In honor of the first WaterFire of the 2015 season (TONIGHT!), we give you this cool video and a little intro to one of the coolest waterfront activities in RI.
If you’re not from Rhody (shame! Poor you!!) or nearby Mass or CT. areas, maybe you have never heard of this amazing Rhode Island phenomenon called WaterFire. The state has embraced this “art installation” by Brown U and RISD (RI School of Design) graduate, Barnaby Evans, since 1994.
The Waterfire website puts it so perfectly I, I need to share directly their description of the amazing event that goes on about 10-15 times throughout the summer months, lining 3 rivers in Providence with 100 fire pits lit and fed by official volunteers in boats.
WaterFire® is a work of art that involves movement, participation and surprise. When visitors encounter WaterFire, they cannot absorb the sculpture from just their sense of sight or even from a single vantage point—they must walk through the installation and they must use all five of their senses. WaterFire is full of motion—throughout the night the firetenders stoke the fires, the boats glide past the flames, the rivers flow quietly beneath the braziers, the sparks whirl through the night air, and the flickering flames reflect off the dark surface of the water, animating the architectural fabric of the city.
With a serious fleet of boats to support the work that needs to be done to create/ maintain and feed the fires, Waterfire made the cool video above to give some insight into this watery operation. Other cities have invited Evans to bring his installation to town. But here in Rhode Island we consider it our own! Come check it out. First fires are lit at sunset. A full schedule for the season can be found here. Or maybe we’ll just see you there tonight!
I have been loving Vimeo for giving us a filmmakers view into the cooler woodshops and boatyards around our planet. These beautifully made films highlight the craftsmanship and total dedication of the gentle souls who pour a lifetime – sometimes many lifetimes and generations – of talent and skill into these wooden projects. It takes the boats and crafts they make to a new level when you can watch a film to see inside the passion of the shipwright or woodworker.
C Blunt Boat Builders in based in Victoria, Australia. They are another example of a cool old yard (Since 1858) handing down the passion over 5 generations. They do things the right way, even if it takes longer. And they still employ the marine railway – another sign of a boatyard with badassness and old timey coolness at their core.
There are a few rules to follow as a boater – most revolve around safety and oh – ya know – staying in the boat. The very core of this video is upsetting for a few reasons. It just looks wrong to put a boat (full of people hanging off the sides) near, much less in front of, massive waves. We’ve seen the nuts on jet skis towing in surfers at big wave venues and that too looks so crazy, but they hustle out of the way with their speed and you rarely hear about them getting clobbered.
But this viral video is making its way around screens because it’s crazy, nuts, wild and insane. And dangerous. And crazy. Look and see. And let’s not even talk about the danger of putting spinning propellors near swimmers, surfers and massive boat-redirecting waves. I’m sweating just seeing the frozen YouTube still from the video.
What do you think? I’ve known fishermen to put powerboats inside a rock or shallow cove for the right casting position. But I try to keep my vessels and passengers free from breaking waves that might LAUNCH them over the sides. It’s just safer. Really.
Grab some dramamine and hold on to your hat, because we are guessing you might click and watch the full length of this video even though 99% of us would never dare to go to sea in these conditions. Why is it so entertaining? For the same reason people chase ambulances, probably: It isn’t our problem. Safe and dry at our computer – it sure is hard to imagine what it would be like to ride these massive waves. Even when the video is shot from the bridge of a giant tanker or ship, it is hard to translate to how we might survive these conditions in our own little (by comparison) boats…. and yet we watch.
TotalBoat show is here for you for just that reason. While we want every one of you to run out and try our TotalBoat products (have you?), we mostly want to find and filter for you the best, most interesting and awesome boating videos and news. All in one place. Every day. All salty or steamy (as in steam bending steamy….) boatbuilding, boat loving or boating tips that we deem “awesome” will be delivered to this page just for you.
So how can you give back to your boat lovin friends at TotalBoat Show? Please like and share and comment and report back to us on any and all posts which touched you. Maybe you learned something about how to do a job that is parked on your to-do list. Or maybe you like following shipwrights who make it look easy til you get your tools out and try your hand at planking or planing an old classic. Or maybe you just like to chase ambulances. If so – we got you covered. Just have your puke bags at the ready…..
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!