Caring for our Vessels

Repairs and maintenance on the Sae Hrafn and our smaller ship, the Gyrfalcon, are done by the members of the company and volunteers. Most of the work is done by hand (though we do sometimes use power tools to expedite major woodworking tasks, especially if they are being done off-ship). Work sessions for both boats are scheduled during the winter. If it is too cold to permit us to work on the Sae Hrafn under the tent shelter, and/or the Gyrfalcon in the barn where it is kept, we may work on marlinspike tasks such as the rigging, dock-lines and such, or off-ship wood and metal work. Individual members also work on equipment fabrication or repairs, decorative accessories, etc. in their own home workshops.

Maintenance of Sae Hrafn involves inspection of the  hull at haul-out, and, in the past, covering her with a tent-like structure for the winter if a barn or other enclosed workspace is not available. However, after a 2015 fund-raising campaign and with a great deal of work on the part of our members in late 2015 and early 2016, we purchased and erected a commercial 45' long metal frame, PVC fabric covered, shelter in which to work on the ship during winter and to use for other purposes when the ship is in the water. Every year the Sae Hrafn's outer hull below the water line is scraped and power washed free of flaking paint and barnacles (hopefully not many). In the interior, her upper strakes and thwarts are sanded and oiled. The bilge is treated with wood preservative. Her yard is painted with wood preservative. There are usually a number of small structural repairs and modifications to be made due to normal wear and tear, expansion-contraction of the wood, and the experiences and observation of the previous season having identified problem areas. As the launch date approaches, her outer hull is caulked and then re-painted with bottom paint, and the upper portion of the hull refinished as needed . Any repairs needed that are discovered after launch, or which develop during the voyaging season, are performed with her in the water if possible. This would usually be sanding and oiling of thwarts, rigging work, minor strake or rail repairs. In exceptional circumstances, we may careen her on a beach to make repairs on her underside.

The Gyrfalcon is sanded and re-varnished when needed. Her thwarts are examined, and repaired if necessary Spars, rigging, and steering gear also get inspected.

The trailers of both ships are checked and repaired if necessary. The rigging (ropes) of each ship are checked and repaired or replaced as necessary. We also check and repair/replace as necessary such equipment as bilge pumps, navigation lights, life vests, medical kits, fenders, ground tackle (anchors, anchor line and anchor chain) and the myriad other items of equipment used to safely operate a vessel in either the 11th or 21st century. These activities occur throughout the year (though we prefer to work on the trailers when the boats are off them). We also work on the small modern boats and motors that we use as tenders, push boats, photography platforms, and for other support purposes