Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chesapeake Float

Rafting up for a group photo, Left to right, Ned Asplundh in his Sea Pearl, Jim Luton in his crabbing skiff, Marsh Cat Obadiah, sans skipper Pete Peters who is doing the honors, Mike Wick in his melonseed cat Pepita (a John Brady design), Ron Gibbs in his Celebrity class, Doug Oeller and NealBattaler in another Marsh Cat (both of these cats are, I believe, Joel White designs), and Kevin Brennan and Peter Digel in the Welsford Navigator Slip Jig.

Marsh Cat going in.

Mike Wick getting out.

The Navigator Slip Jig

Pete Peters manning the pennywhistle in Obadiah

Ned in his pearl.

Pete in Obadiah

Ron Gibbs in his Celebrity.

Here's Jim Luton getting a workout aboard his crabbing skiff.

A little camaraderie

Boom tent camping!


Several members of the Delaware River Chapter of the TSCA got together recently for a voyage from Tilghmans Island to Broad Creek on the Chesapeake and back to Tilghmans. Seven (really fine) boats, nine guys and apparently a bushel of crabs worth of pure enjoyment. Throw in a little self made Celtic music and you've got quite a salty stew. Boom tent camping in early June, a two day escapade that has become something of a long standing tradition within the chapter. Chapter president Mike Wick sent me a boatload of photos of this jaunt and I'm only showing a sampling here. The full article appeared in the July Mainsheet, the chapter's newsletter. I just took a look and it's not there yet, but it should soon appear on the Delaware Chapters home page. It has a deeper piece on the trip. Meanwhile, why not join the TSCA? I have, and maybe you'll see me here next year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tucker Silhouette on ebay

This is an excellent chance to buy a classic Hurley built Robert Tucker designed Silhouette on ebay. Located Seattle area. I'd buy her myself if Seattle wasn't so far away or if I'd the dollars to ship. Bid right now is $225, but not much time left. For more, click title or go here. Someone please save this little gem. These rarely surface in the US.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Skin and Bones


The Exhibition

This vitrine shows a typical set of onboard tattoo making tools

An image of Lady Liberty greets the visitor as you enter the show.

The original can be found on the ditty box on the left

Another example of sailors craft, here sailwork from the early 20th C.

Samoan tattoo tools

Image of an early Pictish warrior, with full body tattoos

A tattoo artist's box, with a rather nice painting

The exhibit uses many examples of sailors art to show how tattoos would have looked.

Here's a close up

This little bag serves the same purpose, and like many of the objects in the show, is exquisite.

Tattoo artists created 'flash books' of their designs to inform the sailors of the available designs. The museum created duplicate flash books for the visitor to thumb through.

This large ceremonial razor was to commemorate a 'Crossing of the Line" ie: the Equator, usually presented at a day long festivity which involved ritual indignation's directed at the novice 'Pollywogs' as part of being imitated into the veteran 'Shellbacks' .

An example of a document of passage presented at such a ceremony. This one invokes Rex Neptunis, king of the sea.

Here we see the tools of the electric tattoo artist, Cap'n Bill Coleman. Electric tattooing began in 1891 with artist and inventor Sam O'Riellly. Colemans kit includes early electric needles, dry pigments which were mixed with alcohol and a small statue which depicted an array of designs as a full body of tattoo.

A poster of designs

Tattoo magic. In a delightful interactive display, this cutout tattoo artist will draw with light one of the four designs seen above the table.
He'll also solicit your business.

Here a very young sailor gets a light tatoo announcing that she has sailed 5000 miles, the swallow design.

A little more revealed


A continuing legacy

Independence Seaport Museum's curator Craig Bruns has outdone himself with the latest exhibit, Tattoo. It's intriguiging, informative, interactive and deep. Though nominaly about tattoo, it presents a wide range of sailors's craft, particularly in the age of sail, to give a context for the tatoo as a part of the sailor's life. The word tatau entered the English language at the time of Cooks voyage around the world in the Samoas, 1770's. It was an alliterive, recalling the rythmic tapping of the skin ink artist. It quickly morphed into tatoo which was already an English word depicting the drum beat to quarters. Inked skin drawing was not soley the province of the South Seas, however. Examples of the practice fade into the dawn of prehistory, and include, among others, the New Zealand Maori, Amerindian tribes and notably the wild tribes of Scotland, the Celts and Picts. But make no mistake, it is the sailor who brought this art form into the contemporary world. Mr. Bruns and the Seaport have created a vital, exciting and vivid history of the sailor's world and tatoo's place within it. I have only scratched the surface here, and the show has mch more to offer, including lots on the practice in the 20th C., which I have scacely mentioned. Check the museum's website for events and talks to be given before the exhibit closes in October. This is not to be missed. One of the really interesting things I learned from this exhibit is that there is a certain tatoo iconography, with certains images attesting to accomplishment, as in the sparrow denoting 5k nm. at sea, and in the case of the iconic image of feet the museum chose for it's display, the rooster and the pig, depict animals unable to swim and are a talisman against drowning. The U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Richard Sambenedetto Jr., whose feet bear these two tatoos, will be present at a museum event in October. See you there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Minimalist Cruising 9.1:Buttercup

Following up on my recent post about a design I am thinking about, Mike Wick of the TSCA Delaware River Chapter sent me this article about a small twin keeler from 1937, Buttercup. Designed by Robert Clark, built by Rowhedge Ironworks, Essex, England. Commissioned and owned by Charles E. Foster. The article is either from the Rudder or Yachting Monthly, I'm not sure which. She was dubbed the sailing sausage, but by all accounts performed admirably. I wrote Gavin Atkin of intheboatshed asking whether he knew any more about this design. He sent me this from Andy Cunningham of Cunningham Marine a great article on twin keels. The design anticipates the Uffa Fox Atalanta which I wrote about earlier. It also anticipates much of the postwar British investigation of small twin keel cruising boats, about which much more later. If anyone has readable photos of this boat, please share!

Monday, July 6, 2009


John Frederick Kensett, Eaton's Neck

John Frederick Kensett

John Frederick Kensett, On The Coast, 1870

John frederick Kensett, The Coast of Newport, 1858

James McNiell Whistler, Symphony in Grey and Green the Sea


Whistler, Nocturne

Whistler, The Sea

Whistler, Nocturne in Blue and Silver, Cremornel Lights


Whistler, Nocturne River Battersea


Whistler, The Sea, Pourville






Today marks the first year for 70.8%. 174 posts. I've decided to celebrate with an online exhibition of some favorite seascapes. I've been gathering these together for awhile, but thank Matthew Housekeeper, of Soundbounder, for pushing me over the edge with his Kensett post. As you can see, there are a few Kensett's and lots by Whistler. I was a minimal painter, so these kinds of paintings with their spareness of imagery are what appeal to me most. In some way I find that less detail, or at least reserved detail in a painting, the greater my response. Enjoy.

Sorry about credits and attributions, even titles, many misplaced.