“Fusion of Tradition” Boats

I recently began to articulate the design philosophy that has become my stock-in-trade – or would be, anyway, if I did any trade whatsoever. I call it “Fusion of Tradition”, an intentional play on the Spirit of Tradition movement. I have best articulated it in two posts from the past,the first before I had formed it into a philosophy

You may note that I have consciously blended traditions in a sort of nautical mash-up. The sailing outrigger is Indo-Pacific, of course, though I grabbed an ama connection approach that is from the African extreme of outrigger territory. The ends then hail from Central Canadian birch-bark tradition while the rig is decidedly Anglo-American. Some will call this a hash; I call it a gorgeous mosaic of cultures. I like fusion in food and music; why not boats too?

… and the second when I realized I had:

It is this idea of fusing truly traditional “designs” while weaving in modern knowledge where appropriate that is emerging as my “schtick.” To me, this fusion that we see in all kinds of places is the happy part of the globalization we hear so much about. We are learning more and more about other people and their cultures and I think this is a huge win for us all in the long run. It is too easy – in fact, it is deep in our nature – to keep in our “tribe,” but, all other issues aside, doing so eliminates the possibility of infusing fresh ideas. You basically have what you create within your “tribe.” Opening up to ideas, styles, and approaches that are totally foreign at least enriches you and may do much more.

I have created this page to be a home for examples of what I mean by Fusion of Tradition boats, both mine and others. By all means join in the discussion of this topic or, if you want, contact Chine bLog directly (especially if you can point me to nice examples!).

All Fusion of Tradition posts:

  • Ask and yee shall receive – three new Klaus Schmitt designs (0) February 20, 2013

    Klaus Schmitt has responded to our post last night with three more designs he has sketched up. He is definitely in a nice vein – classic workboat-inspired yachts. All look like they would be comfy and pleasant while not looking far removed from hauling a barge or a net. Of the first, Klaus writes: “[The first] is a raised mid deck cruiser… a nice way to get some room inside without [the sheer] looking too lumpy.” I agree the approach works well here, thanks to the strong trim on the sheer plank.

    7 - 34 Ft motor yacht

    The next is “a small motorized pinky that will take you most anywhere. Incredibly seaworthy boats.” And sooo gorgeous. This is easily my favorite of the three. I love the lines of a pinky and this is a great take on the tradition. In fact, it really is what we call a Fusion of Tradition boat, is it not?

    7 - Motorized Pinky

    Finally, a boat Klaus call “a tough little motor sailor.” Indeed – no one is kicking this one out of the anchorage without a fight. And who’d want to anyway? Charming.

    7 - Motorsailer

  • Boats we found on vacation at Cuttyhunk Island, MA (3) July 15, 2012

    We here at Chine bLog are just getting back into the grind after a nice vacation at our fave port, Cuttyhunk Island, MA. We got in some good paddles in the skin-on-frame outrigger canoe, AL DEMANY CHIMAN, and, along the way, key our shutter ready for interesting craft that were also there. There were several of note. Below are some highlights.

    As in the past, we are inclined to award a Boat of the Trip, given to that vessel that best captures our heart, pure and simple. The ones above are all nice, and we were thinking we’d have to make a tough choice, but then, on the last full day, the dark horse appeared and sewed up the award. I saw her from the house, about a mile away, and knew I had to check her out. Up close, I found what I expected: a gorgeous sheer, fine woodwork, and tons of character. She’s the delightful lovechild of ROSINANTE, a Maine lobsterboat, and a 20’s commuter. We call that fusion of tradition, my friends. In the end, with no disrespect to the other entrants, it wasn’t close. So congratulations to BARNACLE of Guilford, CT – you’re the Boat of the Trip!

    BARNACLE, from Guilford, CT
    Barnacle, bow-on
    Bow-on view of BARNACLE, from Guilford, CT
  • A new fusion of tradition design sketch – “Friendship Slumiak” (1) November 17, 2011


    I had a couple management meetings this week that provided for doodling space. I have been thinking about a larger skin-on-frame craft ad that led me to umiaks. The name then came to me and so a boat needed to come of it: an umiak-construction hull with lines and rig evoking that classiest of classics, the Friendship sloop. Fun to noddle on.

  • Skin-on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN fully rigged (1) October 1, 2011


    She’s all ready for show…

  • Big step toward getting AL DEMANY CHIMAN under sail (1) September 22, 2011


    I finished up the spars for the sailing rig on my skin-on-frame outrigger canoe, AL DEMANY CHIMAN today. That meant setting the sail for the first time. Some kinks to work out, but good progress.

  • Awesome dugout outrigger canoes and other Pacific art – Tevita Kunato (3) April 4, 2011

    Tevita Kunato canoeWe are feelin’ South Pacific here at Chine bLog. We have some sweet new tunes from Papua playing (Akave by George Telek) and just had the pleasure of discovering an amazing boatbuilder and artist. We found Tevita Kunato via our friend Gary Dierking over at Outrigger Sailing Canoes. Tevita Kunato is the business name for the creations of David Kunert, a man of Papuan birth who now lives in Hawaii.

    Gary was highlighting the incredible dugout outrigger canoes David has built. His site shows an amazing Hawaiian / Papuan canoe that he built with a variety of native woods and then carved with traditional designs. You have to just go to the post on this boat to see the rest of the pictures. This boat in unbelievably beautiful.

