Project from Start to Finish: Bluenose II

Location: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Funding Program: Infrastructure Stimulus Fund
Federal Contribution: $4,937,500

In the spirit of its predecessor that adorns the Canadian dime and Nova Scotia licence plates, the Bluenose II is once again ready to serve as "Canada's Sailing Ambassador." Dry-docked and under repair since 2010, it now has a new hull that will better stand the test of time. It also has up-to-date propulsion, wiring and sewage treatment systems and a deck that better resembles that of the classic 1920's original. This project was made possible by close to $5 million in financial contributions from each of the federal and provincial governments.

The Bluenose II schooner entering port under full sails; office towers and tall building are in the background

Photo courtesy of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage

The Bluenose II coming into port under full sail prior to her restoration.

A crane lifts a hatch from the schooner as it is dismantled in dry dock.

To begin the process, the ship had to be dry-docked and completely deconstructed, with each piece labelled and inspected for damage.

A series of curved hull ribs made from laminated boards lies on the floor with cut and placement markings on each.

New structural components were made to replace those that were water damaged or deformed through years of service.

Shrouded in a temporary shelter, the shipwrights examine the wooden hull main beam (keel) and begin to reinstall the hulls ribs.

The reconstruction begins. Each piece is examined, repaired or replaced as necessary and then reinstalled.

The first eight wooden support ribs that make up the hull substructure are installed and braced into place.

One by one the ribs of the hull are pieced together along the keel to form the structure for the outer hull.

A mix of new and old hull planks being fastened to each rib by bolts.

With all ribs in place, the outer hull planks are reinstalled with new ones replacing any that were damaged. All holes are filled with wood plugs.

The entire hull with all the hull planks in place, save a few. Stairs to the topside are visible as is the scaffolding around the ship.

The outer hull nears completion with only a few remaining pieces to be attached.

The underside of the hull supported by wooden supports; the outside of the hull is painted red.

The exterior hull is now fully reassembled, sealed and painted with its first coat of paint.

Metal supports attached to the rear of the main beam amid scaffolding on all sides of the red hull.

New metal supports are attached to the rear of the main beam to hold the rudder in place.

Wood panels or planks are attached to the ribs to cover the inside of the hull.

As finishing touches are made to the hull, work continues to enclose the interior of the hull.

Workers examine plans and survey the top structure before beginning the interior and topside reconstruction.

Attention now turns to installing the new top deck, hatches and running gear.

View of main deck covered by plywood sheets sealed together with red tape; unfinished wood hatches are in place.

With the topside deck boards installed and temporarily protected with plywood sheets, the new hatches can be installed.

The plank style decking remains covered by plywood sheets to protect them as work continues. The white freshly painted hatches are being dried by a black fan.

The new hatches get a coat of protective white paint.

White painted side rails on the top deck with metal brackets and hardware placed for installation. The deck remains covered.

Rigging brackets and hardware are ready to be installed.

View of the wooden exposed beams and walls of the inside cabin hallway.

Exposed wood beams, walls and rails on the inside of the cabin are installed and finished.

Workers sealing between each plank of the main deck.

Workers seal the joints between deck planks prior to finishing the topside.

Wooden plywood sheets surround a cut out around the escape hatch,showing the detailed wood work.

The intricate detail of the forward escape hatch is visible through a cut out in the deck's protective plywood.

A worker finishes paint detailing the on the ship's hull; the bottom half is red, the upper half is blue, separated by a white line; gold scrolls and text are visible on the uppermost part of the hull.

A worker finishes the paint detailing on the underside of the hull.

The Bluenose II being readied for re-launch into the harbour; crowds are visible on the shore and surrounding docks.

Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia

The temporary building shelter is dismantled and the Bluenose II is ready to be launched for sea trials. The sail rigging will be added afterwards.

The Bluenose II floating in the harbour, surrounded by other sailboats; people line the shoreline and docks to watch.

Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia

As the Bluenose II is re-launched into the harbour, the crowds that came out for the event line the shore and nearby docks, or float in their boats nearby.

The Bluenose II floating in the harbour; people in kayaks and other boats look on.

Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia

The Bluenose II, returned to her previous glory, floats in the harbour as onlookers savour this momentous event.

To learn more about this project, visit the Infrastructure in Nova Scotia page.

To learn more about other projects in the provinces and territories, visit the Provinces-Territories - Main Page.

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