Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Engineering Elegance

Here in the design office at Rockport Marine we have the benefit and added pressure of working with 50 of the best boat builders you could ever hope to find. This means that when a design can be called genuinely beautiful and satisfies the pragmatic experience of that crowd we can claim a measure of success. It’s a pretty tall order so when we recently came across a new tool purpose built for engineering elegance we were keen to give it a spin. The restoration of Adventuress gave us the opportunity.

The spar loft here at Rockport Marine is a huge library of what works well aloft (and sometimes what doesn’t) but designing the rigging hardware for an 83’ schooner is a huge job and a few of the fittings warranted a more detailed engineering analysis.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shiver Me Timbers

The 1936 L.F. Herreshoff ketch BOUNTY came to us on a truck from California in late November. Since being here she's come apart fast. Our initial work will include most of the backbone. BOUNTY had lost much of her shape, partly due to a line of scarf and butts in her plank keel and deadwood just aft of the ballast. 

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A History Lesson

Rockport Marine sits at the mouth of Rockport Harbor, on the west side of Penobscot Bay in Maine.  It is hemmed in by a river on one side and a creek on the other, which both fill to bursting in the spring run-off.  During that time of year, fishermen string large cone-shaped nets across these outlets to catch elvers, small eels that run up to spawn.  The eels are thin and clear, and considered a delicacy in Japan, where they are shipped to and sold.

Before the boatyard was a boatyard it was a sail loft, a roller rink and a lobster processing plant, at different times.  The Allen family bought the large, barn-red buildings and docks in the 1960s.  On the ground floor, Luke Allen began repairing and storing wooden boats.  His wife, Norma, started a restaurant on the second floor, serving solid New England fare: clam chowder, haddock with a cream and crab sauce, prime rib and meatloaf.  The couple lived on the third floor with their four children, and could look out on the dooryard of the shop, the docks and moorings, and to the lighthouse on Indian Island at the mouth of the harbor. It is a deep harbor, with good holding ground, but exposed to the south, and can churn up like a washing machine in a southerly blow. In the summer, then, as now, it was packed with yachts and lobster boats.

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