Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lake Champlain Sail Ferry

Here's an odd little vessel we designed and built in 2001:

Weatherwax from port quarter

Ha, ha. The first caption was fake -- it's double ended, and the rig is on one side (the leeward side, duh)! It's stange, but we didn't just invent this thing up in a caffeine fueled weekend, in fact, the double ended sailing ferry is a historic type that was unique to Lake Champlain. Bordered by New York and Vermont (and maybe Quebec), the prevailing wind on the long and narrow lake is along its narrow north/south axis, which let the double ended sailing ferries reach back and forth across it.

People used to wear nice hats

Weatherwax is licensed by the USCG to carry passengers and now lives at the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum. Find out more about the vessel.

In the first sentence, I wrote "we designed and built...", which I suppose is strictly true, but doesn't give Douglas Brooks, the project manager, the credit he deserves for getting the contract, motivating the project, and then actually building ~90% of the vessel himself.

Douglas caulking the bottom

Since the fery project, he's kept himself busy. Here's his latest creation, a glued lapstrake replica of a Henry Rushton Catboat.

Under way

Douglas is an interesting mix of scholar and practical, Yankee boatbuilder. Without a doubt, he is the living expert on the tarabuine (japanese tub boat). Go to your local bookstore and ask for his book, The Tub Boats of Sado Island: A Japanese Craftsman's Methods. Yeah, well that's supposed to be a joke too...let's say you won't find it at Barnes and Noble, but you can get it through his website.

As far as being an excellent, completely no-fake, Yankee boatbuilder, I will now bestow upon him the highest praise that a Yankee boatbuilder can give to another, "Boy, you are clever. Why you are good enough to make a set of false teeth."

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