Hawila Shipyard Assessment in Gilleleje

After a summer like we’d never known, one of collective work, cultural experiments and fervent restoration, Hawila Project set off to its first critical adventure in the middle of September.

For the first time in years and our organisation’s history, Hawila tests the open ocean on the way to Gilleleje shipyard in Northern Sjælland, to assess the state of the hull, evaluate the work ahead and define if, how and when our 80 year old vessel can take to larger seas.

We leave the harbour with a safe escort, using our renovated Volvo Penta diesel engine and all pumps running, hoping to all the skies that summer’s attentions and our old hull can take. The weather is with us! After a surprisingly calm trip trimming the coasts for half a day, we round into the old danish harbour of Gilleleje, reknowned for the quality of its wooden ship repairs, and wait nervously over the weekend for the morning where Hawila will be raised out of the water and her hull will finally reveal its mysterys

As the sun rises on Monday the 21st of September, Hawila slides onto the rail ramp of the slipway where she’s lifted up and stays for the next 10 days. What follows is also quite beyond our expectations.

After being pulled up the slipway, we’ve started work on the impressive expanse of Hawila’s hull in Gilleleje Shipyard.
An emotional occasion. First steps of cleaning under water pressure and initial checks were accomplished cleaning and scraping off layers and years of sealife. She’s in much better shape than we expected, no planks under the water line need replacing, which would have been huge and costly work, and is amazing news!

Hundreds of nails to change to screws however, huge amounts of caulking ahead and much much more. We settle into an estimated 2 weeks of intense assessment work at high costs, the only way forward.

In the middle of the week, we received a visit from Lennart Martinson and George Appelkvist, an earlier generation of Hawila caretakers, come all the way from Sweden to see the ship and the crew at work!
They were the ones to start restoring Hawila in 1978 from ice cargo ship in disrepair to flamboyant swedish sailing school with MBV. They watched over her for decades helped by a handful of other crazy friends until 2008. So history repeats…
They shared many interesting facts about our Lady, good stories for the winter, and were amazed at our work and the great shape of the wood after all these years. According to them, Hawila is extremely strong and does not need any rework on her internal structure.

At the conclusion of the first week:

We’ve been 8 people working from 7am to 8pm on hawila’s hull under the waterline, caulked more than 500m of line, changed more than 400 old nails to rust-free screws. Put concrete to close the screw holes, polished the brass propeller from all traces of sea fauna. Closed some lines with pitch, small wooden fixes…
All this, under the hired supervision of professional danish boatbuilders of Gilleleje. The week revealed the very good condition of Hawila: She has the potential to sail again already next spring, for short trips in Copenhagen bay!

This is much more than we ever expected, and so somewhat, is the cost as assement turned to deeper restoration sprint. This time we pay dearly to learn the professional way of getting it done, and looking forward to share our knowledge in the times ahead, and take you sailing!

Today the first of October 2015, after finishing caulking on the vertical seams under the waterline, refitting a new false keel and hundreds of other small tasks done by the love and sweat of hands… the hull was once more covered by shipyard workers, with a thick layer of antifungus paint.

Tomorrow in the early morning, she will be slid back into the water again, and prepare for a trip home to Kastrup Harbour. What awaits is the next story…Stay with us!