A group of local volunteers, craftsmen and businesspeople are laboring to get the Schooner Adventure in perfect shape for a movie appearance in "The Perfect Storm."
Master woodworker Jay McLauchlan of Gloucester has been helping to supervise about a dozen volunteers, and last week crane operators helped reset the schooner's towering masts.
Gloucester Adventure Inc., a non-profit group that manages the schooner, got a little help with its spring cleaning from Warner Brothers films, which is expected to start shooting "The Perfect Storm" in Gloucester sometime this fall.
"The masts wouldn't have gone in this early without Warner Brothers' support," said Mary Helen Gunn, administrator for the Gloucester Adventure Inc.
Right now the movie company is studying, photographing and documenting the Gloucester waterfront in preparation for filming in the fall.
During their waterfront wanderings, the crew decided to use Gloucester Marine Railways as a backdrop for some of its scenes. And to add an even greater touch of authenticity to the film, Warner Brothers plans to launch the Adventure and shoot her bobbing in Gloucester Harbor as well, explained Gunn, who said the schooner and the film are a perfect fit.
"She's the real thing," Gunn said. "You can't get any more authentic than the Adventure."
The Adventure is one of only five surviving Essex-built schooners in the world.
Despite the Adventure's anticipated participation in the film, it will still be some time before she's seaworthy enough to sail.
"We're still seeking several hundred thousand dollars in order to get the schooner fully refurbished, but we plan to sail again in 2000," Gunn said.
Meanwhile, there's still plenty of work to do before the movie crews arrive with all their gear.
"A few dozen volunteers have been sanding and painting. They've reconditioned the blocks for the pulleys and repaired the cross trees, but we still need to replace the main boom. We should have the rigging in place soon," she said.