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A Lunenburg Diary

Written by Eva. Eva is a Bosun School student of Finnish origins. She has spent most of her life married to classical music and has discovered the pleasures of sailing only recently.

It has been a busy week. Last Friday we were celebrating Katelinn’s and Maggie’s birthdays at the Dory Shop with extensive cakes and appropriate beverages. On Saturday we were picked up by a friend, to go to Halifax, whose schooner we were to deliver to Riverport on Sunday. Some of us were already celebrating a pre-Halloween in La Have.

This week we have been finishing our skiff: adding all the missing parts (breast hooks, stern cleats, risers, nosing, covering boards, skids, outwales…), planing, sanding, puttying, painting and obviously drilling screws in and out. Today’s surprisingly difficult task was to make plugs for the thwarts. Jay Langford has with patience showed us little tricks that make life easier, and also comforted us in the moment of desperation that that’s just how difficult it is. Wood is a living material and every piece of wood is different. But tomorrow we are expecting our skiff to be ready and launched, exciting!

Next to the Dory Shop we follow with enthusiasm the emerging of the Lunenburg twin schooners. Jay has promised to take us to the mill one of these days to give us a glimpse on the process from wood to planks.

In between we are cooking, washing dishes, doing ship checks and domestics, bringing down some remaining running rigging and listening to sailmaker-Mike’s shanties. We had also a guest this week, one of those lucky ones that get to do the Atlantic Voyage was here familiarizing herself with Picton Castle. We are also planning our own Halloween party and helping friends haul their boats. Are we stressed out? Personally I can’t think of anything more satisfying than hard work for a common goal.

While I am writing this, it is brisk and the October sun is lighting the autumnal colours. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit Lunenburg, I have to confirm this is a magical place: a small extremely beautiful town with its personalities and secrets, with everyone saying hello and helping each other. I do feel at home here. To quote Robert M. Pirsig: ”An alternative – and better – definition of reality can be found by naming some of its components …air…sunlight…wind…water…the motion of waves…the patterns of clouds before a coming storm. These elements, unlike twentieth-century office routines, have been here since before life appeared on this planet and they will continue long after office routines are gone.” I find myself being much closer to this reality here in Lunenburg than anywhere else on land.

bow of the skiff
clamping together the thwart
Eva, Samantha, Jay, Agnes and Heather install the riser
Jay demonstrates techniques on the bow
the skiff is painted, just a few finishing touches required
the skiff under construction

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