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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

A Wooden Boat Restored
October 25, 2017
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t the back of Triton Yacht Sales, under cover of a temporary white structure, a wooden boat had been sheltering on the hard, undergoing extensive cleaning and restoration. The end of September saw the shelter removed and Spark, a 36’ Presto-Type Sharpy (yes, you read that correctly), made ready to return to the water after four long years.

Spark, as a seaworthy visiting vessel in Green’s Creek, a few years ago, before Joel found her.
Spark, after restoration, waits for the water.

Joel Kellogg, the current owner of Spark, developed a love for gaff rigged ships while sailing aboard the Lady Washington. “Every time we were sailing, like in the San Francisco Bay, on our big, square-rigged ships, there’d be old gaffers sailing up, wanting to get close and sail with us. I always loved watching them sail… sail all around us. I always thought to myself, that’s what I’m going to have one day.”

At Triton Yachts, Joel talks about the work he’s done and the work to come.

Years later, in 2013, he saw pictures of Spark and was able to look beyond what she had become to what she could be. He loved her lines, her rig, and the cedar-plank-on-oak frame construction. “It was advertised for like, $1,000 or something. And it was basically, ‘come and get it.’ And then, when I agreed to come take care of it, it sank at the dock.”

Despite the additional hassle of cleaning Neuse muck out of her hull, Joel paid for Spark as agreed and had her towed to Sailcraft to assess the damages. Deciding it was going to be an extensive repair and cleaning, he settled Spark in on the hard at Triton Yachts. Spark
The first meeting was more water-logged than expected. (Photo provided by Joel Kellogg)
Out of the water and under cover at Triton Yachts. (Photo provided by Joel Kellogg)

Joel, who lives in Asheville, spent the next few years crossing NC to and from Oriental. Around the same time he acquired Spark, he also began work as a trim carpenter. The skills transferred well.

Working on Spark has taught him a lot. “I spent weekends, a lot of weekends [in Oriental]. We don’t work Fridays, so I’d leave Thursday night after work. Drive down six hours, and work Friday, Saturday, and half a day Sunday on the boat. Then drive back and do it again.”

Found in the bottom of the Spark: a Jotul cast-iron wood stove.

Joel says he removed 800 pounds of muck and trash, including a large steel drum, a cast-iron wood-burning stove, and lead window sash weights used as ballast in the bilge. He kept the stove and two rubber ducks he found floating inside. The rest was hauled to the dump.

Salvaged stowaways found floating in the bilge.

Spark’s original design had a centerboard. The previous owners got rid of it and bolted a large block of lead underneath. “It was just a big block of lead that they bolted, like a square. Square in front, square in the back. So I brought down a big oak tree and I milled it. I made the nose taper up like that, properly.”

Joel at work topside, making ready to move Spark to the water.

His estimates put the added ballast at 1,100 pounds. The lead will stay for now. He wants to see how she will sail with it in place. Joel reasons they put it there for a purpose. If Spark cannot point high enough under sail, he will drop the lead and rebuild the centerboard the next time he hauls her out of the water.

The most time-consuming part of the restoration was recorking, or recaulking, the seams. “Every single seam you see between the planks if full of cotton.” Cotton is fed into the joints with caulking irons, then filled over with a tar and oil mix pushed into the seam with a two-inch knife blade. “It’s a traditional boat building skill that apprentices, like shipwright apprentices, can do their whole life and still not be a professional.” Joel’s father figured they recorked about two-and-a-half-miles of seams.

A view of the windlass from inside.

Surprisingly, Spark needed only two of her planks replaced. Most of her hardware is original to the boat, including the manual anchor windlass. Joel had no choice but to gut the interior.

Before … (Photo provided by Joel Kellogg)
… and after.

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Posted Wednesday October 25, 2017 by Allison DeWeese

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