Have You Ever Wondered Where Our Susan Skiffs End Up?

We received the following email this morning. It’s always nice to know where our boats end up!

Good Morning,

On my mother’s 75th birthday, my sister and I presented her with a Susan Skiff made by your organization. As you can see is was a joy to her. Upon her passing on June 3, 2001 my Sister and I donated the Susan Skiff to the Boat House a Mystic Seaport Museum.

Thanks for building such a fine vessel.

Regards,

Carol L. Kohankie & Wil Langdon

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Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.

The Power of a Different Kind of Education

Here at the Shop, we’ve been engaging in conversations about what our values are and why we offer the kinds of programs we do. This video produced about our Maritime Skills program speaks to some of that. The students came to us as part of the alternative education program at Oceanside High School. They developed building skills, but in the process, they learned a whole lot more.

Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.

Bruce C. Bouldry

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Former apprentice Bruce Bouldry passed away on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019. You can find his obituary here.

Friends, family members and others whose lives Bruce touched are invited to a memorial and celebration of his life on Saturday, September 28, at 1 p.m., at the Rockport Opera House in Rockport, ME.

Photo Credit: Penobscot Bay Pilot

Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.

One of Our Grads

Molly Mulhern, our board chair, went to an exhibition of women in the sea at the Halifax Maritime museum and saw one of our graduates, Lisa Zygowski, featured! Way cool! She currently works for the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg.

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Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.

Meet Our Two New 12-Week Students

This July, we welcomed two new 12-week students, Tammi Reilly and Sophie Camlong. Read more about them below.

Sophie

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Where are you from?

The Basque country (northwestern France).

What brought you to the Apprenticeshop?

To learn more about boatbuilding. I heard a lot about The Apprenticeshop when I was in Albaola. This is my first time in the US.

What were you doing before you came here?

I first studied architecture. Then I studied cabinetry for 2 years. I spent 1 year studying boatbuilding. After, I worked at Albaola. Most recently, I was in Tahiti working on fiberglass boats.

What do you like best about the Shop so far?

It’s kind of ridiculous but the communication. I have never seen that in other places. Like the shop meeting every day to let people know what’s happening that day and will be happening. And the Wednesday apprentice meeting.

What has been most difficult for you in your first few weeks here?

The language.

If you could have any shop superpower, what would it be?

I would like to be able to use my legs as clamps to be able to work with free hands. If I had this power, I’d also have to be more flexible.

Tammi

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Where are you from?

I grew up in the bay area in California.

What brought you to the Apprenticeshop?

Previous schooling. I really wanted to build a boat from start to finish. I liked that the 12-week program has only two students at a time. I liked that there are lots of other projects going on in the shop at the same time. I had never been to Maine or New England before, and I love it!

What were you doing before you came here?

I have been retired for 7 years. I spend a lot of time volunteering with veterans and with the church. I’ve been thinking about writing a book. I do lots of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

What do you like best about the Shop so far?

The mornings. The location. I like the way The Apprenticeshop wakes up. I am also really enjoying working with Sophie. It’s nice to work independently but have a comrade there.

What has been most difficult for you in your first few weeks here?

Compound joints. Otherwise, I have just enough boatbuilding knowledge to have made the beginning of my 12-week go smoother. I’m rapidly approaching the limits of my previous experience.

If you could have any shop superpower, what would it be?

To be able to see in artistic pictures; artistic vision.

Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.

Expedition - Part II

The view from Pollux anchored off of Brimstone.

Day 2: Morning, 6:30am

There is an intensity of pink light, electric stripes shooting across the sky against a dark backdrop of jagged trees. At the edges, lavender clouds fade into the blueness of dawn. It’s such a clear morning, and so quiet except for the birds and the occasional lobster boat.

I like sleeping without the tarps. When I inevitably wake up in the middle of the night, it’s nice to be able to see the sky, the puffs of cloud against the moon, encircled by a faint rainbow halo. I somehow thought we were aground because I couldn’t feel the boat moving under me; I couldn’t hear the gurgling lap of the waves against the hull. But when I sat up to get a better look, I realized the water was just extremely calm.

