Thursday, June 23, 2016

RAISING THE PHOENIX (links corrected)

Yesterday's post linked you to my blog, PHOENIX OF HIROSHIMA which tells the story of our family yacht from the laying of her keel to her lying at the bottom of the Sacramento River 60 years later.

A growing group of us hope to get the Phoenix, a boat famous from anti-nuclear voyages during the Cold War, up and sailing again by 2020. Here is our latest newsletter to people interested in helping or just in following her progress. If you want to be on that mailing list, write me at

Dear Phoenix Phriends:
Things have been crazy here, but crazy good. We have had questions from some of you that involved lengthy answers and helpful advice/ suggestions from others, all of which we have responded to directly.

As a result, things are coming together rapidly. We have a non-profit organization willing to be an umbrella and project manager for our project, handling accounting for funds and are considering that. Phoenix owner Naomi Reynolds has given me permission to make decisions like this one and is even willing to turn over ownership of the boat "if necessary" to an "appropriate organization." For instance Golden Rule is owned by Veterans for Peace, not an individual or family. That will help with fund-raising.
First, ASAP, we have to get the boat on top of the water instead of under it. That involves:

1. Getting an appraisal of her current condition. Divers went down in 2010 and you can read their appraisal at We need divers to go down and make a new appraisal. 

2. Then we need her raised and towed to a dock. In 2010 the estimate for that job was $17,000. Now the estimate is $25,000 but I think that includes towing her all the way to Shipwright Co-op shipyard in Washington.
Second, we have to decide on a shipyard for the reconstruction.

Golden Rule was restored at Zerlang and Zerlang's shipyard in Eureka, CA. Zerlang's gave Golden Rule free parking for the 5 years it took to restore her. (She also had LOTS of volunteer labor.) But Leroy Zerlang isn't inclined to start another huge project like that with the Phoenix.

Shipwright Co-op in Port Townsend, Washington, is ready and willing to do the work if we can get the Phoenix there. They expect it to take two years and cost from $500,000 to $1 million.
Third, we have to get her to the shipyard.

My nephew Tony is a long-time, long-distance trucker. He has contacts with companies that transport boats that size. He can get an estimate when we know where to take her.

Fourth, we have to provide plans of the boat for the shipyard.
This will be easy. We have copies of the plans of the boat, not the original plans but plans Tomas Daly had drawn up when he bought the boat from Dad in 1972 or 3. He did a massive restoration at that time. (I think he paid $20,000 for the boat and spent $45,000 on the restoration.) Originally the boat had a cockpit way aft with a tiller. Later Dad put in a wheelhouse farther forward and a wheel.
Also, my mom took slides of every stage of the building of the Phoenix and Jerry has digitalized those slides. Every step of the original process was done BY HAND. You can read about it at and in the first installment of Dad's article in the Saturday Evening Post, "We Crossed the Pacific the Hard Way" at
So it should be pretty straightforward to get the boat restored. Of course Ted and I remember what the layout was like below decks and can give input. We also have some photos of the galley, the main cabin, etc.

Several of us on this list are going to try to meet in person soon to discuss all this and at least narrow down options. Setting up a fund-raising plan can be done concurrently.
Any other comments, questions, suggestions are welcome! We have added a few people to the mailing list. I'll send out a revised one soon.
Extra Ballast,
Phoenix of Hiroshima, 1954-64
(and Jerry, too)

FYI: The first three newsletters were:
1. PHOENIX OF HIROSHIMA - Proposed restoration
2. RAISING THE PHOENIX: Practical Issues
3. RAISING THE PHOENIX: "What are you asking them to work toward?"

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