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Chine bLog finds and promotes small, traditional / tradition-inspired, and (mostly) wooden boats - their design, building, and use. It is authored by lifelong boater and budding designer / builder Tim Shaw. Enjoy!

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More boat art – row boat stained glass window at Cuttyhunk UM Church

I recently went up to Cuttyhunk Island, MA, alas for the island memorial service of our friend Wye Garfield. That meant I was in the Cuttyhunk United Methodist Church, a place in which I had not set foot for [ahem] a while. It always has been a lovely little church, the more so for a recent renovation. Part of that renovation included this beautiful stained-glass window of a small fleet of dinghies. It’s wonderful, and I thought that Chine bLog readers would enjoy it, regardless of your religious persuasion.


Hawaiian voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia set off around the world

With the constant stream of traditional boat information flowing across the editorial desks here at Chine bLog, and the regular postings that come out of that stream [cough cough], we can sometimes lose a great story for a short bit. So it was with a quite interesting post by National Geographic about the Hawaiian voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, which recently set off on a four-year, round-the-world voyage to showcase the boats and the culture behind them, as well as message of ocean conservation and sustainability. The voyage will fully utilize only traditional wayfinding navigation, even beyond the Pacific.

Hōkūle‘a has been on my radar for a while. Mrs. Chine bLog and I honeymooned on Kauai, HI, and she happened to be in port when we were headed out diving one day. The dive guys noted that she was an important vessel, and I definitely admired her, but I didn’t think too much of the encounter thereafter. A few years ago, then, I read Sailing in the Wake of the Ancestors: Reviving Polynesian Voyaging (Legacy of Excellence), an account of the early voyages of a set of replica Polynesian voyaging canoes, focusing, in particular, on Hōkūle‘a (good read, by the way). It was only then that I realized what we had happened upon that day on Kauai and wished I had spent more time trying to check the boat out.

Back to NatGeo’s post: it is a good overview of the voyage and its goals and also links to some nice related resources. You can find a map of the voyage and links to the Pacific Voyaging Society‘s site, where you can learn more about the voyage and support it in multiple ways. Finally, there is a nice explanation of wayfinding by Nainoa Thompson, President of Pacific Voyaging Society and navigator on past Hōkūle‘a voyages. Thompson learned from master Micronesian navigator Mau Piailug.

Great stuff here that is well worth checking out.

#MalamaHonua #WorldwideVoyage #Hokulea

Four great new boats from the desk of Klaus Schmitt

Our friend Klaus Schmitt wrote again with four new boats showing his delightful ability to blend traditional workboats and yachts. This collection includes a sweet little cruiser he calls “34′ Double-ender,” a catboat done for a friend called KAT (quick: guess the friend’s name!), a tug-yacht and a trawler-yacht. Great, great stuff, as always.

Select a thumbnail to see an image in full size. Use the BACK button to return to the page.

I hope someone will build one of these. These designs need to have real water under their keels!

Lovely piece by potter Tim Christensen

Our friend Tim Christensen is a master potter. He has some amazing work, but I recently shared this one, called “Lost in the Fog” that I thought Chine bLog readers would enjoy.

Lost in the Fog

Check him out if you are in Maine or Acton, MA.

A mentor passes: remembering Wye Garfield

Wye Garfield I am flying the flags at half-staff here at Chine bLog for the passing of Wyatt “Wye” Garfield on August 4th. Wye was a fixture on Cuttyhunk Island, one of my main vacation spots and a place that has surfaced many times on this blog. He was an island leader, a key member of the community, and a perpetual font of local wisdom and news. To spend five or ten minutes chatting with Wye on the road was to gather a good chunk of the day’s learnings and good cheer. Among all that I looked forward to on returning to the island each time, Wye was at the top of the list.

Wye’s contributions to this island would themselves be deserving of a post, but Wye’s passing is a far greater personal loss to me. Wye was an accomplished woodworker on many levels and he devoted some of this energy to boatbuilding. Sometime in the early 1980s, I don’t recall the year, he decided to build a pram for the Cuttyhunk Yacht Club sailing program. Being an educator, he decided to open his shop and the project to any who were interested. My parents and I joined in and thus I was exposed directly to boatbuilding. My dad would take the experience of working on this pram – ultimately painted green on the outside, pinkish with black “seeds” on the inside, and christened WATERMELON – and build his own pram, a boat that served my parents for many years. I took both these projects to heart and mind as well, and, in 1984, built my first boat, OSPREY.

In this same era, Wye gave me free use of a gorgeous whitehall that I believe he built. I spent many hours in this boat, rowing around Cuttyhunk harbor, and I tie this boat, as much as any, to my love for just messing around on the water in a fine craft. Wye couldn’t have been more generous with this prize piece (and thankfully I managed to avoid any youthful mistakes in it!).

This was also the period of time when I began to be interested in boat design, and I developed a number of sketches. One day, Wye invited me to join him on his porch and show them to him. With some trepidation I opened my folder for this master and was rewarded with thoughtful commentary, interested questions, and encouragement. While it was only relatively recently that I took the plunge of doing my own design, AL DEMANY CHIMAN, part of it traces to that day with Wye.

