The other evening,the editorial staff here at Chine bLog got flipping through one of the kids’copies of Ranger Rick magazine,the venerable publication from the National Wildlife Federation. Usually the magazine is a source for pre-teen wildlife education,but this one issue actually contained Chine bLog fodder:a picture of a gorgeous,traditional open boat with a gaff-headed ketch rig. The article discussed a program called Solar Sail,a Maine coastal adventure for teenagers. We had to dive in to this story.
The boat is part of the fleet owned by Chewonki,a one-time summer camp in Wiscasset,ME that has grown into a broader environmental education organization. We know of it first because we spent a week there in fifth grade and secondly because it is just up-river from a former Chine bLog family property. The area is all kinds of mid-Maine gorgeous and the organization well-regarded.
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The Solar Sail trip is for girls and boys ages 13-16. It begins with land-based education on sustainability,but then takes to the water in one of these lovely boats for a multi-day camp-cruise from Montsweag Bay to Mount Desert. Obviously the trip is fully “naturally”powered –sail and oar to move the boat and solar for the safety electronics.
We couldn’t find much about the boat itself beyond the pictures. It looks to be about 30′LOA,double-ended,and fully open. She appears to be wooden and has attractive,rough-hewn spars. The rigging looks traditional and relatively simple. I love the plumb stem and raked stern post. Can we convince the kids to join up in a couple years?!
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has a great fleet and will be the better for adding the restored skipjack,ROSIE PARKS. I have blogged about her before and the museum does a nice job of tracking the update in its blog. I checked in on her while I was there. She’s coming along nicely.
See the “before”pictures in this post from 2007.
It happens all too rarely,but I was able to cash in a Christmas gift and spend another great day with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum‘s Apprentice for a Day program. The current boat is an enhanced reproduction (a reproduction with some more modern updates incorporated) of GHOST,a deadrise bateau from about 1920. She is a longtime fixture in the museum’s collection but has not,as I understand it,seen the water in that time. Little is known,therefore,about her performance. She is just shy of 16′LOA with a beam shy of 6′. In her day she carried a sprit rig with 146 square feet of sail.
I found her reincarnation with two rough side planks clamped on to molds and an oak stem. Her chine logs and transom were in place –check out that upsweep in the chines and the laminated keel –as were the initial stab at that most curious of Chesapeake boatbuilding creations,the chunk bow. Rather than planking the forward portion of the bottom,where planks could get twisted and tricky,the builders took a page from the dugout-builders of yore and carved pieces from solid stock. Arduous,but it did the trick.
Our first task was to fit the bottom-most port side plank (the bottom will be diagonally planked).
» Continue reading Learning to plank –a great time as a CBMM Apprentice for a Day »
Here’s another image courtesy of of Facebook,this one on the WoodenBoat Facebook page:two lovely Friendship Sloops,with full sails set,racing (I believe) at one of last year’s Friendship Sloop Society events. Just amazing boats. Ultimate photo credit,I believe,goes to the Friendship Sloop Society,to which I need to pay more attention.
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.
While at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum it is,of course,imperative that I cruise around and check out the fleet of boats there. There is a good deal going on with the museum’s collection of historically important working boats,and I thought I’d share a bit of that (for a fuller picture,follow the museum’s Chesapeake Bay Boats blog).
Most significant is the restoration of the skipjack ROSIE PARKS. I had seen her a few years back,looking pretty hard up. What a difference a top-flight restoration effort makes. She museum’s shipwrights have salvaged about 25% of the original timber and a breathing substantial new life into this boat,and she looks great. She has new planking,with some obvious scarfs showing on the unfinished hull. Decking is starting to go in and many major timbers are in place. Amazing to see.
I suspect this is one of ROSIE PARKS’spars,in the making. Makes me feel bad about feeling sick of 16-siding AL DEMANY CHIMAN’s 3 spars.
Elsewhere,the bugeye EMMA LOCKWOOD was up on the ways and a cute sharpie was getting some upkeep.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was incredibly distressed to see on the Facebook feed of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum today that Dan “Danny”Sutherland,who ran the Apprentice for a Day program there,passed away on Saturday. I have written often of Dan and the time I spent with him as part of the CBMM’s Apprentice for a Day program. I learned a ton about boatbuilding from him and it is this set of sessions,more than anything else,that set me up to successfully complete my current boat,AL DEMANY CHIMAN. Dan’s style was open and welcoming,showing deep knowledge and great willingness to share. He took participants at whatever level and taught them as they wanted to engage. His understated presentation masked the level of expertise he had and made it the more surprising when we nonchalantly made a perfect joint.
While I feel a great loss in his passing knowing the influence he had on me,I know that I am not alone in his wake. There are many amazing boats with his imprint on them out there and these will serve as wonderful monuments to him. Prayers for his friends and family and,of course,fair winds and following seas to you,Danny.
I came across this piece in the Stamford Advocate on the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory’s Boat,Build and Sail program. An excerpt:
Boat,Build and Sail is a free,after-school,13-week program each semester in which groups of 10 to 12 construct a wooden boat. Youths 12 to 18 go to the factory in Frankford to learn carpentry,use professional tools,and work together to build nautical vessels.
But,as Bess wrote,the youths also learn lifelong lessons at the sawdust-filled shop on Worth Street.
Toward the end of the day Saturday,I happened to be on hand when John Harris,father of Chesapeake Light Craft,took a spin in one of the two cocktail class racers that were about. For those who don’t know,these boats are 8′plywood outboard boats that barely hold a single man. They go fast and have a devoted following. John was getting into the boat and setting of when one fo the other guys from CLC yelled out “John! Stop! You’re in the wrong boat! It has a MOTOR! [as John heads out] Uhhh…he’s gone to the dark side.”LOL. John came back after an out-and-back run looking somewhat exhilerated and more than mildly terrified. In the next three minutes I heard him say “the steering is really an art”no less than five times with his eyes the size of bulkhead ports. I wouldn’t be holding your breath for the CLC cocktail class kit.