    Tevita Kunato canoe 2Here is another outrigger canoe with designs inspired by war shields. This is a pretty small boat, but it would stand out even at a gathering of traditional boats.

    Tevita Kunato canoe paddleDavid also makes canoe paddles, and I might like these more than the boats, and I like the boats a lot. The paddle here is of Hawaiian and West Papuan origin and couldn’t be more beautiful. $625 and its yours, and I’d say its well worth it.

    There is more great stuff here, so you should definitely investigate yourself.

  • Sawed? Chiseled? Just for fun, a wooden boat answer to Food Network’s “Chopped” (0) March 9, 2011

    We here at Chine bLog are decidedly down on most of what comes across the cable wire these days as TV programming. I realize that, with the Charlie Sheen show fresh on our minds, this is hardly a brave statement. I say it, however, to distinguish from the pack of schlock one program I really admire: “Chopped” on the Food Network. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the deal. They bring in four true chefs and have them prepare pieces of a three-course dinner. For each course, there is a set of mandatory ingredients, and they are usually random and/or esoteric (e.g., geoduck clam, Buddah’s hand, black radish, and taco shells was on last night for an appetizer). Preparation time is extremely limited, of course. At the end of each course – round – one chef is “chopped,” that is, removed from the competition, based on judging from celebrity chefs. Desert is, therefore, a one-on-one for the final prize, usually $10K.

    Obviously, the competitive element, augmented by heavy editing, creates the requisite amount of drama. What makes the show so different, though, is that it is truly a test of skill and creativity. The chefs have to be able to cope with any possible combination of ingredients with no time to think about a menu. You must truly know what you are doing and be able think on your feet. I am always amazed at what these folks pull off.

    Some time ago a made a crack on my Facebook page about why there isn’t a boat equivalent of “Chopped” and how crotchety, middle-aged men with power tools would be grounds for good TV. I began thinking, though, that we could try this, here in our own little corner of the blogosphere. So I propose a contest, as follows:

    1. I provide a “basket” of boat design elements below. These are mandatory, but you can bring any thing else into the mix as well (the chefs have access to a full kitchen).
    2. You take 30 minutes over the next week, honor system, a draw a boat (cartoon-level sketch) that uses at least those elements.
    3. You contact me through the contact form and let you know you have a picture to send. I’ll give you an actual email to send to.

    I won’t chap, saw, chisel, plane, or otherwise mentally abuse anyone. I’ll show off all comers, including one of my own, and we can all admire. Sound good? Here we go!

    The category is: coastal cruiser (interpret how you see fit). Your “basket” contains:

    • 30′ LWL
    • A balanced lug sail
    • Double ended
    • A large supply of bamboo

    That seems suitably random. Remember: you must use all mandatory elements, but not necessarily in a substantial way (though we’ll give you more props if you do. I am hoping to see some fun and interesting designs come out of this. Enjoy!

  • Update on AL DEMANY CHIMAN – sail plan and leeboard (9) March 1, 2011

    For those of you that have been following the progress of my skin-on-frame outrigger canoe, AL DEMANY CHIMAN, I thought I’d provide an update. I have gotten a sail-plan more or less in place, working with Todd Bradshaw of “Canoe Rig” fame.

    Sail plan for AL DEMANY CHIMAN

    I have added a boom from the original conception. It is now an Arabian lateen with a boom; please don’t call it a balanced lug. ;^) Unlike the drawing, the sail will not be laced to the boom. I hope it will be faux tanbark.

    I have also begun work on building pieces of the sailing rig. I have a roughed out take on the leeboard, which I a proud to say uses a bunch of scrap wood I’d been itching to use. I expect it will still look great once sanded.

    Leeboard, pre-sanding

  • Video: modern dhow racing in Dubai (3) February 22, 2011

    I had not been aware that in the Persian Gulf region they sail modern racing dhows. Imagine a sandbagger crossed with a traditional lateen rig crossed with modern construction and rigging. These look fun fun fun! Fusion of Tradition-y too.

    Thanks to WoodenBoat‘s My Wooden Boat of the Week blog for the link and back story.

  • After too long – more fantastic, classic boat designs from the collection of Klaus Schmitt (5) January 19, 2011

    Several months ago, we were honored, here at Chine bLog, to post two sets of designs by an amateur designer named Klaus Schmitt (post 1 and post 2). Recently we were excited-as-all-get-out to have a guy contact us looking for Klaus’s info. Yes, Chine bLog generated a well-deserved lead. It turns out we have been sitting on more great stuff from Klaus which he augmented in a replying email. His work was popular and exactly the kind of stuff we love (note that some are Fusion of Tradition-y), so shame on us for waiting do long to post this new installment. Enjoy!

    We’ll start with a couple larger boats that I think are incredibly handsome interpretations of work boats. Klaus’s words introduce them.

    … this is not a small boat… she is 45’… It was my own idea about the ultimate live-aboard. The hull is based on the Chesapeake Bay buy boats (although smaller) from your neck of the woods. An easy hull to drive with a thrifty diesel and a working boom to launch the dingy!

    Buy boat yacht

    I love it. I’ve had a sometime fantasy about junking the house for a boat like this. While I like this one, I LOVE the next one: Continue reading →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>