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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?


A nice collection of traditonal boats from Vietnam

Chine bLog friend David Witzel was recently in Vietnam with his family and agreed to serve as a special corespondent for us, capturing pictures of traditional Vietnamese boats. Happily, he found some nice ones. We don’t have the backstory on them, but they are nice to study anyway.

Mekong River
River craft from along the Mekong, including a ferry and perhaps some liveaboards.

Vietnamese long boats on the Mekong

The ferry looks like she might be wooden Continue reading A nice collection of traditonal boats from Vietnam »

Fun chance meeting with photographer Ellen Tynan

Last weekend we were out for a hikelet along the Potomac river and happened upon a woman enjoying the view of the marsh. We got talking and she mentioned, in particular, my Wooden Boat hat. She then revealed that she was a photographer who specialized in classic and traditional boats, and she noted she had been published in the magazine. Her name is Ellen Tynan and, on review, I am sure I have seen her work (also on Flickr).

She is hoping to publish a book in the not-too-distant future: “Boat Lines.” It will compile her photos of traditional boats from six regions of the world: Maori New Zealand, Ireland, Alaska and British Columbia, Peru, Indonesia, and Egypt. Good sampling, there, eh?

I’d suggest browsing through her work and getting a sneak peak at what might be in the book. A quick selection of works that jumped out at us, here at Chine bLog, includes (will open in new tabs/windows):

There are many more great ones. It would be well worth your time to browse them all on your own. Keep an eye out for this great sounding book.

Possible faering kit from Chesapeake Light Craft – do it!

CLC Faering Gunter Sloop RigChesapeake Light Craft’s John Harris had a great blog post a bit back on two faering designs he developed. The post gives a good overview of these lovely Scandinavian working boats, but the thrust of the piece is that John designed his own faering for stitch-and-glue construction.

At the moment, plans to make a fully-fledged kit for this boat are in limbo, but here’s hoping CLC goes forward with it. While their current fleet does have a nice traditional feel, notably, in this case, the existing Iain Oughtred-ish Skerry, this faering design extends the offerings to include a more interesting, “exotic,” traditional boat. That, in turn, introduces kit builders to designs beyond the more established set. Understand I have absolutely nothing against dories, skiffs, and prams – I just want a wider interest in all the other kinds of craft the world has to offer, and kits like CLC’s are a great avenue for achieving that end.

I was even more intrigued by the second boat Harris introduces, a scaled up version based on a Scandinavian craft called a fembøring. This craft includes a small, aft cabin. Harris’s boat includes such a cabin as well as a sliding seat, a lug rig, and a self-draining cockpit. An exceptional pocket cruiser / camp-cruiser, in other words. This one is unlikely to make it to kit form, though I believe I read Harris correctly that plans could be available. It’s a pretty cool-looking boat.

And now: a row about curragh events

I took the afternoon off to get AL DEMANY CHIMAN sailing again – I’m still tinkering with the leeboard and steering – expecting I’d have a peaceful outing in light airs of Pohick Bay, VA. I had that, but I also got a pleasant, unexpected surprise. As I was launching, I glanced out and saw someone rowing a large craft with different lines – definitely not a gig or the like. It took me a minute to glance at her more to begin guessing, and, when she got closer I made out a distinct skin-on-frame look. Man of Aran – a curragh, there in the Potomac tidewater! In moments she was ashore and there were two out-of-the-ordinary boats on the beach, both skin-on-frame craft!

The owner / builder is local and is a hardy rower. He was back from a few mile piece, pulling his 20-some foot boat solo (she has seats for three). Check out this nice Irish lass:

Bradley curragh

Bradley curragh

Follow-up: the completed North Shore Sailing Skiff

I learned recently, via the Cheaspeake Maritime Museum Facebook stream, the the Apprentice for a Day program completed the North Shore Sailing Skiff I worked on for a day this spring. As expected, she came out quite well. She’s a nice design overall, and I hope I can take a few pulls in her at some point.


A day of boatbuilding fun! Working on the North Shore Sailing Skiff at CBMM.

North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model

Excellent times Saturday as I took advantage of a Christmas gift of another day in the Apprentice for a Day program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I hadn’t been there since the passing of Dan Sutherland, who ran the program for the past few years and a much-missed genius. Happily the program has rallied to continue Dan’s final project, a North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model, and I was thrilled to get a chance to participate in building this nice-looking classic small rowing and sailing boat.

North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model

I confess I didn’t get to learn much about the boat. It was designed by Robert H. Baker and a version of it appeared in the very first issue of WoodenBoat. More recently, the hull, NELLIE, appeared as Miss November in WoodenBoat’s 2010 calendar (via Benjamin Mendlowitz, of course). CBMM’s blog has a bit of additional info.

The boat had been fully planked and framed. The boat is going to be gorgeous. She will have a bright-finished Spanish cedar transom and I must call your attention to the black locust breasthook and quarter knees. My goodness, that breasthook is treasure.

North Shore Sailing Skiff breasthook North Shore Sailing Skiff quarter knee

So, on to the work I did. The morning had us refining the fit of the seats. As is often the case, this meant a good deal of subtle tweaking and nudging followed by an extensive effort to find the right spot to cut the mast partners into the forward seats (there are two mast positions and the center-line had gotten a bit murky when compared with the seats). I eventually was able to have at it with the drill press and a 3″ hole saw. A little more clean-up and the seats got pulled again and spent the afternoon in the finishing room with another participant.

North Shore Sailing Skiff aft seat North Shore Sailing Skiff with seats

The afternoon was focused on figuring out the floorboards. The plans called for a single 3″ plank running fore-and-aft about 5-6″ off the center line. This seemed an odd choice and we decided, after extensive discussion and test-fitting, to add a second floorboard inboard of the designed ones. We milled the boards – barely – out of some sassafras and a spent the last part of the afternoon shaping and sanding these pieces. Satisfying as always.

Memories Dept. – the check that kicked off my boatbuilding

One more on checks I turned up during our clean-out. Here is the check I wrote to the late Harold “Dynamite” Payson for the building manual for my first boat, the Gloucester Light Dory. Pretty momentous purchase right there.


If anyone is looking to build this great boat, Payson’s book is invaluable. Just get it. You won’t regret it.

2011 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival – the complete pictures

I wanted to get these pictures of the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival up right away; I’ll be adding captions soon.

[UPDATE] Captions are now on there. I encourage you to browse through. There were some AMAZING AMAZING boats there. I’d highlight the sailing canoe SEVEN STARS, the Melonseeds, the sailing canoe in pictures 4 and 31, and, of course, the Coquina.

Rushton rowing boat, anyone?