22 May 2017: Ahoy ashore shipmates! Well the much anticipated day finally arrived. Mom and Dad came into town the previous night for the explicit purpose of having Dad help me flip the boat. I also had just returned from my three day Drill in Neosho and Joplin Missouri so everyone was tired and eagerly awaiting sleep and of course the next day’s events.

Early the next morning, Dad and I struck out to the shop to determine exactly how we were going to rig the hoisting equipment and line in order to accomplish the flip. Thankfully, my ingenious father told me he had been thinking about how to do this for a few months. Getting inspiration from my Grandfathers boat project, he stated that Papaw used a rope like a sling or bridal wrapped twice around the boat. The boat would flip inside the bridals, about its axis while it was suspended via the scaffolding and hoisting equipment. A series of Prussics (which are smaller ropes tied into a loop) wrapped about three times around the bridal as lifting points that could move once tension was released. This would allow us to lift on one set of these Prussics to the height we needed and secure and utilizing another relief line tie to it and take pressure of the hoists. Allowing us to reset on the unused Prussic on that side; taking up tension again and untying the relief line. The hoisting equipment consisted of two come-alongs and two 2-ton block and tackles.

The actual lifting was tough but not near as big a process as we believed it would be. Once the rigging was set, we started heaving too in order to center the strongback. The boat came up with the strongback very well, without the slightest bit of creaking or groaning of any structural members, either boat or shop. Since it seemed very stable in its suspended state, we decided might as well get started and chop the strongback off the boat. Utilizing my chainsaw Dad took to it, cutting the members clear of the boat. Once that was done, we drug the cut strongback out into the front yard of the shop to get it good and clear. Next, the process of lifting up to the requisite flip height had to be accomplished. What Dad and I soon discovered, was the boat itself even without the strongback attached was still pretty heavy. Thus it took both of us lifting on the block’s and tackle to lift one side of the boat. The other side with come-alongs was much easier to lift with but more cumbersome to reset. We reset everything and lowered one side while raising the other.

Unfortunately for me, I had to go into town for class. So Dad said he would do what he could to continue once I returned, to include sweeping the floor for the chaulks. When I got back, I was surprised to see not only that the shop was swept but the boat was even further along in the flip. She was almost to the point that the center of gravity would change from upside down to right side up. Being energized to help to get us complete, and to ensure Dad did not hurt himself by biting off more than he could chew, I put on my gloves and manned the lines. We were able to in short order get the boat top side up and keel down. Another quick reset and we began lowering the other side while raising the other in order to continue the flip and get her level. Yet again I had to leave to take my seven year old to softball practice. Dad swore he would only do what he thought was safe for both him and the boat without me. My return however proved that he estimated that he could safely continue the flip in my absence. I came inside the shop and asked “would it kill you to wait for me?”, to which he stated he just wanted to get it done and on the ground. The boat itself was about at a 45 degree angle and we still needed to come down on one side and up on the other to level it. Thus again I manned the lines and soon we had her just slightly off the ground and for the most part level.

Next came the task of inputting my chaulks, which turned out to be the biggest “issue” of the flip. The back chaulks were slightly off but the forward chaulks were way off. So I went ahead and had Dad lift up on the front of the boat with a floor jack while I made the modifications to the keel chaulks cutting and notching so they would fit and be level. The chaulks along the hull that I built to support the boat were way short. Unfortunately it was now getting late and we needed to eat and spend some time with Mom, Savannah and the kids. So We left the bow bridal on it and I determined that the next day I would either rebuild or modify the chaulks along the hull.

All things considered, and despite the setback of the chaulks. The flip was momentous and the milestone I had hoped it would be. Having a celebratory beer with Dad, we toasted our success and a job well done.

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