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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Looking to the future

Here at the Dawson Moreland office, we've had more than a few queries from faithful followers of this blog as to what happens now that the Martha Seabury has been turned over to her 'over-the-moon' new owner Billy Campbell, and what's to become of her twin - hull #2.
In terms of the Martha, she returned to Nova Scotia from Rhode Island by way of a short stop in Martha's Vineyard, and just in time for the annual September Classic event here at Lunenburg. Since then Billy and his shipmates from the Barque Picton Castle have enjoyed some fabulous fall sailing and very soon the vessel will be hauled up for the winter here in Nova Scotia.
As for her twin, that schooner is actively for sale. From an exterior perspective, the hull is complete, caulked and painted, with a finished deck, deck structures, ladders to the below, rudder and steering gear. Her interior remains a blank canvas - the perfect opportunity for someone who wants a strong, swift and seaworthy vessel, appreciates traditional craftsmanship and wooden boats, and deserves the custom interior of their dreams. To learn more please click here.
Our goal from the beginning of this enterprise was to bring large-scale wooden boatbuilding - in particular, construction of 'fast and able' wooden schooners - back to the waterfront at Lunenburg so we're by no means done here. If you admire traditional vessels like these, and think it's valuable to preserve and pass on the skills and craftsmanship that go into building them, please help us to spread the word about the Twin Schooner Project and our new Lunenburg Schooners.
We'll do our best to keep you updated on developments with the Martha's twin, as well as new projects that come along.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review of Martha Seabury's offshore performance

Photo by Paul Bracken
We asked professional mariner, Capt. Michael Moreland, to write a review of the first of the new Lunenburg Schooners to be launched, the Martha Seabury's performance during her maiden voyage from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to Newport, Massachusetts. In light of events, including the rescue of three men off Cuttyhunk, MA not long after this photo was taken and the work required to ready the vessel for showing at Newport, we decided to wait a few days to post it. Here it is:

"Sailing across the Gulf of Maine aboard the newly launched and rigged 50' wooden schooner Martha Seabury, we encountered all kinds of weather including light airs, calms, lumpy seas and, on the last day, wind that built to 25-30 kts and seas up to 10'.  
"It was here that I knew how amazingly seaworthy this small vessel she is and how stoutly built she is.
"We had her reefed down with double reefed mainsail, single reefed foresail and the stays'l, with 25 kts on the beam and she was galloping along at 7-8 knots, taking the large, steep seas on the beam without a worry.  The crew on the tiller only took the occasional spray and the lee rail only rolled under once or twice.  
"What I found with her in these conditions is that she is simply a very powerful vessel and feels and behaves like a schooner much larger that she is.  Her ample freeboard and healthy beam serves her well for any deep sea conditions.  Her sail plan balanced her out nicely but she still wanted to drive to weather, which was good to see, as that strong wind could have easily been on the nose and we would have had to beat to windward, which she could have done with relative ease.
"All in all I find the Martha Seabury to be an incredible deep sea voyager, as well as a handy, fun schooner to mess about coastwise.  Coming from a big ship sailor, I would feel comfortable to make ocean crossings and think she would be safe and manageable in almost any waters.  Her interior is quite comfortable, especially with the kerosene lanterns giving a soft glow off all of her beautiful assortment of woods, which make her the bulletproof schooner she is."
Captain Michael Moreland
Schooner Martha Seabury

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Martha Seabury rescues three in Buzzards Bay

We're just today receiving details of a rescue operation carried out by the crew of the Schooner Martha Seabury as she sailed from Gloucester to Newport earlier this week. The crew, headed by Capt. Michael Moreland and including the vessel's owner Billy Campbell, Paul Bracken, Allison Phillips, Gabe St Denis, Dan Rutherford and Oliver Cote, is credited as saving the lives of the three young men rescued in Buzzards Bay. Here are excerpts from Capt. Moreland's official report:

