Journal of the Traditional Small Craft Association, Inc. Vol. 29 No. 4 Winter 2008 $4.00

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1 The Ash Breeze Journal of the Traditional Small Craft Association, Inc. Vol. 29 No. 4 Winter 2008 $4.00 In This Issue: Reports from the Annual Meeting Dark Harbor Restoration Coracles Cuban Refugee Boat Restoration Sunray Launched An Unexpected Invitation 2008 Small Reach Regatta Chapter News

2 The Ash Breeze The Ash Breeze (ISSN ) is the quarterly journal of the Traditional Small Craft Association, Inc. It is published at 1557 Cattle Point Road, Friday Harbor, WA Communications concerning membership or mailings should be addressed to: P.O. Box 350, Mystic, CT Volume 29 Number 4 Editor Dan Drath Copy Editors Cricket Evans Charles Judson Jim Lawson Charles Ratcliffe Editor for Advertising Pete Evans Editors Emeriti Richard S. Kolin Sam & Marty King David & Katherine Cockey Ralph Notaristefano Ken Steinmetz John Stratton Layout with the assistance of The Messing About Foundation The Traditional Small Craft Association, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational organization which works to preserve and continue the living traditions, skills, lore, and legends surrounding working and pleasure watercraft whose origins predate the marine gasoline engine. It encourages the design, construction, and use of these boats, and it embraces contemporary variants and adaptations of traditional designs. TSCA is an enjoyable yet practical link among users, designers, builders, restorers, historians, government, and maritime institutions. Copyright 2008 by The Traditional Small Craft Association, Inc. Editor s Column This is my last issue as Editor of the Ash Breeze. I have put away my blue pencil and have entered my third retirement. My journey into desk top publishing started with the purchase of a new computer in Bundled with it was the Microsoft Publisher software. Being curious, I used it to prepare a guest editor issue of the Shellback, occasional newsletter of the Master Mariners Benevolent Association. (MMBA is for pre-1940 design sailboats in San Francisco.) From that start in desktop publishing, a series of steps followed, to editor of the Shellback, editor of the Sacramento TSCA newsletter, and finally in June 2002, Peter Vermillya asked me to take on the Ash Breeze. That seemed like a big step to me at the time. Soon I was talking with maritime museums all over the country, visiting many of them, meeting members and sponsors, arranging for stories, ads, and chapter calendars. It was a wonderful way to get to know what was happening in the small craft world. I became aquainted with the Chicago Manual of Style and the Columbia Guide to Digital Publishing and was given working press admission to many events. In these eight years, production of the journal has changed in big ways. Most material is received by now. What does come by USMail is no longer retyped, but rather scanned and text recovered with optical-character-recognition software, saving both labor and introducing fewer errors. The production cycle, a three month activity in 2002 (meaning the editor was always working), has shrunk to 33 days from deadline for material to shipping to the printer. My first issues of the Ash Breeze were delivered to our printer by ZIP disk by hand. CDs replaced that media soon. They were easier to mail and cheaper. Later issues were transferred on the internet, no mail involved, directly into the prepress operator s computer via file transfer protocol. At that point in time, being 2500 miles from the printer was absolutely of no consequence. Amazing. Meanwhile, I continued to learn more about small craft and meet the people who shared that joy. Over these years I have received help from a number of individuals, without which I would not have been able to do the work. Hat s off to Cricket Evans, Pete Evans, the late Hobey DeStaebler, Charles Judson, Jim Lawson, Charles Ratcliffe, and John Stratton. Mike Wick will be taking over with the next issue. He has been a TSCA member for a long time. He has been on the Council, is active in the Delaware River chapter, participates in the production of the Delaware River chapter newsletter, and is a familiar face at small craft festivals all along the Eastern Coast. The next chapter of the Ash Breeze history will be a good one. Best regards to all, Dan Drath Front Cover Elf gliding downstream with Penn s Landing and the Independence Seaport Museum in the background before making her way upstream to embarrass a local fleet of J Boats. See the story inside, An Unexpected Invitation. Address Changes: We instruct the Postal Service to forward the journal to your new address, but if it is not forwardable, we are charged the full third-class fee (not the less expensive bulk rate fee) for its return, along with the address correction fee. To help us reduce postage costs and ensure that you don t miss an issue, kindly send your new address to TSCA Secretary, P. O. Box 350, Mystic, CT The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

3 Gardner Grants To preserve, continue, and expand the achievements, vision and goals of John Gardner by enriching and disseminating our traditional small craft heritage. In 1999, TSCA created the John Gardner Grant program to support projects for which sufficient funding would otherwise be unavailable. Eligible projects are those which research, document, preserve, and replicate traditional small craft, associated skills, and those who built and used them. Youth involvement is encouraged. Proposals for projects ranging from $200 to $2000 are invited for consideration. Grants are awarded competitively and reviewed semiannually by the John Gardner Memorial Fund Committee of TSCA, typically in May and October. The source of funding is the John Gardner Memorial Endowment Fund. Funding available for projects is determined annually. Eligible applicants include anyone who can demonstrate serious interest in, and knowledge of, traditional small craft. Affiliation with a museum or academic organization is not required. Projects must have tangible, enduring results which are published, exhibited, or otherwise made available to the interested public. Projects must be reported in the Ash Breeze. For program details, applications and additional information visit TSCA on the web at Benefactors Samuel E. Johnson Life Members Jean Gardner Bob Hicks Paul Reagan Sidney S. Whelan, Jr. Generous Patrons Ned Asplundh Kim Bottles Willard A. Bradley Lee Caldwell Stanley R. Dickstein Richard S. Kolin Richard B. Weir Capt C. S. Wetherell...and Individual Sponsor Members Rodney & Julie Agar Captain James Alderman Roger Allen C. Joseph Barnette Ellen & Gary Barrett Bruce Beglin Charles Benedict Howard Benedict Gary Blackman Robert C. Briscoe Richard A. Butz Capt John & Charlotte Calhoun Charles Canniff Dick Christie Steve & Gladys Clancy David Cockey James & Lloyd Crocket Dusty & Linda Dillion Terry & Erika Downes Dan & Eileen Drath Frank C. Durham Albert Eatock Michael Ellis John D. England David Epner Edna Erven Tom Etherington Richard & Susan Geiger John M. Gerty Gerald W. Gibbs Raymond Glover Max Greenwood Les Gunther Mr. & Mrs. R. Bruce Hammatt, Jr. Peter Healey Colin O. Hermans Dana Hewson Steve Hirsch Stuart K. Hopkins Peter A. Jay John M. Karbott Phillip Kasten Stephen Kessler Thomas E. King Arthur B. Lawrence, III Chelcie Liu Jon Lovell The Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA Michael McClure Charles H. Meyer, Jr. Alfred P. Minervini Howard Mittleman John S. Montague King Mud & Queen Tule Mason C. Myers W. Lee & Sibyl A. Pellum Robert Pitt Michael Porter Ron Render Don Rich & Sheryl Speck Karen S. & Bill Rutherford Richard Schubert Paul A. Schwartz Michael O. Severance Austin Shiels Gary & Diane Shirley Charles D. Siferd Walter J. Simmons Leslie Smith John P. Stratton, III Zach Stewart & Annie Somerville Robert E. (Bub) Sullivan George Surgent Benjamin B. Swan James Thorington Peter T. Vermilya Dick Wagner Tom Walz John & Ellen Weiss Stephen M. Weld Michael D. Wick Hank & Hazel Will Robert & Judith Yorke J. Myron Young Joel Zackin The Ash Breeze Winter

