Saturday, January 21, 2012

Work Shed Goes Up Over Thelma C

Work shed going up over the Thelma C at Kodiak College
Despite a snowstorm and temps in the 20s, Cache Seel and his men, Brian Stokes and Brian "Peewee" Dougherty, framed up the workshed over the Thelma C over the past few days at Kodiak College. They're hoping now for a calm day to pull plastic sheathing over the wooden frame and then heat gun it to shrink it to the frame. Once that's done, they'll install some doors on the bow end of the shed and put in a few plexiglass windows on the parking lot side, so visitors can watch as Brian Johnson and his crew do the actual rebuild of the boat.

Brian plans to start work on February 15, with Don Corwin and a crew of volunteers. Brian has four decades of woden boat repair work in his resume, and rebuilt the Thelma once before, in 1994.  Don, of North Wind Woodworking is an expert on antique wood construction techniques.He spent the past three summers rebuilding the windows on the Baranov Museum. He's coming over from his hometown of Skagway to help out,

Brian Stokes framking up the work shed on Friday
In the meantime, we're looking for people who want to learn the ins and outs of wooden boat repair by working on the Thelma C. If this is something you've always wanted to learn, now's your chance. We'll supply the tools, the expertise, and the coffee. Please contact the museum for more information, at 486-0384, or

Friday, January 20, 2012

KMMAnnual Meeting Friday, January 20, 2012

RV Akademik Sergey Vavilov
KMM’s 2012 Annual Meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, January 20, in Room 106 at Kodiak College. The meeting will feature a slideshow and talk by Linda Freed and Alan Schmidt on their recent trip to Antarctica. Freed and Schmidt sailed from December 14th to January 1st aboard the R/V Akademik Sergey Vavilov, a Russian research vessel chartered by Quark Expeditions. The voyage began in Ushuaia, Terra del Fuego, Argentina, and continued to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, the South Orkney Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship returned to Argentina via the Drake Passage.
Earnest Shackleton's grave,
Gryytviken, South Georgia Island
Highlights of the trip included skiing on the Antarctic Peninsula, encountering vast penguin and seal colonies, and landings at the Falkland Islands and Elephant Island. Elephant Island was made famous by Earnest Shackleton and his men in 1916 when they sailed there in a small boat after losing their ship, the Endurance, in the Antarctic pack ice and failing in their attempt to reach the South Pole.

The Antarctic talk will be preceded by a brief Kodiak Maritime Museum business meeting including an update on the status of the Thelma C project and the museum’s building plans, an annual report, and election of board officers. Refreshments will be served and museum memberships can be renewed or purchased at the door. Contact KMM at 486-0384 or for more information.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marine Architect Bill Garden’s Thelma C Ship’s Plans at Mystic Seaport

Bill Garden Boats,
Image: Mystic Seaport

After some research, we’ve learned that the Thelma C was designed by legendary marine architect Bill Garden in the early 1960s. Bill began his career just before World War II, designing sailboats, which his friend Dave LeClerq built at his Commercial Marine boatyard on Seattle’s Portage Bay, between Lake Union and Lake Washington. In 1942, Bill was drafted and sent to the U.S. Navy Base at Adak Island in the Aleutians, where the U.S. Navy put him to work in their shipyard, a job he evidently enjoyed.  After the war, Bill and Dave collaborated again on hundreds of boat projects for more than fifty years, including sailboats, yachts, work boats and fishing boats. More information about Bill Garden can be found here:
Bill Garden
Photo: Mystic Seaport

Bill Garden "Seine Boat Plan, November 1961"
Bill Garden Collection, Mystic Seaport

If we have it right, the Thelma C was constructed from Bill Garden's “Seine Boat,” design of November 1961, labeled “Commercial Marine Construction Company Stock 1962 Model.” Online research found this plan at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, where a friend of KMM was able to go in December and, with the help of staff researchers there, look at their collection of Bill Garden ship’s plans. This photo is of the likeliest Thelma plan, but we are waiting for digital or paper copies to make a definitive determination.

The ship’s plans will be used by a graphic artist to render a computer drawing of the finished exhibit on the harbor site, and the project engineers may also use them to design the exhibit cradle for the boat. Eventually, the plans will be displayed on a permanent interpretive panel near the boat, or in the multi-media cell phone tour which will accompany the exhibit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thelma C At Kodiak College

Cache Seel checking out the boat.
Cache Seel stopped by the Thelma C this morning to scope out the site for a temporary building around the boat. Cache will be putting up the building in a week or two so we can do the restoration work inside a covered and heated workspace. The structure will be a simple wood frame box with a peaked roof and sheathed with plastic shrink wrapping- the same material that’s presently shrunk around the boat itself. You may have seen other similar temporary structures around boats down at Fuller’s Boatyard.

The Thelma C at Kodiak College
In the meantime, we’re looking for a few good men and women who’d like to volunteer to help put it up- it should only take a day or two. If you think you might be one of those people, please give the museum a call at 486-0384 or email