I flew down to the ship the other day to see how they are coming with the paint and the repairs. The painting is really coming along; I stayed out of the way of the guys with the long paint sticks, but I am impressed how much they have gotten done since I saw it last. The very bottom of the ship is a nice red color and it has a black line above that and then the standard grey. They also put a bunch of numbers on the front of the ship for some reason.
It doesn’t show much in the way of imagination in terms of bright colors. I wonder why they couldn’t make it a bright yellow with blue stripes or something? The workman was putting the name on the front of the ship and using blue tape to outline the letters.
Some parts of the stern are still unpainted and look like a checkerboard, but I think that is because they are patching the holes that were back there. It looks like they put big metal plates on the side of the ship to cover up the holes they cut into the hull so now it won’t sink when they put it back into the water.
It also looks as though they pushed the propeller back in. I guess they thought it was too much trouble to try and take it out. I figure that they would have had to take off the rudder if they were going to try and take out the propeller, and that looks like a huge job.
Editor’s Note: Bob arrived during the final stages of the repainting efforts. He correctly noted that the paint is the standard grey/black/red pattern typical of World War II merchant marine ships, but failed to understand that because of the historic status of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien there is no choice in the color scheme. The numbers he refers to are the ship draft levels so we can tell how much water needs to be under the ship to keep us from running aground. If, for instance the number ’10’ is right at the water level on the side of the ship we need to make sure we have more than ten feet of water under the keel to keep us from scraping bottom. As a practical reference point, the top of the black line at the bottom of the ship is between 15 and 16 feet.
The plates on the hull on both the port and starboard sides have been replaced and the rest of the repairs are progressing in good order. The tail shaft inspection has been completed and the propeller put back in the appropriate location. Bob is correct when he notes that if the rudder has to come off it is a big deal.
The work in the shipyard dry dock is nearing an end and the SS jeremiah O’Brien will be back on San Francisco Bay in early March. For more information on the status of the ‘makeover’ being done of the grand old lady please visit us on the web site and plan to visit the ship when she returns to Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf.