The foundation of any good job is planning, and a good foundation.

Back in December 2022 we hauled the LA Dunton and blocked her up near the entrance to the shipyard.  That’s where she will stay for the duration of a long-awaited, multi-year restoration.  We’ve built stairs up to the top deck so that visitors can come aboard and see the work we’re doing, and we’ll also be installing a small elevator up through the hull to make the boat accessible to all! 

But wait, is she just sitting up on the land?  Can the ground really support her, especially so close to the edge of the water?

Good question.  Glad you asked! 

The short answer is, no, there’s no way she could just be placed on blocking on the ground, especially that close to the bulkhead.  Much of the shipyard is constructed on fill, and while that’s great for most things, it would not do well with such a concentrated load.  So, to make sure that the LAD had a rock-solid foundation below her, we built a special platform beneath all of the keel blocks and side supports.   

It started with a shallow trench, shaped like a long line with wings coming out along its length.  We hired a local company that specializes in driving dock pilings, and they drove long pressure treated pilings deep into the ground throughout the trench.   

Once they were driven in, the tops were cut off below the eventual surface of the pad.   

After that, a crew came in to set up forms, rebar, and pour the concrete.   

You can see LAD tied up in the background, waiting for haul out day.  Or if you were a drone… 

While she was patiently waiting, a group of Coast Guard cadets came by and helped to offload all of her movable lead and concrete block ballast.   

They were super energetic and the crane and forklift could barely keep up with them.   

A team of shipwrights built blocking and set up poppets on top of the concrete pad to support her.  You can also see the massive lifting gear and one of the cranes brought in to lift her out of the water and onto the blocking.  

Oh yes, the lifting gear.   

Lifting a boat the size and age of the Dunton is a tricky operation.  Early on we recognized that a single crane would not be a feasible option, given the limitations of the site and the depth of the river.  We worked with ___ to design a lifting setup that relied on two massive land-based cranes.  

And so, by first week of December, 2022, the LA Dunton was riding high in the water, ready to be moved to her new home for the next few years.  It’s not readily apparent how much work was involved to bring her to this moment, and that’s usually the sign of good planning.