Monday, November 19, 2012

Pescawa's Re-launch

Pescawa hit the water on September 12, 2012 after being on land for 4 years or more.  The day was auspiciously pleasant with much excitement and anticipation.  As one might imagine, extra attention was paid to having two important pieces of equipment in good working order.  Jim Rovang of  Rovang Marine made sure that the two bilge pumps were powered up to go, as water was expected to steadily seep into the seams due to the boats extended dry period.  Owner David Waterman was mostly smiles the whole time, if he was nervous he wasn't showing it!

David Waterman preparing the hull for paint

After sitting in the sling for couple hours Pescawa was towed to slip where she sat overnight, her seams adjusting and swelling as the pumps gradually slowed their duty.

Shiny new prop and fresh paint

Caulking and filling seams with putty

Pescawa's original cabin and doorway

Beside the cabin extension, this latest slate of work included: caulking in the stern, bumping the cotton and repaying it,  phase one of the interior remodel, hull paint, all new wiring, new instrument panel, and new Yanmar 120 hp engine, shaft, propeller, and 4-1 reduction gear.
To see previous work and a good picture of how she looked before the work began, please visit  Pescawa 2011.
Preparing to rebuild and extend cabin

Frames and purple heart sill of  house extension dry fit

The posts, knees, braces, cabin top beams lain out and painted before final installation
First trip to Fuel Dock with new engine
Helm station with new electrical panel to the left

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Origami Boat

Emerald Marine Carpentry launched the newest member of it's fleet, a folding Origami boat.  This boat is quickly ready to row, can be easily rigged for sailing, set up for a small outboard motor, or equipped with a peddle power outfit.  This smart little vessel gets tucked up into a handy little package for easy storage.  To purchase the design and materials was about $250.  The finish weight is 44 lbs.  For us, it is quickly set up on the cabin top and lauched over the rail.

Number one goal achieved, low profile, high visibility from cockpit.

Stem, Stern, and Keel
Set up before the truck tarp skin was added

The overcast but pleasant summer Sunday evening was perfect for the first splash and inaugural row.  The design is from Woodenwidgets founder Robin Benjamin.  Check out his web link below.  The designs are fun and intriguing.  There are numerous videos online of these handy little boats rowing and sailing.  One of the most attractive boats is the nesting dingy Stasha.  She only weighs 22 lbs and from videos posted, looks to sail quite well.

Set up in Seconds!

Demonstrating stability: So useful for getting into and out of with a high free-board sailboat.

We found our little boat to be as stable as we would like for getting in and out of boats with high freeboard or onto docks. One can step near the sides and not tip. Worries that rowing into the wind with some moderate chop were not tested on our week long vacation.  Time will tell, although we think she'll do quite well.
We enjoyed our tender to Windsong on a week sailing!

Wooden Widget Website

P.S. so sorry about the mis-publishing of a very incomplete post.  Pescawa's Relauching will be forthcoming!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Teak Decks, Cabin Sole: Construction and Installation

Methods and Techniques

There are traditional laid teak decks and a more modern method which involves vacuum bagging new decking panels over an existing deck .  When Emerald Marine employs the modern technique, we  construct our panels made to patterns from the boat in our shop. We have also installed panels made by Teak Decking Systems and employ their products in making our custom panels.   Boats we've decked include a Grand Banks '36, a Northern Marine '64, and a long distance steel cruising yacht, built on an extended tuna fishing hull.  As seen at the bottom of this entry, we have also constructed a custom teak and maple cabin sole for as part of a custom interior on a  37' Nordic Tug.

Here is a panel  laid up on scrim. The seams will be filled with black caulk and  sanded before taking it to the boat

The finished is panel ready for installation

These decks were laid on plywood while in the shop
replacing the original Grand Banks construction
teak deck
The Grand Banks bow showing the seams of the panels
under the margin boards beneath the cleats

Here a panel has been installed.
The adjacent area prepared for the next 'bag
Vacuum bagging technique set up

Ready for final caulking
between the panels and the covering boards

For the cabin sole of Gandalf, a 37 foot Nordic Tug, Emerald Carpentry's James McMullen skillfully constructed solid tongue and groove teak and maple flooring and carefully fit it around furniture and hatches.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Small Wood Boat Adventure in Barkley Sound

James McMullen of Emerald Marine Carpentry and three friends took their love of beautiful, small rowing and sailing craft for a week trip exploring the islands and beaches of Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island.  Enjoy this post on the Wooden Boat Forum!

