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, February 26, 2010

Presenting the half model

Here is the half-hull model for our twin schooners, masterfully designed and carved by Dave Westergard.
From the outset we decided to design and model these vessels the traditional way by using a half-hull instead of blue prints. In this way you can really see the shape of things to come.
In this model we were seeking several particular features. As these schooners are intended to be capable of deep-sea ocean voyaging, as well as summer time coastal cruising and racing, we are demanding seaworthiness and speed, stiffness so she sails more standing up than on her ear, pretty sheer, bow and stern, and a goodly amount of room below.
In many respects this a classic Tancook Schooner but with additional beam and other nuances incorporated. We think the model is gorgeous. And of course we are building them to be very strong.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The frames of these twin schooners are being built the traditional, time-tested way and so are double sawn and made of hackmatack (you may know it as larch).

A double-sawn frame is made from several pieces of wood, known as futtocks or foot hooks, that are placed end to end to create the curve of the hull running from the keel to the sheer. A second frame that is identically shaped but has joints in difference places, is fastened to the first, forming a frame that is nearly as strong as one cut from a solid piece of wood.

And the reality is you can't get wood thick enough to provide the full curve of the frame for vessels of this size. Using several futtocks, cut from live edge hackmatack like the pieces you see below, makes it possible to build the curve of a frame one section at a time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Frame by frame

We promised these schooners would be twins, built up together, frame by frame, plank by plank, creating a new class of vessels that can genuinely compete. And so the logical next step after installing the first frames on one schooner was to install the same on schooner two, as shown below.

Monday, February 22, 2010

First frames!

A truly significant and happy milestone for this project. But let's let the pictures do the talking this time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday the gang was outside pounding trunnels in their shirt sleeves and talking about starting framing today. The ground was bare, the temperature was comfortably above freezing. Then pow! overnight we got 25 centimetres of snow (that's 10 inches!) and the landscape is completely different. Not that it will stop Dave and co!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The craftsman's eye

It's a familiar gesture among artisans of countless disciplines
...that one-eyed examination of an angle or plane, double checked with the brush of a hand that, though calloused, is as sensitive as the most high tech of instrumentation. It can, and often does, lead to an adjustment of some sort, a refining and ultimately, the approval required to move on to the next task.

Or, if the gimlet eye is turned on you, it may mean it's time to stop taking pictures and let a fella get on with his work.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our girls are growing

Until Dave and the gang start framing them up, it takes a little imagination to see the two sweet schooners these keels will become. Still, when you place a few photos together, as below, it's not hard to see the progress they've been making.

In this first shot you see in the foreground one of the keels lying upside down while the ballast keel is attached, while just behind it sits the second keel, upside right with her stern post attached, all of the deadwood fitted in around the ballast keel and the beginnings of the stem.

This next shot, below, shows Dave alongside the finished stem with the still inverted keel of the other schooner just visible in the background. It's still upside down, but if you look closely you can see the deadwood is being added.

Finally, this shot gives another perspective of the stem; one from which you can start to infer the future schooners' lines. Made of super strong and durable Osage Orange, which when planed and shaped produces those sunny yellow wood chips, the stems feature a traditional Lunenburg knuckle in the bow.

Of course what these photos don't show is the temperatures in which our gang has been working. While the sun is shining, it's been hovering around minus 10 degrees Celsius all week (that's around 14 degrees Fahrenheit). Not that they ever complain.