4 PINE ISLAND CAMP Founded in 1902, Pine Island is a boys camp that focuses on worthwhile outdoor activities. We have 13 wooden boats in use daily. No electricity on our island in Belgrade Lakes, Maine. Contact Ben Swan: TSCA Chapters Adirondack Chapter TSCA Mary Brown, 18 Hemlock Lane, Saranac Lake, New York 12983, , Annapolis Chapter TSCA Sigrid Trumpy, P.O. Box 2054, Annapolis, MD 21404, Barnegat Bay TSCA Patricia H. Burke, Director, Toms River Seaport Society, PO Box 1111, Toms River, NJ 08754, , Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society Hank Vincenti, 7562 Brinmore Rd, Sagamore Hills, OH 44067, , Connecticut River Oar and Paddle Club Jon Persson, 17 Industrial Park Road, Suite 5, Centerbrook, CT 06409, , Delaware River TSCA Tom Shephard, 482 Almond Rd, Pittsgrove, NJ 08318, Down East Chapter John Silverio, 105 Proctor Rd, Lincolnville, ME 04849, work , home , camp: , Floating the Apple Mike Davis, 400 West 43rd St., 32R, New York, NY 10036, , Florida Gulf Coast TSCA Roger B. Allen, Florida Maritime Museum, th St W, Cortez, PO Box 100, FL 34215, or Cell , Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum TSCA Brent Creelman, 315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516, , John Gardner Chapter Russ Smith, U of Connecticut, Avery Point Campus, 1084 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT 06340, , Lone Star Chapter Howard Gmelch, The Scow Schooner Project, PO Box 1509, Anahuac, TX 77514, , Long Island TSCA Myron Young, PO Box 635, Laurel, NY 11948, Lost Coast Chapter Mendocino Stan Halvorsen, Gibney Lane, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, , Michigan Maritime Museum Chapter Pete Mathews, Secretary, PO Box 100, Gobles, MI 49055, , North Shore TSCA Dave Morrow, 63 Lynnfield St, Lynn, MA 01904, Oregon Coots John Kohnen, PO Box 24341, Eugene, OR 97402, , Patuxent Small Craft Guild William Lake, Asbury Circle, Apt 1301, Solomons, MD 20688, , Pine Lake Small Craft Association Sandy Bryson, Sec., 333 Whitehills Dr, East Lansing, MI 48823, , Puget Sound TSCA Gary Powell, th Ct. SE, Renton, WA 98058, , Sacramento TSCA Todd Bloch, 122 Bemis Street, San Francisco, CA 94131, , Scajaquada TSCA Charles H. Meyer, 5405 East River, Grand Island, NY 14072, , South Jersey TSCA George Loos, 53 Beaver Dam Rd, Cape May Courthouse, NJ 08210, , South Street Seaport Museum John B. Putnam, 207 Front Street, New York, NY 10038, , Ext. 663 days, TSCA of Wisconsin James R. Kowall, c/o Door County Maritime Museum, 120 N Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, Chapters Organizing Cape Cod Don Chapin, PO Box 634, Pocasset, MA 02559, or Eastern Shore Chapter Mike Moore, 5220 Wilson Road, Cambridge, MD 21613, North Idaho Joe Cathey, W. Hollister Hills Drive, Hauser, ID 83854, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum Chapter Maury Keiser, 329 Valverde Lane, St. Augustine, FL 32086, , 4 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

5 Minutes of the Membership Meeting St. Michaels, MD October 5, 2008 Members Present: Richard Geiger, President; Roger Allen, David Cockey, Chuck Decowsky, Pete Mathews, Dean Meledones, Chuck Meyer, Bob Pitt, John Weiss (by phone). 1. Call to Order, 10:35 2. Election of Council Members: These members will serve on the Council for the coming term: Roger Allen, Pete Mathews, John Weiss. 3. Treasurer s report: This report is available on the web site. 4. Membership report: This report is available on the web site. 5. Report on The Ash Breeze: It was mentioned that editor Dan Drath is resigning and a new editor needs to be appointed by the Council. The group expressed deep appreciation for Dan s dedication, skill employed, and hard work on The Ash Breeze over the last eight years he has been editor. Thank you Dan! 6. Report on the Gardner Grant Committee: $400 was granted to the Rings Island Rowing Club / Sea Scout Ship #49. $400 was granted to the River Valley Charter Middle School. In both cases the grants were for restoration of dories. 7. Summary report on the actions of the Council and committees. This report is available on the web site. 8. Discussion of traditional small craft construction and USCG regulations on commercial building of them.. 9. Discussion of our appearance at both the WoodenBoat Show and at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival where we successfully gained members, membership renewals, and sold wares. 10. It was stated that the time to call for Council nominations is now. 11. Adjourned 11:10. Respectfully submitted, Richard Geiger From the President Since the new Council saw fit to elect me TSCA President for the next 9 months, maybe I should [re]introduce myself. I am John Weiss, member of the Puget Sound Chapter, and I live and boat around Seattle. I ve been a sailor for almost 40 years, and a kayaker and rower for considerably less time. I am not a boatbuilder, but currently own a 13' wooden canoe yawl, a 15' Kevlar Adirondack Guideboat, and a 17' wood kayak that I built from a kit. I am beginning my 3 rd Council term, 3 rd term as TSCA President, and 10 th year as Webmaster. I have also been the Puget Sound Chapter Secretary and Webmaster since I believe TSCA has been on the proper course for several years now, and I hope to maintain or slightly tweak that course. Unfortunately, many of us see an apparent decline in interest in the small craft world all around us, typified by the cancellation of this year s John Gardner Small Craft Workshop at Mystic, and of several other small craft meets around the country in the past couple of years. Still, our membership has grown slightly in the past year, our members continue to contribute enough quality prose and pictures to The Ash Breeze so that we can maintain a VERY high-quality journal, our John Gardner Grant Fund is able to provide modest sums to deserving small craft projects throughout the country, and a group of watchdogs periodically alerts our members to potentially adverse legislation in time to get our opinions registered, heard, and acted upon. The really amazing part of all this is that NOT ONE of these people is paid a penny for any of this work! We have been able to maintain an active, TOTALLY VOLUNTEER organization for 34 years! So, from the start, I simply want to ask each one of you to continue what the Association has been doing for the past 34 years: Please contribute YOUR share to the collective good. That share may be helping to plan a chapter messabout; an article, anecdote, or picture for The Ash Breeze; a timely to the group list on an upcoming legislative initiative; a contribution to the John Gardner Grant Fund; or throwing your hat in the ring for the next Council elections. If you don t save your issue of The Ash Breeze when you re done reading it, give it to someone who is interested or may become interested in sharing our appreciation for traditional small craft. Give a gift membership to someone a generation (or 2) younger than yourself; let her row, paddle, or sail your boat and learn that there is more to watercraft than speed and noise. Finally, I want to thank Dan Drath for all the work he has put into editing this fine magazine for the past 8 years. Dan has decided to retire his blue pencil, and will be sending a sharp one across the country to Mike Wick. Mike is the President of the Delaware River Chapter and former editor of their chapter newsletter, and has a high standard to follow when he puts together his first issue over the next 3 months. Send your stories & pictures to John Weiss Gardner Grant News By Richard Geiger The Gardner Grant Committee had been fairly inactive for the last two years, so after conferring with David Cockey, I appointed a new chair, Bill Doll, Curator of Small Craft at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Bill appointed some new members, and the committee, after considering existing applications, has come up with two recommendations for grants. Although the committee could have distributed more money, they decided to just go with these two applicants this cycle. Rings Island Rowing Club / Sea Scout Ship #49, West Newbury, MA, Nock Dory restoration, $400 River Valley Charter School Middle School, Newburyport, MA, Restoration of a student-built dory, Kaddywhompus, $400 The Ash Breeze Winter

6 An Update on our Dark Harbor Restoration By Andy Slavinskas In our last installment, we left the boat in Rosemont, New Jersey, having safely made the journey from North Haven, Maine. Over a year has passed. Progress seems to come slowly, but the boat is advancing nonetheless. The boat was brought down from Maine in early November Since the ground was still soft, we had to wait for cooler weather to move the boat and trailer to the area designated for the restoration. The boat now resides behind the metalworking shop of David Cann at Moorland Studios. David is a good friend, and he was instrumental in negotiating with the landlord to rent the land behind the studios; David also supplies power for our project in the form of an extension cord threaded through his shop window. After struggling with a grey tarp that never quite held the water out, we knew that our work couldn t continue until we built a shed over the boat. We discussed and researched many options, but for a project of this size a temporary building gets quite pricey. Tom Shephard suggested the perfect solution: a bow roof shed. Plans are available through Stimson Marine, and these sheds have been used quite successfully by boat owners and do-ityourselfers. Since our boat still rested on the trailer, the space we needed to comfortably work was 14' high x 16' wide x 32' long. This meant the bows needed to be made from lumber at least 16' long. I made a few attempts to scarf to this length but found the bend in the bows put too much stress on the glue joint, and scarfing added an unnecessary extra step. In the end I found 16' long pieces of Douglas fir at Delaware County Supply in Boothwyn, PA. To make such a shed, you need a dedicated area to set up a jig for the bows. My basement was the perfect space for this as I could work on the bows during the week and carry them, a few at a time, out to the site on weekends. Jenny Thompson and I The shed in its final stages only a few extra braces and the poly covering remain to be added. All photos by the author. (Jenny and Andy were married in early May. Ed.) set up the bows and attached to them to a cross-member at the peak in a few afternoons of work. A single piece of thick poly covering came from Shrink-it and was stapled and nailed to the bows. The ends at the peak are covered with screen to allow ventilation, and temporary end walls were made of poly sheeting when the weather turned sour last fall. If you are not familiar with this shed design, they have a quality that can be described as backyard Gothic. The bows follow a gentle curve up from a wall or sill to a point and are reminiscent of the The Dark Harbor 17-1/2 is a class name of sorts. BB Crowninshield designed a number of knockabouts with around an 18 ft waterline. I believe the first iteration of this boat was referred to as the Manchester 17-1/2, but Dark Harbor, on the Island of Isleboro, ME, adopted the boat for summertime racing so the Dark Harbor name sort of stuck. Our boat s transom name is Auk. You can just make it out in the text of that plaque poking fun at us St Auk s day. She is LOA, 17-6 LWL, Beam 6-3, draft 4-3, disp. 3,420 lb, Sail Area 311 sqft. She is turn-of-the-century Maine coast knockabout. There were two builders back then making these, Lawley and the Rice Bros. We are not sure who built ours. We think it was made in the late 1920s. The first installment of this report appeared in the Mainsheet, monthly newsletter of the Delaware River Chapter. 6 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

