Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey
Summer 2011

Cement hulls must be produced in one go. The process must be continuous. On larger projects popular among DIY builders since the 1960s this requires plastering parties where groups of friends are drafted into an all-night sessions pressing and smoothing heavy mortar. It is important that everything be in place before beginning this process.

I plan to embed cabinetry nuts in the cast to secure frames to the inside of the hull. I remove some existing frames, drill through the skin and place bolts to hold the nuts, and eventually the frames, in place. Before proceeding I have an appointment with Xila (Sheila) Matthews at the INA. Given her expertise in reconstruction I hope she will be able to help me think through building a boat in reverse. Xila has reconstructed and built many of the wrecks and models in the INA museum at the Castle of the Knights St. John, which dominates Bodrum’s harbor.

The Knights Hospitaller built the Castle beginning in 1402. Much of the material used was taken from the now ruined mausoleum of Maussollos. It was these ruins, rediscovered in the 1960’s, that brought Don’s wife, Suzanne, to Bodurm as a young archeology student.  Maussollos’ tomb was one of the seven ancient wonders and is the origin of the word mausoleum.  Most of its stone was burned to make lime for mortar and plaster. The castle now houses the INA’s most significant finds and reconstructions. Intact parts of the mausoleum used by the knights were brought to the British Museum in the mid-19th century. The Castle, always an architectural palimpsest, now holds 3,000 years worth of materials brought to the surface since 1962 by, among others, Don, who now gives tours. 

Leaving the museum I return to the shipyards to see if any signs of tirhandil have emerged since my initial visit three weeks earlier.  

This former Greek lifeboat is undergoing a most literal retrofitting that will transform it from a utilitarian fiberglass shell into a now fashionably old ‚Äėwooden‚Äô tirhandil.¬†

The Greek name is still visible, but not for long. Tirhandil seem to be gaining popularity as hobby boats. A group of young men have been working on this beautifully reconstructed example in Gundogan Bay, though I have not seen it under sail. 

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