Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Salvage!

Bowsprite sent me these amazing photographs of the U.S. Airways Flight 1546 recovery. They were forwarded to her by a friend, and she cannot locate the source.  They are probably taken from the crane barge. Great thanks to Christina and whoever took these.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Junk


Phillipine Sampan



Two Junks

Christina Sun aka Bowsprite sent me this small portfolio of beautiful Junks. Thought I'd share. I have no idea of the origin of these and my apologies to those who own them. They all look old, and I have used Christina's labels in most cases. Christina is a gifted artist, see her paintings/drawings of the Mary Whalen and other boats here. I am trying to convince her to create some paintings of Junk rigged boats, in her inimitable style, for publication on her weblog and mine. Take a look at her work and leave a comment here if you agree. With a little demand I'm sure she'll agree and we will all be the richer for it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


2037h - Snow is falling, fog is thick. The barge carrying the plane, bound for to Greenville Terminal, Jersey City, passes the Colgate Clock   
© Bowsprite

the tug Alexandria Weeks moving the crane up the Hudson
© Bowsprite

tug Virginia Weeks manouvers the barge beneathe the airplane
courtesy Will Van Dorp

Will Van Dorp at Tugster and Christina Sun at Bowsprite have done some stunning documentary work on the salvage of Flight 1549. Go see.

Kayak part 1.4 Ken Taylor's famous kayak

Ken and his new qajaq in Scotland courtesy Duncan Winning

This is Ken with a replica of the original Igdlorssuit kayak at the Delmarva Paddlers Retreat
 courtesy Edward J. Zachowski 

Ken in his replica paddling with Harvey Golden at the Demarva Retreat
courtesy Edward J. Zachowski 

Ken's replica at top , alongside an Anas Acuta
coutesy Edward J. Zachowski 

Duncan Winning and Joe Reid's drawing after surveying Ken's Kornilissen Kayak

Bill Samson, on the QajaqUSA forum, alerted me to this story that Duncan Winning published in the December issue of Sea Kayaker Magazine. In 1959 a young Scot named Ken Taylor visited Igdlorssuit, on Uummannaq Island on Greenland's West Coast. He spent about three months there and was embraced by the locals due in part because of his rolling skills, learned in an unheated pool the previous winter. The hunters invited Ken along on their sealing forays. Emmanuelle Korniliussen, the last kayak builder in the village, built him a sealskin covered kayak, complete with hunting kit. Ken had another built for John Heath, which remained uncovered due to lack of sufficient sealskin for both boats. John's boat is now in the care of Greg Stamer. Ken's kayak and his increased kayaking skills created a stir within the Scottish Hosteller's Canoe Club on his return. Duncan Winning , a member of the club and a friend of Ken's, photographed the boat and built two kayaks based on the Igdlorssuit kayak. Later, in '64, Ken left for America and put the care of the boat into Duncan's hands. He made detailed drawings which gave rise to several boats, including a plywood, expanded version built by Geoffrey Blackford called the Anas Acuta. The rest as they say, is history. Eventually molds were made for fiberglass construction and Frank Goodman began production of the Anas at Valley Canoe Products. No single kayak was to have the impact that Ken's boat did on the evolution of the modern recreational kayak, at least in Britain. Emanuelle Korniliussen's boats have earned him a hallowed place in kayak history.

