Completed When an Old Gal Retires

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

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When an Old Gal Retires

Postby Karyk on April 14th, 2017, 8:32 pm

Timestamp: Spring 31, 517 AV

Karyk arrived at the shipyard in a somber mood, not really looking forward to today. And he wasn't alone. His team and several others were gathered around the center of the yard, standing before a large merchant sloop, an older ship called The Galistra. She was a well known older ship, one that every single man and woman before it worked on at some point. For Karyk, it was the first time his parents brought him to the ship yard, they let him help seal the ship with tar before its maiden voyage. He was only nine years old at the time. It was one of the best days of his life.

But today the ship many referred to as 'Old Gal' was being retired. Her keel had been cracked trying to come home during a bad storm, and with her age, and the high cost of repairs, her captain and owner, the merchant known as Geoff Holken, decided to retire her. Retiring a ship meant a shipbreaking, stripping her for parts to offset the cost. There was still some debt left from the ship, which is why she wasn't being offered to Laviku like many captains might do.

The builders stood around quietly, waiting, until the captain and his final crew arrived, along with a member of the shipyard administration. The captain would be signing over the deed to the ship, agreeing that whatever value was obtained from the shipbreaking would first go toward any outstanding debts, with the remaining going to the captain. The first mate, an imposing looking, scarred up woman began passing out mugs filled from a keg of beer. Karyk held his, listening closely, waiting on the captain's parting toast.

The captain, an older man and merchant, took his mug last, and through tear filled eyes, held it up, and began speaking. "Old Gal was the best ship any man could've asked for. She took us from here to every point of the map. She gave us all purpose, shelter, excitement, love. She was our crew's soul and heart. And on her..," he got choked up a bit, "on her last voyage... she was injured bringing us home safely. But even with a broken back... she did it. And I can never thank her enough for this. I wish... I wish we could give her to Laviku where she belongs, to be one of his wives... But it is not meant to be, and for that... I'll always hold that regret. Old Gal, you're my friend and family. Rest now, and may you ride the waves with the wind at your back."

With tears streaming down his face, he raised his mug toward Old Gal's figurehead, a buxom woman with waves splashing all around her, before draining it down. Everyone else followed suit. Then the captain snatched the document's from the administrator's hands and moved over to Old Gal's hull to sign them. Just as he reached it, a woman's voice rang out, "Father! Stop! Stop this travesty!" Karyk looked over and saw that a woman had just entered the shipyard. She was clad in leathers, had a huntress look to her, and a mane of auburn hair down her back, and she was storming over, the rage on her face more than evident. The first mate stepped between the woman and the captain, hands raised, "Petch off Lorika!" and pushed past her.

Standing before her father, the captain, she glared at him. When he tried to speak, she slapped him hard across the face. "How dare you!" He tried to speak again, and once more was met with a slap, "You and mum poured your souls into Old Gal! Mum sold her business, her parents' house, worked her ass of taking care of me and Bolsen. And you're selling Old Gal off for parts?! What sort of piece of shyke are you? She deserves to be laid to rest with Laviku and you know it! You're a disgrace father!" She spat on his boots, and stormed off, "I hope Laviku curses you and you never sail the seas again! You goddamn coward!"

The captain looked stunned for a long time, then hung his head, signed the papers, and tossed them at the administrator. "I'll be at the bar. Do what you must." And with that, the broken captain walked out of the ship yard, his crew following forlornly. And with that, Old Gal's fate was sealed. And the shipbreaking was set to begin.
Last edited by Karyk on May 14th, 2017, 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Karyk
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When an Old Gal Retires

Postby Karyk on April 14th, 2017, 11:02 pm

Raegher, Karyk's team foreman turned to his group, "We'll be doing most of the work on this, other groups will be cleaning the outside of the hull and sorting what we strip off. We need to clean her out, scrub her down, remove all the rigging and sails, remove the masts, the accessories. Then head below deck, removing the inner walls and posts, then finally the hull and skeleton and figurehead. I want us to get this done by sundown, so bust some ass. Drinks at the Kelp after."

Everyone nodded, and Karyk grabbed his gear, and started up the gangplank. He knew all the trade cargo would've been offloaded and accounted for, so most of what was left behind would be supplies. Dorrin, as usual made his way for the great cabin, Stefio for the lesser private cabin, while Karyk, Mynnie, and Lecard made way below deck. Karyk stopped at the bottom of the stairs to get used to the darkness. Once his eyes acclimated, he moved on, continuing down to the lowest deck. This deck would mostly be ballast barrels and supplies crates. Keeping the weight at the bottom of the ship helped to keep it stabilized.

