Independence sailing ship hull taking shape at American River, Kangaroo Island

HULL PLANKING: Rebuild Independence Group volunteer David Gilleson shows off the planking at the bow of the replica sailing ship being built at American River on Kangaroo Island. Photo: Stan Gorton
HULL PLANKING: Rebuild Independence Group volunteer David Gilleson shows off the planking at the bow of the replica sailing ship being built at American River on Kangaroo Island. Photo: Stan Gorton

The replica sailing ship The Independence is taking shape with the first layers of planking about half way up the sides of the hull.

Volunteers from the Rebuild Independence Group have been busy in the shed at the American River wharf, Kangaroo Island.

The original 45-foot, top-sail schooner was built between in 1803 by the crew of the visiting American sealing brig "Union".

Rebuild Independence Group president Tony Klieve said the bushfires and then COVID-19 had cut down on the number of volunteers and regular working nights.

But the work, and fundraising, had continued on regardless.

"We're still selling the planks and keeping our heads above water," he said.

The RIG volunteers were working closely with one of its members who is a boat builder to make sure the hull meets the strict standards set by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The vessel needs to be "in survey" as the plan was to take 20 passengers out at a time onto the American River waters once she was built.

Volunteers would soon switch to the second outer layer of planking before scaffolding would be erected to work on both layers at the highest point of the upturned hull.

Mr Klieve said the plan was to have second layer of planking complete by year's end, after the which the vessel would be flipped over so volunteers can work on her top sides.

The boat shed had been busy over the holidays as people stopped in as they went to the wharf cafe, and he encouraged locals to stop in and see the progress.

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