It’s the time of year for one of everyone’s favourite features – the report on the TLC that the 92-foot schooner Maple Leaf received earlier this year in shipyard!

This year, the hardworking crew battled minus 18 degree temperatures with windchill (who knew it was possible?), snow and rain, to be rewarded with a few days of sun at the end. Lifted from the Fraser River, the Maple Leaf stood supported on the shipyard ground.

A huge "travel lift" raises the 95-ton Maple Leaf from the river

The crew climbed the scaffolding surrounding the Maple Leaf, and scraped paint, fastened in new planks and performed routine maintenance on critical ship systems.

Chef Drew loaded the team with calories to stay warm, producing fantastic meals with his penchant for flavour.

As most water in the ship was turned off for the duration, the crew found a fun way to warm up: sauna, hot tub and swimming pool in the complex next door.

Maple Leaf's stern, in the travel lift

Here’s to the shipyard crew of 2011 … masters of encasing Maple Leaf in tarps and working hard no matter what the weather! They are:

Capt. James Warburton, Paul Smith, Greg Shea, Tavish Campbell, Terese Ayre, Ashley Stocks, Miles Rhynas, Morgan Siemens, Mirko Zscherper, Stanley Kunze and last, but definitely not least, Drew Kennedy.

Sanding the hull to prep for painting

So, what did they do?
For those whose understanding of ships is limited, we will just say that they made Maple Leaf more beautiful, maintained and upgraded her safety systems, replaced a big sail and made her more energy efficient.

See the photos for details.

For those with more of an engineering bent, or who feel a sense of ownership of this magnificent vessel you’ve sailed on, you may enjoy this partial list of work:

  • Designed and installed a new, state-of-the-art engine room fire supression system, and an new emergency bilge pumping system, both upgrades from the older systems and newly required by Transport Canada.
  • Greg Shea at work

    Total overhaul of the main engine keel cooler.

  • Replacement of through-hulls, and a new bobstay.
  • New LED mast spreader lights that are 400% more energy efficient than the old, incandescent ones.
  • Maple Leaf has a new sole! Yes, she’s got plenty of soul inside those cedar ribs, but now she’s got a beautiful new galley floor, called a sole. Designed and built by local shipwright Keith Battersby, the alternating pieces of teak and maple echo the traditional floor of many tall ships.
  • Some sun arrives for painting time.

    A brand new foresail, a bit larger than the last, with a lengthened foresail boom, to take a bit more power from the wind.

  • Maintenance and improvements to our expedition zodiacs.
  • Additional systems upgrades including the navigation and multimedia computer.
  • The new foresail (back) fills, Gulf Islands National Park

    General maintenance as necessary, including sanding and repainting the entire hull, and varnishing the exterior brightwork.

We’ve also included a photo “in action” of one of last year’s improvements that wasn’t finished by the last shipyard report —

Enjoying the new aft deck seats, Whale Channel, Great Bear Rainforest, BC

our beautiful aft deck seats which make a new favourite place to sit while under way.

That's what's at the end of the rainbow!

The last patches of bottom paint.

After signing the ship's keel (to be read by fish all year)

Re-launching the ship into the river

Under sail, fresh for the start of another year on the coast.