MORGAN Hauled for Maintenance

The 1841 whaleship was hauled to perform routine maintenance in the Shipyard.
The CHARLES W. MORGAN hauled in the Shipyard for routine maintenance on September 28, 2016.
The CHARLES W. MORGAN hauled in the Shipyard for routine maintenance on September 28, 2016.

The Charles W. Morgan was hauled from the Mystic River in the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard on Wednesday morning at high tide. The ship will be out of the water for approximately one month for routine maintenance. Every effort will be made to keep the vessel open to visitors, but there will be periods when the work will require limiting access.

The Morgan was maneuvered from her berth at Chubb’s Wharf into the Hays and Ros Clark Shiplift. Divers then inspected the meeting of the vessel’s bottom with the haul-out cradles, grounded the vessel on the cradle blocks, set the side support struts and poppets, and then the ship was slowly raised from the water. Once at ground level,  she was hauled forward, ashore, over a concrete pad for power washing and cleaning. The pad contains a series of pipes and drains that collect waste water effluent from power washing and allow the Shipyard to dispose of the collected waste by sending it out for proper treatment and processing. This system prevents waste water from flowing back into the Mystic River.

After washing the Morgan will be “sidetracked” to the work station parallel to the hauling tracks, and a gangway will be established allowing visitors to board the ship while she is being worked on.

“Work will be principally routine bottom maintenance. We’ll scrape barnacles and sea grass from the bottom, remove lose paint, check and renew bottom caulking and seam compound as necessary, then give her two good coats of anti-fouling bottom paint before re-launching,” said  Quentin Snediker, director of the Shipyard.”

The haul-out process will likely last four weeks. In late October she’ll be re-launched, returned to her berth at Chubb’s Wharf and re-opened to visitors. She’ll be re-rigged in late spring in time for the busy visitor season next summer.

Preparation for hauling began in late August by down rigging the vessel and concluded this past week with the removal 25 tons of ballast and a few remaining elements of rigging and spars. The Shipyard removes her rig to perform maintenance and lower the overall center of gravity for the haul-out. Removing ballast lessens the stress on the hull and helps to establish the desired fore-and-aft trim for landing on the cradles in the Shiplift that support the vessel.

“We have three large vessels in our collection and we haul one each fall for routine maintenance and repair,” said Snediker. “This rotation has worked well for decades in preserving our large historic watercraft.”

This marks the first time Charles W. Morgan will be hauled for maintenance since her launch in July of 2013 at the completion of her six-year restoration followed by her 38th Voyage in 2014. Hauling her routinely for maintenance will preserve the restoration work recently accomplished for at least a generation.