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.

DSC_0145The 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:

Rockland Community Sailing – Capsize Training from Michael O’Neil on Vimeo.

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.

IMG_1475smCurrently 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

a15smThe 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!

Apprenticeshop Float In – April 8, 2013 from on Vimeo.

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Whaleboat Expedition Crew


Apprentice Whaleboat Expedition

from Rockland, Maine to Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut

Departure: Sunday, June 16, 2013

Estimated arrival: Friday, June 28, 2013

Students at The Apprenticeshop, the school for traditional boatbuilding and seamanship in Rockland Maine, have mounted a 350 mile expedition aboard their newly built 29’ Leonard whaleboat, an open wooden boat with five rowing stations and a 22 foot steering oar.

Check in at this blog site to read of their daily progress.

To view photos of Whaleboat Expedition send-off, please visit Marine Media  and our facebook page.

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Day 1: Leaving Rockland Harbor

Day 1: Leaving Rockland Harbor

Apprentice Whaleboat Expedition

Sunday, June 16, 2013—Day One

An enthusiastic crowd, a beautiful Penobscot Bay sunrise, and calm weather conditions greeted the ten members of the Apprentice Whaleboat Expedition on the docks at The Apprenticeshop this morning.  After stowing the full two-week’s gear in both the whaleboat and accompanying chase boat Advent (36’ Bud McIntosh schooner), the 29’ open boat left the dock at 5:30 a.m. with Captain Bryan McCarthy, Apprenticeshop Shop Director, at the helm.  Apprentices Rachel Davis, Daniel Creisher, Simon Jack, Garrett Farchione and Tim Jacobus were in the rowing stations. Read More »

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Day 3 Rain

Monday, June 17, 2013—Day Two

The whaleboat departed the Lydon’s haven at 6:30 a.m.  They aim to cross through the mouth of the Damariscotta River this morning and clear the mouth of Kennebec this afternoon, hoping to land at Hermit Island Campground on Small Point (Phippsburg, Maine) for the night.  If all goes as planned, the crew will continue on Tuesday and hope to spend the night at Portland Yacht Services in Portland Harbor.

Read More »

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The Crew Day 3

The apprentices had another fantastic day on the water.  They rowed clear across a very clear and calm Casco Bay, from Small Point to a bit of a rainy Portland, averaging over 3 knots.  Details to come.


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Whaleboat Under Sail

Whaleboat Under Sail!

Today, they’re sailing!

After an early morning interview and filming with WCSH-Channel 6 (we’ll post it when we get it), the Whaleboat Expedition departed Portland Harbor at about 8:00 a.m. 


The crew enjoyed an unanticipated overnight aboard Westward, the 125’ sailing vessel associated with Ocean Classroom last night.  Chris Konecky reports that he and Simon Jack got special treatment and were bunked in the Captain’s quarters. “It was a big fancy room,” he said, “lots of varnish and mattresses on the bunks!”  Others slept in forward berths while Tim Jacobus opted to tent on the lawn at SailMaine.

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WCSH 6 Portland News Clip of Whaleboat Expedition

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UNH/Fort Constitution, Newcastle, NH

The Apprentice Whaleboat Expedition had another fantastic — if not long — day in the Gulf of Maine.  They departed Kennebunkport at 8:00 a.m. and rowed all 27 miles to Portsmouth. In the last hour of the day, they had to work double time against an outgoing tide and a head wind to get around Portsmouth Light and into the old Fort Constitution Coast Guard Station in New Castle, New Hampshire.

The station is now operated by the University of New Hampshire as a steel head trout research center, and the apprentices’ new friends from UNH helped them tie up to the dock, opened the shower facilities and allowed them to spend the night there.  Ken Rich (of the expedition’s chase boat, Advent) was especially pleased, UNH being his alma mater.

Read More »

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Visit from a seal pup

A 6:00 a.m. departure had the crew riding out of Portsmouth on an incoming mid-tide, just shy of flood.  Out of the harbor, the seas were flat calm and conducive to making great progress.  By 8:00 a.m. they’d already covered 10 miles.  Although the seas began to swell a little, the breeze was very light and the crew had no trouble rowing steadily by the New Hampshire coastline.

Spirits of the crew continue to be high; everyone is in great health and enjoying the journey.

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Motif No.1, Rockport, MA

Having arrived in Rockport, MA harbor yesterday, they were given a hearty greeting by Harbormaster Rosemary Lesh and her son, Story, Commodore of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club.  Story welcomed the crew to the yacht club where they were able to spend the night in the instructors’ lounge.

When we caught up with the crew at 6:30 a.m., they had just departed the harbor by sail.  The day started with an ample southwest breeze leaving the harbor, but then it died down and the crew put in the oars.  They were passing Thacher Island as they phoned in the day’s report.

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