Milestone reached in Bluenose II restoration
Published Friday, September 9, 2011 4:13PM ADT
The restoration of Nova Scotia's famed schooner reached another milestone in Lunenburg today.
The last plank, known as the whiskey plank, was attached to the vessel's hull Friday morning.
The tradition of the whiskey plank comes from a long-standing practice in which work is stopped briefly and all hands are poured a tot of whiskey to celebrate the job's completion.
"It means that we're done planking and everybody's happy about that for sure!" says worker Troy Brown
Each plank weighs roughly 450 pounds and it takes five workers to attach a single plank to the vessel.
"It's hard work, but we all enjoy it, and everybody's proud to build the Bluenose," says Brown.
Local officials and Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance employees gathered on the Lunenburg waterfront, along with Heritage Minister David Wilson, for the event.
"The innovation and skill of our master boatbuilders is ensuring Bluenose II will keep our proud marine heritage alive for residents and visitors alike," says Wilson in a statement. "This helps the companies involved to compete for future work that can create economic opportunities for Nova Scotians."
A visitor's centre on the waterfront is providing daily tours of the restoration site and the province says there has been a steady flow of traffic to the site.
"As this project has unfolded here in Lunenburg, the world has had a front row seat to history being rebuilt," says Wilson. "Many visitors have seen the tremendous skill and pride of our skilled Nova Scoria boatbuilders as Bluenose II's legacy is renewed for decades to come."
The restoration of the icon can also be viewed online.
The restoration of the replica of the famous vessel began in July. The $15 million project is being completed by a consortium of three Nova Scotia boatbuilders and involves replacing the wood hull, frames and planking of the ship with improved laminated wood frames and conventional planking materials, using traditional boat-building methods.
The original Bluenose schooner was built in the same Lunenburg Shipyard in 1921 and the captain was the grandfather of Wayne Walters, the current director of operations for the Bluenose II.
"I just think this is an incredible thing that's going on here," says Walters. "You know, we're basically giving the Bluenose II another 50 years of life, and it's just incredible to see the skills that are being used here and the fact that we can still do it."
The provincial and federal governments are funding the project, with Ottawa contributing almost $5 million through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund for hull reconstruction. That project is expected to be completed by October 31.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell and The Canadian Press