7 Jenny patiently removing nearly 792 bungs. ogival, or pointed, arches found in Gothic cathedrals. This association was not lost on local friends who often visit our project. Jenny and I came to the shed one weekend to find that they had given our humble little workshop a name and affixed it with a cross. We now make weekly pilgrimages to the hallowed plastic walls of Our Lady of Perpetual Labor. With the shed up, we were ready to begin the restoration. Our first step was to remove the hardware. I took photographs and produced drawings during this process to help us relocate each cleat, pad eye, and block at a later date. After the hardware was removed, we pulled up the canvas on the deck to gain access to the deck and housetop. These knockabouts were originally decked using ship-lapped pine, but it is common for them to undergo multiple restorations and for the decks to replaced with plywood. My excitement grew when the canvas removal revealed a laid pine deck. It seems that our boat has retained some links to her original construction. Close examination also revealed two sets of bronze straps or chain plates for side stays, along with a set of running back stays a few feet aft. The original drawings, purchased through Wooden- Boat, called for a single set of straps to be used with the runners. After showing an image to a Maine boat builder, we learned that the boat was part of a fleet that experimented with a taller Marconi rig at one point, thus explaining the extra chain plates. It was difficult for me to do, but I removed the pine deck so that I could fully restore the boat. As romantic as laid pine seems, we too will most likely replace it with a plywood deck since plywood will help keep the hull from racking under sail. After the deck was removed, we dismantled the house and removed the sheer clamps, bilge stringers, and deck beams. With much of the deck structure removed, the hull became a lot less stiff. This was helpful since we needed the boat to be flexible in order to facilitate getting her back into shape. Fine-lined hulls with long overhangs tend to sag, or hog, over time, and ours had lost her sheer-line considerably. To make her even more pliable, we decided to remove every other frame. (Out of curiosity, or perhaps masochism, we sat down to calculate the number of fasteners to be removed. There are eleven planks and 36 frames on each side. With two fasteners per plank per frame, there should be 386 fasteners on each side. Our hull had twice that number; she had originally been fastened using copper rivets, but someone had decided to refasten her using bronze screws right next to the rivets. To remove 18 frames on each side, we had to take out 792 fasteners!) To get the boat back into shape, we forced sectional molds into the open hull. I use AutoCAD at work and decided to loft her electronically. Once I felt comfortable that the lines within the program were fair, I made a full scale plot from which to make the molds. The molds were all built with a common reference or water line. With this common line, the molds not only establish the sectional shape, but the hull s sheer can also be re-established by leveling the top edges of all molds fore and aft. After the sectional molds were installed, we were ready to bend in new frames. I needed to build a steam box and modeled one after the box used by Geoff McKonly at the Wooden Boat Factory. The box is made from a single sheet of 4' x 8' exterior ply cut into four equal 1' x 8' lengths. Corner blocks are used to secure the panels together and a ring of wood helps to clamp a door to each end. Two internal racks were created using 1/2" hardwood dowels along the length. The steam comes up through a standard copper fitting which is connected to a tee. Two lengths of copper tubing with holes drilled into them extend from this tee to each end of the box. Steam comes up and exits evenly along the length of the box by way of the multiple holes in the tubing. Russell Firth supplied unseasoned White Oak as rough sawn flitches. I was able to make the most of each piece by scribing lines parallel to the grain inside of the sapwood. Not only was this an efficient use of the boards, but there was less chance for the frame to fail as grain runout was minimized. My primary workshop is in the basement of a three-story rowhouse. We live on the second floor, and tenants occupy the first and third floor apartments. Jenny and I prepare for the next frame to come out of the steam box. The Ash Breeze Winter

8 cided the best orientation for the bend and twist, I footed the frame at the keel and gently pressed the length of it up towards the sheer, all while holding a slight over-bend and twist into it. Once we were comfortable that the piece was aligned and looked like it would take a favorable set, we clamped Residents of nearby studios couldn t restrain themselves from it in place. I later adorning our makeshift backyard Gothic workshop. painted the frames with a hand-mixed red lead paint. Adding new frames to the hull was an encouraging process for both of us. After months of disassembly, we were finally adding something to the boat! In the next installment, we ll show you her new stem, keel, deadwood, and transom. Since the first floor tenant is not too interested in listening to me run the band saw all night, I cut the frames out over lunch breaks during the week. In the twenty minutes that I worked each noon, I could prepare enough frame blanks for a full day of steaming on Saturday. Bending in frames requires a coordinated team. Jenny and I found a way to do it comfortably. She stood by the steam box, while I remained inside the hull. When we were ready, she would open the box and hand me the next available frame. While I studied the piece for grain orientation, she sealed up the box and came back with clamps at the ready. Once I de- Small Craft Workshop News Submitted by P. J. Symons After a recent meeting of the John Gardner Chapter was adjourned, members met with Peter Vermilya to discuss ways and means to keep the Small Craft Workshop active. Peter, who manages the classic small boat collection at the Mystic Seaport, was not able to conduct the Small Craft Workshop this year because of financial constraints the Seaport was experiencing. In the future the Workshop participants will have to take responsiblity to keep it going. We all seemed to agree that to keep cost within reach of the participants that downsizing makes the most sense, eliminating all or most of the services supplied by the Seaport such as registration, breakfast and lunch (included in registration fees) but still requiring manpower, seminars and assistance launching and hauling boats. If essential these services would have to be supplied by the participants. It was suggested that the Workshop be held during the Wooden Boat Show but this seemed impractical because of the large size of the show that is held to solicit business. If the Mystic Seaport is the favored place to conduct the Small Craft Workshop each year in June then means must be worked out so that both the Seaport and attending small boat enthusiasts will benefit. Peter indicated that we should be hearing more about the meeting held during the Wooden Boat Show this summer to discuss this subject. Call for Nominations for TSCA Council Nominations for TSCA Council Class of 2009 are open. Three seats will be open for the term beginning at the conclusion of the annual meeting in June Any TSCA member is good standing may serve on the Council. Self nominations are allowed and encouraged. Send your nomination to the Secretary via US Mail or . Include a brief biographical sketch of the candidate and a statement of the candidate s willingness to serve if elected. Election ballots will be distributed in the Spring 2009 Ash Breeze or mailed separately in April. If you are interested in helping to steer the future of your Association, contact the President and/or the Secretary: Cricket Evans, Secretary or US Mail: Secretary Ballots PO Box 350, Mystic, CT The Boathouse, Mystic Seaport. 8 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

