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Bosun School – Smells like Winter

Slowly, ever so slowly, it is sinking in that Bosun School is coming to a close. Only one more week! Where have those days and weeks gone?

Coming to think of it, it is, in fact, surprising that time has not run away even faster. The sheer amount of things that we have been up to over the last two-and-a-half months is quite mind boggling. Bosun School, “an intensive skills development program”. Indeed.

Remember? Overhaul, prepare, repair, caulk, paint & launch boats, from small skiffs (and dugout canoe) to decent-sized sailing yachts; use sheer legs to step masts; learn to sail, row, pull and motor; basic rope work; organise workspaces; wire care and wire rigging maintenance; worming, parcelling & serving; wire and fibre rope splices and seizings; work aloft; partially down-rig a three-masted barque, by hand; learn to move heavy things safely; overhaul blocks; learn the fundamentals of sailmaking and sail repair; hand- and machine sewing; make a ditty bag; build an upper tops’l to the second layout stage; absorb shipboard life with all its joys and demands; attend workshops; write a CV and learn how to apply for a job; listen to distinguished maritime and academic professionals and hear their view of our industry; complete an accredited industrial rigging course, and first aid course; get your recreational boater’s licence… the list goes on. And yet, every day brings something new. Never a dull moment.

Today was yet another busy day at Boz Skool. Despite a rather rainy and windy first half of the day, we had the program running along nicely. Rigging overhaul continued apace in the warmish workshop while the weather was miserable before lunch.

The gang had submitted a revised hauling plan for the schooner Calanova and the Blue Sloop yesterday for approval. Yes, it’s that time of year. Not to make too fine a point of it, our two boats are the last remaining on moorings in Lunenburg Harbour. Many moorings are now in use by the Lobster fishermen, and busy it is in the harbour because of it, too.

Are we being tardy hauling boats? No way. In fact, Blue and Calanova were both sailed a few days ago in golden early afternoon sunshine and light winds. A good occasion for the gang to say “Goodbye” after a couple of months of intense small boat work. A last opportunity to practice maneuvering under sail, in perfect training conditions.

Hauling plan. Yes, we do it that formally. Getting on paper what is loosely orbiting your mind. What is important? Where are the possible snags? Much like in a professional environment, the gang had to compile a plan as if they were offering their services to a customer.  And doing it in such a formal way helps greatly to visualise the process.

We launched the boats two months ago, and a lot has happened since. So many new impressions, so much rigging, sailorising, small boat work, sail making, boat repair, you name it. Somewhere down there, deep down, is the memory of the launching. Hauling is much the same, in reverse. So deep down the memory was that we had to reject the gang’s first attempt at a hauling plan. Had they forgotten everything?

No, they had not. After a debrief regarding the failed plan, the gang submitted version 2.0. And much improved it is, too, I would call it an actual hauling plan this time.

After lunch, I quizzed the gang about their plan, had them describe the process, and let them clarify a couple of “soft” points in the plan. The plan was then accepted, and we will set it in motion tomorrow.

 Busy, you said? Oh yes!

Monomoy, our 26-foot ex-rescue pulling surf boat got hauled by the gang, a last hurrah under oars, and her bottom was cleaned while still soft & slimy. Monomoywill be properly winterised at the Dory Shop shortly. Karl, Mr. Bones and the varnished skiff, all part of the Bosun School fleet of small boats that were used during this year’s session, were moved into the “Building Bay”, a large open workshop in the Picton Castle warehouse. Mr. Bones, in fact, got triced up under the overhead steel girder to give us more room for the remaining three boats that have yet to be moved for the winter. And the Building Bay, also serving as stock lumber store, got tidied some in the process. Good Bosun work all of it.

 Christian, Bosun School student from Denmark and Picton Castle hand this past summer in the Great Lakes, conducted a workshop on 8-strand hawser splicing, and he did a good job. Having to explain and demonstrate something to others is a good tool to deepen one’s own skill and understanding. A valuable lesson to learn.

What else? All is laid along to haul at least Calanova tomorrow. Not sure whether we have enough lumber for bearers for both boat cradles, Calanova and Blue at the same time, we’ll have to see. If we do, the plan is to haul both Calanova and Blue tomorrow on the same tide. If we don’t have enough lumber, the Blue Sloop will be hauled the following day.

In preparation, the beach at the Dory Shop boatyard was cleared from seaweed and debris and leveled today at afternoon low tide.

Now that’s a busy day. A good day.

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