Wooden boat building can be as much about the materials you have access to, as it is about the skill and labor of building wooden boats. If you’ve been watching our Skiff building series with Louis Sauzedde, then you know a good boatbuilder will go to great lengths to find the perfect timber. The species, grain appearance and age of each timber for your boat matters greatly as it is the heart, the core of your vessel. Build a boat from balsa wood and enjoy your handiwork for minutes, not decades. Select the right timber for the project and you’re good for a lifetime. Continue reading →
Maybe you thought you would be skiing this coming weekend…but look outside – if you live anywhere near New England, you might have noticed that it appears to be more like a boating day (and week) than a winter ski week. So take that springtime energy and head over to the Providence Boat Show at the RI Convention Center. There are some very cool new boats, Paddle Boards, fishing gear and tackle and lots more to see there. Plenty of awesome vendors are packed up and moving in over the next few days and of even more interest – is the super cool “Youth Boat Build” sponsored by Jamestown Distributors.
Bust out the kleenex, this simple video claims to be about boat building. But I beg to differ. It’s about a boy and his desire to build. His desire to work with his grandfather on a project that he spent at least 10 years hearing stories about. Grandpa builds boats. Now his grandson wants to put down the iPod and video games and use his hands and his grandfather’s expertise. Even if grandpa isn’t a shipwright or an expert – he knows it all for this project and the relationship seems so mutually beneficial to both grandson and grandfather.
It’s so nice to think that kids today can take great interest in things that are not based on a screen or an emoji. Enjoy this video. I’ll be home convincing my son to start asking his grandfather to build something together. A boat perhaps, a fishing rod – maybe. Just to let the two sit and ponder and dream sounds good enough to me!
Down in the Gulf of Mexico, it isn’t all shrimp boats and oil rigs. Master Boatbuilder, Bill Holland grew up in Biloxi, MS where his father served as a schooner captain. Holland grew up playing around the neighborhood boatyards, and became obsessed with watching the men build and repair the local fishing boats. He got started building model boats made from scrap wood from the yards. By the time he was twelve he had built his first boat and had begun working in the boatyards, learning the trade from the builders. During his teenage years Holland worked for a number of Biloxi’s renowned wooden boatbuilders.
After a stint in the Coast Guard, Holland learned about the construction of steel hull ships through work as a production welder and burner at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. Later he purchased a piece of waterfront property across the bay from Biloxi in D’Iberville, a spot that had been known for over 100 years as Shipyard Point. Holland built his own boatyard on the property, along with a home for his family.
Holland builds and repairs a wide range of boats in his yard, from small skiffs and sailboats to large schooners. He has built 43 boats in his lifetime. Although he has done a wide range of work, his favorite projects are constructing new boats using the older forms and designs. One of his more recent projects in this vein was Mascot, a 39 foot steam launch built for a New Orleans businessman.
Meet Doug Jackson and the hulking steel hull of the MotorSailor, ‘Seeker.’ ‘Seeker’ is parked in Doug’s front yard in Tulsa, Oklahoma waiting for the internet (you!) to come sign up to help build her. She is a 3 masted Chinese junk and his plan is to recruit energetic helpers with his videos, who are invited to come stay in his home and chip in with the mountain of boatbuilding that is required to get ‘Seeker’ built and afloat.
This is Doug’s “invitation” to you, internet, to come help out. He shows you around, explains the work to be done and the benefits of helping out and shows off his workshop. Seems like a fair deal! Ready to sign up? Let us know if you’re heading to Tulsa to help Doug out! He has plenty of work for everyone!
It’s interesting to check back on this older video posted at the initial stages of this 2014-2015 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Having decided on doing one-design boats for more level competition, the boats are a collaboration between many designers, yards and builders.
And now that the boats have safely crossed all the oceans of the race (with only 3 short legs remaining up the coast of Europe with a finish in Gothenburg, Sweden) it is safe to declare that they must have really been built well, as there were very few structural or mechanical breakdowns. It has been a mercifully non-eventful event for the shore crew and the sailors. Everyone is in one piece and aside from the obvious boat damage sustained when Team Vestas Wind smashed into a little island (ok, a reef) requiring a full repair back at Persico Marine in Italy, all the boats have fared well. And this can be directly attributed to smart sailing, a great and sturdy design for the boats and rigs and great boatbuilding.
Kudos to all the involved boatbuilders and designers. The VO65 is here to stay for the next edition of the race, presumably in these very hulls which might owe part of their structural soundness to the fact that they were actually built to be used for 2 races. It’s been a real pleasure to watch the teams conquer the seven seas in boats that don’t appear to be too light or under built. Let’s not forget that this race has evolved from massively heavy and well appointed boats who were built to sail around the world. The evolution to light-as-possible racing machines is a good one, and dare we say that the new one-design element has been a great addition to the race, forcing skill and experience of the crew to the surface.
However you slice it, the boats are built with as much modern technology and state-of-the-art go-fasters onboard with the simple goal of winning the race by being the fastest around. The days of pushing as hard as possible, testing the limits of the boat and it’s construction are here to stay. And It’s nice to be able to see how these boats were conceived and built to endure everything the mighty ocean and the sailors who push as hard as possible can throw at them. The boats – all of them- and their designers and builders are all winning. The ultimate winner, though, is yet to be determined… time will certainly tell that story.
Thanks again to FishHawk Films and Louis Sauzedde for this latest great film from Tips from a Shipwright. Here Lou shows us his 42-inch L. Power Ship Saw and gives us a demonstration of his sharpening technique. Never a “dull” moment with Lou! Enjoy!
It isn’t hard to be impressed with wooden boatbuilders Ross Gannon & Nat Benjamin. For nearly 40 years G&B have launched pristine wooden boats that they have painstakingly designed and built, refit or repaired from their impressive marine railway in Vineyard Haven harbor on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
A few years ago, a documentary film named Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story, was released. It can be viewed in its entirety online here, on DVD or in short pieces, like the one featured above.
TotalBoat and Jamestown Distributors are proud to feature the work of Gannon and Benjamin in our latest catalog, on the Go Deeper page of TotalBoat Show and here. If you find yourself in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard, be sure to go check out the shop and the very cool working marine railway. Few yards still employ the railway technique of launching boats in favor or a Travelift, and when you find a yard with a busy railway – it most surely is a sign of badass boatwork going on nearby. When you find G&B or a cool railway, be sure to tell them (all of them) that TotalBoat Show sent you! Enjoy!
In case you thought master boatbuilder and Proprietor of Bristol Boat Company, Dan Shea, ever got bored with wooden boat building (never… no way, not ever even after 30 years), then you’ll be pleased to see that every once in a while a cool, non buoyant project makes its ways into every great boat shop. Skilled hands and sharp minds like Dan’s are a find and when a family from South Korea came to Dan with drawings for a 40-foot tall Egg shaped chapel.
Built in twelve sections in Dan’s Bristol workshop with familiar tools and materials, O’Shea shipped the pieces to Seoul to be assembled on site.
It’s a fun video to watch because Dan’s excitement about this crazy project is contagious. Here is some more info about this amazing build: And some great photos here.
Handcrafted by old-school shipbuilders and assembled on-site by a local family in Munho-ri, near Seoul, the Egg Chapel is a beautiful example of original architectural work constructed with the support of a local community. The small, non-denominational pilgrimage destination was designed by New York-based architect Andrew MacNair to provide an intimate space for weddings, baptisms and anniversaries in the South Korean town.
The wood parts were handcrafted by boat builders in Rhode Island and New York, and then shipped in 12 vertical sections to Inchon in South Korea. The Chapel is 30 feet high, 14 feet wide at the floor and 22 feet wide at its maximum girth. It is built on top of a concrete crypt — a structural foundation and underground quiet room. Supporting the base ring are 6 round concrete columns, which help anchor the wood chapel to the ground.
Situated high in the mountains of Yangpyeong County, the chapel entrance faces south so that direct afternoon sunlight can illuminate the structure’s center and bathe the altar in daylight. The position of the openings and the sheltering cylindrical shape reinforce the spiritual experience of the space. The intimate atmosphere is enriched by spiritual symbolism within the architectural design itself; the egg as the “seed of life“, a symbol of birth and rebirth which transforms the an apparently lifeless object out of which comes life.