Friday, May 27, 2011

Cape Ann Beacon Feature Today

The Cape Ann Beacon has a front page story about us today and I have posted it below...but also we urge you to check out their site as they have been documenting the schooner's progress all along. They have sent over their team of Kirk Williamson, Nicole Boyd and Ian Hurley to document, photograph and film the Ardelle's progress. They have been incredibly devoted especially considering their major staffing restraints and the tight way newspapers are now run. They have clearly gone well beyond their regular hours to do this --- so thanks you guys! 

Excerpt From the Beacon - In keeping with the 400-year-old traditions in Essex shipbuilding, shipwrights at the Burnham Boatyard working on the Schooner Ardelle want to see the new vessel in the water before the hot summer months dry out the boat. But, with the wet weather this spring, dryness has not been a worry for master shipwright Harold Burnham and the crew, at least not yet. With the deck beams now bolted down on the Schooner Ardelle, Burnham is hoping for a few dry days next week so he can finally begin to put down the deck which is a key turning boat in the vessel’s progress. Once the deck is down, then the focus will turn towards preparing the boat for water and a unique Essex side launch of the schooner Ardelle will soon follow so stay tuned!

“The rain we have had has been good in that it has kept the boat from drying out but it is sometimes harder to work on certain parts of the boat in the rain than it is in with the snow and ice,” Burnham said. “It seems every spring when we have built a boat, it has been a rainy one - as is this one - but we do our best to work around it. Things are coming together and we hope to be launching the Ardelle in mid-June.”

Burnham and the many volunteer shipwrights are busy these days finishing up the deck’s structure in anticipation of putting down the mahogany plywood and fiberglass deck and the anticipation to “walk the deck” is growing.

“Currently we are making the bowsprit and a new main gaffe and other odds and ends but what we are really trying to do is stay focused as much as we can on the deck structure in preparation for decking in the very near future,” Burnham added. “And, if we are lucky by the time we are ready the rain will clear out for a few days and allow us to put the deck down in one shot. ”

The schooner Ardelle’s progress would never be this far along without the devoted volunteers who have been working on the vessel all fall, winter and spring - up to seven days a week. Chuck Redman, who lives in Rockport, has been working with Burnham since early September. “I am really excited about the deck going down because it means we are one step closer to being ready to go sailing,” he said. Bruce Slifer of Gloucester has also been working with Harold since the fall. “I really can’t wait to have the deck down. I am going to strut around on it with my boots on – like Johnny Depp.”

In other news, the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce has named Harold Burnham the local businessman of the year in Essex. The award recognizes the contribution of Cape Ann’s small business community to the area’s economy and quality of life. There will be a reception on Thursday, June 9 for Harold Burnham at Periwinkles Restaurant starting at 5 p.m.

“It is a great honor to get the small business award from the Cape Ann Chamber and although boatbuilding for us has never been really lucrative one of the things we are most proud of is that at least two of our boats have proven well for those who have used them for commercial purposes’ the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon and the Fame of Salem as they have successful charter boats and helped keep our maritime traditions alive for their owners, crew and all those who sail aboard them. We hope that the Ardelle will be as successful for us.
- Laurie Fullerton

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