9 Coracles By Martin Fowler as told to Dan Drath Heading west from London 200 km by train and then northwest by car 140 km more, one may come to the charming and historic village of Cenarth in Western Wales. This is the home of the National Coracle Centre, a museum and workshop of coracles from around the world set in the grounds of a 17th Century Flour Mill beside the beautiful Cenarth Falls, famed for its Salmon Leaps and 200 year old Bridge over the Teifi River. The Museum, apart from its fine collection of coracles, covers the history of coracles and the techniques and tools for building them. One section exhibits the implements and methods used for the equally ancient art of poaching. One of the first inventions of man Fragments of skin boats found in Europe have been dated from the end of the last Ice Age. Although there appears to be no use of coracles on mainland Europe today, there are signs that such craft were used by hunter-gatherers about 8000 BC. Reindeer hunters, following herds returning to Norway, left drawings on rocks showing us the earliest pictures of skin boats in Europe. Coracles were one of the earliest forms of water transport in ancient times. Still made today, they are simple craft made from locally available materials using very simple tools. Pliable lengths of wood or reed are bent into a basket shape, covered with animal hides, and waterproofed. The size of animal will determine the size of the coracle. Historically, skins were secured to the frame either by strong, waterproof animal hair or by leather thongs or gut. The leather would require waterproofing and an animal grease must have been applied at intervals. Today lanolin would be appropriate. The resulting craft provided an efficient means of transporting a person and his goods across the water. Their round, shield-like shape made them easy to carry overland. In Mesopotamia around the year 430 BC the Greek traveller, Herodotus, describes skin boats in which people traveled down There is evidence of Coracles being used by the first civilizations of the world Coracles have been in Britain since the last ice age, and still survive on some rivers in West Wales today. For a few people the tradition of coracle fishing remains a way of life. river to Babylon. The builders used osiers, long rod-like twigs used in basketry, for the frames, and covered the frames with skins. Most people in Britain would probably associate coracles with either Wales or the river Severn, but skin boats are found in many parts of the world. Iraq the Guffa The guffa ( cave ), is considered by some to be the oldest vessel in the world. These basket boats were built all along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq. Some of them were very large craft and could carry great quantities of grain, fruit and other goods down-river. These heavy craft were often burned after completing a journey. Smaller guffas, used in Baghdad as water taxis, were built from local pomegranate wood and a mixture of date-palm and straw instead of skins. Bitumen, think road tar, was heated and then spread onto the frames to waterproof them. Money or blue beads were often set in the hot bitumen to ward off evil spirits. (Surf over to: to learn more: Bitumen is a mixture of organic liquids that are entirely soluble in carbon disulfide, and composed primarily of highly condensed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Tibet The Kodru Throughout Asia variations of skin or basket boats were used. Coracles are found in some most unusual places, and none more so than in Tibet. High up beyond the Himalayas remote villages are cut off by vast lakes and fast flowing rivers, so coracles saved many days travel. Specially grown willow or juniper was used to build the frames of kodrus in Tibet because trees were scarce. Kodru means hide or skin boat. Maybe that s also the word for yak; yaks are so important there. India the Parisal Coracles in India are known as parisals. Historically split bamboo laths were woven in an intricate hexagonal pattern to form the circular base and covered by water-buffalo or ox hide. These days a modern sacking material is more often used with a bitumen waterproofer. Most parisals are about five feet across, and can carry four or five people. The biggest ones carry up to fifty people and are used as ferries. They transport all sorts of cargo, they re used for fly-fishing and, during the time of the Raj, were even used for crocodile hunting. In southern India they are still used to take tourists for rides on the river Couvery. Vietnam A Vietnamese coracle is made almost entirely from bamboo. A circle of stakes is driven into the ground. Split bamboo poles, shaped into gunwales, are attached to the stakes. More bamboo is then cleaved into strips, woven into a mat, kicked into a symmetrical shape and finally attached to the gunwales with nylon line. Historically rattan was used. The water proofing is a coating of bitumen or shellac, mixed with ox dung and resin from the rei tree. The boats vary in size, but most are roughly a metre in diameter. These bamboo craft are still found along the coastal region of Vietnam in places like Nha Trang on the river Cai. They are used for spraying and gathering crops, fishing, and for freighting goods to and from ships anchored offshore. In the war they were used to lay mines. Refugees escaping from Vietnam have been picked up from these coracles after crossing hundreds of miles of the South China Sea, bound for Hong Kong. Exodus chapter 2, verse 3 Moses.... and when she could no longer hide him she took him from an ark of bullrushes and daubed it with slime and pitch and put the child therein. She laid it on the grass by the river bank. The Ash Breeze Winter

10 North America the Bull Boat The natural and available materials of North America were bark and logs, resulting in the building of birch bark canoes and dugouts. Very few large trees were on the plains of North America so the native Americans used willow and bison. Bull boats were simple craft used mostly by the Mandan and Hidatsa people living along the Missouri river in North Dakota. Two hoops of willow were lashed to stakes driven into the ground. Willow wands formed the flat bottom of the boat. Bison, being plentiful, provided the skin. Bull boats were were the only coracles made with the hair on the outside. Also the tail was kept, to trail in the water. The dragging of the tail and the direction of the hair growth made the water flow in one direction along the boat, and kept it waterproof longer. The tail was used as a handle at the water s edge to pull the craft from the water. It also was used to tie two boats together when towing. These little boats were mostly made and used by women for gathering firewood and fishing. When families had to move camp, two or three bull-boats could be tied together to transport their belongings. Legend has it that in 1170 a prince from Wales crossed the Atlantic and met up with Mandan Indians who had migrated south from North Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico. The Welshmen were said to have made a coracle and called it a bull-boat. In the early 21th Century, Harry Sitting Bear was sent to Wales from North Dakota to film a documentary to try to prove or disprove the legend, and to determine any links between Mandan Indians and the Welsh. Scotland the River Spey Curragh Coracles in Ireland and Scotland are known as curraghs. Although curraghs are still seen in Ireland today, they have mostly disappeared from Scotland over the last 200 years. There is one example of a curragh in Scotland, dating from that period, the remains of which are in the Elgin Museum near the banks of the river Spey. A replica was made by weaving a circular basket of split willow roughly four feet in diameter. That was covered with a treated cow-hide and lashed to the frame with horse hair. Curraghs were last used in Scotland in the late 1700s to guide rafts of timber down the river Spey. The unusually broad paddle in the museum diisplay was probably designed to help navigate this fast flowing river. An example of the North American Bull Boat. Harry Sitting Bear, a representative of the Mandan Indian tribe, was sent to Wales in the year 2000 in an effort to prove or disprove the legend linking Mandan Indians and the Welsh. Because the Bull Boat closely resembles early coracles, some argue that the Mandan Indians from the Missouri area of North Dakota are, at least in part, descended from Prince Madog of North Wales whose party landed in North America before Columbus. Australia the Hobart Escape Boat There is no evidence today of coracles in Australia. The Aboriginal people made dugouts or bark boats. There is an account, however, of a coracle being made and documented in The government brig, Cyprus, was anchored off the south east coast of Tasmania in August 1829, with a cargo of convicts aboard bound for the Hobart penal colony. One convict, a William Swallow, having escaped six years previously, was returning for a another stay. Swallow and a number of other convicts managed to overpower the guards, capture the ship, and escape. They marooned the crew and 44 convicts, including women and children on the desolate Tasmanian coast. The maroonees were saved from starvation by two of the convicts, John Pobjoy and Tom Morgan, who built a coracle out of wattle branches and canvas and paddled it across the open sea for several days. A passing ship picked them up and returned to Tasmania for the stranded castaways. (Wattel: a common name for trees and shrubs in the genus Acacia.) Pobjoy was pardoned for his heroic rescue and he returned to England. Shortly after his arrival he recognised none other than William Swallow, who also had returned to London. The mutineers were tried at the Old Bailey for piracy and four of them were sentenced to death. Swallow managed to talk his way out of such a fate and was transported back to Hobart for a third time, where he died of tuberculosis in Ireland River Cleddau In the 1860s six pairs of coracles were still known to fish the eastern Cleddau. Numbers dwindled, and the last pair was recorded in No coracles were made after the 1940s but they were still an ideal craft for poaching and frequently used for this purpose. Ireland River Taf Coracles on the Taf were traditionally made from apple wood and hazel. In 1933 there were three pairs still fishing the tidal section from St Clears to the estuary. Today there is only one pair on this stretch, and they use a more modern version of coracle made from fibreglass. Ireland The Boyne Curragh Irish oracles are known as curraghs, and sea-going versions are still used and made on the Atlantic coast today. In recent years on the Boyne, just north of Dublin, there is a revival of the last type of river curragh, last seen in the early 1940s. They were so efficient as fishing craft on the inland waters that the authorities banned them at that time. Boyne curraghs are made by cutting 32 hazel wands roughly the thickness of a thumb, which are pushed into the ground into an oval. A gunwale is created by weaving a dozen rows of thinner hazel withies, long flexible twigs at ground level. The frame is then bent over and lashed together 10 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