September 10th, 2012 1930
The schooner Martha Seabury was underway, undersail in force 5 conditions and 2-3' seas, en route to Cuttyhunk Island, approximately 4 nm from the island.  The sun was just below the horizon and getting dark quick, when deckhand Allison Phillips spotted persons in the water waving the arms in distress.  They were about .5 nm away, and I immediately called to take in all sail and rounded up while starting the main engine.  
We motored up to the victims who were clinging to the top of an overturned 15' sailing dingy.  The three victims were in their 20's, with two in PFD's and one without one on.  It was quickly apparent that all three were hypothermic and low on strength and energy.  We called for them one by one to swim over to the schooner and we hoisted them aboard and quickly got them below decks were Allison Phillips began tending to them by removing their wet clothing and getting them wrapped in sleeping bags, as well as wool hats and socks.  Two of the three were violently vomiting seawater and were barely responsive.  Chief Mate Paul Bracken called the USCG on VHF 16 and began arranging a rendezvous to transfer the victims to get to shore....The USCG requested that we steam towards Wood's Hole, MA where they had deployed a 41' cutter towards us.  
Around 2015 we spotted the cutter and began comms with them and determined that we would heave to, and they would attempt to come alongside us in our lee.  It was quickly apparent that it was too rough for the transfer, even though the cutter coxswain disagreed, as the two vessels had very different rolling motions and damage to the schooner would have been unavoidable.  I agreed to quickly get one of the USCG medics onboard, with a touch and go maneuver, which was executed fairly well, and then immediately started steaming towards Cuttyhunk and calmer waters.  The medic onboard confirmed our assessment that the victims had stabilized and were in no immediate threat, and agreed that doing the transfer in calmer waters was appropriate as time was not a critical factor at this point.  At 2040, we got into the lee of a reef on the northeast side of Cuttyhunk, and the cutter came along side at which point the victims had much more strength and were easily transferred to the cutter.  The cutter crew and victims thanked us and we continued into Cuttyhunk harbour and got alongside for night. 

We are so very proud of, and thankful for, the efforts of the Martha Seabury's crew. To view a photo of them during dinner at a friend's home on Cuddyhunk later that night, please visit*

Monday, September 10, 2012

Postcard from the Martha Seabury

Ah the wonders of the wired world, folks! Just received this photo of the crew of the Schooner Martha Seabury, with owner Ollie Campbell at the tiller, as they made their way through the Cape Cod Canal earlier today. And just look at those faces - are these not some of the happiest people you've ever seen?
The schooner spent last night in Gloucester after making the passage from Lunenburg to Massachusetts in roughly 48 hours. She is headed to Newport, RI where she will be docked in the Oldport Basin areas of the Newport International Boat Show. Be sure to visit us there!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sea trials a success!

It was a labour (day) of love for the team of Lunenburg Schooners September 2 and 3 as they sailed the newly-launched Martha Seabury for the first time.
Aboard for the historic occasion was Dawson Moreland president Daniel Moreland, designer-builder David Westergard and owner Billy Campbell, among others. All were very pleased with the vessel's performance.
Then yesterday, Billy, his lovely new schooner and her crew, headed by Capt. Michael Moreland, departed Lunenburg bound for Gloucester and then on to Rhode Island where we will be exhibiting the Martha Seabury at the Newport International Boat Show September 13-16.
If you are in the area, please drop by and see us! We'll be in the Oldport Basin, at Oldport Dock M-10.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We've got sticks, baby!

Work aboard the Martha Seabury has continued at a feverish pace since her launching two weeks ago. The owner of this first of our twin schooners, the amazing Billy Campbell, is kindly allowing us to sail with him to Rhode Island where we'll attend the Newport International Boat Show Sept 13-16. It's a great opportunity to market the Seabury's twin sister (Ollie wants someone to buy her so they can race!) as well as future Lunenburg Schooners. But there's a ton to be done in the span of a few short weeks so every second counts.

Paul 'Jet' Bracken (shown guiding the mainmast in above) is working with Captain Moreland to outfit the Martha Seabury. There's been a ton of ordering - everything from liferafts to water casks - plus painting, rigging and sailmaking taking place. Arthur Dauphinee has made the blocks and moments ago, the vessel's masts were stepped with the assistance of crew from the Picton Castle and an incredibly talented crane operator. Rigging work can now begin in earnest with sea trials slated for next week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Great new shots from launch day!

Wow! We've just received the hundreds of photographs shot for us by Peter Zwicker, who covered launch day for us. Such great images! Here are some immediate favourites.
Maggie Ostler christens the Martha Seabury
Danie and Bub pounding in the wedges
Billy's dirty feet hang overtop the builders working to launch his schooner
Fore! (inspired by Danie's hat that makes us think of more leisurely pursuits)
Billy and his shipmates from Picton Castle awaiting lift off
First attempt to get her unstuck, using a zodiac
Picton Castle Chief Mate Sam Sikkema (foreground) and trainee Brody Fierce assist efforts from the dock
Puttin' their backs into it
She's afloat!
A beautiful sight!
Kisses from the deck of the Martha Seabury
Shot for TMZ?
A wet but happy man