Friday, September 23, 2011

The Cannon Project

In my free time during Athena's refit, I took on a little after-hours project to keep me busy, and to learn more about metal fabrication.

I found a piece of extremely high tensile stainless steel rod, and immediately saw it as a potential salute cannon. The rod was turned on a lathe to form the barrel, holes were drilled on the sides to press in the trunnions, and they were welded in after being pressed. After being sanded and polished, the barrel looked great, and all it needed were the accessories. The cart and wheels are cut from teak, and the rest of the handmade hardware is made of stainless steel. Last, the touch hole was drilled, and the teak was oiled to bring out the beautiful wood grain.

Yes, it fires. It's bored to .50 caliber, and designed to fire a black powder charge. I haven't yet test fired it, as black powder is somewhat hard to come by here in New Zealand, but soon it will go BOOM! I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, and have to thank Neil from Holton Marine for all of his help, and for letting me run around his machine shop on Saturdays! He's one heck of a fabricator, and it was great to have his help and input.

Log on in a few days for a video of the first firing! 

The ring hanging rod on the lathe

Beginning to come together
Drilling the touch hole


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The rig is in!

After nine month's in the yard, Athena is beginning to look like a proper yacht again. Fresh paint, fresh varnish, and finally, the masts have gone in. She is looking more beautiful than I remembered, and I'm happy to see her back in one piece again!
Prepping the foremast for it's big step
Connecting the forward most headsail furler, 60 meters up

The fore and main booms ready to be craned aboard
The stunning results of 9 months of refit

She was completely disassembled, refurbished, and put back together again. While there is still a long road ahead, and much work to be done, it is so good to see her with her masts up again. They are of course, my favorite part of the yacht. It was hard to see her apart, almost broken and disabled. Now however, she is back again, back to being one of the most beautiful vessels on the sea. Seeing her in all her glory has given me a new, and long forgotten appreciation for her. Next we bend on the sails, hoist the running rigging, tighten the last screws, and set out to sea again. I can't wait to feel the wind in her sails, it's been so long, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.