11 Tommy Rogers, a River Severn coracle man, was a man who filled his coracle and himself to capacity. He weighed nearly 20 stone (a unit of mass equal to 14 pounds) and possessed a fabulous thirst. The shallow Ironbridge coracle rides better for a bit of ballast, and his weight did not prevent him from winning coracle races. He won a race in the town regatta and the prize was a four and a half gallon cask of beer. During the day he drank the lot, sold the empty cask to the pub and drank the proceeds. In his younger days he swam with Captain Webb, the the first man to swim the English channel. with twine or gut. Heavy weights are placed on top to force the bottom flat, and the frame is left a few days to dry. The hazels are then pulled from the ground and the tops cut off above the gunwale. Boyne coracles were the last ones in the British Isles to be covered with animal hides. Ox hides were most commonly used, and were secured with horse hair. The size of the boats, then, depended on the size of a hide. For fishing purposes they fit two men, one on the seat across the center, facing aft to spread the net, and the other forward, kneeling, to paddle. They manouvered coracle and the net around in a circle to gather the fish. The Donnegal Paddling Curragh As with most coracles, the Donnegal paddler knelt in the bow with a scoopshaped paddle in front of himself. Overlapping, sit backwards oars were standard on other curraghs on the west coast of Ireland. They were only recently introduced to the Donnegal curragh. These craft are sea-going and would often venture three miles or so into the north Atlantic in up to a force eight gale. River Severn Coracles Welshpool At one time there were more coracles on the river Severn than any other river in Britain or Ireland, and there were at least four different types on the same river. The coracles at Welshpool were similar to those found in West Wales and used in the same way for netting. The Fishing Act of 1890 restricted netting, and that of 1923 banned netting on nontidal stretches of the Severn, resulting in the eventual demise of these craft. Shrewsbury Coracles at Shrewsbury were used mostly for laying lines to catch eels and for rod and line fishing. The writer Ellis Peters wrote medieval detective novels set in Shrewsbury Abbey and the surrounding area. One episode in a 1990s TV series on the books involved a coracle being used to aid in the rescue of a dead body from the river. They must have been pretty stable boats. Welsh Coracles North Wales Wales is the only area of Britain in which net fishing from a coracle is still allowed. At one time there were all sorts of corricles on most of the major rivers of Wales. The earliest and simplest coracles were probably round or oval, but designs have changed over the years to suit the peculiarities of different rivers. Convey Coracles can be traced on the river Convey from the 16th century to They were used for netting with the paddler forward and netter aft. Llangollen and Bangor on Dee On the river Dee there were two types of coracle one on the upper Dee around Llangollen, the other on the lower Dee at Bangor. They had very stable square shapes, and were designed for rod and line fishing. Some were large enough for two men. These Llangollen and Bangor designs seem to have disappeared by the early 1960s. West Wales River Cleddau In the 1860s six pairs of coracles fished the eastern Cleddau but numbers decreased steadily until the last pair was recorded in No coracles were made after the 1940s but they were still an ideal craft for poaching and were frequently used for this purpose. West Wales River Taf Coracles on the Taf were traditionally made from apple wood and hazel. In 1933 there were three pairs still fishing the tidal section from St. Clears to the estuary. Today there is one pair left on this stretch, and they use a more modern version of coracle made from fibreglass.. River Towy Only three rivers in Wales still use coracles for netting salmon: the Teifi, the Taf, and the Towy in Carmarthen. There are twelve licences issued for the Towy for fishing in tidal water. Sometimes the gentry of the area used to be seen on the river. Traditional Towy coracles were made from ash and hazel. In recent years the fishermen use fibreglass. Coracle Netting Coracle fishing for salmon or sea trout requires two coracles to trawl with a net between them. The net is typically twenty feet long and three feet nine inches deep, and as the pair moved down-river the net is opened out. When a fish hits the net, one netsman releases his end of the line and the senior Two boat coracle netting. The Ash Breeze Winter

12 fisherman draws the net in towards his coracle, pulling it over the flat front of the craft, and landing the net and fish inside. As his partner steadies both coracles, the netsman despatches the fish with a priest which is a wooden club carried on board the coracle. Coracles cannot be paddled very far upriver against the current. Having trawled down-river, perhaps a mile or so, the coracles have to return to one bank or the other; the coracle, complete with net and the fish caught, is carried back to the start of the trawl. In years gone by when fish were plentiful these trawls would be repeated many times in one day. If a number of pairs were trawling at one time transport would often be laid on to get them back. Coracles Today With a rich history, useage has declined over the years. Even so, traditional coracles are raced annually in Western Wales in boats built by traditional craft lovers all over the world. Local coracle men have made significant voyages in their craft. The Channel Crossing Bernard Thomas is the best known coracle fisherman on the river Teife today, and is a famous coracle maker. He crossed the English Channel by coracle in 1974, on his fourth attempt. Thomas s home waters are at Llechryd, three miles from his home in Cardigan, Western Wales. You know his house by the coracles in the road outside. He welcomes visitors. On summer days he demonstrates his skills at the wildlife park nearby and fishes at night. In the winter he gathers willow and hazel, and builds the boats. In April, 2008, at the age of 85-years, he announced he was hanging up his fishing paddle at the end of the season. About this Article This story is based on material taken from the booklet, The National Coracle Centre, by Martin Fowler, from the web, and from personal interviews. For additional information visit: and About the National Coracle Centre Martin Fowler was a stage manager in theatres around south east England and his wife, Melita, was an actress. In 1982 they decided to leave Windsor and the show business world, to live in the west Wales village of Cenarth, where Melita had grown up. With their two young daughters they made their home there, where they then ran the post office and general stores for fourteen years. In 1984 the Fowlers bought and gradually restored a seventeenth century flour mill in the village, which has now become the National Coracle Centre. A Museum and Workshop of Coracles from around the world set in the grounds of a 17th Century Flour Mill beside the beautiful Cenarth falls famed for its Salmon Leaps and 200 year old Bridge over the Teifi River. The Museum, apart from its fine collection of coracles covers the history of coracles and the techniques and tools for building them. Also a section on the implements and methods used for the equally ancient art of poaching. (From A Final Note Am ganrifoedd mae Cenarth wedi bod yn bentref enwog am bysgota mewn corwglau. Darganfyddwch gorwgt y Teifi, a llawer eraill o afonydd Cymru. For centuries Cenarth has been a famous Coracle fishing village. Discover the Teifi Coracle, and those from many other Welsh rivers. Martin Fowler carrying a River Teifi Coracle in the traditional manner. The paddle fits into a hole in the thwart and is used for steadying. Photo by the Editor Making a River Teifi Coracle By Martin Fowler Craftsman and boatbuilder, John Christman Thomas, takes us through the steps in coracle construction working in the shop at Cenarth. Photographs by the author. 1. Splitting Willow is gathered in winter when there is no sap in the wood. It needs to be straight with as few knots as possible. The first job is to split the willow down the centre. This is a skilful process using a froe or the tip of a bill-hook to ease the pole into two pieces. 2. The Shaving Horse The split willow needs to become a flat piece of wood, so the half-round lengths are clamped into a shaving horse where a draw knife is used to shave the willow down to a lath about a quarter of an inch thick. 12 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

13 3. The Layout Nineteen laths are used to make a Teifi coracle: seven are laid lengthwise and ten across the width, with two laths crossing the centre. The size of the frame is governed by the dimensions of the seat. The seat is about three feet in length and a foot wide. 4. Soaking The final layout has to be soaked in water for a few days to make the wood supple enough to be bent without the laths splitting. 6. Covering The completed frame has to be flat bottomed. The frame is turned upside down soaked with water. Weight is placed across the laths and then left for about three days to dry; the frame is then coated with creosote. These days a good quality wood preserver is more often used. Traditionally the covering would have been animal hides, but for the last two hundred years fabric has been used. About four and a half yards of heavy duty unbleached calico is sewn onto the frame. 8. The Finished Coracle Two holes are drilled at either end of the seat, through which the handle is threaded. Traditionally twisted willow or hazel or an oak sapling would have been used, but today a modern and more durable material is preferred. 5. Weaving the front Teifi coracles are traditionally woven together with hazel wood. Three double rows of hazels roughly the thickness of a finger are used to bind the willow laths around the top of the coracle frame and through the seat Sailmaking & Rigging Course offered by the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is currently enrolling for the 3-7. Waterproofing Blocks of pitch are melted down over several hours to form a liquid. Linseed oil is then added to this to prevent the pitch from cracking when it dries on the fabric. month Traditional Sailmaking and Rigging program beginning this January. The course has been designed to teach individuals how to build, repair and rig their own sails. The course gives students a rare opportunity to learn sailmaking techniques of both the late 18th and 19th centuries (the great age of sail); involving square sails, gaff sails, staysails and jibs. In addition to these sails we will discuss modern sailmaking and design and the usual canvas work, rigging, repair the full curriculum of sailmaking. The sailmaking is taught while providing sails for educational vessels. This year s class will work on sails for a 75' Motor Fishing Vessel, a 56' Schooner, a 56' Viking Longship, a Crotch Island Pinky, and a Sprit Rigged Cat Ketch. The program is a hands-on apprenticeship accompanied by a lecture series and is primarily taught by Master Sailmaker and owner of Northwest Sails, Sean Rankins, with many guest lecturers, such as Carol Hasse of Port Townsend Sails and Wayne Chimenti of Force 10 Sails. The course is offered January 5 March 27. Visit our website for more information at or contact Student Services Administrator Debra Swanson at Kendra Seaman Special Projects Administrator Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding 42 N. Water Street Port Hadlock, WA The Ash Breeze Winter