Many ships used live ballast, or the weight of the crew, but the Old Gal didn't have a large crew and didn't transport many passengers. Karyk found crates, not barrels in the bottom most deck. Karyk pulled his adze from his axe bundle and slipped the flat end under the crate lid. Once lodged a fair bit under, he cranked it back toward him, straining under the force. These crates never got opened, so they warped together hard. He inched it along, doing one side and another, straining and grunting, until the lid was loose. Then he lifted it and looked inside. It was too dark to make it out so he reached inside slowly, and his fingers found a hard, smooth, cold surface and he groaned.

Mynnie heard him and asked, "What is it love?"

"Rocks. We're lugging rocks."

She swore to all the gods above and below, while Lecard was silent and stoic as usual. Karyk bent at the knees next to the crate, reached out around the crate, and found some finger holds. He gripped them tight, straightened his back, dug down deep, and pushed upward with his ass and thighs, grunting under the strain. Once he was up, the crate resting against his body, the strain wasn't nearly as bad. But the crate hung down to his thighs, so it impeded his full stride. So he to shuffle his steps, small ones, toward the stairs. He could hear Lecard grunting behind him with one as well. They were a bit heavy for Mynnie, so she made her way up to the second deck and started there.

Karyk approached the second deck, hiked the crate up a bit higher on his chest, straining hard to keep his back straight, and lifted his left leg up. Blindly he stepped up and forward onto the step, relief that he hadn't missed the first one. Each one after that was easier. Grunting and straining he climbed, step after step, then deck after deck, til the morning light bathed him in the face. Crossing the main deck, Dorrin came over with a fancy chair in hand, lifting the lid on Karyk's crate and laughing, "Filled with rocks? That's brilliant." Karyk set the crate down near the gangplank where the inventory crew would take it and sort it and catalogue it. Then he skipped back downstairs around Lecard and Mynnie. And started the process over again. Thankfully it wasn't a large sloop. It only took their team two bells to fully unload the three decks and the cabins.
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Karyk
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When an Old Gal Retires

Postby Karyk on April 17th, 2017, 5:32 pm

Once all the gear was cleared out, Karyk found himself at the base of the only mast on this sloop, staring upwards at it. It was time to remove the rigging and sails, then dismantle the yards. The mast itself would take more people and gear, and would be left with the skeleton for the next crew to work on. A single rope ladder hung down against the mast. He'd do the climb, while Mynnie would take care of the knots and such down on deck, while Lecard would be responsible for rolling the sails and coiling the rope.

Grabbing the first rope rung, Karyk began to pull himself up. Despite his size and bulk, years of climbing ship rigging let him move up it swiftly. Higher and higher he climbed, eyes locked on the top yard. Once he reached it, he grasped onto it with both hands, and began lifting himself up, straining under his own weight. Once he got his chest over the yard, he heaved and swung his leg up over it, then sat up, straddling the crossbeam. He looked down, seeing the six yards and sails he'd have to release. But first he started on the stay line that connected the top of the mast to the flying jib.

It was a simple bowline knot, as most were. He drew his adze, and carefully worked it into the knot, so as to knot cut it, and slowly began prying the knot loose. Once the lead started coming through, he grabbed it and yanked it through, down and around a few times until the knot was undone. He watched the jib sail slack, before he let go of the rope, letting it fall. It thudded a few feet from Lecard who shot him a dirty look. Mynnie would start on untying the rest of the jib sail.

Karyk slid to one seemingly precarious end of the yard, right on the edge. There he started the process over again, this time untying the first of several knots that tied the main skysail to the yard. Each time he undid one, he tossed it down and Lecard took care of it. Once all the top knots of the sail were undone, he moved back to his rope ladder, and got down on it. From there he started undoing the square lashing that tied the yard to the mast. It was basically the bastard child of a clove hitch and a square knot. Once he had it loosened enough from the mast, he tightened the clove hitch to the yard. Then grabbing a length of rope from his belt, he did a quick square knot, tying the clove lead to his rope. He then slowly slipped the yard from its loosened knot, moving very carefully so the heavy log didn't pull him off the mast and to his death. His arms and back strained under the weight as he moved it about at extended length. He carefully guided it to the mast and set it parallel against it. Once there, he had both hands on the rope, and began feeding it down the mast slowly. Lower and lower it went, until it thudded against the deck. Lecard loosened the square knot and Karyk pulled his rope back up, looped it, and put it back on his belt.

