Hi Girls & Guys:
I wrote this story in 2012 and here it is 2016 with another new year coming fast. I stumbled across it while going through my old archives! It has not been published on the Tern’s Nest but has been sent out as an email years ago! Some of you old subscribers will remember it! So as the birds and fish get their bellies full for the trip south I thought I would send it out to you girls & guys for your reading pleasure!
All I can say is “Ding Dang Doodle” as the Tern sits on a Bayline mooring in New Bedford Harbor thanks to a few people that have helped in the Tern’s return to the worlds oceans! As luck would have it on the tow to New Bedford, Bob Dylan’s theme time radio hour was playing on Sirius satellite. This weeks theme was Party Time and I thought to myself this is going to be some party repairing the Terns rudder in 90 degree heat. Then the song “Wing Dang Doodle All Night Long” started to play. It is such a catchy tune and you know what happens when a tune like that gets into your head? It is impossible to get rid of it! Well I turned the first word Wing into Ding and just went with the flow! It didn’t take long before the rudder was fixed and the Tern back in the water! It turned out to be a “Ding Dang Doodle Day”! Thank you Bob Dylan!
The list can start with Tow Boat US and a guy named Dereck a real professional. He arrived in the Westport River to tow me to New Bedford at 0800 sharp as promised. I refused to let the Tow Boat guy from Westport touch my boat again. A little known fact is that when you allow a line to be attached to your boat the control goes to the tow boat but, you can cast the lines off anytime you want after you pay him. The tow from Westport to New Bedford was professional, smooth and fast!
I was forced to go to New Bedford because F. L. Tripp was unable to haul the Tern without removing her mast. This yard is archaic still lifting boats out of the water with a crane! As most of you know I restored the Tern at F. L. Tripp over a six year peroid and for that I will be forever grateful but, it was unacceptable to take the mast out. One because of the expense the other is the work I would have to do in addition to fixing the rudder. At one time the rudder fix could have been accomplished at Tripps but today their machine shop is closed and staff at a bare minimum.
The “One Man Band” met me upon arrival at the Town ramp in New Bedford with Ding Dang Doodle swirling around in my head. Bayline hauling and storage is adjacent to the ramp. One man driving a trailer truck equipped with a hydraulic trailer hauled the Tern all by himself. Derek from Tow Boat put me on his hip and guided the Tern onto the trailer. Once in position the “One Man Band”did a “Ding Dang Doodle”, positioned the pads on the trailer, there was hardly enough time for me to take pics. Presto we were out of the water, with Ants resting on the trailer bed! The “One Man Band” blocked the Tern put stands under her and we were off to the races in Ding Dang Doodle time!
Bob the owner of Bayline sent two mechanics, John & Andre to help with the rudder removal. I took care of disconnecting the steering mechanisms and between, John, Andre and me the rudder was ready for transport to Scandia in Fairhaven in Ding Dang Doodle time! It was late in the day by now so I elected to bring the broken rudder to Scandia in the morning for now I had to find a place to sleep. I went to Tripps in hopes of crashing on my friend Ray’s boat but, he was to home so I went to a flea bag hotel in Dartmouth in hopes of watching the Patriots play but all I could get was porn on the TV.
The next morning I brought the rudder to Scandia in Fairhaven right across the harbor. I have done business with Scandia for over 35 years and the day before had called them to tell them I was coming with a welding job on my rudder. Scandia services the large fishing fleet in New Bedford & Fairhaven.These men have to come first as this is their living. Upon my arrival at 0800 they took one look at the rudder and said the material may be unweldable but they would try. I knew if anyone could weld this it would be Scandia. I returned to Scandia at 1400 (2pm) fearing the worst, hoping fro the best. Well it was another Ding Dang Doodle time. He said the bronze on the broken hinges was some of the best he has welded. The welds looked fantastic and the rudder post was still warm as we loaded it into my car. Once back at Bayline, I told Bob I would be ready to install it in the morning!
0800 Friday morning the first glitch was encountered. The Tern was too low on the blocks. Now that the rudder was back together it was too tall to fit in the stern tube without lifting the Tern. A quick appearance by the “One Man Band” and in five minutes the “One Man Band” had the Tern’s stern up in the air ready for insertion of the rudder post. By lunchtime the Tern ready to go back in the water but, the good lord was not ready for her as the tide was dead low on a full moon and no water at the ramp. After two hot and sweaty days, I headed off to the package store to get a case of Corona for the trip to Block Island.
At 1500 hours (3pm) the “One Man Band” arrived on scene. Within 10 minutes the Tern was afloat again in Ding Dang Doodle time. I was truly amazed at the efficiency of this boat yard and would recommend it to any of my readers.
New Bedford is undergoing a massive transformation in the downtown area. Cobble stone and brick are being laid at a frantic pace. After all New Bedford was the Whaleing Capitol of the World. The whaleing museum is the biggest and best display of what it meant to kill a whale and bring the oil home to light the world. There is no doubt in my mind that we as a nation would not be what we are today if these men did not go to sea for years at a time to bring home the oil. Today as has been the case for over a hundred & fifty years New Bedford is the richest port in the United States in fish landings. Another truly amazing thing about this port is that it welcomes us Blow Boaters along with the huge fishing fleet
Prior to our departure in the morning we got a pleasant surprise from a boatload of ladies rowing a whaling dory. Of course upon seeing the Tern their curiosity led them to come alongside. The were delighted to learn the Tern was built right here in Fairhaven seventy four years ago. I am looking forward to visiting New Bedford at the end of this month for the annual waterfront festival and watch these ladies race their boats. I hope to take some pics inside the museum to share with you.
Our planned trip to Block Island was cut short when the GPS stopped working and I had to break out the paper charts! it is not that i could not find my way to Block Island with paper charts but I thought it more prudent to return to Westport to ready the Tern for the upcoming voyage south. This year we will leave a little later for fear of big winds coming our way. At least the Tern is ready to go to her hurricane hole (Lake Tashmoo) if one should come our way!
Hope you enjoy the story and the pics? The pics are pretty much a hodgepodge!
Ciao! For now,