Wood is a truly wonderful material, not just for its beauty, but also for its excellent engineering characteristics. While wood technology has been around for thousands of years for boat construction purposes, wood technology is still developing today.
In August of 1999, Woodenboat magazine published an article on a novel type of wooden mast construction. Masts originally were tree trunks. Tree trunks themselves are very efficient engineering structures, but for many centuries it has been known that a hollow tree is not much weaker than a solid tree. Similarly a hollow mast also is not much weaker than a solid mast and much lighter. And in sailboat design light is good and light weight high in the boat is awesome.
Therefore hollow masts were a feature of the fanciest wooden sailboats for many years, and with epoxy glues it became possible to glue together fancy hollow masts and hollow wooden masts were quite common. But still, not until the 1999 Woodenboat article did the boatbuilding world become aware of a very clever approach to hollow mast building that is now generally referred to as bird’s mouth mast construction.
If you look at the crosssection of the mast the term is obvious since it looks like a bunch of bird’s beaks biting their neighbors. read more »
There is absolutely nothing so absolutely awesome as ice boating. It was the greatest thrill in the world 200 years ago and it still is today, and I have no problem betting that it will be still be an astonishing thrill 200 years from now.
There is something almost magic about maritime. Except for, possibly, forest fire fighting (which is not as big as maritime) I cannot think of any industry where there is such a tradition of seamless cooperation as in maritime.
This project was not large by our normal standards, but it clearly provides a picture of what I mean.
Fair Haven, in bed 0530.
Boat shows tend to depress me. It is important to stay up with the latest trends, but most boat shows focus so heavily on consumer products that it is difficult to extract real joy from them. My friend and fellow boat lover Captain Dannie Schade, owner of Classic Boat Rides, convinced me and our wives to take a roadtrip to Portland ME last weekend to attend the Maine Boatbuilders Show.
This is the show for real boat lovers. If you ever feel jaded or depressed about the looks and quality of today's boats, even a few minutes at this show proves that all is well in boatland. Great people, great boats, great setting, great food, great innovations and pure joy. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
Fisheries management is an excruciatingly complex subject. The management (or mismanagement) of fisheries can very rapidly affect the viability of the industry and has all sorts of carry on effects. Martin & Ottaway sees these effects in fishing boat accident investigations and fishing boat valuations. For example, a fishing boat value is not just tied to the market, or even to its specific trade, but can also be affected by applicable fishing licenses and fishery management methods. While fishing will always be dangerous, as can be noted at the end of this story, well designed and well managed fisheries tend to be much safer than poorly managed fisheries.
Improper management can result in complete vessel value collapse, as has recently occurred in Spain and was described in a recent New York Times article, while a successful management program can have many positive carry on effects.
Recently Seattle Admiralty Attorney (and fellow wooden boat aficionado) Chip Jordan introduced me to an example of a program that is worthy of further consideration. It concerns the Seattle fishing schooner fleet.
High tech comes in many flavors. Some of it is just completely new like the Lever building in New York City or maybe an IPad, but I like high tech when it reaches back and reaches forward. In yacht design occasionally I get to see such instances. I particularly like those designs that use wood in novel ways. Last week I finally got the chance to sail on a 1980's Dick Newick wooden trimaran that has been taunting me on its mooring on the river near my house for many years (I am digressing a little here, bear with me).