.

Elizabeth Becker, special projects director, said U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks was instrumental in securing a $180,000 National Park Service “Save America’s Treasures” grant, with donors matching that amount.

Two phases of restoration

The money will be used to fund two phases of restoration, starting with rebuilding the port bow and stem, which is going on now.

Phase two, to be done next year, involves replacing the starboard bow and transom.

Crews have already laid bare the frame of the ship on the port (left) bow, and started replacing the frames, which look like ribs.

Twelve new bunks are being built by students at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, which also has turned out most of the crew working on the boat.

Before the ship goes back in the water April 1, crews will have replaced the ship’s stem, frames as needed, rebuilt bunks in the forecastle (bow below deck area), and replaced large steel fore chain plates, which reinforce the rigging points inside the ship.

That’s if all goes well.

“You don’t see all of the structure until you tear into it,” Julie Maynard, Haven Boatworks co-owner said Friday, standing in the forecastle, a gaping hole in the bow behind her.

So far there have been no big surprises, although replacing the stem was not part of the original plan.

“Everyone was aware it needed help,” she said of the ship.

And, while it may take a village to raise a child, it also takes one to repair a ship.

Many helped

The Port of Port Townsend paid the haulout and storage fees and materials were purchased from local businesses.

Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend provided the tropical hardwood “purple heart” needed to replace the oak and fir components, doing so at cost.

Once a week, Port Townsend high school students from the Voyagers program come aboard to do maintenance chores.

Becker pointed out that the ship has had a lot of work done in her 100 years, including repairs from a fire that nearly sank her.

All of the present restoration work is to historic preservation standards, she said.

“A lot of work has been done in 100 years, not all of it documented. It’s hard to know the quality of work or materials used,” she said. “Now we’re able to really do it right.”

The work being done is expected to last at least another 50 years, although maintenance and repair is an ongoing process.

“We’d love to see her reach her second 100th birthday sailing Puget Sound,” Becker said. “There’s no reason she can’t.”

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Features Editor Marcie Miller can be reached at 360-417-3550 or [email protected]

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