On Jul 6, 2014, at 12:31 PM, "John Bryant" wrote:
But having said this, I want to know how many of us will want to see, touch, and feel some part of that 10-20% of the ship that Frank tells us is "original." Can we touch the keel, without jumping over board. (Melville, or rather Ishmael, has a chapter on
the risks of knowing what the whale's spout is: you risk death finding out; but I won't get into that.
This has been a fascinating discussion. I think it is important to note that while the Morgan might be down to her last 10-20% original fabric, she has always been a ship. Whether or not this or that plank is original might not be as important as the fact that there has *always* been a plank there, and that collection of planks (and other stuff) has always resembled more or less the ship that was launched in New Bedford in 1841. I don't think the same can be said about the brig Niagara and I'm not sure about the Constitution (pretty sure she has never been fully deconstructed).
Matthew Stackpole said it best about the virtues of wooden ships: they are endlessly renewable. I took great comfort knowing that I was walking in the same spaces as my ancestors, even if some of the wood wasn't exactly the same.
But you can go down in the hold and plainly see and touch original fabric without having to swim down and find the keel. There are some vertical support beams that are clearly very old and worn that have been left in place, and I was told they were original during our 30 April orientation day.