|SKIPPER’S BLOG: Wooden Boats, Working Art
short while ago I penned a blog (wow, I mean I TYPED a blog… the old habits die
hard, and my birth certificate keeps getting yellower) referring to a great
many dying arts in Newfoundland and Labrador.
talked about simple things like knitting, cooking traditional meals, dancing a
two-step, skulling a boat with a single oar, filleting a fish and the like (if
you feel so inclined you can read that enlightened piece of potpourri right
art form I touched on — and one that is far more technical and detailed than
the ones I mentioned above — was the art of boat-building.
was a time when building a boat wasn’t considered an art, it was considered a
necessity. But make no mistake, it is a remarkable form of art, and there artists
who are true masters.
weekend, the town of Winterton in Trinity Bay, NL, will play host to the 5th
Annual Wooden Boat Conference. The event is one that is part of the monumental
and ongoing efforts by those involved with the boat museum and heritage crew in
the area to not only preserve the history of wooden boat building in this part
of the world, but also to ensure its continued existence.
that’s an effort worth celebrating.
wooden boats may not necessarily always be a practical application in today’s
modern fishing and shipping era, they are not without their place nor without
their use both in terms of craftsmanship and use on the water.
fact, if you want to get all wistful about it, Newfoundland and Labrador — and
really North America as a whole — owes its very existence to the art of wooden
boat building. After all, was it not wooden boats that the first explorers (be
they Vikings, John Cabot, Christopher Columbus or whomever) used to find this
place? And was it not wooden boats that settlers used for a wide variety of
purposes from catching fish for sustenance to shipping of supplies to the
moving of people? Those people could not have survived without wooden boats,
and that ideal remained true up until the advent of steel and fiberglass.
while the wooden boat may not be the practical choice anymore, it is certainly
an esthetically pleasing one, and one that carries a great deal of esteem.
people who attended the launch of the 44-foot wooden schooner Leah Caroline in Trinity a few weeks
back will tell you wooden boats are still very much part of the marine lexicon
in this province.
back to the point: this weekend’s conference.
you have an interest in boats, boat building, traditional Newfoundland art, and
having a great time, then you should consider checking out the 5th
Annual Wooden Boat Conference.
Sept. 7, things will get underway with a flotilla that will include the
aforementioned Leah Caroline sailing
into the harbor, the launching of a traditional punt built by Frank French, and
a meet and greet session. The Navigator crew will be there documenting the
Saturday, there will be a series of sessions including presentations on the Newhooks of Trinity
- The Schooner in the Conception Bay Trades - Ships
& Shipwrights of Heart's Content. There will also be a video showcasing the
construction of the Leah Caroline
from start to finish, and of course a wide variety of other events like a
proper home cooked feed, and a kitchen party.
just a few of the things that will be happening, so it’s definitely worth
can get conference information by contacting Beverley at 583-2070 or
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