Robbins Reef Trip Report, Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Robbins Reef Trip Report, Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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Crew:  Megan Beck, Eileen Montanez, Erin Urban

Weather:  Heavy fog, 70°s

Access:  We left Miller’s at 9:15 AM on the Miller Boys piloted by Michael Sabatino and came back on the Nicholas with Mike at 12:30 PM. 

Purpose of the trip:  We had to shore up apertures before the coming storm.

Tasks accomplished:  Eileen caulked six windows that were leaking at the top in the Lantern Gallery.  Megan and Erin put sealant around the edges of the three operable port lights which do not have rims and glass yet.  They are in Jacob’s room, Mae’s room, and the stairwell.  They covered the Watch Gallery door with plastic and stuffed rags in plastic bags in the area in the Watch Gallery ceiling which is open and is leaking and then covered it with plastic.  They put plastic at the bottom of the dog door to cut back on damage from leakage up there.  They put the hatch cover back in Watch Gallery so that that aperture is tight. 

Next steps:  We will continue to remove the deteriorating polyurethane from the interior doors.  Weather permitting we will paint the interior ladder from the Watch Gallery to the fourth level.  We will install a solar fan in the Watch Gallery door.  We will continue to address the Lantern Gallery by finishing up the painting of the interior window casements and the exterior casements and walls, and paint the exterior of the roof.  We will build and install a threshold for the dog door because we have done so much work that is being compromised by leakage from there.  We will paint the exterior walls around the Watch Gallery.

Robbins Reef Trip Report, Thursday, July 12, 2018

Robbins Reef Trip Report, Thursday, July 12, 2018

Crew:  Megan Beck, Annie Rech, Nan Smith, Erin Urban

Weather:  Sunny, 80’s

Access:  We left Miller’s at 9:30 AM and came back at 3:45 PM on the Emily Miller with Rob Stumley as pilot.

Purpose of the trip:  We had to remove Peel Away from the Watch Gallery hatch cover and Smart Strip from the two interior ladders. 

Task accomplished:  Meg tried to drill out the bolt holding the phalange on the port light in Jacob’s room, but she could not.  We need better tools.

Then she and Erin took the Peel Away off the hatch cover.  It had not properly dried, however, and had at least two layers of paint, one gray and one brown, which the Peel Away could not fully penetrate and remove.  The result was a mess, with smeared paint that could not be removed with water or scraping.  They did what they could, propped the hatch up on the floor, and cleaned up the mess, and set the hatch back up on the table to dry out for the next trip. 

Nan and Annie hit the fourth floor ladder.  Though we were using Smart Strip; it had been recommended because it would dry to a powdery layer that could be swept away.  The ladders were thick with old paint and rust.  But like the Peel Away, the Smart Strip was gooey and wet; they worked on the ladder for a couple of hours, and later Erin helped Annie with the fourth floor ladder, and Nan and Megan hit the Watch Gallery ladder.  It was unsatisfying and messy work.  After another four hours, the ladders did not seem much better.  We had to put the drop cloths out on the railings to dry and then sweep them; all in all, the clean-up was a costly, non-environmentally considerate project.  We did what we could to clean the gook and grime from the floors but we will have to replace the ramboard.  Then we swept up throughout the lighthouse. 

Next steps:  We are working on addressing the port lights that open on the fourth floor.  We will continue putting a second coat of paint on the stairwell brick and cast iron walls and ceilings.  We have to clean up the round ventilation disks in the Lantern Gallery and paint the beadboard.  We’ll make sure the dog door is tight, put in new molding around it, and install the threshold.  We have to clean up the Lantern Gallery hatch cover, and put it back; and finish stripping and then paint the ladders.

Of great importance is covering the gaping hole in the kitchen wall.  Steve Kalil and Scott Van Campen have agreed to do so; Steve is having a cover made at the shipyard and Scott will install it.  Josh Pugliese, who is a mason, will then replace the inner brick wall as a donation to the lighthouse project. 