There is much more to know and appreciate about Wye, and many other ways he touched me, but few outside my immediate family have given me so much that I have loved. Wye was one of those people to me and I will miss him greatly. In life he found time for numerous amazing projects and connections; I can only imagine what he will do with the time and resources where he is now. Thanks and peace, Wye.

Interesting read about the real monsters of the sea and shore – “The Wave”

Though it isn’t a true “boat book,” I feel like many of you two readers would enjoy reading Susan Casey’s
The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean. It is a study of the oceans most furious offspring and both what havoc the bring and what opportunity they offer, for a brave few. Yes, a great part of the work focused on the big wave surfing community, particularly Laird Hamilton. Casey embeds herself with these uber watermen (most ARE men) and introduces us to their skillset and mindset.

I found the surfing parts interesting, but the rest of the book focusing on wave science (lightly and readibly) and wave effects was more fascinating to me. She talks to the only very recent appreciation of the legitimate existence of rogue / freak waves and the increasing evidence that they are not so uncommon. I am not sure sailors needed to be told that, but science can be slow to put credence in folk tales. The number of shipwrecks she mentions is mind boggling. It is a quick and easy read and I’d encourage you to track this one down.

A nice power dory

While on vacation at Cuttyhunk Island recently, I was kayaking through the harbor and found this beauty tied astern of a cruiser in the mooring basin. Nice dory. I don’t know much about her, but she looks fun. I wonder how she rows?


The Charles W. Morgan sails again – the trip home

CHARLES W. MORGANWhen there is breaking action in the traditional / classic / historical boat world, you can expect Chine bLog to be on the scene. Well, sometimes. We may even write a timely post about it. It so happened, though, that when the last surviving whaling vessel and oldest commercial ship still afloat (launched in 1841), Mystic Seaport‘s CHARLES W. MORGAN, sailed down Vineyard Sound and across Buzzard’s Bay to its port of birth, New Bedford, MA, we were there. As you may know, the Seaport recently completed an extensive renovation of the MORGAN (video), and she is, as I write, touring southeaster New England, again on her home waters after many years tied to a pier.

After an initial trip to Martha’s Vineyard, the MORGAN headed for New Bedford on June 24th. She came down Vineyard Sound under tow, crossing to Buzzard’s Bay via the wide and deep Quick’s Hole, between Nashewena and Pasque islands. Emerging into the Bay, she set sails and crossed to New Bedford as she should, under canvas. Happily, we could be there alongside her for this part of the journey due to the initiative of Captain Jono Billings of the M/V CUTTYHUNK, who ran a special trip to see this historic voyage. Some pictures of the ship, the setting of sails, and the free-sailing MORGAN are below. Continue reading The Charles W. Morgan sails again – the trip home »

Frames for the Merlin Yawl – an exercise in lamination

Merlin yawl, bow view
The onset of the U.S. tax season brought on the worst procrastinatorial tendencies here at Chine bLog Central, causing the main body of the editorial staff to shun the computer for weeks. This ordeal astern, however, I can report, at last, on another day building the Merlin Yawl at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Apprentice for a Day program.

I had left her with just a couple planks in place and returned to find her fully planked, with just some fine tuning of the sheer needed (1 block plane + 2 minutes of work). Inspecting the hull, I found a partial set of graceful, laminated frames fitted inside but not yet attached. Each of these frames for the midsections is a single, sweeping piece running sheer to sheer (see the first image below). They are really an impressive sight.

I briefly got up close and personal with one, in a scraper-and-hardened-epoxy kind of way, before heading to the table saw to start creating the next couple of frames.

Each frame is made up of roughly a dozen 1/8″ strips 1 1/2″ or so wide. We milled them from mahogany.

All these frames are laminated in place, so after slathering each set of strips with thickened epoxy, we wrapped them up, bent them into the boat at a pre-set location, clamped the heck out of them, and wedged everywhere we couldn’t clamp. The pictures give a sense of the process (I hope) and show the results: a couple frames laminating in place, maxing out the boat shop’s clamp supply.

A fun – and messy – day!

I saw a more recent picture that shows the interior painted, so the building of this great boat proceeds apace. I am REALLY looking forward to the launch in June. We’ll have full coverage here at Chine bLog!

Have a source for a spare 60′, straight, clear log?

Bugeye Edna E Lockwood
Our friends at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum are putting the finishing touches on some nice restorations (more coming soon and in a recent post), but are thinking ahead to another big one: the bugeye EDNA E. LOCKWOOD.

The LOCKWOOD is 53.5′ in length and is a nine-log boat, meaning her main hull is constructed of nine, dugout, pine logs attached together and given framing and supplemental planking. She was launched in 1889 and restored at the Museum in the late 1970s. The time has come for another restoration. And that means they need to acquire new logs. 60′-ish long, straight, fairly clear, logs, preferably pine.

Do you know of sources, oh readers? Think about it and let the museum know.