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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to weigh a schooner

Yesterday, in preparation for the launch of the first of our twin schooners this summer, we moved Billy Campbell's vessel, the future Martha Seabury, into her newly-built cradle.
The event - and let me assure you, when you move a vessel of this size around the boatyard, it truly is an event - also provided an opportunity to measure the boat's weight.
Our gang made a game of it, declaring their guesses as they adjusted straps for the lift. Not sure who won. If you play by Price Is Right rules (where you lose if you go over) I think it was Bub.
In any case, the boat weighed in at about 26,000 lbs - less than Dave thought but then that's a dry weight at the moment and it will help to make her fast!
Our thanks to the folks at Lawrence S. Veinotte Enterprises for their know-how and professionalism!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Below decks with Billy Campbell

Actor/adventurer Billy Campbell made a flying trip to Lunenburg on the weekend to help finalize below decks arrangements for his schooner.
Billy, who is currently filming season two of the hit AMC series The Killing (and whose character got shot in the season opener - gasp!), spent Good Friday travelling to The Dory Shop where he met with Dave and Capt. Dan. He also managed a brief visit with his excited shipmates aboard the Barque Picton Castle before boarding a jet plane for the return flight to Vancouver. He was due back on set Saturday morning!
The design for the below decks on Billy's schooner is very simple and open. There will be no real cabins here, but rather big bunks and settees that will make it a sociable craft to sail in. Blond woods and an open layout will keep things airy and well lit, and evoke the feeling of old-time fishing schooners.
He also wants to keep systems to a minimum. So water will be kept in barrels; there will be kerosene cabin lamps, hand pumps and so forth.
To walk you through: heading down the companion ladder, you'll have a fine stand-up galley to starboard and a navigation station and chart table to port; both immediately available to those on deck and ideal for offshore and island cruising. Forward of these, there will be two full length locker/settees that will double as bunks. We'll also be installing a sweet little wood stove to keep things cozy on foggy Nova Scotia (or Norwegian) evenings at anchor.
At the forward end of the cabin trunk, you'll have to duck around the varnished trunk of the bury of the main mast with a large double bunk on one side and two small bunks on the other. These will have curtains for privacy rather than partitions or hard bulkheads. Moving forward there will be a heavy duty work bench on starboard and an enclosed marine toilet and sink on port with full head room under the main hatch. Next there will be port and starboard lockers, the foremast and a V-berth up in the eyes of the hull.
Billy wants to keep the vessel's Hackmatack knees and double-sawn Osage Orange frames exposed, while the steam bent White Oak frames will be covered with a smooth Alaskan Yellow Cedar ceiling.
It's most likely the below decks in schooner two will be nothing like this one. And that's as it should be. After all, these are custom built boats and the aim is to give the customer what he or she is looking for.
In the case of Billy's schooner, the rule is plenty of light and air ~ two things that are good for both wooden vessels and those who go to sea in them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Who was that mast man?

Ol' Dory Plug has been a bit of a slacker in the photo department lately. Might have something to do with the fact the Picton Castle is getting ready to depart on her summer sail training program (get details at But the boatyard gang's been busy all the same. Bub and Gerald are working to complete the exterior of Billy Campbell's twin schooner, Tony's working on the interior and Dave and Gabe are now working on the masts.
The masts for these 48-foot schooners are being fashioned from spruce trees, and are 50 feet in length and 12 inches in diameter. They're being shaped by adze and are traditional in every respect. Says Captain Dan, "There are 40 and 50-year-old schooners sailing around these parts still with their original masts." That says something about quality!