One sail down, five more to go. The process would be the same, just with more knots and bigger yards. Eventually he had to tie the yards up first since he wouldn't be able to guide them by sheer strength alone. Simple clove hitches tied them up, then he'd lower them down slowly. All of this made his arms and back scream in strain under the weight, and his hands sometimes cramped under the grip he maintained. But eventually the mast stood naked and bare, and all the sails and rigging were down and accounted for. Karyk slumped against the mast to rest for a bit, knowing there was still plenty more work to go.
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Karyk
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When an Old Gal Retires

Postby Karyk on April 18th, 2017, 6:51 pm

Karyk had finished resting, and the trio split some fish and bread for lunch. It wasn't much, but now they had to remove many of the planks and rails and anything else that wasn't the mast or skeleton. Those would be assessed and handled by tomorrow's crew. They'd need more specialized gear to remove them, more pulleys and rope for sure. He grabbed his crowbar, mallets, and a bucket. and went below deck. He felt at the wall, probing through the darkness until he'd found what he sought. A nail head. He lined up the crowbar tip under it, tapped it once with the mallet so it found purchase. He then pried it outward so that the nail slipped easily from the wood and he plucked it out, and dropped it into the bucket with a plunk. He repeated this several more times until all the nails from that plank were pulled, and dropped in the bucket.

But that was the easy part. Being a carvel planked ship, also meant each plank was sealed with oakum, a tar made from used rope strands and pine sap. This was done through a caulking method and made them a major pain in the ass to remove, which is good, until you dismantle a ship or need to make repairs. He grabbed his heavy mallet, pulled it back, and swung it hard at the plank with a thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Then plank twisted outward, and sunlight began to stream in. One more thunk and it twisted around so that it was perpendicular to the hull in which it sat. Karyk reached up and grabbed the end of it which stuck inward, set a foot against the hull, and pulled with his arms while pushing down with his legs. It slid, slowly, stickily, almost literally like through molasses, until it yanked free. He tossed the long plank on to the floor, appreciating the light that started to come through. He could hear crowbars and mallets all through the upper decks, and more footsteps than his two companions. Sounded as if others were coming to help with the hardest bit.

Through a cacophony of hammering, grunting, creaking, the Old Gal become more and more bare. Soon she was just frame, busted keel, and mast. And of course, her figurehead, the busty lass surrounded by water. Karyk helped carry an arm load out through the hole in the hull, as the stairs had been dismantled. He set them in the lumber pile as a group of men carved the Old Gal off the frame, and gently placed her in a wagon. Karyk saw the face of her, and was reminded of that fiery woman from earlier, the captain's daughter. That gave him an idea. He sauntered over, "Hold up on that guys."

It was a couple bells later, and Karyk and others were standing on a fishing boat, one that was recently repaired and needed a test run. And the Old Gal leaned against the cabin on the deck. Captain Holken and his daughter arrived, both smiling with tear filled eyes. "Thank you Karyk, everyone. For giving her the proper retirement."

Karyk just smiled, and the ship was sailed off the dock. Karyk just leaned against the railings, tired and a bit sore. He enjoyed the cooler evening air passing over him, watching the dark waves splash against the ship. He could hear the captain and his daughter making amends, and smiled. It was a fitting end.

Once the fishing boat was far enough out that the city was just a tiny dot of mild light from lanterns and torches the boat threw anchor. Karyk moved over to Old Gal, who had her anchor chained around her legs, and he and a couple other men, picked her up, grunting at the weight of the solid wood figurehead and anchor and inched over to the rails. No one wanted to speak, just watching in silence. The pushed her into the Bay, and watched as she sank into Laviku's embrace. It wasn't perfect, but everyone there felt as if they'd done her and Laviku right. The trip back to port was a somber one, quiet. Once everyone left ship, they all headed for the bar, with plans to share all their favorite Old Gal stories. She'd be forever missed, but never forgotten.
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Karyk
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When an Old Gal Retires

Postby Salara Kel'Halavath on June 7th, 2017, 5:06 pm

GRADER'S TEMPLATE
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Your Thread Award!


Player One: Karyk Southwind

  • XP:
    +2 XP Body Building
    +1 XP Climbing
    +3 XP Ship Building
    +1 XP Endurance
    +1 XP Organization
    +3 XP Salvage
    +1 XP Physics
  • Lore:
    The Galistra: Fond family memories from early youth
    Retiring a ship: ‘shipbreaking’ dismantling for its value
    Goddess Laviku: Respectful retirement – Figurehead and anchor at the least
    Ballast for balance: Live weight or rocks
    Proper lifting/carrying of heavy objects
    Knot work: Bowline, clove hitch, square knot
    Descriptive: Carvel planked ship
    Old Gal: A ship can be part of the family/neighborhood
    Climbing: a rope ladder


  • Notes:
I enjoyed learning the details of ship breaking and appreciate the emotional connection the people have with their ships. Your ship knowledge is impressive and I look forward to more examples.

Please be sure to mark your thread as GRADED in the registry.

As always, if you have a concern
or need a change, feel free to PM me!
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Salara Kel'Halavath
What would She do?
 
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