For the first time in decades, there are schooners 'abuilding on the famed waterfront at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dawson Moreland & Associates are building not just one, but two 48' wooden schooners in the best of Maritime traditions. These 'twins' will be built simultaneously, frame for frame, plank for plank, alongside the historic Lunenburg Dory Shop at 175 Bluenose Drive. Follow their progress from keel laying to launch!

An artist's interpretation of the Twin Schooner Project

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bob Cratchitt hard at work

I've been teasing poor Bub Dares, who's been in religiously this holiday season, comparing him to Ebenezer Scrooge's clerk from A Christmas Carol. Nearly every day over the holidays, Bub has come in to our rather chilly shops, stoked up the fires (at least, unlike Scrooge, we're generous with the fuel!), then sanded and varnished the dozens of hackmatack deck beams that are due to be placed in the twin schooners next week. No, Bub does not have a handicapped boy at home (only his dog Smoke) and Dave hasn't had visions of funky ghosts in the night (has he?).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The view from Montague

Here's a picture of the view from the backyards along Lunenburg's Montague Street these days as the gang continues fitting the deck beams on our twin schooners.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Like father, like son

It's a family affair at the Dory Shop Boatyard these days as master builder Dave Westergard's son, Kyle, lends a hand with the deck beams for these twin schooners. Not exactly a mirror image, but there's an intensity of purpose that nonetheless says 'outta my way.'

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back at 'er

There's consensus on the Lunenburg waterfront these days, a sure sign of the Apocalypse I fear, but nonetheless everyone agrees it sure is great to see our gang back hard at work on these twin schooners.

In point of fact, the guys have been back at it for more than two weeks now; as Dave might say, "it's only the photographer who's been a slacker."

There's also been lots of discussion about things like deck layout as the gang work on sheer and bilge clamps and prepare to start making the deck beams.

Meanwhile, lobster fishing season has started too with catches being landed at the wharf alongside the boatyard and many more fishermen trucking their harvest to neighbouring Lunenburg Fish Company.

Sunshine, schooners and lobster too? Life is good in Lunenburg.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Perfect plank, beaming boatbuilder

Dave's back from a very successful trip to the West Coast where he finalized the purchase of our planking for these twin schooners.

We're going to be using Alaskan yellow cedar, a member of the Cypress family, known for excellent durability and workability.
Dave was really impressed with the Surrey, British Columbia mill where these giant logs were sawn.

"It was a really professional place, very efficient," he said. But most importantly, he is soooo pleased with the wood.

"It's beautiful stuff, clear...perfect really. As a builder, I'm really, really, pleased. (Editor's note: this by Dave standards is practically gushing!)

The plank, which needs about three months to dry, will be shipped East later this fall.

Work on the vessels, which were framed up last spring and have sat seasoning under cover these last few months, will resume shortly with construction of the deck beams.
Can't wait to see wood chips again!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pretty boats to inspire you

It's been a pretty long time since we've posted anything to the Twin Schooner Project blog. As explained in a post late last spring, after hanging the sheer planks, we engaged in an extended and fully planned summer break during which time the frames could season (ie, dry out nicely under fitted covers) and so Dave could enjoy some summer sailing on his schooner, Sea Change.
But summer's well over now and it's soon time to start making wood chips again! Dave's been busy for a few weeks already, sourcing plank stock and making plans. In fact, he's flying off this weekend to the West Coast to oversee sawing of some excellent timbers. More on that soon!
In the meantime, to whet your keen appetites for beautiful schooners, here are some pictures from the Nova Scotia Schooner Association's Fall Classic held September 18. Thanks to Maggie Ostler, sailing aboard the Westergard-built Kitty Cochran, for the following report and pictures:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rocket schooner launched

It's always great fun to attend a boat launch. And we were particularly pleased to be on hand a few weeks ago for the launch of a vessel that's been described variously as a 'fusion schooner,' the 'next generation of the schooner,' and, our favourite, the 'rocket schooner' Farfarer.

Built for Capt. Frank Blair by Covey Island Boatworks, Farfarer is a 58-ft cousin to the Maggie B., Blair's earlier Nigel Irons designed and Covey-built schooner with which he circumnavigated the globe. Sadly, the Maggie B was destroyed in the same fire that razed Covey Island's former plant at Petite Riviere. Throughout construction, Blair has stressed that he was not looking to recreate the Maggie B. but instead build something new and exciting in its own right.

That he's accomplished with this unique schooner.

During the launch, Capt. Tom Gallant, skipper of the schooner Avenger, thanked Blair for "finding virtue in the schooner rig," while Sandy McMillan of Lunenburg-based North Sails Atlantic, the company that built Farfarer's sails, called her "the next evolution of the schooner rig."
Blair plans to take Farfarer on a voyage inspired by the classic tale The Aeneid.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Visit us at the WoodenBoat Show!

