The barque schooner ‘Tres Hombres’ is a sail cargo ship with a wooden hull and superstructure. The ‘Tres Hombres’ is kept in service as a sail cargo ship by three captains and their crew, who aim to demonstrate with this ship that sustainable cargo transport by sea is possible without using fossil fuels.
The barque schooner was built in 1942 as an outpost ship (navy cutter) and has since been adapted into a sea-worthy sail cargo ship. The ship was officially certified as a sail cargo ship without engine in 2009. The ship is regularly maintained, which is generally undertaken by the crew and the passengers during the voyage and during maritime events or when in dock.
At the Meerman Yard in Arnemuiden students are taught on a practice board how to caulk. This board resembles a section of a ship’s hull, with joints between the strakes. Historische Scheepswerf C.A. Meerman in Arnemuiden is the oldest yard in Zeeland and one of the oldest shipyards still in operation in Europe. The ships that are maintained here belong to the Stichting Behoud Hoogaars, an organisation dedicated to retaining sail-powered fishing boats from Zeeland as part of our sailing heritage.
Both the practice board in Arnemuiden and the maintenance being undertaken on the Tres Hombres are shown in the training photographs for this skill.
Caulking – also spelled calking – is the process of sealing the joints between timber planks, for example those on the hull or decks. The purpose of caulking is to make the timber surface watertight.
Originating from the cannabis plant, is used because of the long structure of its fibres. Hemp is supplied in large coils. For caulking above water and for narrow joints caulking cotton is also used because cotton is thinner and is easier to work.
Is used to fill up the sealed joints and for smoothing. These days Tixopal is mainly used rather than pitch. Tixopal is a synthetic sealant which can be applied using a sealant gun.
Is a wooden mallet with sound boxes. The mallet has a head on both sides of the handle and is designed in such a way that you can apply a great deal of force on the point that you hit, without having to hit very hard or having to use a very heavy hammer. The purpose of the sound boxes is to allow you to hear whether the hemp has been knocked sufficiently hard into the joint.
Is a piece of steel with a curved point which is used to scrape the joint clean before hemp is inserted.
Is a steel chisel which is used for hammering the hemp into the joints between the wooden planks. There are various thicknesses and widths of caulking irons, and there are straight and curved caulking irons for accessing difficult corners.
Caulking is undertaken when building, maintaining and repairing wooden ships or on ships with a wooden deck. Caulking step-by-step: