When the team from Waterlust spent part of last winter in the shop at Chesapeake Light Craft, (CLC) they built their first kit boat and apparently took a serious liking to the whole boat building process. But they built 2 boats for exploring, put some miles on the 2 sailing craft, and were let hungry for more. This time however, their adventures will be land based and I would venture to guess that although they are out to build a super-cool and trendy since the 60’s tear drop camper, that you might find an array of boards strapped to the top for their salty addiction. Continue reading
Our Spring 2016 catalog featured Richard Honan, boatbuilder and signmaker and – as it turns out – rower extraordinaire. Richard has been building boats for years and we have blogged about his amazing accomplishments many times in this space. Richard has a serious following of jealous friends and he often sends them all email updates when he does something cool or builds something he is proud of (most everything he touches is worthy).
So when Richard told us he was heading to the Small Reach Regatta in Herrick Bay (home of Wooden Boat in Brooklin), we were thrilled to hear his newly fashioned oars were yet another TotalBoat project of his. These gorgeous oars were no afterthought and as Richard told us, he coated them with “TotalBoat Lust Varnish, my new favorite varnish.” Read on as Richard explains how he repurposed some old oars he had on hand for the Melonseed skiff he built and was planning to use for this fun regatta. 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.
The Youth Boat Build is a great example of how the marine industry is reaching to the youth and tomorrow’s workforce to create interest in the marine trades. Youth from the Ocean State are turning their passion for boats and building into high-tech, high-paying career paths in engineering, design, advanced composites manufacturing and the other marine trades. Marine Trade students from programs at Chariho Career & Technical Center and Warwick Area Career & Technical Center will be doing a Live boat-build during the show near the front entry lobby. In addition, you can meet with staff from the New England Institute of Technology and from the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) School of technology and Trades. Both provide top notch marine instruction and a career path that is well grounded in Rhody and the surrounding New England community.
If you can “speak” Gaelic or Skibbereen (Irish) then watch this great little video about an ingenious way for a rotting boat and a boatyard to work together to generate local talent and enthusiasm for boatbuilding while saving a boat!
Ancient boatbuilding techniques and practices will be employed to save a local sailing legend, ILEN of 1927. Bringing the abandoned boat to the boat shop at Skibbereen has not only save the ship from it’s near demise, but has brought boatbuilding back to the people. With workshops scheduled at the yard, locals and wooden boat enthusiasts have been given a wonderful tool for mastering boatbuilding and saving a great ship.
From the frames to the deck and down below, ILEN has taught handy carpenters how to use their skills and branch out to boatbuilding. And there has been a great response to the workshops, running now for more than 2 years. The workers share a love for the project, for the work at hand and for the boat itself, and the workshop idea has spawned a workforce of help who also benefit from the work at hand.
Plenty of boatyards, communities and skilled woodworkers should make notes about the effort to combine passion for community, for yachting and for good old fashioned boatbuilding and woodworking into one neat package. And the prize at the end: a beautiful boat built by a village – because as they say, It takes a village!
When the movie Vanishing Sail premiered for the first time ever in late April in St. Barth’s – we urged you all to fly down and catch this great movie in plein air – because after all, who doesn’t need a “jaunt” to St. Barthelemy for a good flick about wooden boats?
Well, maybe you didn’t make it. (I got held up here – couldn’t get down there…) Happens. You now have another chance to catch this film in it’s full length glory at the Newport International Film Festival this coming Wednesday, Aug 5th. Complete with a pre-screening party at the always entertaining Newport Shipyard, the filmmaker Alexis Andrews and the Carriacou Sloop, Summer Wind will be at both the pre-party and the screening.
Pre-Screening party at the shipyard is from 5-7pm. Screening is at Jane Pickens at 7:30pm.
Get Tickets for Vanishing Sail – Newport Film Festival (7:30pm. Wed. August 5th)
See you there! Continue reading
Forget… just for a heartbeat or two… James Dodds’s long career in art. Forget that he is one of the few marine artists to have broken free of the marine niche into the wider art world. And set aside the fact that he is the de facto artist laureate of Britain’s littoral working craft, perhaps even Britain’s leading living marine artist. Instead, shut the door on the present, and hang a sign on it that says… Gone paddlin’.
Well, what else would we do? James has a new toy that he has taught himself to use – a tandem sit-on-top kayak – and he’s dug a channel through the narrow stretch of mud between his studio and the River Colne so he can launch it in situ. The tide’s up, the sun’s out and the river’s surface is a luminous, brown glitter-scape, as we pass a man battening down his Folkboat. Soon, I will have to ask searching questions like “what is your favourite colour?” (indigo) and when I’ve gone, a summer gale will replace me, harassing this gentle spot and its ageing cabin yachts that forever swim against the tide at their moorings. But right now, where else would we rather be than paddling upriver on the last of the flood?
As we move steadily up the Roman River to Fingringhoe Mill, James tells me about the local area. Like every coastal town in the southeast of England, the shipyards have become flats and houses and the fishing fleet has disappeared, bar four stout-looking craft in the tiny town dock. Cook’s Shipyard was the last builder of any consequence and near it, a large, metal engraving on a plinth is the most visible reminder of the town as it used to be. It’s by James of course, and one of those old sheds is now his studio. From his talk and from his long, low paddle strokes, the impression is of a man as comfortable in his environment as he seems to be in his own skin.
Much has been made over the years over the similarities and differences between James’s subjects and his depictions of them. A four-year shipwright’s apprenticeship in nearby Maldon after leaving school (aged 15) in the early 1970s has given James a profound feel and respect for the craft of the boatbuilder; not to mention a fondness for the sort of stout repartee that is sometimes enjoyed by men who work with their hands… “They called me the artist in residence when I worked at the yard,” he recalls. One can only imagine the joshing James sustained during those years, as he carved lino-cuts of the boats in the yard.
At the end of the four years James, still only 19, went to Colchester School of Art, then the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College. The art critic and painter William Packer who taught James at Colchester wrote in 2006 “James Dodds is not just a remarkable artist: he has been one from the start. What marked him out was not just his comparative maturity among his fellows, but that he seemed even then to know exactly what he wanted to do. Such predisposition can well be an irritation in a student and a provocation to his teachers, but it proved to be quite the reverse in his case. Far from being narrow or obstructive, least of all arrogant, he was clearly anxious to learn all he could.” (Jamie’s version, with his gentle self-effacing humour, is “people used to tell me I took myself too seriously”.)
For that reason, there has been a great stability to James’s work during his long career (he has sold nearly 300 oil paintings, not to mention countless lino-cuts, wood-cuts and hand-printed books). William Packer’s comment seems to ring true – here is not a person who has invented himself over the years as most of us do, but who knew his mind from the start.
As we walk around his studio, James explains the process behind one of his typical large oils. He prepares his canvases the old-fashioned way, by applying two layers of rabbitskin glue (which has to be reconstituted from desiccated crystals), then two coats of white lead primer, which has become almost impossible, and very expensive, to get hold of since the EU banned it. Continue reading
Maine beckons those of us who love the rugged coast of New England and boating! It’s rich boatbuilding history is steeped in traditional wooden boatbuilding methods and there are many standout schools in the great northern state that attract the very best wooden boat enthusiasts. The Wooden BoatSchool is at the forefront of the pack of excellent schools in Maine, and this video lets their alumni explain what brings them back to the school years after their graduation.
From YouTube Page: The WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine, offers classes in boatbuilding and seamanship from June to September: Each spring, a few lucky alumni of the School from all over the United States return to the school to help commission the campus and boats for the season. For two weeks, they paint, hammer, chisel, and saw. In the process, they bring the place to life while honing their skills and forging deep friendships.
Anyone who completes a class at the WoodenBoat School is considered an alumnus and is eligible to participate in Alumni Week. So many people want to work for free we have to hold a lottery. The ones who are selected consider themselves lucky.
Maybe you can join them. Become a student at www.thewoodenboatschool.com
Rocking the Boat situated in the Bronx, NY, has brilliantly reached out to kids who might need distraction in the form of function, art and certainly boating! Read about “Rocking the Boat” and watch the video about their admirable mission to get kids into and conquering projects they never thought possible.
Jamestown Distributors has been donating to this amazing program for years and they, in turn, have been excellent customers. It is so satisfying to be able to contribute to organizations like Rocking the Boat and see the love for hand crafting, wood working and boating be passed along to kids who might never have had the chance to hold a tiller or a plane. Constructing and rowing your own boat is a project that reaches so many important levels of being a responsible human. There are lessons in crafting, woodworking and in life that manifest themselves throughout a build project and getting kids excited about it all is even more of a victory than the finished product.
From RTB Vimeo Page: Adam Green believes in teaching 21st century job and life skills through old fashioned wooden boat building.
The idea first infected him as a Vassar College student in 1996, when he spent a “semester abroad” volunteering at a middle school in East Harlem—one of the U.S.’s poorest urban neighborhoods at the time. Despite having no prior boat building experience, he worked with students to make “Dolphin,” an 8 foot wooden dinghy which was launched in the school swimming pool.
After graduating, Green returned to New York City with a certificate to teach, but gave up that plan to launch Rocking the Boat—a boat building and environmental education program which now serves 2,000 youth and community members annually in the South Bronx. The aim is not to turn kids into professional boat builders, but to help them recognize abilities they possess that will help them thrive in school and beyond.
Rocking the Boat empowers young people from the South Bronx to develop the self-confidence to set ambitious goals and gain the skills necessary to achieve them. Students work together to build wooden boats, learn to row and sail, and restore local urban waterways, revitalizing their community while creating better lives for themselves.
Kids don’t just build boats at Rocking the Boat, boats build kids.
HOW COOL IS THAT? Support Rocking the Boat by donating here.
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.