After almost four years (over 6000 hours) of dedicated work by Deltaville Maritime Museum volunteers, the once derelict log bottom buyboat F.D. Crockett has regained her dignity once more. On August 29, 2009 the reconstructed hull was towed to Chesapeake Marine Railway, where the refurbished engine and mast were fitted and the rebuilt pilot house was lifted onto her deck timbers.
To get to this point, the "Crocketteers"–the nickname for John England and his crew–had a few seasons of literally backbreaking labor putting on the decks and readying the boat to receive the pilot house.
By March of 2009, the long slow process of decking over finally began. Two inch square strips of cypress were beveled for caulking, and then painted on all four sides. They were then fitted and clamped to the covering boards, following the shape of the boat. Holes were drilled and the strips screwed to the deck beams. Once the deck had been completed, caulking and painting were the next step. This was a long slow process with back-breaking labor–especially since there don't seem to be any "young" men doing this type of work any more. Work progressed through the summer–and beyond.
By July of 2009, the Crocketteers had refurbished the original mast, adding 10 feet to the bottom using a clothespin scarf. This would allow them to be able to set or "step" the mast in the bottom of the boat as had originally been done.The original Crockett mast is said to have been scrounged from an old derelict schooner.
Under threat of rain, the pilot house was lifted onto the deck for an initial "fitting." Its position was marked, measurements made, and the pilot house was lifted back to shore. Adjustments were made by cutting out the deck so that the pilot house will fit down securely on the deck beams.
The Crocketteers celebrated with Ron Turner, the donor of the boat and a descendant of one of the builders. Later that day the F.D. Crockett was towed back to the museum, her graceful lines restored by over 6000 hours of volunteer labor. She was maneuvered up Mill Creek, looking like a buyboat for the first time since her arrival 4 years before.
She was secured at her home at the museum dock, where John and the crew work to get her engineand steering working so that the next time she heads out of the creek it will be under her own power.
As this blog is updated, months after her pilot house was fitted, much work still lies ahead for the Crocketteers and the museum (and funds remain to be raised). The interior of the pilot house remains unfinished. The refurbished engine and donated transmission systems are in the process of being made fully operational. The electrical and navigation systems and a multitude of other things still need to be added before the boat can once again travel the Chesapeake Bay. Your donations are appreciated.
Originally published by Vera England on 15 Jan 2010. Published on WordPress after The Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park moved to http://deltavillemuseum.com/.