We're very excited to have The Dory Shop and the New Lunenburg Schooners exhibiting at the WoodenBoat Show, taking place at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT June 25-27.

Please stop by to see Susan at booth #316-317 in the land exhibits area C. We'll have two beautiful dories on display and our new Twin Schooners postcards to hand out.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So one of the pieces (a short one!) shot by the video crew who visited the Dory Shop Boatyard May 21 is up on the Internet. It's actually a promo for the new site, shot with the host alongside one of the framed up schooners (before she impaled her hand on a big angelique splinter). Check it out at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Film crew visits

The Dory Shop Boatyard, where we are building these two fine wooden schooners, has always prided itself on being an open access kind of place.
There's always an eclectic collection of boats pulled up on the shore here (including an impressive select of fine dories!) to lure the passerby and locals and visitors alike are always welcome to peak inside the sheds to see what wonderful small boat Jay is building.
The presence of two impressive, fully framed out schooners has done nothing to dissuade the public's interest. In fact, we're now more than ever a must-see on the Lunenburg waterfront and we're happy to show folks around.
Last Friday we welcomed a small film crew who were shooting a video for a new website promoting Atlantic Canadian tourism. Filmed in that impromptu style so popular in morning television, it basically saw the on-camera person flitting about the boatyard talking to members of the spring dory building course (who were outside painting their newly-completed Handline dory shown at and examining the framed up schooners.
Unfortunately, while mimicking that classic game show maneuver where the gorgeous hostess runs her hands over the hood of the brand-new car (in this case substituting the sheer plank), the female host managed to get herself one heck of a big splinter. She proved a good sport about it, feigning a Scarlett O'Hara faint, then declaring it an authentic Lunenburg Schooners souvenir.
We'll be sure to post the link once the video is available online.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bon voyage Picton Castle!

After a two-day delay due to weather, and a 'false start' May 10, so to speak, the Barque Picton Castle departed Lunenburg May 11 on an incredible 5th voyage around the world. Aboard as master, as he has been through all but one short period since the ship's conversion to a square rigger in the mid-1990s, is Capt. Dan Moreland, the visionary behind this twin schooner project.
Capt. Dan and the ship will be gone close to 14-months, but you can bet he'll be fully informed about our progress and checking in with Dave on a regular basis to discuss the build.
By the time the Picton Castle returns, the twin schooners will be nearly ready for launch. We wish the captain and crew the very best on this amazing voyage and encourage you to follow their travels on the Picton Castle website at

Monday, May 3, 2010

We've been falling down on the job a bit lately -- not the boatbuilders but the photo/videographers. You see, the Barque Picton Castle ( is preparing to depart on her fifth voyage around the world on Saturday, May 8. So Captain Moreland (project principal and a keen chronicler of this build) has been busy on many fronts, as has our support staff. Meanwhile, Dave and the gang soldier on at the Dory Shop Boatyard, making those sheer strakes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sheer strakes

Now that the schooners are all framed up, it's time to add the sheer strakes. These planks define the upper edge of the deck and, in many ways, the schooners' shape. Dave and the gang are making them from Angelique, a rot-proof tropical hardwood that's awfully hard on tools. Seriously, sparks fly when you cut it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Steamy schooner videos!

Okay, so now that I have your are a couple of links to new videos of Dave and James installing steam-bent oak frames on the schooners. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The twin schooners are almost completely in frame.
Between each of the double-sawn Osage Orange frames are two of steam-bent White Oak and Dave is looking to soon put on the sheer strakes. This auspicious event may well call for a celebration, so stay tuned!
The old timers who drop by the boatyard on a regular basis tell us they approve of the construction to date, and that they’ll be “some strong boats.”
Once framing is completed, the schooners will be left to set up and season for the summer and early fall. This was the preferred practice in places like Holland and Germany where the frames of old pilot schooners were let to set for a year before planking to ensure the greatest longevity. This plan will also allow Dave to enjoy some summer sailing in his own fine schooner!
Construction will resume in late fall and continue through the winter and spring, with plans for a twin schooner launch in summer 2011.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The wonders of hot (wet) air!

Captain Dan and Dave survey the new steam box that's being used to prepare our steam-bent white oak frames.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome neighbours!

