It’s Sailing Season
There’s still some snow on the ground and ice in the harbor, but that won’t stop mid-coast Maine’s high school sailing teams from spring training. The last day of March was also the first day of sailing season for high-school sailors from surrounding schools. The team will give Mother Nature a little more time to thaw out, though; this week the students will start with some indoor exercises as they warm up for upcoming on-the-water maneuvers.
The official sailing season kickoff took place Saturday, March 29, at the Penobscot Bay YMCA. Students took to the pool to learn their most important lesson: how to get an upside-down sailboat right-side up. Led by the Apprenticeshop’s waterfront director, KC Heyniger, sailors rigged and launched a 14-foot 420 in the pool. Then they did the one thing they’ll spend all season trying not to: they capsized the dinghy.
The goal of this annual safety seminar is to get sailors back aboard their capsized vessels safer and faster. Tangled lines, submerged sails and cleats are inevitably frustrating to a turtled racer, but there are tricks of the trade to get the boats back on course more efficiently. And in case the temps don’t climb as quickly as we’d all like this spring, students also learned some cold-water safety techniques to ensure that a dip in the harbor is never hazardous to their health.
With several major high school sailing regattas lined up for the summer months, our local teams have much more training ahead of them. We’ll profile some sailors this summer and keep our newsletter and website updated with scores and events. Good luck to all the high school sailors in 2014!
Here’s a peek at the sail training from this weekend’s capsizing workshop:
From the Shop Floor
Our apprentices often find themselves immersed in history as well as boatbuilding. For our second-year apprentices, two rich sailing histories are unfolding and shaping the construction of their yearlong projects: the Lawley Tender and the Columbia dinghy.
Currently under construction at The Apprenticeshop, The Lawley Tender was designed by George Lawley at the turn of the 20th century. An immigrant to Massachusetts from England, Lawley brought his shipbuilding talent with him and started his own business that would thrive for multiple generations. His talent was widely recognized by the elite sailing community, and he was recruited to contribute to the design and construction of AMERICA’s Cup defenders such as PURITAN and MAYFLOWER. At just over 12 feet long, the Lawley Tender was designed to accompany one of Lawley’s larger yachts, but has since earned its own distinction as a striking and seaworthy vessel.
It’s fitting that a Lawley Tender is now being built alongside a Columbia Dinghy at The Apprenticeshop. The Columbia Dinghy is a renowned design by Nathaneal Herreshoff, one of the most famous designers of AMERICA’s Cup defenders. Herreshoff’s Columbia Dinghy, sometimes known as the Columbia Lifeboat, is just shy of 12 feet and can be rigged as a sailing dinghy or a rowing boat. The boat has been reimagined by other designers over the years, including Maine’s own Joel White who created a carvel-planked version called a Catspaw.
Both of these boats are lapstrake constructions. As with every traditional build we undertake at The Apprenticeshop, both boats were also lofted by hand before construction began earlier this year. Our apprentices have built the molds and will be planking the boats this spring. We’ll keep you updated about their progress and launch dates as these new boats emerge from their rich histories at the hands of our apprentices.
It’s Boat-Buying Season
The sailing season is almost upon us you! Do have a way to get out on the water this summer? Don’t find yourself shoreside when the wind is up and the sun is shining. The Apprenticeshop has a beautiful lapstrake-built daysailer available for sale. A double-ended design by Kevin Carney, the Apprentice 15 is built of cedar on white oak with a Dynel deck and with white oak trim. She has Sitka spruce spars and sails made by Nat Wilson.
The Apprentice 15 was launched in 2011 and has been carefully maintained by our students and staff ever since. She is listed at $18,000, but we’ll consider other offers from eager sailers. Call us at 207-594-1800 for more information or to arrange for a sea trial this spring.
It’s Time to Float
Every year our staff and students work together to get the floats in the water for the season. Check out this cool time-lapse video from last year to see exactly what we’ll be up to again this year!