Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zack and the Carriacou Sloops

Zack Teal in the winter of 2010. Zack is now on the Harvey Gamage for the spring term of his junior year. His Dad offered up this student blog today and we think it is great! Pictures are found through the link at bottom. Zack and the Harvey Gamage are currently sailing towards the Dominican Republic.
 Great story, Zack!

On our first day ashore in Carriacou, we had a nice tour of the island. We left from the pier and drove up one of the six major streets on the island (they were barely big enough for two cars to pass). Our driver pointed out the local furniture shop, which was an open building with a few big tools and stacks of lumber all around. Most of the lumber is mahogany, local to the island. Our driver then took us the highest point in Carriacou (it was only 945 feet above sea level), where we could see everything. There was a hospital there, which was built on a high point to blow away mosquitos during a malaria outbreak… The people in the hospital have a nice view.

We then went on a search for a man named Dave and found him walking down the road with his daughter. Dave took us down the road to see a local man, Alwin build a fishing boat. We heard about the boat builder from a photographer named Alexis Andrews in English Harbor. Alexis has been doing a movie project about the Carricou sloops to record and pass on the knowledge of the few remaining boat builders in the area. When the bus stopped next to two rickety houses, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I saw it: two logs spread out on the lawn and the frame of a small sloop. I love boat building, and I know a lot about it, so I was excited. Dave introduced us to Alwin, a kind man in his fifties. He got into boat building after a fishing boat he was working on sank. He was one of the only survivors. This chilling experience lead him to boat building; he wanted to understand how boats work and make them more seaworthy. Alwin showed us the project which will take him about six to eight months of finish, working alone. This amazed me because he only used a chisel, clamp, chainsaw, straight edge and hammer. Even with these tools, the work looked perfect. He used local wood: white heart for the keel and white cedar for the frame, but imported the wood for planks from another island. We didn’t want to hold him up longer, so we left and spent the rest of the day at the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.


Recent photo of Zack and some members of the crew/classs

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