Fathom This January 2014


The monthly newsletter from

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

January, 2014

Issue #66

Peter Kasin

Park Ranger, interpretation Division, Editor/writer

Jeffrey Morris, Shipwright / Aquatic Park Cove Harbormaster

Courtney Andersen, Historic Ship Rigging Supervisor

In this issue:

Eppleton Hall dry dock update

What’s next for the C.A. Thayer?


Happy new year, and welcome to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park! To see all the programs and events the park and its cooperating associations and partners have to offer, please see the links at the end of this newsletter.

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By Jeffrey Morris, Shipwright / Aquatic Park Cove Harbormaster

The 1914 Steam Paddle Eppleton Hall left Hyde Street Pier the morning of December 4th, 2013 for a period of shipyard maintenance at Bay Ship and Yacht. The Eppie, as she is affectionately known, had not been to dry-dock in thirteen years, and this is the first opportunity we have had to make assessments and repairs to the ship. This shipyard period was meant to be a limited effort due to the tight funding constraints that the NPS and San Francisco Maritime specifically, have been under. Upon cleaning and inspection, more deteriorated hull plating was discovered than had been budgeted, resulting in additional work and the need for additional funding. Recognizing the limited opportunity to make headway on the preservation of this vessel, the park found funding and recommended additional work to stabilize the ship in addition to the needed hull repairs. The work being accomplished during this dry-docking is routine vessel servicing and maintenance and to make repairs to the hull plating, replace the wooden sheathing and decking around the paddle wheels, repair the after steel bulwarks, paint the ship red steel deck and smoke stack. Unfortunately we do not have an unlimited amount of funding, so some desired work to the ship could not be accomplished, however, the Eppie will come back looking sharp and in a condition where we may better continue our preservation efforts. Look for the Eppleton Hall to make her return to her berth at Hyde Street Pier late this month!


By Courtney Andersen, Historic Ship Rigging Supervisor

Rebuilding is continuing on the after house of C.A. Thayer, with park shipwrights repairing deck beam ends, repairing the skylight, and prepping the remaining cabin side log for installation.

However, some bigger work is on the horizon, and I am happy to give this as the first public statement.

I have spent the past two years researching historic photos of Thayer through her sailing career, and also the builder and designer’s drawings of sister ships; from that research I have produced new rigging and spar plans of the ship which will represent what she most likely looked like in 1895 when she was launched. Additional information was gleaned from an unpublished manuscript in the park’s collection by Ron Cleveland, specifically on rigging West Coast schooners and barkentines. Cleveland spent over a dozen years doing research for a model he built of the Kohala, including correspondence with Captain Fred Klebingat, one of the last captains of the age of West Coast lumber ships. Pieces of Wawona, the second-to-last remaining West Coast lumber schooner, which was cut up a few years ago, were donated to the park to use for information and design purposes, and have contributed to the new rig plans.

These new drawings show historic details that were not present during the 50 years Thayer has been at San Francisco Maritime, including the gaff topsails, proper head rig, and finer taper to her masts, which were part of her launch and early years of work configuration.

There will be a division of the work needed to complete Thayer’s rig. A contractor is to be secured for a review of the new rig plans by a naval architect/engineer, and for manufacture of the new rigging components: masts, chainplates, spars and fittings. Holes through the deck where the masts will enter, known as “partners,’ will be cut. All the attachment points for rigging will be fastened to the hull, and the windlass and capstan will be refurbished and installed.

Meanwhile, riggers on Hyde Street Pier will cut the new wire and seized mast eyes in for the standing rigging, which will be left long and unfinished.

When the masts are ready to be stepped in the ship, the new wire standing rigging will be placed over the mastheads. The masts and bowsprit will be installed and stabilized with temporary rigging. The ship will be returned to Hyde Street, concluding the work of the contractor.

Over the course of the following year, the riggers at the park will splice in the deadeyes and other lower ends of the standing rigging, and set up the gear systematically starting with the bowsprit, just as it was done when the ship was built. The shrouds will be rattled down, then blocks for the running rigging hung. New rope running rigging will be reeved up, and the gaffs and booms will be swung aboard.

When the spars are all aboard, it will be time to bend on the sails. The sails are not part of the contract, nor does the park currently have funding for purchase of them.

In the next few months, I am planning a display of “Re-rigging C.A. Thayer”. Which will include copies of the drawings and photographs used for the new design, the model of Kohala built by Ron Cleveland, a full-sized masthead, samples of the historic fittings, blocks and deadeyes to be used on the ship, and ongoing serving and wire splicing demonstrations. This display may be used by the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association in conjunction with public fundraising to purchase the new sails need to meet the Park Service’s goal of having the fully-restored C.A. Thayer sailing for the NPS 100thanniversary in 2016.

Look for all this activity to begin around summer 2014!


https://www.nps.gov/safr/ San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

https://www.facebook.com/pages/San_Francisco_Maritime_National_Historical_Park/142747605758979 The park’s Facebook page.

https://www.museum.nps.gov/Parkindex.aspx Museum collections. Choose our park from the list.

http://keys.bywatersolutions.com The Maritime Library catalog.

http://fullfathomcollections.blogspot.com The park’s collections blog.

http://www.hydestreetlivinghistory.org The park’s living History program.

http://corsair-viking.org The San Francisco Sea Scouts. Partner in Aquatic Park.

http://www.weplayers.org Theatre company and park partner.

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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