Open Wood Boats, Row and Sail Barkley Sound

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Historic Pacific Northwest Troller- Francis Fredette's Pescawa

Well known Canadian boat designer and nautical sage, Francis Fredette built Pescawa in Esquimalt Harbor on a scow barge in 1939 for himself. Fredette with a long and storied life spent much of his days seeing the world by water.  It's easy to be charmed by the story of this man.  It begins having been both lured into and warned off by the romance of maritime life by a favorite uncle. After his first adventure as a cabin boy on a sealing vessel, his father recognized his seamanship proclivity and aptitude, allowing him to become an apprentice shipwright rather then pursuing scholastics. He made steady progress learning the trade.  Eventually economic hardship forced him to leave Victoria following work fishing cod, more sealing, building Bristol Bay boats in Seattle, and a stint in the Merchant Marines during WW1.

Just before the journey to Emerald Marine
Among his adventures, Fredette, being dedicated to correct maritime conduct, clandestinely escaped a nasty Captain and murderous first mate. Later, as part of a hardy crew, he survived with 32 others on a life boat for 24 days after a lightening strike turned one ship into a floating bomb.  The men washed ashore in the Philippines. When he recovered his health he returned home to his family who had heard of no survivors from the lost ship, and took him for lost.  Pescawa was to be a turn of career for Fredette.  Equipped with the lore and support of fellow fishermen he decided to try his hand at harvesting from the sea.

After a brief, unsuccessful foray into fishing, Francis sold the boat and went back to building and designing.  His wife Irene had strongly encouraged him to pursue his creative talent.  He has many designs to his credit: pelagic sealing boats, yachts, handy day sailers, fishing vessels and cruisers. Near the end of his career he encouraged the shipwright skills in others and trained green shipwrights in Nanaimo.
Aft shot of the 'cruising stern'

Pescawa's most unique aspect is what Fredette named a cruising stern: a combination of a double ended and a round stern.  It is built both staved  and in lifts to form a rounded canoe-like stern. This particular design was later used by designer Edwin Monk.  Pescawa's owner, David Waterman feels strongly about preserving this salty boat so rich in personal history for Fredette.
While the boat was in Dave's back yard he painstakingly removed the foamed in fish hold, tanks  and the tired Lehman engine.  Working with Andy, he refastened hull planking and they began rebuilding the clamps that were cut when the hold was fit. The hull was inspected and a restoration plan agreed on. Over all the vessel was in pretty good shape considering her age. Her double sawn yellow cedar frames and tight old grown fir planking undoubtedly contributed significantly to her longevity. A new 120 hp yanmar engine with a 4:1 reduction gear was purchased and put in the boat, ready to be fit to new engine beds.

In fall of 2011, the boat moved to  Emerald's shop, work continued shoring up the stern. The entire assembly had fallen away from the hull over time.  New floor timbers, frames  and clamps were fit  in that area. Going forward, the break beam at the deck was  iron sick and the laid deck was tired.  The deck was removed, the deck beams replaced or repaired and the uppermost frame ends, which double as the stations, replaced on both sides.

A new deck was laid with two layers of 12mm plywood, glue to each other and rabbeted in to new covering boards. The fish hold opening was cut down by half to accommodate the cabin extension.  

This spring a second set of work began including extending the cabin wheelhouse, building new engine beds and bolting down the engine, installing tanks and batteries.  Attached to the cruising stern are two tow bollards perhaps  to move logs around in BC.  All the electrical and hydraulic systems will be replaced. The shaft and prop are new but the original rudder is still serviceable and will wait to be replaced in the future.  After the current structural work is completed, the wheelhouse will be lengthened enough for a head and shower. Forward and below will be a v-bearth and galley.  The overall vision is to keep it simple and not loose the spartan workboat feel that is central to the history of this boat.