14 Campesina, Second Cuban Refugee Boat to be Restored by the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez By Doug Calhoun The Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, FL, successfully launched the Esperanza, the restored Cuban refugee boat, at the Third Annual Great Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival at Cortez, April Traditional wooden boat builders came from as far away as California and Connecticut, many bringing boats with them to sail and compete for prizes. Esperanza took her second maiden voyage and also won the Lee Hickok Award for traditional design and traditional construction. Campesina, 20 foot overall Cuban refugee boat restored by FMM at Cortez. Photo by Doug Calhoun. With. that accomplished, Bob Pitt, the Museum s boatbuilder, did not have to look very far for another project. Just outside the Museum s door, not too far from Museum Director Roger Allen s office stood the Campesina, another Cuban refugee boat. She had arrived at the Boat Shop at 123rd Street Court West in Cortez after many years of wear and tear and was spruced up a bit with a bright coat of white paint and some red trim. She looked so good and had such nice lines that it was decided that she could be moved to the front of the Maritime Museum where she could be seen from Cortez Road to help identify the Museum s purpose. Her trip to Cortez took several tacks. The 21 foot smack had originally been built by Cubans for fishing. Early in her life she probably had a sail. Later she acquired power, and the mast and sail were removed. In the 1990s, she wandered from Cuban waters and ended up at the Bahamian Outer Island, Cay Sal. Cay Sal (Salt Key), about 30 miles north of Cuba and one of the most remote areas of the Bahamas, has an obvious appeal for anyone with a boat desiring to leave Cuba. In 1994, two local vacationers, Win Yerkes and Margot Walbert sailed among the Bahama islands. While at Cay Sal, they spotted the Campesina rocking in the waves near the shore. It had been abandoned there by several Cubans who had sailed to the island as a way to reach freedom and make passage to the U S and elsewhere from there. The Cay was littered with detritus from Cuba, and graffiti marked the walls of camps the refugees had used. Elsewhere on the shore Win and Margot found a kind of raft-like boat made out of what looked like metal light poles for floats, with wood attached in the shape of a bow, and with a small diesel engine on it for power. With some help from a few of the refugees on the island, they liberated the engine and put it in Campesina, since it looked better than the one that had been there. When they left the Bahamas, they towed Campesina with them. On the way back to Florida they spotted a Cuban refugee boat that was sinking. They pulled Campesina along side and so she did her work once again. The Cubans were left in the Florida Keys and they sailed back to Cortez. Win eventually sold her to the treasure-filled chandlery, Sea Hagg. Campesina rested in front of the Sea Hagg, the Cortez nautical related antique and collectible store, for a few years, apparently for sale like all the other items. Calvin Bell thought that the Museum would like to have her, bought her, and donated her to the Museum. By this time the boat had severe structural problems, and it was decided that instead of rebuilding the boat, Museum volunteers would just take the lines off her and eventually build another like her. But the discussion did not end there. Both Roger and Bob felt that since the boat was the same kind of boat that had worked the waters in the Cortez area and the West Coast of Florida as early as the 1700s, it should be saved. Boats just like Campesina came here from Cuba and the Bahamas to fish the Gulf waters. Very few early fishing smacks with their live wells intact survive to make that history real. So the discussion ended. She had been sold around, sailed around and stood around long enough. Bob and Roger decided that she should be rebuilt and the motor and sail both used to power the boat. This project calls for an extensive restoration of the boat. Termites and weather have necessitated the replacement of most of the fore and aft carvel planked bottom, the chine logs, and even the keel. The project will challenge the most experienced volunteers. When she arrived in Cortez, the boat s engine was the two cylinder, air cooled, possibly Russian or Eastern European, diesel engine that had brought Cubans to Cay Sal. This is the kind of motor that may have been taken from a cement mixer and fitted out to boat use. She has an unusual water cooled exhaust adaptation. Right behind the propeller there is a cup on a shaft which also holds the rudder. The propeller forces water into the cup and is then split and forced into two smaller lines running up into both exhausts, cooling them with the added benefit of causing a quieter running engine. The boat must be moving for the water to cool the exhaust. Since it no longer runs, however, this engine will be replaced by a twenty horse power Yanmar diesel donated by D. Turner Matthews. Margot Walbert has brought several photographs of Campesina on Cay Sal so the Volunteers could see how she looked there. She has also brought the original name plate to the Museum. After the restoration, Bob Pitt plans to rig the boat with a leg o mutton sail. He believes this was close to the original rigging for the boat. The new diesel will be used for auxiliary power. This project may be done at the new boat shop east of the Museum on the Florida 14 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

15 Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) property. The volunteers are eager to get the boat shop finished and get underway. Who knows, Campesina may even have been in these waters before. About the Author Doug Calhoun is a Volunteer at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, FL.. Sunray Launched By Kendra Seaman The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding recently launched a 16½-foot classic lake runabout, Sunray. The boat was designed by noted Seattle designer Edwin Monk in 1932; its plans appear in Monk s 1934 book republished in 1992 as How to Build Wooden Boats by Dover Publications Inc. The boat was featured in the Summer 2008 Ash Breeze article A Walk Through the Shops of the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding written by Peter Leenhouts. The Sunray was under construction in the Traditional Large Craft program in the article. The boat has that classic 1930s look exemplified by a refined bow flare and slight barrelback aft of the open cockpit, explained Bill Mahler, boat school director. It is framed in white oak with mahogany and meranti planking. Deck beams and foredeck are of Alaska yellow cedar, The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock has launched this classically designed, skillfully built lake runabout. Out for a test run are boat school student Gentry Dick and his fiancée, Samantha Berger, wearing vintage clothing appropriate to the 1930s, when this style of boat debuted. Photo by Debra Swanson with a mahogany kingplank. The runabout has a cedar seat and a mahogany framed windscreen. Power comes from a 30-horsepower Honda outboard engine. Students in the school s Traditional Large Craft program built the runabout, under the direction of instructor Richard Wilmore and assistant Jeff Covert. The boat is currently for sale and is listed at $19,500. For more information, visit the boat school s website at and click on the Boats for Sale icon. About the Author Kendra Seaman is the Special Projects Administrator at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. She can be reached at Sea Scout Ship Dragon Christens Bank Dory Fafnir By Marshall Parsons The Ship Dragon has provided another project and experience to the youth of our community. We could not have done this without the partnership with the local Avery Point Chapter of the John Gardner Small Craft Association. The talented instruction was provided by Larry McGee, George Sprague, Phil Benheny and the members of the John Gardner Chapter. Larry has been down here Tuesdays and Thursdays for the month of July and August and evenings after work. Our Ship was well represented by many youth during Now we will pour champagne over the bow to appease King Neptune, and lay a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns. the Wooden Boat Camp. They got an experience of smell of wood; glue and paint on the hands; and the appreciation of a hand made wooden craft. In particular, I would like to thank the Dragon members, the Payne Family, Mary, Doug, Courtland and Douglass. This family literally sweated this project from the beginning to the end. I believe this has been a valuable family experience. About the Author Marshall Parsons is the Skipper of the Sea Scout Ship Dragon Ship 584 and may be reached at National Officers Elected at the Annual Meeting, St Michaels, MD October 5, 2008 President John Weiss, Puget Sound Chapter Vice-President Pete Mathews, Michigan Maritime Museum Chapter Secretary Cricket Evans, Sacramento Chapter Treasurer Chuck Meyer, Scajaquada Chapter Incoming Editor, The Ash Breeze Mike Wick, Delaware River Chapter The Ash Breeze Winter

