Paul Moscaritolo, a man after my own heart, who has pretty much re-invented boatbuilding as he sees fit. His twin-rudder, shallow draft sailboat is built with 2″ thick strips of common framing lumber, glued together with PL construction adhesive. He did a few years’ experimenting with the technique, and the boat has been floating for eight summers, so I guess it works just fine.
Bill Womack, proprietor of Beetle Cat. They’ve been making the same boat for about one hundred years. They make less than a dozen a year, but have about two hundred of them that come back each fall for overhaul and winter storage. A cool business model. The materials and workmanship are exquisite.
Here’s the new mold that they’ve been using since 1946. The old one wore out.
I got the full nickel tour. This here’s the hundred-year-old pigment grinder. George’s paint has more pigment than any other I have used–it covers!.
And here’s the paint mixer
I made the trip out to the end of the Cape to see the sights and stopped in at Walter Baron’s Old Wharf Dory Shop. He is under the boat. Not so amazingly, we had a lot of mutual friends and plenty to jaw about.
And once again, I felt right at home. Girly pictures and boat ephemera on the walls, beer bottles on the floor.
And out to Martha’s Vineyard to see the Benjamin & Gannon shop. It’s center-field in this shot from the ferry boat.
I met Nat Benjamin, fresh in from sailing his family to Cuba and back in the Charlotte. Here he is propping her up for a bit of maintenance.
They treat their tools as reverently as I treat mine.
I had almost as much fun as Oona did.
I rented a fancy-ass mountain bike and pedaled off to the east end of the island. It being the first time on a bike since before knee surgery, I was pretty excited and went way too far before realizing I had gone way too far. It was a painful trip back to the youth hostel, but a fine sunset on the south shore. I recalled one of my mom’s favorite sayings: “Oh my achin’ ass.”
But you can see why they’d want a flat-bottomed boat.
Next stop Essex, to tour the Shipbuilding Museum. Lots of nice exhibits and strange old boats.
A novel paint scheme for a dory. In the background is Harold Burnam’s shop, but he was not there. I met him last year in his ship Ardelle in Gloucester.
And a quick stop at the Lowell Boat Shop, alleged birthplace of the Banks Dory. But they close at four.
On northward to the mouth of the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where I booked a sunset cruise on the gundalow. I had read about a boat called a gundalow on the Shenandoah River, which was very similar to the sweep scows of Idaho–one of which I recreated for a hairball replica run of Glen and Bessie Hyde’s fatal Grand Canyon run of 1928. I thought I should see if this gundalow was at all related to the Shenandoah version or sweep scows. Nope. Turns out gundalow is an old Yankee corruption of gondola, and refers to all sorts of different boats. Here on the Piscataqua, it is a huge barge with a gigantic triangular sail that can be dropped for bridges. Historically they would ride the incoming tide as far up the forks of the river as they could go, exchange cargo, and float or sail back to Portsmouth. So all the major towns in the area are at the high-tide mark of the rivers.