Monday, March 23, 2009

Maine Boatbuilder's Show Log

A beautiful Herreshoff BB15 by the front entrance

I enjoy the opportunity to go to boat shows because they are a great opportunity to learn new things and see new products. They are also a good time to connect with new faces and to re-connect with old ones. The Maine Boatbuilder's Show which is held at Portland Yacht Services on Fore street in Portland is no exception. I find that the size of this show is particularly focused and manageable. I also find this show impressive for one other reason. The weekend before the Boatbuilder's show, the same facility hosted the Portland Flower Show. In one week, they clear the place out again and proceed to fill it up with all of the boats and equipment that are on display. This has to be a logistical nightmare for the people who manage the show. Consider the fact that boats ranged in size from itty bitty paper boats (A kid's paper boat kit at the Norse Boat booth) all the way up to the 65' Lion's Whelp which was in the rear-most part of the facility. If you don't bring them in in the right order, you'd never get them in!

Because I teach on Saturday mornings, I never get to go to the show on Saturday.


I try to get my students to come to the show as sort of a field trip. I think it's interesting for them to see the joinery and get ideas for their own boats and to see what is possible with a bit of skill and imagination. For most, the trip is quite an eye-opener. To do this trip, we meet at the school very early on Sunday morning to put away the boats from class the day before. We were at the school at about 6:00 AM and hit the road about a half-hour later to make the Kamikaze run I described in yesterday's post. We stopped along the way for breakfast at the Lucky Logger's Landing in Saco, Maine just off Route 1. A nice treat. The Hash Benedict seemed to be a popular item.

We parked over near Hamilton Marine and walked into the building. Dan Noyes had a boat outside on display and Devon Yawl with a dark blue hull was on the other side of the entrance. The buildings are a series of old brick mill buildings of massive scale and a level of disrepair that is appropriate for their age.

There is a great deal of variety at the show in terms of both boats and what vendors have to offer. Construction methods for the boats vary from the most traditonal methods and materials to the downright space-age. Awesome stuff in almost all regards.

Here's a few pictures to whet your appetite for next year:

A traditional cedar on oak sailboat with a lovely octagonal bowsprit and curved laminated spars.

The Norseboat

Jerry Stelmok and Bob Volock of Island Falls Canoe with Jerry's Atkinson Traveller on the bottom and a restored Old Town on the top rack. Great folks at this show. Perhaps I'm a bit biased with the canoes, but these were among my more favorite boats at the show. Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks was also there with his Nymph in a 10' and 12' length and one of his kayaks. Also nice work.

I got the pleasure of running into Karen Wales and Tom Jackson of WoodenBoat Magazine who I got to meet last summer when I was teaching up there. Wonderful people.

A Herreshoff 12 1/2. A beautiful daysailer and one of the boats used for sailing classes at the WoodenBoat School.

BIG power. There were lots of powerboats in the rear two buildings. They are primarily "picnic boats" or day use powerboats. There were also some which were laid out for overnight cruising as well. Not my cup of tea, personally, but still some beautiful boats with outstanding workmanship.

Lion's Whelp -
a 65' long, 15'-8" wide Alden Schooner weighing in at over 48,000 pounds.

Brion Rieff's Annie, a Herreshoff Sadie design - arguably one of the most beautiful boats at the show. I'm not sure if I've got this right, but if I recall correctly, she was built in about three months!

A fairly faithful reproduction of Rushton's Sairy Gamp in cedar lapstrake over elm ribs. This boat is not a model, but a full-size canoe at 9' long and weighing in at about 10-1/2 pounds. Note the lack of gunwales, thwarts and seat and the tiny breasthooks. They have not been forgotten - this is the way she was originally designed.

The Shaw & Tenney Booth. They make absolutely beautiful single and double paddles and oars. If you are in the market for a beautiful wooden paddle or oar and don't plan on making your own, I would make these guys my first stop.

A very uncrowded view of the second floor taken by Tim Whitten of before the start of the show. Be sure to check out Tim's beautiful custom ropework. It's a treat.

After we had had a pretty good look around, my students wanted to take a quick visit over to Hamilton Marine for some tools and supplies for the canoes that they are building. As we exited the building, it was plain to see that it wasn't spring yet in Portland. We were greeted by a squall that was driving both snow and all of the grit off of the parking lot into our faces as we made our way to the store.

A required stop at the Great Lost Bear for an early dinner and a brew or two from their wide selection of well-kept beers rounded out our day before hitting the road for the long ride home.

A long day, but a great one!


matthew houskeeper said...

That Herreshoff looks beautiful.

Canoez said...

Pick a Herreshoff, any Herreshoff...

Which one were you looking at, Matt?

matthew houskeeper said...

The 12 1/2 (dark green hull) is the one I was referring to, although they are all beautiful.