We’re getting started on the Great Pilot House Rebuild. If you’ve been on the boat in the last couple of years you’ve probably heard me talk about the Great Pilot House Rebuild. We’ve wanted to do this project for some time now and as all of you have pointed out, it’s going to be a big one, so right now we’re getting all the planning and preparation done, so the project runs smoothly. We’re hoping to have it completed for the 2012 summer season.

Over the life of any boat, it’s very common to go through changes in outward appearance as well as internal changes to systems, the structure and the interiors Many boats owners add fly-bridges, that later turn into covered fly-bridges, and then become totally enclosed upper pilothouses. Most of the older boats in the fishing fleet on the West coast have gone through some aspect of this. The David B is no different. It was built with a forward pilothouse, which had the galley behind it, then a small quarters space with some bunks, then a low trunk cabin over the engine. In the nineteen-eighties, the owners decided that the boat would be more useful to them if the pilothouse was aft, and the center hold was open, so it could be used to carry fish. They also moved the pilothouse for aesthetic reasons, claiming that they liked the look of it better that way.

We’re now getting ready to move the house back to it’s original location, and restore the boat to (closer to) it’s original lines. It’s not going to work as a cannery tender ever again, but we’d really like it to look more like one, and more like it did in 1929 when she slid down the ways.

While it’s great that we’re going to make her look more original, the real beauty is really that we’re going to make her much better for our guests. The ‘new – original’ configuration will have lots more inside space for lounging, reading, and watching the scenery slide by. You’ll be able to come and go from the staterooms more comfortably, (and in your pj’s if you want) and there will be covered outside space for watching humpback whales, glaciers and all the other amazing wildlife we see. It’s also going to be better for us as well. We’ll have better visibility from the bridge, more space for the galley stores and the boat will even trim better, so it should slide through the water more efficiently. There will be no more standing out in the cold wind and rain navigating through the ice in the fjords for me.

Our plan is to complete the project in 3 stages over the course of the next 3 winters. This winter we’re creating the complete design, doing all the stability calculations and also doing the logistics for all the construction. During the winter of 2010-11 we’ll build the new structure ashore, on a mock-up of the existing deck. Finally in the winter of 2011-12 we’ll dismantle and reassemble the new structure on the David B. We’ll keep everyone posted as we progress. This week we’ve started working with a naval architect who will be doing all the design calculations. We’ll post the drawings as soon as we have them, and we’d love to hear from you about you think of the project.