Monday, September 2, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sven Holch recounts the first Sea Of Opportunities program from summer 2013

"Connor, we have you and Wallace Boatworks to thank for literally keeping the surfboat program afloat!  While your job has been fixing it up, my job was to break it! (ahem, I mean USE it). I fulfilled my duties on the very first day by wrenching the bronze rudder track right off the stern and watching it's green, curved, 2 foot form sink 12 feet down into a bed of seaweed. Guess what an old, curved, green piece of skinny bronze looks just like? Yup, you got it, seaweed. At low tide that very afternoon in only 8 feet of water, after an hour of diving on a needle in a haystack with assistant surfboat instructor/local sailor/accomplished rower, Matias Sejersen, we emerged victorious and within 24 hours, Connor had that piece of bronze affixed to stern for at least the next 100 years, thanks Connor! 

It did not, however, deter for one second, an energetic group of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders from making the most of everything the surfboat had to offer. In just two weeks, this dedicated crew learned how to rig it, sail it, row it, keep it shipshape and put it away every afternoon. Some highlights included a visit to the Lifesaving & Shipwreck Museum, sewing their own ditty bags on a rainy day, rowing against the current through the cut in the jetties(then later riding it back through like a very large canoe on rapids), sailing against the current up to the inside of Coatue, racing the outgoing tide to emerge "ungrounded" from our favorite swimming hole, lots of swimming and diving at the end of each day. 

Our Sea of Opportunities took many forms, and we were fortunate to meet with local resources around the harbor, from Chuck Gifford taking us on an informative row in the whaleboat, to the Coatue Ranger teaching us tracking skills and bird identification, to the Coast Guard touring us throughout their "surfboats(s)." And finally, we were treated to a "gam" with local waterman, Alfie Sanford, who invited us to sail alongside his beautiful, wooden yawl, Starry Night. We had the distinct honor to not only get a tour of the elegant vessel that he designed himself, but the green crew were then given the rare opportunity to take her out for a sail! That really capped off an extraordinary two weeks of the inaugural year of the program. What impressed me the most about these kids was how they looked forward to it every day, and how well they took care of the boat and each other while having a lot of fun. I sincerely hope that we continue to see the surfboat plying the waters of Nantucket with an enthusiastic  crew aboard."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer 2013

After a long few months of the Surf Boat soaking up the spring rains, it was finally time to take off the tarps and do some finishing touches.  Pascal Antionetti, over at Nantucket Community Sailing, dropped off the beautifully refinished spars which allowed Eric Holch to sit down and figure out the rigging.  He basically disassembled a Marshall Cat rig and used the ropes and blocks to make something work for the surfboat.  At this stage, a lot of this rigging work was guess work, but in the end we found it to work very well.

I did some final touches on the interior of the Surf Boat.  I added a few more backing blocks to support the thwart brackets, added a block and purchase system onto the centerboard, and drove home a few more screws that needed driving.  Most of my focus, however, was in the launching of the boat and making sure that when she went it, she would not sink to the bottom.  To do this, I allowed some rain water to fill up the boat and sit before draining it out.  This allowed the boat to swell a tiny bit more, but also show me where she was leaking.  I went around with some slick seam and covered the spots that looked like they would be more of an issue.

On a clear June afternoon, Eric Holch, Bill Fredericks, and Pascal Antionetti met me down at the launch ramp to splash her for the first time.  John Stanton and film crew where there to make some movies of the boat going in.

My initial idea that day was to get the boat in the water, make sure she didnt sink, maybe row it around a bit, then get it on the mooring.  Once in the water with the mast rigged and with a little elbowing from Bill we decided that it was too nice of a day to just leave it at that.  We got to row her, steer by the oar, rig both the main and the jib, attach the rudder and get some amazing sailing in as well.

The boats performance far exceeded any expectations that I had.  She actually sailed well and tacked through the wind with no issues and was light on the helm.  I cannot tell you how internally happy that made me feel.  After years of neglect, then months of hard work, an old Surf Boat from the 1940s was now sailing around Nantucket Harbor under my hand.

And soon I was to turn it over to Eric and to his son Sven who would run the two week Sea of Opportunities Program this August, which turned out to be an incredible success.

Short Video from the Surf Boat's inaugural sail!

video

Summer Fun On The Surf Boat

Eric Holch, Bill Fredericks, John Stanton, and myself take the surfboat on her inaugural sail!



Putting the boat away at the yacht club


Eric's son Sven takes kids out from the Boys and Girls club on during the summer Sea of Opportunities Program 


A close up of the Sea of Opportunities program


Another view of Sea of Opportunities 


Eric takes out family members during the rainbow parade at the 2013 Opera House Cup





Here she sits 


After a successful inaugural summer





Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Work - Winter 2013

Unfortunately, the Surf Boat has spent most of the winter in lonely anguish in Eric Holch's mother's yard braving gales and snow storms.  We were, however, given a chance this February to bring her in to Rick Kotolac's shop for two weeks of face lifting.

The main goal was to finish up the painting that wasn't finished over the summer, and to being putting all the pieces back together.  When I first towed her over to the shop, I had to pull her through a foot snow drift that had built up off Cliff rd, and she was happy to thaw out in the heated shop.  In two weeks, I got a lot of painting done.  One coat of primer on the rudder and all sole beams, two coats of semi gloss white on the rudder and topsides, and two coats of beetle grey on the interior and cap rail.


The other big job was to install the heavy 100% bronze centerboard that Ron Shepard shaped to Alfie Sanford's specifications.  We ended up drilled a 1" hole as a hinge point and placing a bronze bushing with a 1/2" diameter hole to take the bolt.  Alfie stopped in to help me raise the centerboard into the boat and using a flashlight with a bit of luck, we were able to punch the bolt through the bushing and lock in place the centerboard.

With the boat painted, the sole beams were ready to install one last time and the floorboards on top of that.  With the floorboards down, she really has a sense of completion, and you can finally get an idea of how you will sit and what it might be like to row her.  Although it is my guess that this will be an altogether singular experience and will have to be executed to fully appreciate.

I brought the boat back to Eric's yard, covered her up with the tarp, and although she still sits alone to bare the brunt of mother nature, she seems a little happier now.  Soon the warm weather will come, and all the loose odds and ends will be put together, and the surf boat that was originally launched in the 1940s will row once again.


New Photos - Winter 2013

The Surf Boat spent most of the winter like this...



But was moved into Rick Kotolac's shop for two weeks in February.  Here the topsides have been sanded



Another coat of semi gloss white was applied to the topsides and the rudder primed


After the ice crud was cleaned out of the interior, I was able to apply the first coat of Beetle Grey



The interior 3/4 of the way painted



And all the way painted



While the paint dried, I took some time to work on the centerboard.  Here you see the bronze bushing we are using as a hinge point



The bronze bushing




A view of the bronze centerboard that local Ron Shepard made for us


Here is the centerboard bolt in place with washers and O-ring gaskets 



The interior was sanded once more and a 2nd coat of grey applied.  Then the sole beams were installed



Another coat of white was put on the topsides


And the floorboards are installed



And here she sits once more, awaiting warmer weather