Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sightseeing Day

Today was sightseeing day. We drove to Lunenburg to check on the progress of the Bluenose II rebuild. Before we stopped in there we stopped by the boat builders at the Twin Schooners project. It was a crisp sunny day and they were hard at work and what a fantastic job they were doing. They were fairing out the decking. It was great to talk with the craftsmen and we also spoke to the keeper of their blog (Susan). She was great and showed us around a little and gave us a little history on the project. We also got a chance to visit in the Dory Shop and speak to the craftsman, Jay Langford, who builds the dories there. He told me that he has built over 160 dories. Apparently, he’s also a talented artist.

After our tour there we went to the Bluenose site. Amazing. Everything there is so BIG. The guys there are doing an spectacular job. We really appreciated the office staff there who speak with you and accompany you to the boat shop. They field questions from the public and often are on the front lines of any criticisms or complaints. They were pleasant and patient when we wanted to stay longer to look at the vessel- even though it was very cold just standing there.

We had a great lunch in town at Big Red Restaurant on Montague St. Scallop burgers… yum.

After lunch we went down to the waterfront to look at the dories. We took some measurements in case sometime in the future the inclination strikes us to build one of those. It was beautiful there looking over the water but quite chilly so we didn’t linger. I was already quite cold from standing in the boat shed at the BNII site.

We took a leisurely drive back through Mahone Bay with its purple and blue houses. Even the bank there is in a yellow building so it blends with the character of the waterfront. What a beautiful drive.

All in all it was a good day seeing the different sizes and types of vessels being built in just that one small town. Getting a chance to speak to some of these people and finding out a little about them somehow makes working on our own vessel and being a part of this great group of people a little more satisfying.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's spring and we're back in the shop again. Actually we did some work on the vessel during the winter but cold weather gives me the shakes and it's really hard to hold the hammer.

We finished more of the rigging blocks and they're ready for irons. As you see above all of the frames are finished behind the deadwood. (14 full sets of frames)Some of these frames much resembled an "S" so they were a challenge to get into place. There were a few that didn't make it through the process. When you hear that crack as your bending an inch thick by four inch wide piece of red oak into an impossible shape your heart falls to your boots and you grab something to hang onto so that you don't fall forward. It cracks fast and completely. Just 8 of those impossible shapes per complete frame and your all set. There are 32 sets installed now and there are 68 sets total- still a ways to go yet. The midship frames are so much better to install. The curve is not extreme and so they can go in a lot faster.

We sawed the heavy spruce timbers for the bilge stringers and shelf and clamp (gunwhale) which support the ends of the deck beams. We also sawed the oak for the floors and knightsheads. The floors are heavy timbers that join the ribs across the keel on which the keelson lies at 90 degrees. The knightshead are the uprights at the bow that fill it in solid for strength and to support the hawshole fittings (ropes that tie up the vessel or anchor).

Sadly, at the beginning of March, we said good bye to Warren's Mom, Lena Blanche, for whom this vessel is named. She was a wonderful woman, mother, mother in law, sister, aunt, grammie, daughter, and friend who will be greatly missed. She took a great interest in this boat building project. Her ancestry was filled with shipbuilders and ship Captains. She had many stories of spending time in her grandfather's boat shed as a child, playing in the shavings and chipping at wood with her grandfather's tools. The ocean was a great part of her life for her 92 1/2 years. I hope that this vessel is as strong and noble as she was.

Work is continuing on the frames and we hope to finish sometime in May.