Every wooden boat that leaves the Apprenticeshop is a tangible record of the hands that built it, a record of the process apprentices have gone through as they learn the hand and human skills involved in building a boat. This past Friday, we launched Mishi Mikinaak, a 26' gaff-rigged ketch that has been in the works for the last two and a half years.
Mishi Mikinaak is a Mackinaw design historically used for travel, fishing, and cargo hauling on the Great Lakes. It was chosen to become the newest expedition, sail training, and seamanship vessel because of the unique qualities of its design; it has a shallow draft, yet is seaworthy; it can move in light air and has speed; while modest in size, it can sleep six for overnight expeditions.
Almost every part of the boat, from the hull, to the hardware, to each component of the rig, was made in-house by apprentices. The Mackinaw truly represents the core spirit of the Shop; every apprentice that has been here in the last three years has had some part in the construction of the vessel, and in the last week especially, everyone jumped in to provide help and support in readying the boat for its launch day.