You'll find two podcast interviews with Duncan Winning on Simon Willis' website, and another featuring Bill Samson, discussing his several replicas. Duncan Winning was awarded the OBE for his contributions to the sport of kayaking.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Found this on a Swedish kayak blog by Håkan Alfredsson, Håkan, kajakpaddlare!Håkgoan, kajakpaddlare! Håkan, kajakpaddlare

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Microcruising Part 8, Bill Longyard and Lucky Town 7

Bill Longyard is the author of what appears to be an execellent book (though I've yet to read it) on epic voyages made in "improbable vessels".  The book's titled "A Speck on the Sea" and reaches back five centuries to tell these stories. 
Dissatisfied with the available production boats for what he terms mini cruising, Bill decided to design and build his own, to "show what could be done with 14 feet". And show he did, and then some. His little Lucky Town 7  has sitting headroom for two and enough enough space for a six footer to stretch out comfortably. There is a flush toilet and holding tank and provision for a shower, though the shower's not yet implemented.
The Junk rig is made from polytarp and cost about $100. and can be reefed from the cabin. Bill finds the Jung rig far more friendly than any other rig he's used, including gaff and gunter. She ha a 246 pound drop keel and an aluminum kick up rudder.
There's a 4hp diesel in the aft compartment which is used to charge two marine batteries which in turn power a 55 lb. thrust trolling motor, judiciously used. He also carries an air compressor, radio bank and a solar panel. Quite a lot in a 14' loa 6' beam cruiser.
The boat is trailed with a small car and launches quickly as the mast has a spring loaded tabernacle and can be raised or lowered on the water, instantly.
William is planning to make plans available at a nominal charge soon. Should be interesting to say the least.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kayak part 1.3 the Historians: Howard I. Chapelle and Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America

all images courtesy Skyhorse Publications

Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America was a seminal book. First published in 1964, fourteen years after Edwin Adney's death in 1950, the book was to greatly influence a generation of kayak builders , historians and designers. Adneys papers and a large number of bark canoe models were left to the Mariners Museum in Newport News Va. Frederick Hill, Director of the Museum placed the material in the hands of Howard Chapelle, then Curator of Transportation at the Smithsonian. Best known today for many works dealing with nautical subjects, including Boatbuilding and American Small Sailing Craft, Chapelle acknowledged having a keen interest in bark canoes and eagerly undertook the task of assembling the chaotic collection of Adney's research into a cohesive publication. He took the liberty of including a chapter on skin boats, primarily the result of research he began in 1946 at the request of Vilhljalmur Stefansson for the Encyclopedia Artica, a project which failed to materialize. The material was eventually returned to Chapelle, revised and altered after receiving criticism and suggestions from, among others, Henry B. Collins of the Smithsonian's Bureau 0f American Ethnology and John Heath, who also contributed an explantion of Greenland kayak rolling with photographs which is included in the text as an appendix. This unassuming scholarly text was to prove to be a bombshell. Still in print it has gained a wide audience and has been a major factor in the current blossom of interest in skin of frame kayaks. Several of the contemporary skin on frame kayak builders I've contacted acknowledge it as the 'Bible' or their primary inspiration. Chapelle's project was to "measure the skin boats and to make scale drawings that would permit the construction of a replica exact in details of appearance, form construction, and also in working behavior." Chapelle endeavoured to include as many identifiable types of kayaks as possible and there are kayaks drawn from Siberia to Greenland. With a total of about twenty five separate types drawn, the chapter has had tremendous impact, possibly more than the book as a whole. Most contemporary kayaks, whether derived from Greenland style boats, Aleutian models or central Canadian prototypes can trace there evolution from this book. Likely those paddling their shiny new Kevlar whatsit have no idea where it came from. It came from Aleuts or Inuit and probably through Howard Chapelle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Historic Tall Ship Replicas

 liki tiki
- / 1964 
Polynesien double hull 
Bob Webb expedition to discover how the Polynesians populated the islands of the Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to New Zealand, 2,000 years ago

ca. 1860 / 1996 
Kei Islands Perahu 
Alfred Russel Wallace Spice Islands Voyage followed by Tim Severin 
 The Spice Islands Voyage: The Quest for Alfred Wallace, the Man Who Shared Darwin's Discovery of Evolution by Tim Severin

Traditional japanese fishing boat replica 
Lake Kasumigaura, Japan

 ARGO II / ΑΡΓΩ II | 2 | 3 
1250 BCE / 2006 
93´ 13´ 7´ 
Mycenaean Pentecontor 
Jason and the Argonauts 
Volos, Greece

