Posts tagged boatbuilding
Artisan's Hands

When the publisher of Maine Boats Homes and Harbors magazine called to tell me she had chosen an image of mine for the cover of their recent issue, I didn’t imagine it was the details of boat builder John Anderson’s hands at work. I had captured the image years ago when he was restoring a lovely Q-Class sloop called FALCON, designed by Burgess and built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in 1926.

I realized that I have been capturing these details of just about every boat builder I have photographed over the years, in both stills and motion. To me, the hands alone can tell the story of an artisan’s life. The way they look, with scrapes, cuts, callouses, scars (sometimes missing fingers) and the way they work the wood with force, agility and exactness.

Last winter, I put together a short film edit of these hands. l never posted it, and it got pushed aside as I was busy with other ‘paying’ jobs. When the magazine cover came out last week, I thought I’d take the time over the rainy weekend to polish it off and put it out there. Short and sweet, this is a testimony of some truly talented craftsmen in this industry.

NY40 MARILEE Trailer

For the past two years, I have been photographing and filming the restoration of the iconic Nathanael Herreshoff-designed New York 40, MARILEE. In October, 2015, MARILEE was brought to French and Webb in Belfast, Maine for what was going to be a minor rebuild. It was soon discovered that a major restoration was in order.  

This two-year restoration was tremendously successful due to the collaborative effort of many artisans, engineers, curators and crew whose passion and commitment to the project were beyond compare. This was not your ‘typical’ restoration of a wooden classic. Modern innovations and engineering were combined with meticulous and artistic craftsmanship.  With access to the original Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s building plans, documents and images archived at MIT’s Hart Nautical Collections and the Herreshoff Marine Museum, this restoration turned out an amazing yacht with an equally amazing story. Along with my fabulous team of creative collaborators, I am excited to announce the upcoming documentary film on the history and restoration of MARILEE. I invite you to view the official trailer below. 

THE FIGHTING FORTIES — In 1916 the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company of Bristol, Rhode Island introduced the New York 40, a new one-design class for the New York Yacht Club. Nathanael Herreshoff’s objective was to design a competitive racer that was seaworthy enough for ocean racing as well as provide accommodations for coastal cruising. The design of the NY40 initially came under criticism for its wide beam and high freeboard—a major design shift from Herreshoff’s earlier class racers. “Flying saucer” became its moniker of the day, but it was not long before the boat’s performance was proven on the racecourse and the “flying saucers” soon became known as the “Fighting Forties.” Only four of the NY40s still remain:  MARILEE and her sistership RUGOSA II (the last two NY40s built in 1926), along with ROWDY and CHINOOK. MARILEE is back to fighting in her true spirit with many recent notable regatta wins and awards, and her team looks forward to joining the other historic Fighting Forties on the racecourse soon.

The full forty minute documentary will be premiered June 2nd at the International Yacht Restoration School (IRYS) and following venues along the New England coast over the summer.

The restoration was as much an effort to extend Marilee’s future years of racing as it was to turn her into a museum piece. Marilee has been restored to absolute perfection according to her original design, and her structural integrity will last another 100 years. - Dennis Gunderson

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