Visit this blog again to see how the work is progressing.

The Watermans have plans to enjoy the local waters of the San Juan Archipelago and Canadian Gulf Islands. Retirement living plans include heading into the inlets and coves of British Columbia on the way to Alaska, taking time to meander and spend more quality time in the peaceful fiords.  If all goes well, greater cruising plans and dreams include the Panama Canal, east coast St. Lawrence Waterway and into Ontario!  Adventure calls!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Island Star: A traditional Whitehall rowing gig for OARSS


Small boat enthusiasts with a love for traditional techniques instantly feel the pull to grab an oar and glide across the water when they see a vessel such as the Island Star. Those who row weekly appreciate, first hand, the craftsmanship and care put into this beautiful and historical boat.  Many OARS members had a hand in the building, painting, and continued care of this boat.

Above: David Jackson and Andy Stewart
Left: Fitting a plank
Below: James McMullen carves the cockswains backrest
(photo by Phil Eley)


The Old Anacortes Rowing and Sailing Society and Emerald Marine together with volunteer labor brought to completion a project that began a decade ago.  After 4 months of concerted effort Island Star was launched in early September 2010.  The first destination for the newly splashed gig was the Port Townsend Woodenboat Festival for a race against sister vessel, Salish Star.  This is following a rich tradition of rowing races in the states that dates back to the French and Indian wars.  These four station rowing vessels are based on a boat used in a historical race in the 1800s: a race won by the American crew against an English British crew in New York Harbor.  The winning boat, the American Star, was bestowed on General Lafayette in 1825 by the United States to show gratitude for his role commanding French forces during our Revolutionary War. He preserved the boat at his estate outside of Paris.  The late great John Gardener realized the vessel was still existent and perhaps the oldest surviving American small craft. He took the lines and built a replica, the General Layafette, at Mystic Seaport.


The Salish Star is a sister of General Lafayette, built nearly identically. Island Star is built  in west coast fashion with bent rails and knees and breast hook inboard of all.

           Photos by Phil Eley

She's  clinker planked, copper riveted at the frames and clench nailed in the laps.  The planking is red cedar, very tight grained. Other woods include: oregon oak ribs, fir  thwarts,  local locust floors, transom and knees and yellow cedar carved coxswain's seat carved oars.  The photo below highlights the grown frames.

                                           Photo by Phil Eley

The boat turning ceremony

Photo by Phil Eley

The Anacortes rowing group inherited the project from a group on San Juan island which was headed by John Calogero. The boat was started with a Traditional Small Craft Association, John Gardner grant. The finished boat began on a backbone of San Juan Island fir lumber fit to station molds over a stout building frame.  There was a group of regular and other club volunteers who showed up on Thursdays for planing, planking, sanding, riveting, sanding, painting, and wooden boat commeraderie.  The first major turning point of construction is when  the hull is lifted and flipped upside down to right side up.  The atmosphere was festive as the volunteers helped lift and turn Island Star aided by block and tackle hung from the high rafters.

Launch Day brought over a hundred people to welcome Island Star into the rowing fold along with Erica and Glide the rowing club's original boats escorting the new boat into Cap Sante Marina.  Next it was off to the races in Port Townsend, where the Island Star Crew soundly outpaced their rivals.

                                           Photos by Phil Eley

We feel very fortunate to be part of this continuation of maritime heritage. The boat is well loved and goes out many times each week, year 'round.  Now we are considering a sailing rig too!

Emerald Marine would like to acknowledge all the volunteers who participated in the building of Island Star. Special thanks to David Jackson, Donn Wilson, Tom Gates, Torgy Torgersen, and Meghan King.

Links to more information:
American Star Race 2010 New York, NY
Mystic Seaport Whitehall Information
Historical Information on American Star
Old Anacortes Rowing and Sailing Society
Woodenboat Foundation, Home of Salish Star
Traditional Small Craft Association