 Lädine St. JODOK 
15.-18.Jh. / 1999 
Immenstaad, Bodensee 
Bootsbau Heiner Kemmer

1487/88 / 1988 
77´ 22´ - 
Portugiesische Caravela Latina
Erstes Schiff an der Südspitze Afrikas 
Diaz Museum, Südafrika

1670s / 1969 
65´ - - 
17th c. trade ship 
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston, USA

1815 / 200... 
71´ 20´ 6´ 
Loviisa, Finland

1840 Irma / 1991 
59´ 17´ 8´ 
Lougre de l´Odet

1868 Original 
66´ 17´ 9´ 

ex. SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND (1991-1996) 
ex. SPIRIT OF MERSEYSIDE (1985-1991) 
- / 1985 
70´ 15´ 11´ Gaff Schooner 
Mersey bay pilot schooner, used in the days of sail to guide large merchant ships into the port of Liverpool. 
Fairbridge, Scotland

Hans-Peter Brugger has and is crafting a phenominal website at Historic Tall Ship Replicas. This site is encyclopedic and contains photos, books and other documentation on historic replicas worldwide. Not limited strictly to tall ships, the site includes many many types of boats, as you can see from my sampling above. take a look for yourself, but be forewarned, this site is massive, takes awhile to load. Close other programs before loading. And a word on the French Lugger Corentin. The lines were drawn for this and other replicas by French Naval Architect Francois Vivier, who has this to say about her: 

Quimper is the main historical city of western Brittany, located uptream of river Odet. It was an important harbour in the days of sail, but today the inhabitants have forgot this maritime past.
An association decided in 1990 to build a replica of a lug sail coastal trader of the mid-19th century.
Fortunetaly several plans of that period were available and, with pictures of Quimper harbour, I have drawn one of the most typical lugger of that time.
Like La Belle Angèle, Corentin is operated by Gouelia


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Einstein's Boat

Albert Einstein was given this boat for his 50th, in 1929, by a wealthy admirer. It looks really interesting. The yacht measures about 23' by almost 8' and is shoal draft. It was designed by Adolf Harms of "Berliner Handelsgesellschaft". Named Tummler. This website was relayed to me by an associate/reader (who wishes to remain anonymous), because he thought (you) my readers might enjoy it. I certainly do. The boat seems a bit unconventional for the time, plumb bow and stern, centerboard and shallow draft and fairly wide, but apparently delighted Mr. Einstein. He called it his "Thick Boat". Read all about it here. Thanks to Jimmy G.

Friday, January 2, 2009

the Ohio, or, "What I did over Christmas Break"

I grew up playing on the Ohio. My dad bought a mahogany runabout which we reconditioned to make her usable. Had a 40hp. Merc. Used her for day trips, water skiing and overnight camping on 18 Mile Island just off Westport Kentucky. Seem to remember also a lot of drinking by the adults. Later, brother John and I would take a canoe to the Island to camp overnight and recapture the past. My brother Rand still plays on the Ohio with his two kayaks. This shot is from the Belle of Louisville dock area and shows the river at it's widest, about a mile across. I recall we were always on the lookout for tugs and barges.

I wanted to revisit this experience, so day after Christmas, having made the annual pilgrimage to visit with family and friends and celebrate the holiday with Mom, brothers and sister Jennie and her family, we struck out for the Indiana side of the river to catch some traffic and take a look at Jeffboat Inc., the largest inland shipyard in the country.  Spotted the Chad M from Jeffersonville, Indiana and grabbed a few photos from a small waterside park.

This is the Chad M heading upriver past the historic waterworks in Louisville, which now is home to an art gallery.

Security at Jeffboat said they were closed for the Holidays in response to my request to look around. Homeland Security and all. But of course they were still doing some work, as you can see from these works in progress.