It has been one of the many delights of this project to have so many folks dropping by to express their interest and enthusiasm in these new schooners being built on the Lunenburg waterfront and to generally 'check things out.' However it's an accepted quirk of Lunenburgers (and it's a Lunenburger writing this) that they genuinely hate the thought of bothering anyone and so for every person who's dropped by during work hours, there's been maybe five who only take a peak while they're out walking their dog of an evening or who drive down on a Sunday afternoon, banking on the fact that no one will be around. Being familiar with this, we've made it a point to provide events at which locals can comfortably, and safely, have a look around and learn about what's taking place here. One such event was held last evening when we welcomed members of the Lunenburg Board of Trade for an open house, known as a Business After Five. We were delighted to have such a strong turnout on what turned out to be a beautiful evening. As you can see, our visitors included both the young and young at heart.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A view of the boatyard

Here's a short - and we mean micro - video to give you an idea of the scene in the boatyard these days. Unfortunately, it was taken while most of the boys were off picking up a load of boat lumber but Dave's there in the background, fussing with one of the transoms. We'll try to do this from time to time, hopefully showing a little more action.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Captain Mitch drops by

What a pleasure to have one of Lunenburg's most respected old salts drop by the boatyard this morning.

Captain Matthew Mitchell, best known as Cap'n Mitch, is a veteran of dozens of Grand Banks schooners, some of Lunenburg's earliest draggers, and all of this followed by decades
as one of Lunenburg's most devoted tourism ambassadors in his work at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.
In December, Cap'n Mitch honoured us by agreeing to join Bluenose II skipper, Capt. Phil Watson, in pounding the ceremonial spikes at our twin schooner keel laying. See
Today's visit (not his first since the keel laying) was a chance to check in on the vessels' progress. He had a walk around with his daughter Joan, surveying the scene with a knowing eye and gave us his stamp of approval and a promise to be back soon.

Peek a Bub!

Gary "Bub" Dares at work on the twin schooners in the Dory Shop boatyard.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Final check

Master craftsman, designer, builder...Dave Westergard is a lot of things to this project. However one thing he has no desire to be is our poster boy. So if we manage to get a photo of Dave (he doesn't tend to stick around for the sake of composition if there's something he means to be doing), he's sure to be doing his thing, completely ignoring the camera and ultimately that can create the best images. Like this one taken as he surveys the newly installed transom with Lunenburg's Bluenose Drive in the background.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Installing the transoms

The transoms for these twin schooners arrived earlier this week and boy are they nice. Made by a craftsman friend of Dave's in the States, they are fashioned from laminated Spanish cedar - beautiful!

Plus, the installation of the transom in one of the schooners (schooner 1?) today provides another exciting landmark for this landmark project.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photo fun

So I just love this house located directly up the hill from the Dory Shop Boatyard. It houses two different families and, as you can see, has different cladding and paint colours on each side.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Indoor work

Two weeks of sunshine have come to an abrupt end, so the gang's been doing a bit of indoor work inside Plant 2 at the Dory Shop.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A little cross fertilization...

In this blog, we strive to keep you informed about the historic twin schooner build taking place in the boatyard outside the Lunenburg Dory Shop. However, this time around we want to let you know about something taking place inside the shop this spring.

Starting May 10, the Dory Shop will be hosting a 10-day boat building course. This is your chance to build a Banks dory with our master dory builder Jay Langford.
Just six people will be accepted; a number selected to provide unparalleled instruction time and as much hands-on building as possible. At the end of the second week, we'll hold a fun launch ceremony. The dory will then be available for sale.

Given the ongoing schooner build outside, this is a rare opportunity to see and learn about large vessel construction at the same time as you build the dory. We also make field trips to visit other marine artisans including a local sail loft.

The dory course is designed for people with some woodworking skills. You needn't be a cabinet maker but should be familiar with basic hand tools. The course is open to men and women ages 19 and up.

Course tuition includes break-time refreshments, hearty daily lunches at a historic inn just two minutes' walk from the waterfront and a fun launch and send-off ceremony.

The Dory Shop is one of the oldest continuous production wooden boat shops in North America. It has been building traditional Banks dories and other fine wooden craft for fishermen and recreational boaters non-stop since 1917.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring fever

The great weather continues here. We've now had sun a record 12 days in a row and yesterday's temperature hit 12 degrees Celsius or roughly 54 Fahrenheit. Depending where you live that may not seem like much but for Nova Scotia in March, it's a little taste of heaven.
Of course, the day does not dawn quite that warm and given The Dory Shop's location, it takes a few hours for the sun to work it's way over the hill on which Old Town Lunenburg was built and warm our location at the harbour's edge. The situation caused Dave to observe that he and his gang of schooner builders work the opposite of boatbuilders in the West Indies.
"There you'd be working to get over in the shade as much as possible but here, we're always trying to get out working in the sun," he said.
A passersby told us to enjoy it while it lasts. He said the Farmer's Almanac calls for a big snowstorm before the end of the month!

Friday, March 12, 2010

View from the Government Wharf

Here's the very exciting view from Lunenburg's Government Wharf these days, looking back between the two Dory Shop sheds.