Sunday, May 15, 2011

It Feels Like We Are on the Homestretch...Will We Launch in June? We Think So ...

Laurie Fullerton, and Daisy, who writes the, Laurie does, not Daisy.

Well, for whatever reason I feel it is time to come clean and include the person who writes this blog in a picture. I have been posting the Boatbuilding with Burnham story for a long time now and what is hard to believe is that we are definitely hitting the final stretch...or so it feels. The project has been amazing to watch and be part of, I have helped carry hot planks from the steam box to the vessel, I have used one of the great wooden beetles to drive trunnels, I have varnished the deck beams and bulkheads, made a lot of coffee, made a lot of runs to the store to get cream for the coffee, and reset the table a lot of times so we can feed the shipwright's lunch. It has been a definite behind the scenes job but I have certainly come to appreciate, enjoy and look forward to seeing the shipwrights come to the yard each day. Many of the regular folks who have been volunteering since September had not worked together before, nor with Harold and many had never built a 50-foot schooner before. Watching all of the people - men for the most part - arrive not fully knowing if they had the skills etc. to build a 50 foot schooner and watching their skills grow and become fine tuned while they work hard, long hours, and with great patience has been an honor. We have all mastered something here and done some amazing things..building masts, cutting planks to fit just right, adjusting the sheer line with a batten, making sails, making beetles, masthoops, etc., coming in with new calculations. Along with the regular shipwrights like Steve Willard, Chuck Redman, Zack Teal, Justin Ingersoll, Bruce Silfer, Bernie Power, and Chuckie Burnham, Harold's Dad, over the winter and spring we have seen a lot of John Miles, Bernie Noon, Geoffrey Richon, Henry Szolstak, Dan Tobyne, Jeff Lane, Tim Walsh, Chad Gadbois, Frances Cleary, Aaron Snyder, Davis Griffith, Erik Borden, Michael Rutstein, Jim Chambers, and so many others who have
come to work and help and have a good time.

With the deck beams going in it is looking like the schooner will launch in June although the date is not yet official, start thinking about it and check your tide charts.  Although Harold hopes this won't be his last vessel or the last Essex vessel it should not be forgotten that the reason he is building ARDELLE is that no one else wanted him to build them a schooner nor had they for the past five years. And regardless of whether or not this launch will symbolise the end of an era for shipbuilding it certainly symbolises the beginning of a new era for us in our pursuit of a more sustainable way of life doing sailing charters and educational trips out of the Gloucester maritime heritage center and beyond.

In the mean time we definitely urge any and all of you to come down to the yard this month and into June as we will not be building her forever...With luck the Ardelle will last a long time as will the bonds of friendship formed in her gestation but we are all looking forward to looking back at these times and the coffee and meals and our accomplishments and so if you are interested in what we are doing come and see it  before it is done. Also, come support us with by buying a plank or trunnel. Bring your camera!

Celebrating the whiskey plank (last plank) going on (about a month ago).


  1. God speed Harold Burnham!


  2. "Sail her to Round Pond, Maine for the famous Round Pond 4th of July Parade! We'll have lobsters, steamers and Bluegrass awaiting your arrival" C&D

  3. captain of the sea lodgeMay 16, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    All this time I thought it was daisy writing the blog. Thanks for clearing that up.
    I'll try to be there for the launch.