Cotton Blossom arrived in San Diego by trailer from Blaine, WA in late June 2003. Johnny Smullen and his crew began by removing the 8" bulwarks and entire deck and cabin top, all of which had been installed in the early 1950s. The modification had given her better accommodations for cruising and near shore ocean racing but had altered her looks substantially from original. In short order CB was stripped down to a bare open hull, supported athwartships with enough temporary structure to keep her shape.
Each frame was replaced at the rate of two to four each day. With each new frame came new fastenings. About 80% of the original mahogany planking remained in place. The floor timbers were replaced and some wood was replaced on both stem and horn timber. At the same time early photos were analyzed as well as the one set of original line drawings in order to determine how to restore her to her original looks. New spruce spars were built and new bronze pieces were designed and custom made.
After seventeen months, the results are spectacular. Credit goes to Johnny Smullen, Project Manager and Coordinator, Bill Clark, who did much of the woodwork including the spars, Steve Harrison who made a lot of the custom bronze fittings such as mast partners and stem head fittings as wellas all the custom machining, Doug Jones, Chief Shipright, and Wilson McDonald and Dave Henderson who did the cabin house. Patrick Langley did most of the brightwork. Of course, Dennis Conner should be given credit for the vision and fortitude to see the project through. Congratulations to all!
The following photographs were taking on October 14, 2004 at her christening at the San Diego Yacht Club. All photos unless otherwise noted are by Doug Cole.
Semi Custom Harken winches.
Custom blocks made in France.
This tiller stock is one of the few original fittings.
75' spruce spar.
10' taller than the original. Spar built by Bill Clark. .
Boom and gooseneck fitting.
The main is loose footed. Boom is about 12' longer than in earlier days. Jibs will be non-overlapping. Spinnaker is planned to be asymmetric. Custom bronze work by Bill Clark..
Awaiting the crowds at San Diego Yacht Club before the Christening gathering.
(End Part 4)