And so, it came, my last of four trips out to Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Apprentice for a Day program. What a great experience it has been – I can’t wait until life’s other demands allow me time to head out there again.
The boat is coming along well. The frames and deck knees are all in and shaped, the forward deck beams are in, and the centerboard trunk is now snugly in place. Having worked on a number of these pieces over the last few weeks, I love seeing them in their rightful home.
Task #1 for the day: the mast partner. This was a matter of putting the right bevels and such on a pre-milled piece of oak. The boat certainly is solid – the structural stuff is white oak, for the most part, with cedar planking. Pretty much what the doctor ordered. Anyway, the job required a decent bit of fussing with the plane to get it to slide home the right way. It’s almost a shame it will be decked over anyway.
While we we with the partner, the others were with the mast. The museum has a massive ship’s saw and master boatwright Dan Sutherland (of Sutherland Boat & Coach in Hammondsport, NY) cut the rough shape, which my fellow apprentices planed to shape. Then we all joined in the rounding process, with Dan again leading the way. The mast is – what else – Douglas fir, and I think it will be sharp.
I hope to see her one last time at her launching, which should be later in the Spring or in the early Summer. It will be thrilling. There will only be a relatively small bit of “me” in this boat, but she is a beauty and I am proud to have played a part. “Honey? The kids don’t need a back yard, right? I can just put up a barn back there?”