16 An Unexpected Invitation By Andy Slavinskas and Jenny Thompson As we were preparing the September Mainsheet, the chapter had yet to select the topic or presenter for September s meeting. At one point Wendy Byar was scheduled to describe the construction of a ditty bag, a useful accessory on any boat, and at another Phil Maynard was going to talk about how he tuned the rig and made modifications to his Steve Redmonddesigned Whisp in order to bring her up to a GPS-proven speed of 7.5 knots. The indecision ended with an unexpected invitation: John Brady and Rick Carrion offered the chapter an evening sail in Philadelphia harbor aboard Elf. The Independence Seaport Museum is roughly a half hour drive from our usual meeting place in Edgewater Park, New Jersey, but despite the short notice many of our members found their way into Philadelphia and secured parking spots in order to take advantage of the generous offer from Rick and John. Elf, an 1888 Lawleybuilt racing cutter, was the cover subject of the April 2008 Mainsheet. She was relaunched earlier this summer after a dedicated restoration that showcases the talents of many local craftsmen. Until Labor Day weekend she had been sailing without her topsail, but in early September she was back in Philadelphia to have her jackyard rigged by John Brady and his crew at the Workshop on the Water. Eager members began lining the waterfront at the Museum well before the appointed time of five o clock. Elf was already out on the Delaware and rounding the southern bend near the Walt Whitman Bridge in light air. For those of us at the dock, losing sight of her was disheartening and left us wondering at our chances for a sail. A few sailors even decided to roam the waterfront instead. Sailing on a tidal river like the Delaware has its quirks. I have watched a fleet of J Boats slide from bank to bank without making any headway against the tide and the river s natural flow. Elf is only marginally longer at her waterline than many of the sailing craft commonly seen on the Delaware, but we witnessed what all of that canvas is capable of in the light winds of a September evening. No more than a few salutations and laughs later did members ashore watch Elf reappear, confidently clawing her way against the current with her mainsail, three headsails, and new topsail flying. She appeared before Penn s Landing so quickly that those who had decided to take a stroll were breaking into a sweat to make it onto the chase boat. Elf s topsail is laced to both a jackyard and a topsail yard. The topsail alone has more square feet of canvas than most boats regularly sailed by our TSCA members. Tops l sails are not only visually impressive, but they are also some of the most difficult to raise and lower. A few of us joked that the invitation to sail was perhaps in part to delay as long as possible the chore of lowering the sails. The five sails now rigged on Elf make for an astonishing mass of lines that encircle the mast and spill onto the deck. Keeping track of the lines, easing the correct ones and leaving the others alone is one of the challenges of sailing Elf, as we discovered shortly into our sail. Misidentification of lines aside, she is a surprisingly comfortable boat to sail with a crew of sixteen, as we had that evening. Rick reports that a bare-bones crew of four can sail the boat, but that nearly a dozen are necessary for racing. Sailing Elf was a lesson in 19th-century design and necessity. In an era of boating not yet dominated by the engine, extensive sail areas like those of Elf s nearly-square main were essential to her maneuverability as well as her racing capabilities. In the light evening air we handily presented a fleet of J27s and a school of Lasers with our profile, followed quickly by our stern. Rick confessed that it was not the first time this summer that she has sped by larger and far more modern performance sailboats, much to their amusement and surprise. With John Brady s gentle tutoring, we all learned a few of the nuances of tacking and fine-tuning the sails on this historic racing vessel. Rick, a genial host full of stories about past and current exploits on Elf, is both an enthusiastic sailor and a compelling advocate for the non-profit organization that he and others have created to restore and maintain Elf. He insists that the dozen or more coats of varnish on the spars and the endless hours that he will have to devote to sanding, revarnishing, and caring for the boat are all worth it, and it was easy to believe him as one drifted along in the rosy glow of the setting sun. Postscript: Elf was in St. Michaels, Maryland for the Small Craft Festival in October of this year. Rick was the keynote speaker at MASCF on Saturday night. Many people had a chance to see Elf sailing on the Chesapeake and to hear Rick talk about the many adventure-filled years restoring her. For more information, visit to learn more about Elf s schedule and future events. Department of Incidental Intelligence How Do You... Sources: Reed s Seamanship, 26th edition and and Dictionary of Sailing, F. H. Burgess, 1961 Q. Send the top-mast down? A. Reeve the mast rope through a block at the lower-mast head, through the sheave-hole in the heel of the mast, and make it fast at the other side of the mast head, come up all the gear (backstays, rigging, and topmast stay), sway a little to get the fid out, then lower away, surge quickly just before the cross-trees come on the lower-mast head, send down all the gear with girtlines, single the mast rope and lower the mast on deck. Q. What is a Featherway? A. A groove cut for the key of a pin in a shackle. Q. What is a Monkey s Orphan? A. The name given to the ship s fiddler in olden days. 16 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

17 News from the Shop By Dave Lucas Here are some of the things going on around the shop these days. I ve been going to work too much lately so I miss a lot of the good stuff. Final thought, the River Ocklawaha, in north east Florida has come to be near and dear to me. It was messed up by the cross Florida barge canal, a project abandoned in the 1970s. The lake they made by damming up the Ocklawaha (Rodman reservoir) is still there. The lake was to supply water for the lock system going into the St Johns River. The Ocklawaha was an important transportation link in the old days and now it s nothing but a small nothing of a stream. There has been a fight to get rid of the dam and lake going on for years but it s still there and never fixed back up. Best regards, Dave. About the Author Dave Lucas is a boatbuilder and traditional small craft enthusiast in Cortez, FL. He can be reached at Jose Avila s Core Sound 17 is about ready for the final push. He and Sam put the coaming on today and that about finishes up the major construction. He s doing the masts now. Three piece tapered aluminum tubes. Howard Heimbrock s Williams 18, looks like Noah s ark, is really taking shape. Jim Enyart has the molds finished for his Carpenter and is working on the stem and stern, or stem and stem. What do you call the ends of a double ender? Stan Terryl is doing a little modifying to his Baidarka, like installing a monster sail rig and outriggers with an eight foot beam. You all know that Stan likes to go hog wild with his creations. Aluminum spars will be used with a really good paint job to protect them. Laylah came home from the Sailing Squad for a little touch up and to avoid hurricane Fay. Cabin and cockpit built like a fortress. Tongue and groove pine inside and yellow pine out. Cabin sides raised four inches and sliding hatch widened to fit regular size people. They must have been a lot smaller in the old days. It has a big heavy centerboard and a big and heavy rudder. He made the rudder from some of the 150 year old pine that we cut from the tree that fell in my woods. I know, this Cortez melonseed #9 looks the same as it did last time. I had the water line painted on and a melon vine running down the sides and was getting ready to glass it when Sam Geiger and Howard decided that since it was an almost perfect hull it would make a great plug for a mold for an all glass hull. Sam says that it s easy to do (everything is easy for him) and since we ve never done one I had to agree that it would be a fun new project. Now I m sanding it a lot more to get it really smooth. Just don t rush me guys; you know how much I like to sand these hulls. The Ash Breeze Winter

18 2008 Small Reach Regatta By Mike Wick In mid-august a Delaware River delegation drove up to Brooklin for the Small Reach Regatta. We had two boats: Urchin with Wendy and Peter Byar; and Pepita with Doug Oeller, John Guidera, and Mike Wick. The regatta is modeled after European Raids; it shares many of the principles of Raid Finland and the Caledonian Raid in which a group of small boats, powered by oar and sail, cover a fixed course. Because of the difficulty of camp-cruising with a large group in Maine, WoodenBoat has everyone camp on the WoodenBoat campus and daysail out and back each day. Also, there is much less emphasis on racing than in European raids. That said, everyone pays close attention to sail trim, oar power, and navigation in the presence of vessels of similar size. With good company, great food, the challenges of tide, current, and rapidly changing weather conditions as well as lots of navigation among rocks and fog, it was an introduction to the next step and a defining experience for me. How do you get there? Pay close attention to the WoodenBoat Forum since the process starts right after January 1st. You a lengthy application and learn in March whether you have been accepted. Doug decided to crew for me when his Marsh Cat Comfort was rejected because she lacked rowing potential. In the end there were other boats with not much more rowing capacity than Comfort, but Doug felt okay about it since it provides him with a good excuse to start building another boat for next year. After sending in a check for the cost of food, you trailer your boat 600 miles up to Brooklin, Maine. The list of required safety equipment was extensive and included flares, charts, compass, buoyancy bags, horn, first aid kit, VHF, and GPS. Dave Wyman carefully reviewed our safety equipment; we used most of it and were glad we had the rest. The Maine coast is the kind of place that deserves careful preparation. One boat capsized and turtled but was rescued with little damage, thanks to VHF and chase boats. We launched on Thursday for daysailing in the harbor. I planted my heavier anchor tied to a fender as a weekend mooring, and kept a three-pound lunch hook aboard for emergencies. Wendy and others volunteered for a short trip on the Bowdoin but I used my time to test recent improvements to Pepita. I had two GPS units which were a decade or more old, but they both proved perfectly adequate. Earlier in the summer, Doug and I drowned his more modern GPS unit while sailing near Crisfield, and it was still in the shop. Friday was the first day of European raid-type sailing. We lunched at Torrey Island and then ran down Eggemoggin Reach toward the Benjamin River. We were within a mile or so of the turning mark when I looked at John and he looked at me. We faced a long beat home in a dying breeze with considerable chance of fog, so we pressed the eject button and began beating upwind. Sure enough, everybody within miles of us followed suit. We all had a long afternoon s beat back to Brooklin. As we neared home with Urchin on our quarter, it came down thick with fog. I was glad to be almost home when it closed in. Saturday was still thick with fog and the promise of rain, so we rowed along close to Naskeag Point. My GPS was a real blessing, especially when rocks and buoys came up on time from the right direction. Just in case, a chase boat was stationed at the western tip of Demon s Point to shepherd any lost boats. Rain came heavy at times for a couple of hours but stopped and let the breeze fill in just in time for a nice afternoon sail. Did I mention the company? Ben Fuller was in full mentor mode with his beautiful Faering. Dave McCullen walked me around his 19 Supermelon, discussing camber, deckbeams, maststeps, partners, and reinforcing. It may have been the Fish House Punch, but I have a vague memory of pledging that I would take a sawzall to the middle of my new bare hull and splice in three more feet. Jim Luton, who had crewed for Kevin Brennan at our Barnegat Bay Sail, brought his gorgeous Windward 15, Cricket. Tony Diaz had his full batten, ketch-rigged Harrier Ran Tan, the boat he designed to cruise the Maine Island Trail and which was always at the head of the fleet. It was from him that I learned that oars and rowing are as vital a part of raid cruising as sailing; as soon as you fall below hull speed, it is time to out sticks. They often worked just the weather oar so as not to interfere with sail trim. Rick Hayden held up the re-enactor side with 18th-century dress and pigtail queue, as he sailed his perfectly executed Moosabeck Reach Boat. Wade Smith brought his Bahama Dinghy Edwin Albury. She was decked out in all the pastels and details of an authentic boat, but he sculled with a carbon-fiber, spoon-blade oar. It had an elegant irony, but he was swift at the oar and able to keep up with some of the fastest craft. In the first rank of popular designs were Caledonian and Ness yawls, followed by dories, peapods, Shearwaters, and Melonseeds. Other favorites included a South Jersey Sea Skiff and a certain Salisbury Point Skiff built twenty years ago by Lowell that has bags of patina. Was it fun? No more than a Messabout, St. Michaels, and a Gardner weekend rolled into one. I can t wait until next year. About the Author Mike Wick is the rising Editor of the Ash Breeze. The Spring 2009 issue will be his first. Photo by John Guidera. 18 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

