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The First Step

Posted on November 09 2009

A few weeks ago, the family headed up to Anacordes, Washington, to visit the open house of Dakota Creek, a shipbuilding firm that is owned the family of Ted's college friend, Mike Nelson. We took a tour of their recently completed vessel, the Grant Candies. This massive ship is designed and outfitted for working on oil platforms: a 100-ton deep sea winch, several submersibles, and accommodations for a crew of 76 (including a cinema and gymnasium).

As we made our way below deck, I wondered how the ship came together. What was the very first cut made? The first section welded?

Dakota Creek Grant Candies

A house must always begin with grading and foundation, but this great vessel could have started with anything. I asked Mike, and he said that they often begin construction on these behemoths months before the designs are actually complete. If one component is finalized, Dakota Creek can work on that until the rest of the ship design comes together. In this case, the tower had come before the hull.

It was rather magnificent to imagine the inaugural cut, the first transformation from raw material to completed ship.

Dakota Creek ship

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