Last fall, the wood stove that we inherited when we bought the Riggin 18 years ago, died. Admittedly, it was a slow death, complete with many repairs and upgrades, but once the stove was out of position, like a soldier out of step with the rest of his/her unit, the flaws became more evident. The first one being, no one should be able to look from the outside wall of the fire box and see through a crack to the grate inside. No one. Ever.
But before we were able to get a good look at the stove from all angles, we had to get it out of the space it had occupied for almost 40 years. (Remember that we inherited the stove with the Riggin. The original installation would have been some time in 1977.) To get the stove out required a feat of engineering, as with most anything involving schooners where everything is heavy and nothing is square. The trick to getting the stove out had to include no one getting hurt, so just getting a bunch of crew muckled onto the thing and muscling it out of the space wasn’t going to work. We’ve tried to fit more than three people in my galley space and trust me, there’s no room to maneuver a single thing, much less a several-hundred pound stove.
This would require the largest muscle of all – the brain. Often in the schooner world, heavy objects are moved by rolling them over logs or poles rather than sheer brute strength. This concept applied to the stove worked brilliantly. Several oblong fenders were placed on the sole in front of the stove where I usually stand. The stove was then carefully tilted on end to rest on top of the fenders and then rolled out of the galley space to in front of the stairs. Then fenders were placed on the backside of the stairs and with a pulley system rigged to the boom, rolled up and out of the galley. From there, the boom was able to swing the stove off the deck and onto the dock.
Once the stove was in the back of the truck, Cap. took it to be repaired at Bryant Stove Works, a well-known stove repair company in our area. The sad news came when the owner of the store suggested that she had cooked her last meal and the best use for her was a 21-gun salute. Good bye, old friend.
Hello, new friend, with your shiny chrome, your curlicues and your warming shelves. Welcome to my galley. I’m thinking her name should be Lucy. It’s an old-fashioned name and a wood stove on a 1927-built schooner should have an old-fashioned name. Plus, if some goes wrong I’ll be able to say, “Luuucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.” I hope we will become fast friends, Lucy.
Making new friends