19 News from John Gardner Chapter Submitted by Phil Behany Work is continuing on the Scout Dory. Larry McGee will be at the boat house this evening to do some work that can't be done with the children (ie. fiberglass taping), any help is always appreciated. Bill Armitage has completed two Solo guide boat hulls and will be putting in the frames and seats. The Scout dory under construction at the Avery Point Boathouse. The Chapter meets monthly on the first Sunday 1:30 PM, Monthly Meeting, Boathouse, Building 36, Avery Point Campus, Groton, CT. Michigan Maritime Museum Chapter News Submitted by Pete Mathews The Michigan Maritime Museum Chapter is proceeding with several projects we have underway and embarked on several new ones, taking us in a somewhat new direction. We are putting the finishing touches on the 1936 Old Town 15/50 that has been in process for years as a teaching tool at the museum. There is now some urgency to complete this project so it can be used in an upcoming exhibit in the museum, curated by a TSCA member. Work continues on the Pooduck Skiff we are building. We are about ready to start hanging planks on that boat when we next meet on the 18th of this month. The chapter held a summer on-the-water event in August. Sparsely attended, but with a variety of boats present and much rowing, paddling and sailing. The less building related goings on include members of this chapter and Pine Lake Chapter attending the Museum Small Craft Association meeting in Buffalo, NY Hosted by Buffalo State College and members of the Scajaquada Chapter. That trip included a trip to the Erie, PA waterfront and an opportunity to sail one of the two Erie Boat replicas. One was built at the Bayfront Maritime Center in Erie, the other at the Buffalo State College Maritime Center in Buffalo. Later activities included the opportunity to sail on BSC s Maritime Center built Erie Boat Scajaquada. Some lucky folks have now had the opportunity to sail the only two of these boats in existence, in the same weekend. There was also the chance to test our sculling skills in the replica Buffalo Harbor Water Taxi built at the Center. The situation at our museum is in something of a state of turmoil. There is no curator and the Director has recently left. Questions over the future of the small craft collection there led several members of the TSCA chapter to make a proposal to the Board of Trustees that they allow the chapter to develop a collections policy, plan, and procedure for the small craft collection and enable volunteer curatorial support (TSCA members) for the collection. It seems the Coast Guard isn t the only one we have to protect our boats from. This proposal was accepted and we are moving in that direction. We are also working on a developing a display area for small craft at the museum. There is a committee made up of MMM Chapter and Pine Lake Chapter members to work on documenting the lines and histories of historic craft in the Great Lakes area. This information will be housed at the museum and the Library of Congress through the Historic American Engineering Record. While not all these vessels will fit the strict definitions of our group, some will, and the rest, though not falling into the TSCA area of interest, are worthy of documentation as well. An inquiry to the local Sea Scout Ship has been made to see there is any interest in having them join us for winter activi- ties. They are active on the water during the summer, but the water around here gets too hard for most boating during the winter and, lately, not hard enough for ice boating. This may introduce these young folks to boat building, lofting and similar skills when they can t be out sailing, and, who knows, some of them may forsake their fiberglass boats for something more traditional. We see it as a plus for the chapter, the scouts, and the museum. About the Author Pete Mathews is secretary of the Michigan Maritime Museum Chapter and can be reached at President Signs Clean Boating Act Submitted by John Weiss and Scott Croft Alexandria, VA, July 30, 2008 Aboard Air Force One late yesterday, President Bush signed S. 2766, The Clean Boating Act of 2008, which permanently restores a long-standing exemption for recreational boats from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act. This signing of the bill is the capstone moment of a two-year campaign to eliminate an onerous permit program for recreational boaters that would have dictated maintenance and operation procedures, potentially subjected boaters to citizen lawsuits, and put recreational boats under a penalty system designed for industrial polluters. BoatU.S. has worked with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and a coalition of stakeholders as well as a bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators. However, the real success of this campaign rests squarely on the shoulders of this country s millions of recreational boaters and anglers, said BoatU.S. Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. Without their loud collective voice, we would not have reached this momentous event. BoatU.S. is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boat owners with over 650,000 members. Scott Croft can be reached at , The Ash Breeze Winter

20 TSCA at the WoodenBoat Show By Chauncy Rucker TSCA was well represented at the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport this year. Again we took in more money than the cost of the booth. We sold some wares and made most of the money from new members and membership renewals. We also got to meet and talk with lots of folks about TSCA and building and using small craft. Myron Young from Long Island was in the booth again each day and no one likes to talk about boats more than Myron. The John Gardner Chapter was well represented by Andy Strode, who also volunteers at the Seaport, and helped with the booth setup and packing up all the wares. Our president, George Sprague, spent time in the booth as well. I am proud to say that nearly all of the active chapter members showed up to help with the booth. I met Bob McKenna, Editor of the Flat Hammock Press, today. He hadn t seen us at the WoodenBoat show because the nonprofits don t end up in the ideal tent areas. He said that he would be glad to share a booth next year. Might not save us any money, but it would certainly make us far more visible. Regarding the future of the John Gardner Workshop, Small Craft Weekend at Mystic: I think the fact that Dana Hewson held quite a long meeting with everyone who showed up at Mystic during the Wooden- Boat Show was impressive. I think he really would like to have the JG workshop resume at Mystic. I approached the subject of what would he think of TSCA or other organizations helping out with the workshop. He seemed very supportive of such an idea. Many of the comments on the TSCA list are fairly negative as it concerns the JG workshop being cancelled this year. It was due to the fact that Wade Smith left Mystic to build boats. There wasn t time to get the planning done for the workshop. Some on our list feel organizing the event would be easy, but Dana indicated that it took as much as 2 days per week for a year. The crowd at the WoodenBoat was huge. I am sure that is what accounts for the recent announcement that the 2009 WoodenBoat Show will be held at Mystic Seaport, July 26-28, Lake Arthur Regatta Messabout By Ric Altfather CABBS members Hank & Paula, George Miller, Ed Neal, John Bridges and I attended this annual event held at Lake Arthur, Moraine State Park in Eastern PA in early August. The invitation came from CABBS member Max Peterson who is also the Three Rivers Chapter head of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association. George Miller had a simulated Optimist Pram construction tent which attracted a surprising amount of people with that I always wanted to build a boat look in their eye. The interest was so high that he even sold 5 sets of the Opti plans. Maybe we should award George with an honorary CABBS Sales Manager license! The Three Rivers Chapter had on display several historic cedar/canvas canoes, a member built Chesapeake Mill Stream, an original birchbark canoe built by one of the members and I had my kayak. Ed Neal brought his Ellen and enjoyed a fine day of sailing. Between the two organizations, it was hard to determine which boat you wanted to try first I just tried them all to eliminate this problem. Stay tuned, but there may be a future presentation on building a birchbark canoe. For those who have never been to this park, the sailing is very good, there are 42 miles of shoreline to explore, the wildlife was good, fishing is reported very good and the facilities were top notch. The event itself covered 2 days of back to back activities. To name a few; canoe/ kayak races, sailing races, radio controlled boats, kids activities, anything that floats boat race (too funny), hiking, kite flying, hot air ballooning, fireworks display and a parade of all boats. One of the most interesting displays was the Freestyle Canoe demonstration which is called Water Ballet and compares to single/couples figure skating. Orchestrated to music, the timing and showmanship were to be admired by all. In fact, the Midwest Freestyle Canoe Symposium will be held in our own back yard on September 5-7, 2008 at Litchfield Lake on Camp Butler/Manatoc in Penninsula, OH. For more details on free style canoeing please visit All in all, this was an excellent event which provided a lot of time on the water, first class camping, and a close by location. One other point of interest was a campground that we drove by just two miles from Lake Arthur where we saw 1000s of tents in the country side but we didn t know what it was. I researched this event and found it to be The Society for Creative Anachronism holding an annual event called PENNSIC 37. The members get together for two weeks every year and lead life styles from the Renaissance Period complete with wars, jousting, archery and whatever they did back then. The attendance was nearly 10,000 and closed to the public, more information can be had at About the Author Rick Altafather is in charge of Youth Programs for the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding Society, a TSCA Chapter. 20 The Ash Breeze Winter 2008

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