Today we enjoyed the visit of three wise men
Today we enjoyed the visit of three wise men

Today we enjoyed the visit of three wise men

We had great visitors today, three men of long nautical experience: Andy the sail maker, Francis the naval architect and Maurice the marine museum curator.
There is so much to learn from listening to stories, asking opinions and advice to those people who have been around the block.

Over the years Andy has been a valuable adviser, for our first boat and then for this project. I’d like to think that over the years Andy has also become a friend. The passion for traditional boats and there history is something we share.
We met Andy over 15 years ago when we needed sails for our little schooner. We met him a first time at the sail loft and then kept going back when ever the opportunity presented itself. Today he visited us and this made it for a great day.

We have also known Francis for some time now as Andy introduced him to us years ago to discuss our schooner project. Francis has designed, among other work, a few steel training vessels currently navigating the Great Lakes: the St.Lawrence II and the Toronto Brigantines, the Pathfinder and the Playfaire.

The name of Maurice was not unknown of us either, as Andy had mentioned him numerous times, but it was the first time we met each other. I am sure we will cross again and would be thrilled for more opportunity to chat with Maurice.  His sailing experience and his accumulated knowledge from working as the curator of  the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston, Ontario have me intrigued. I feel there are many stories to be heard. Maurice holds a blog on the great lakes Maritime history

From left to right: Andy, Me, Maurice and Francis. Mark is behind the camera  
Inspection of the engine/navigation compartment

As we are all standing on solid surfaces, 91 years old Francis is balancing on the engine bed. I too, when I reach such venerable age, want to climb up and down ladders, crawl in boats and have all of my memories to share with the following generations. It’s funny to discuss boat design with Francis; as he is in awe looking at the computer solid model I can only have the greatest respect for all the hulls he designed with pen and paper.

Mark, Maurice and Francis in big boat discussion
A thoughtful Andy, seems pretty much at ease anywhere on a boat
Lignum Vitae! Andy lightens up like a child with a precious toy while admiring the special wood.

A couple weeks ago, Mark found a big chunk of lignum Vitae in a wood store which he bought to start turning dead eyes. Lignum Viae is a neat wood, it is so dense that it sinks

Mark’s saw horse production

There is a story behind the saw horses. As there was changes happening at the sail loft, the lofting floor was dismantled. Andy offered us all the remaining lumber which turned out perfect to make the saw horses we will need for building our mast and spars.

Fitting bowsprit

A couple month ago I posted about bringing back a big stick from Kingston. Andy had given us this century Thames barge bowsprit which he had kept under the sail loft floor . He was now hoping we could make it live again by using it for one of our spars. I first thought it might work out for our boom but it turns out it will be perfectly fitted for our bowsprit. We will need to cut off a few feet and clean the surface up a tad bit but this old stick will get travel on a boat again.

After an hour or so on the boat, warming up with some food and drinks.

You will hear again about Andy Soper as we value his involvement in our project and he will be making our ships sails.

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