Tips From A Shipwright: How to Steam Bend In A Plastic Bag

Well, if this isn’t one of the most clever ideas you’ve never thought of – then please tell us what is! People invent plenty of crazy ways to steam bend wood when building or restoring wooden boats, but few have used or even considered using a plastic bag. Also extremely clever is how Lou demonstrates his method for progressive bevel cutting. Check it out!

If Louis Sauzedde isn’t the ultimate wooden shipwright and movie star, then who could it be? He has turned wooden boat restoration into a video series attracting lots of attention and fixing up some special boats along the way. We love that he attacks his projects with confidence and traditional sense, but is not afraid to try out a new material or new idea that challenges everything he was taught about his profession.

Follow along with the rest of this 4 part (so far) video series on the restoration of “Remora” here and delight in watching Lou work and in his super wicked Rhody accent. So killa!

The 12 1/2: Herreshoff’s Masterpiece

CB_H12aStory & Photos by Ellen Massey-Leonard | Article courtesy of Classic Boat Magazine

Upon my return from sailing around the world, the first thing I did was to take out my family’s Herreshoff 12½. My cruising yacht is evidently better for ocean crossings, but there’s something about the 12½ that hooks you, no matter how many sea miles you have travelled, no matter how many boats you have handled.

In a sunny but cool ’smoky sou’wester’ on Eggemoggin Reach in Downeast Maine, the 12½ flew along, water gurgling under her forefoot and a bubbly wake streaming behind her. With only a finger or two on the delicate tiller, I could feel her respond to every puff and lull. Moving only my arm I could tack, and gybing was almost as effortless, hauling in and letting out the mainsheet the only added task. As she glided back to the harbor in a dying zephyr, I thought how wonderful it was that she’s been doing this for almost 80 years.

I’m not the only one to love the simplicity and sailing qualities of the Herreshoff 12½. Two-thirds of the original 364 boats survive today, 101 years after the first was launched, although unfortunately that first (Robin, Hull No 744) is not among them. A thriving H-Class Association actively races these boats and their replicas, with about 80 racing on any given summer weekend. The class is still mostly American, ranging from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay, but a few boats are also to be found in England, France and Norway. It’s possible that there are more 12½’s sailing today than ever before.The Herreshoff 12½ has more than stood the test of time. Steady and seaworthy, she points well, can stand up to a stiff breeze and scoots along in light air. With her ballast and roomy cockpit, she feels like a little ship, and yet is as responsive as a dinghy. This responsiveness – coupled with a way of forgiving mistakes – makes her a perfect boat in which to learn to sail and to sail solo into your 90s, as one of my family’s friends did. Finally, she’s elegant: her quiet beauty has inspired many people to take good care of these boats over generations.Captain Nathanael Greene Herreshoff designed what was then called the Buzzards Bay Boy’s Boat in 1914. The ’Wizard of Bristol’ was at the peak of his eminently successful career. In 1893 he had designed and skippered the victorious America’s Cup defender Vigilant. Two years later his Defender again kept the cup in New York, and in the 1899 and 1901 America’s Cups, Herreshoff’s Columbia was the successful defender. Here two stories about the origins of the 12½ diverge slightly, as is apt to happen with anything of legendary status. Continue reading

Patterning A New Stem for a 12 1/2

“Tips from a Shipwright” master, Lou Sauzedde, digs into the rotten stem of a sweet Herreshoff 12 1/2 to make a pattern for a new stem. Using his years of expertise, Lou makes it look so easy and of course makes a perfect pattern.  Watch and learn from Lou, he is full of great tricks for perfect execution of jobs that leave most of us scratching our heads trying to figure out how to best get it done!

Tips from A Shipwright: A Plan for a 12 1/2

Master Shipwright and sage video tipster, Louis Sauzedde, has his work cut out for him with this sweet little Herreshoff 12 1/2. She was washed up on the rocks and has some pretty serious damage that will require Lou’s expert work on her stem, planks, frames and bulkheads. So yeah, pretty much most of the boat needs some Lou love.

But he is not daunted by the task and in this video he goes over what his plan of attack is and how important it is to take the boat apart in pieces to retain the hull shape that makes it such a beauty and a pleasure to sail.  This little boat is lucky to be “alive” and is even luckier to have landed in Lou’s capable shop.