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

Friday, June 17, 2011

A deck house parade

Folks travelling along Lunenburg's Montague Street just after lunch today smiled, and in some cases scratched their heads, to see five men walking a deck house down the road.

Their destination? The Dory Shop Boatyard where the house was carefully lifted and placed aboard the westernmost of our twin schooners - the one being built for actor Billy Campbell.

You see, Billy (currently starring in the AMC hit, The Killing) and Captain Dan are sailing into Lunenburg tomorrow aboard the Barque Picton Castle as the ship returns from a triumphant 30,000-mile voyage around the world. Both are anxious to see what progress has been made on the vessels, and in Billy's case, he won't have much time before he must jet off to work in Hollywood, so Dave wanted a chance for him to see the deck house and also ensure the cabin will accommodate his 6' 4" height.And so for the last number of weeks, one of our schooner crew, Tony Chaplik, has been working blessedly out of the rain in a shop just up the road from The Dory Shop.

Tony's the perfect guy to be building these pieces. With nearly 40 years experience as a cabinet maker, builder of fine furniture and boatbuilder, he's inspired by the challenge of the project.

"Making a part and then putting the parts together, whether a chair or a boat or a house, it's very satisfying," says Tony, who started his career in a cabinet shop in Maine. He then worked at the Paul E. Luke Boatyard in Boothbay before spending two years at the prestigious North Bennet Street School in Boston.

The oldest craft and trade school in America, that was "a real hot spot to be," says Tony. "We did a lot of hand work. It was definitely not your average trade school."
Tony went on to operate his own shop, Marblehead Cabinetmakers, which produced fine furniture, cabinetry, exquisite circular staircases and always, always there was boat work.
While operating a sawmill business, he was introduced to master boatbuilder Harold Burnham. He cut practically all the wood for the schooner Thomas E. Lannon and joined Harold as a full-time carpenter on the Pinky Schooner Fame. He also worked at the New York mill shop Big Tree, doing commission pieces, including very fine furniture, doors, windows and trim work for upscale apartments in the city.

Asked what it is that motivates him, Tony shrugs. "I just like buildings things..particularly things that are difficult and demand that they're done right."

Now doesn't that sound like just the right guy for our schooners?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Look ma, no plans!

We're very proud to tell people that these twin schooners, being built at The Dory Shop by Dawson Moreland and Associates, are being constructed in a very traditional manner including double-sawn frames, wooden trunnels and the like. Our selection of materials is non-traditional in that rather than using locally sourced lumber, as would have been used in the fishing schooners of years ago, we're being very selective and only employing materials that are very durable and rot resistant, ones that can produce a boat capable of sailing in tropical climates as well as the North Atlantic.

One of the most traditional aspects of the build is the fact that we are building from a wooden half hull designed by Dave Westergard and without benefit of any paper plans. Those plans will come later, once these two schooners are completed, with an eye to the day when someone comes along (can't wait!) wanting to own schooner number 3, 4 or 5 in the class.

Now we've always considered the half hull a thing of great beauty, showing, as it did, the lines from which the schooners are being built. But with the hull coming together, Dave thought it was time to take this little lady to the ship modeller's salon for a little make over. Check out the results below.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Crossing the bar

It is with genuine sadness that we write of the passing of Capt. Matthew Mitchell, 93, of Lunenburg.

Capt. Mitch started his long career fishing in dories at the age of 14, he worked his way up the deck to become a highliner skipper out of Lunenburg, 'retired' to spend another 30 years sharing his experiences with visitors at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and was always just the most lovely, kind, generous and encouraging man one could hope to meet.

In December 2009, Capt. Mitch joined Capt. Phil Watson of the Schooner Bluenose II in driving the ceremonial spikes at the keel laying for these twin schooners. He also visited the boatyard on many occasions to check in on our progress.

Our condolences to his family. He will be missed!