Originally Posted by ARoss
I cannot imagine how those things were fabricated over 150 years ago.
When I was in college I bought a copy of a book called "American Fishermen" by Albert Cook Church. It's a small volume but it's a coffee table book of sorts in that it's a big collection of photographs by a man who documented the "golden age" of the fishing schooners of New England and the Canadian maritimes. All the big names are in here--- Bluenose, Gertrude L. Thebaud, Elsie, Elizabeth Howard, Columbia, and so on.
But in addition to his Fishermen's Race photos he also has sections on actually fishing with these schooners and building them. His photos of the boats being built are fascinating. One of them shows a master shipwright literally carving a mast out from a tree using a drawknife and adze. I recall the caption saying that these men did this kind of work totally by eye. Obviously a long-lost art.
My wife and I went out on the Bluenose II a few years ago before it was totally dismantled for a complete rebuild. One of the things I learned from the captain is that the original Bluenose was the first schooner of this kind to have been built from actual plans. All the boats prior to this had been built from drawings but they were more "approximations" than plans. The boat's took shape because the shipwrights of the day had the ability to transfer what was in their mind to what they were doing with the wood.
To this day nobody knows why the Bluenose was so fast. Even her owner/captain didn't know. The Bluenose II was built from the same plans in the same Lunenburg, NS yard by some of the same shipwrights who built the original Bluenose. And even accounting for its axilliary engines and propellers, the Bluenose II, while fast, is not nearly as fast as the original. But nobody has a clue why.
Half model of fishing schooner. Schooner Elizabeth Howard.