Robbins Reef Trip Report, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Robbins Reef Trip Report, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Crew:  Cooper, Michael McWeeney, Erin Urban

Weather:  Sunny, clear, 80’s 

Access:  We left Miller’s at 2:15 PM and came back at 4:00 PM on the Emily Miller with Rob Stumley piloting.

Purpose of the trip:  We had to put Peel Away on the Watch Gallery hatch cover and Smart Strip on the two interior ladders.  Michael had to photograph and study the dog door threshold and molding, as he is replacing them.   

Task accomplished:  Cooper out Peel Away on the hatch cover, and we added some Smart Strip on the metal parts.  Michael checked out the dog door area and then he and Erin put Smart Strip on the ladders. 

Next steps:  Tomorrow we will strip the hatch cover and ladders, and if possible epoxy the ladders.

Stobart at Noble

 Artist John Stobart in his youth. PHOTO: Kensington-Stobart Gallery

Artist John Stobart in his youth. PHOTO: Kensington-Stobart Gallery

In October, 1976 while working for the National Maritime Historical Society, Bob Murphy, good friend of the museum, invited Noble to be in an exhibition at the National Boat Show.  Noble demurred.  “The work of these sailboat and historical buffs probably has its place, but I really hate like the devil to be confused with them,” he wrote.  “I draw only contemporary things—things I have seen and which I may have the background to interpret.  Remember I am the boy in the rowboat with two oars and one pencil.” 

Shortly thereafter, disappointed that he would not participate in the Boat Show, Stobart, who was part of it, wrote to Noble, “I’ve always thought a great deal of your work and would have been glad to have the honour of meeting you.  I gather you have some pretty severe criticism of the full-sail, clipper-ship types—in which case I guess I admire you for taking a stand.”  He invited him to put work in the gallery in Georgetown he was opening with his friend Malcolm Henderson—“an extremely attractive place on the old canal (Chesapeake & Ohio).”

Again Noble demurred.  “May I confess to you in all humility that exhibiting in a maritime gallery is a thing I have a slight fear of.  Believe it or not—I have only tried to do contemporary scenes that meant a great deal to me as best I could on a lithographic stone.  (Though in my case ‘contemporary’ goes back a bit, and I did know upward of 175 sailing vessels.)  But in the last few years yachtsmen, historians, semi-historians, and sail buffs have begun to plague me with questions…that sort of put a layer of dry dust over my endeavors.  Most of my time has been devoted to attempting a decent composition, not to record history....  The fancy Sealand calendar listed me as dead, and I have been taken for something out of the Civil War period.”

 John Stobart,  San Pedro:     The Bark  Vidette  Towing into Port at Sunrise in 1890 , oil on canvas, 1983;  courtesy of Kensington Galleries.

John Stobart, San Pedro:The Bark Vidette Towing into Port at Sunrise in 1890, oil on canvas, 1983; courtesy of Kensington Galleries.

Back came a scrawled letter from Stobart in February.  He enclosed a catalog of Henderson’s etchings and a catalog of his own limited edition prints—“I tremendously admire the originality and power of your things which will prove, I know, to be a finer document than any others being done today.”  He asked Noble if he “could spare a copy or two of your lithographs.  We’d be honored to have them.”

On March 3 Noble responded, confessing, “It came as a deserved shock to me last week when for the first time I saw the truly magnificent quality of your work in South Street.”  He admired Henderson’s catalog—“Opening it up was like coming home to old friends,” and readily agreed to send “anything I have—for with such company…I would hang in a junk shop or a dark dripping cellar.”

The friendship that began then eventually engendered Stobart at Noble.  The renowned maritime painter has been a generous Trustee of the museum for 17 years.  In 2003 he staged a retrospective of his work here, and today his paintings and small pencil drawings grace our library.  Noble would have been enraptured.

-Erin Urban