I suppose that won’t bode well for our wind today. You can see the current running in the channel, but the breeze is faint and the water in here, tucked in at Green’s, is glassy. Everything feels asleep, not yet touched by the routines of morning.

Day 2: Brimstone

Brimstone is one of my favorite places, starting with the approach. As you sail through the last stretch of islands tucked up under Vinalhaven, towards the small, balding head of Brimstone, the only thing beyond you is blue horizon. It feels like you might just fall off the edge of the Earth if you went any farther. As you near the island, you can hear the sucking sound of the smooth black cobbles being pulled back into the sea from the tombolo beach. We breeze in under sail and throw out our stern anchor, nosing in to shore with our oars. One brave soul makes an epic jump into the shallows and trudges up the beach with the bow anchor slung over his shoulders. The landslide under his feet is like an outpouring of dried beans from an upset jar.

Setting out to explore, scrambling over rocks spattered with bright rust-colored lichens, it feels like an otherworldly landscape. It seems as if it’s inhabited only by plants, birds, and insects - anything that can travel on air. They dodge in and out of sight against a backdrop of plush green peppered with fiery red grasses and snowlike flowers. The few trees on the island look shocked, like they’ve been frozen in place by a terrifying sight or turned to stone by medusa. From the top of the hill, you can see Diamond Rock, Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse, and Isle au Haut looming in the distance, a deep blue black, hazy through the miles of atmosphere.

One thing I like best about Brimstone: it’s virtually impossible not to find a pocketful of good skipping stones.

Building a traditional Japanese boat

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Douglas Brooks recently came to the shop to teach a week-long course in traditional Japanese boatbuilding. Students in the course built a 21-foot long traditional river boat from Niigata Prefecture, locally known as nofuninawase. These boats were historically used by farmers to haul rice or transport sand when dredging waterways. Students worked almost exclusively with Japanese boatbuilding tools, many of which have no counterpart in the West. The techniques used to construct the boat are also quite different from those used in western boatbuilding; seams are fit watertight using special handsaws and long curved chisels are used to pilot holes for hand-made boat nails.

In Japan, these boats were built of cedar. However, for this workshop, students worked with white pine. The boat nails were hand forged by a blacksmith in Vermont. Participants in the workshop included three of our 2-year apprentices and two outside summer residents. At the end of the workshop, we conducted a Shinto boat launching ceremony. The images below take you through the building process from start to finish.

Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.

Summer Sailing is in Full Swing

Summer Sailing started Monday June 24th and was a huge success. After some review, we had every single student out sailing; including multiple first time sailors.

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Wednesday was celebrated by sailing across the harbor to Broad Cove, for a lunch at anchor. Nate and Emma each captained one of the ’Twins’. Summer instructors had a chance to call the shots on sail trim and rotating students through steering on the twins, which several had never sailed on before. In-between steering, kids had a wonderful time making towel forts under the thwarts while they were pursued by the older students who sailed their 420 dinghies across the harbor.

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Several 420 sailors progressed to using trapezes and spinnakers by the end of the week, and many enjoyed testing the buoyancy of the boats during light air Thursday morning, over the warm and shallow waters of Lermond Cove. How many sailors does it take to swamp a 420 you may wonder? More than 7!

Friday was glorious, blue skies and sun. After a fantastic parade, students de-rigged and came ashore for a graduation ceremony catered by adoring and supportive parents and grandparents.

Week 2 has started similarly well, and you know what, I think we’re going to have a really good time.

Expedition - Part I

Day 1: Green’s Island

The  Powderhole , Lance Lee’s home on Green’s. Exploring Green’s Island is the closest I’ve gotten to finding Never Never Land. Photo Credit: Nina Noah

The Powderhole, Lance Lee’s home on Green’s. Exploring Green’s Island is the closest I’ve gotten to finding Never Never Land. Photo Credit: Nina Noah

As I lie on the boat, I can hear the rustle of a file on a blade intermingling with the throb of an engine. As the motor passes, it’s curling wake laps against the hull with a delicious foamy slurp. Then, everything resumes its calm. Still, the file on the blade, the rustle of another body on the sole below, and the crisp heat of the sun.

