Article from Maine Windjammer Association August 2018 Newsletter ()
February 10, 2016
Winter Projects

credit: Captain Jen Martin
Before the snow started flying, Captain Barry’s son Sawyer lent a hand on the new drying shed where lumber for the Schooner Mary Day will be stored. More recently, here’s a look at “Schooner Shed City” with the wood drying shed and small boat storage shed on left; on right, yawl boat sheds and small shed storage where the Mary Day's windows, hatches, skylights, etc. are currently being painted and varnished.

For all of the windjammer captains, even when the vessels are put to bed, and the snow begins to fly, there’s always work to be done. This month we catch up with three very busy captains to see what they’re working on.

Captain Barry of the Mary Day is spending this winter shoring up his infrastructure. “All those projects that most people do during the summer, I do in winter.” Because the last two winters have been especially tough in Maine, Captain Barry is rebuilding and fortifying the buildings that guests never see. That means outbuildings, winter storage facilities and workshops that are essential to owning a wooden vessel of this size.

Beautiful woodworking projects are happening every day aboard Ladona during her 18-month rebuild. Aren’t the companionway staircases coming along nicely!

For his part, Captain J. R. of the Schooner Ladona is at it “100% full time.” Over the course of 18 months, Ladona has been completely rebuilt and will be ready to welcome guests this June. In fact, “If it were a football game, we’d be in the last quarter.” At this point, the hard-working team is in the process of finishing the interior. Despite the arduous nature of the task, it’s been worth it. Her owner, Noah Barnes, says, “Ladona is stunning—like Rita Hayworth stunning—she’s going to be a show stopper. It would be a lot less fun fixing a boat we weren’t all in love with!”

credit: Captains Garth Wells & Jenny Tobin

Captain Garth is spending lots of time in his shop this month building blocks for the French. It starts with cutting then glueing up the pieces of wood, mahogany in this case. Then the blocks are rough-cut on a bandsaw, then shaped with a power sander followed by a final hand sanding. Each block is then drilled to fit the pin that will hold the metal sheave. A metal becket is fitted and secured to provide a fastening point for the block. Finally, the blocks are either varnished or painted, depending on where they will be used. This season, Garth is building 10 new blocks, repairing another 10, and painting or varnishing the remaining 50.

Captain Garth is spending a significant portion of his winter building blocks which is windjammer-speak for the pulleys used to raise and lower sails. His schooner carries about 70 and each one is built by hand in a multi-stage process. When you care for the oldest commercial sailing schooner afloat, this is just one of the many details aboard the Lewis R. French that must be attended to by hand.

For more information about the nine vessels belonging to the Maine Windjammer Association, click here.

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