Back on the Kentucky side of the river John drove us (unbidden) to the dockside where the Belle of Louisville is tied up. I had cruised on the Belle for my 8th Grade field trip and hadn't seen her since. I was most intrigued by the office/gift shop on a barge moored next to the Belle.

While 'spying' on Jeffboat we discovered the Howard Steamboat Museum, which was closed on the 26th, but we resolved to return the next day. Thinking it would be a quick 30 minute visit to a small museum, I was surprised by the depth and richness of the collection. We spent nearly three hours there, much to the detriment of Mom, who is 82 and not really up to the long visit.
Happily she was able to take a seat and watch an extensive video tour of the museum.  The museum is housed in a delightful Romanesque Revival mansion built by Edmonds Howard, son of James Howard, the founder of Howard Shipyard. They built over 3000 steamboats and other working craft over a long history, beginning in 1834 and culminating in 1941. With a reputation for building the highest quality steamboats available, Howard's work was in high demand. Their legacy includes the luxurious J.M. White (1878) and the City of Louisville(1894), which to this day holds the speed record for the Ohio river.

Mrs. Howard commissioned this aquarium which leaked and was not able to be fixed, so ended up as a vitrine for a shell collection.

A primary feature of the Howard museum is their collection of models. Here we see a model of the Tom Green, and perched atop her case is a half hull of (?).

Here we have tools and historical materials documenting the Howard Shipyard's building of three packet boats and a towboat in Unalaska for the Alaska Commercial Company  (formerly the Russian-American Company) in 1897, to service the Klondike gold rush. Howard's didn't really need the work so placed a ludicrously high bid, which was nonetheless accepted, and dispatched a crew to Unalaska to carry out the project.

This model of an early 'Flatboat' was built by one of the Howard family. Though they couldn't travel upriver, these flat bottomed displacement"tubs" were the vessel of choice for many early 'river rats'.

Here's something from the other end of the scale. A large model of the Howard built Indiana, made with great skill and enormous attention to detail. The museum keeps a basket full of flashlights to allow visitors to examine the interior of this amazing model. My brother Rand can be seen on the other side of the model, peering in.

Detail of the Indiana.

 Stern view of the model of the Indiana. This model was built over several years by a dedicated model builder on speculation and offered to the museum on completion. They bit. Can you blame them?

Here's one of my personal favorites, also built by a Howard family member. It's not clear to me what kind of boat she represents but is so charming in her primitive attributes, who cares. Looks like she's named the Miss V.T., Moon Co.

In 1941 the Howard's run culminated in the company's sale to the U.S.Navy. The Navy used the yard to literally churn out LST's, sub chasers and other wartime craft. They built well over 100 LST's, (I think it was 128) turning them around in about 60 days from start to finish, and broke the water with a new one every three days.

After the Navy involvement the company became Jeffboat Inc., which continues the Howard legacy as the oldest continually operated inland shipyard in the country. And the largest inland shipyard. On a future visit I plan an excursion to visit and write about the current day Jeffboat. But I may not be allowed to. An impromptu visit to Wooten River Service and Supply, which provides all kinds of service to passing barges, including repair, fueling, groceries and mail delivery, was denied on the grounds of 'Homeland Security'

Just downriver from downtown Louisville are the McAlpine Locks, built to allow river traffic to circumvent the Falls of the Ohio. As a measure of the vitality of current day rivers traffic, the locks are being renovated and expanded. The picture above shows the work station/marina involved in the reconstruction of the locks, located on an island in the Ohio. The large rectangle visible to the right in the photograph is one of the lock doors or gates.

Here is a tug pushing a very large barge through the locks. These barges carry enormous loads and are a very efficient way of moving resources.

This is a composite photo, and while it's a little small to really read, it will give you an idea of the length of this double barge.

all photos copyright thomas armstrong/elisabeth lourie
all rights reserved