I like it when there’s time like this; time without specifics. Just time. Time on expedition feels entirely different in quality than regular time. The week leading up to the journey often feels squeezed with preparation, as if time has contracted, swallowed you in it’s flow like gravity in a black hole. Everything must somehow get crammed in to the days before you drop off the face of the Earth. But then, once you enter that boat and leave the dock behind, there’s nowhere else to be and no one else to be accountable to except the people sitting right there with you. There are shifts in weather and light and the sensations of your own body. There is a lot of staring at the empty horizon, punctuated by moments of checking the charts, re-trimming the sails, and tidying the boat. But that hurried feeling disappears into the distance as the land dissolves into blue.

There is time. There is ample time. In fact, the question of whether there is time barely arises, perhaps only when considering how much time is left to explore an island if nightfall is approaching. There is no dinner time, other than that time at the end of the day when we’re no longer underway and the stomach signals hunger. There is no bedtime, other than the time when darkness falls and your body succumbs to full sleepiness after a day of use. And then, you wake with the sun.

The days take on a habitual rhythm that fuses them together. It’s the ultimate exercise in presence. It’s not that every moment is simply lived in the present. But instead it feels like past, present, and future intersect seamlessly. I never understood in my bones what it meant to have a nonlinear or circular sense of time, until expedition. It’s the same idea as musical variation on a theme. The core theme is always the same, the core rhythm, even if the details embellishing it change.

Throughout most of human history, our way of measuring time has been embedded in nature and the landscape. Time is just a way of describing change, whether you’re describing it through the progression of floral blooms over the course of a day or the change in the position of a clock hand. In the last 100 years or so, we’ve moved to an increasingly fixed way of measuring time, which conflicts with our own personal experience of time. Personal time feels more elastic - think of moments of intense focus when time seems to evaporate, moments when you’re having a really good time vs. when you’re required to do something you hate, or moments when you’re waiting for the water to boil and it feels like it is taking an eternity. When you’re on the clock and time is divided into it’s smaller increments, it loses its elasticity, its expansiveness, its relationship to the larger, cyclical flow. Attention becomes focused on the hour, on the minute, not necessarily on the surrounding environment. 

It’s interesting to see what people do with expedition time, when they’re separated from work and partners, from their usual schedules and habits. Some stay on or close to the boat, enjoying the chance to nap, read, or just contemplate the open sky and sunshine above. Some clamber off the boat the first chance they get, eager to explore, or perhaps, to finally be alone on a trip where time away from the group is a scarce commodity. And some hop about productively, straddling land and boat, fiddling with this or that, clearing dead trees, sharpening an ax, fashioning a rope ladder out of wooden dowels and spare line.

I relish having the time to write. For some reason, it’s hard for me to develop a consistent writing practice on land. But on the sea, the words seem to ride in on the passing waves. I think it’s the difference in time. It’s hard for me to write when I’m feeling squeezed between musts and shoulds, which is often. I need the mental space, the freedom to think about nothing in particular, to chew on whatever is around me instead of what’s nagging from the inside.

But for now, the fiddlehands and the explorers are back, which means it’s time to start thinking of dinner, not to mention the fact that Francis (my fictional tapeworm) is waking up.

We're Going on Expedition!

We’re packed up and almost ready to take off. We’ll be gone on expedition until June 24th. We’re aiming for Green’s Island tonight. Then, we hope to sail out to Mount Desert Rock to see whales. Stay tuned for more details when we’re back.

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Apprenticeshop

THE APPRENTICESHOP IS AN EDUCATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LOCATED ON PENOBSCOT BAY IN MIDCOAST MAINE.
DEDICATED TO INSPIRING PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH
CRAFTSMANSHIP, COMMUNITY, AND TRADITIONS OF THE SEA.