Shipbuilding at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

13 04 2010

I saw this report in the local paper last fall.

Dawson Moreland & Associates Ltd., as the Lunenburg Schooner Company, will be laying the keels of two new “Lunenburg Schooners” in the finest Maritime traditions at The Dory Shop on the harbour shores of our famous seafaring town, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. We are starting off this exciting enterprise with the design and construction of two classic 48-foot, two-masted schooner yachts, for cruising, racing and ocean voyaging. “Fast and Able” schooners are our aim. An initiative to capture the imagination itself, this project is part of the restoration of The Dory Shop Boatyard as the wooden boat building and repair facility it has been for so long and is also a key component of the efforts to revitalize the Lunenburg Working Waterfront.
Starting this autumn, for the first time in many decades, townsfolk and visitors alike will once again witness wooden sailing vessels under
construction along the water’s edge of Lunenburg  Harbour. For so many generations this was such a common sight that even today in the
21st century Lunenburg is known the world over for her fleets of white-winged sailing ships and abilities to put such vessels together.
The replicas of the Bounty, Bluenose, HMS Rose, the expedition vessel Wanderbird and the world voyaging sail training ship, the Barque Picton
Castle, all sailing today, were crafted by the many area shipwrights, sailmakers, spar makers, block makers,slipways and blacksmiths. Together
they still make Lunenburg the place to build or refit a ship and launch a dream.

This was exciting news for us. Although coming from the East Coast of Scotland, the tradition of shipbuilding has almost died out and it is rare to see the building of any new boat.

We saw the keels when they had just been laid and last week-end went along to get some photos to show the progress.


The history of how they obtained the wood for these boats was also really interesting.
In the spring of 2009 while on the ship’s 18,000-mile Voyage of the Atlantic, the crew of the Picton Castle got permission from the Forestry Department of the Island of Grenada in the West Indies to go into the jungle with the famous Grenadian shipwright “Mr. Bones” and locate timbers for keels, stems and other components to build these schooners. Five days later the crew came out of the jungle with two 3,000- pound, 32’x12”x22” pieces of incredibly durable ‘Mountain Gormier’. These they loaded on the ship and sailed the 1,700 miles North to Lunenburg where they now lay at The Dory Shop with a growing pile of timbers waiting for keel laying day. Timber, carpenters, tools and other supplies are being gathered for the Autumn keel laying.

Here is an amazing video of the whole trip to acquire the wood. It is 25 minutes long, but you can move through it quicker if you wish.

http://vimeo.com/5481133

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It will be exciting to watch the progress of these two schooners and I’m sure that the Launch will be a day of celebration for the town of Lunenburg.

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5 responses

16 04 2010
Cam & Lou

It will be much more exciting to watch the progress of the two schooners, now that we know the effort that went into getting the keels!

17 04 2010
jackiequeen

I agree. I had no idea when I took the photos of the story behind them.

19 04 2010
sartenada

Very interesting. I like those photos which are showing “skeletons” of boats. To see them, I better understand the process of building boats. Thank You showing these.

15 05 2010
The Loftsman

Hi,
Interesting article and good to see they are going ahead with the build, have to say that the old town looked a wee bit down on it’s luck when we visited last Feb 09
Smashing little town with a great pedigree in wooden ships.
Enjoy this world heritage town.

16 05 2010
jackiequeen

Hi, Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is good to see boats being built here in Lunenburg and the Dory Shop is busy too. Employment is scarce in Atlantic Canada, but hopefully things will pick up. Towns can have bad years – as you will know at Leith – and then there are boom years. All the best.

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