My Daughter Mariella, age 15 by her wonderful Canoe she built, The "Free Spirit"
Since 1992, the Boat Museum in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire had the idea of preserving the boating heritage of the New Hampshire Lakes for all of us to remember. For me, beginning at 8:30 Am on July 5th, 2011 it became a place to actually build a boat with my fifteen-year-old daughter Mariella, a time for us to never forget.
In an age of instant messaging, instant this and instant that, so many things grab the attention of peoples lives. And, here we were, getting up early in the morning, standing under tents in 80+ degree weather for at least 6 hours a day for 6 days, making a boat that requires teamwork, patience, time, diligence and a lot of learning. It was hard work. It was hot. Yet Mariella would be knocking on my shoulder to wake me up to get going.
In my life, boats have always built fond memories; from challenging fellow 8 year old campers in canoes cut in half at Camp Deerhorn in Wisconsin, sailing at my grandfather’s place on Lake Michigan, traveling by boat everywhere before being allowed to drive a car at our family’s island cottage in Canada, cruising in Boston Harbor, enjoying the views from the Mt Washington on Winnipesaukee, and morning kayaking on a small lake in Northwood with my daughter.
Building a boat brings a whole new level of memories to cherish.
Building Boats, My Early Years.
I remember as a kid helping to build a “McGregor Bay Sled” up at our family’s cottage in Canada. These were big flat bottom utility boats, 4 feet wide, 16 feet long, and could carry anything, weighed a ton, and go anywhere slow. It was made with heavy marine plywood, a bunch of bolts, gallons of glue, and some lead paint I am sure. When the transom rotted, we would simply cut off the bad part, move it forward and screw it back on until it got so bow heavy that the propeller stuck out of the water in the stern. It took two weeks and 5 of us to build.
Building Boats, Our Wolfeboro Week
At the Boat Museum, Mariella and I built something far more elegant, far more refined, and far less heavy. It is called a “six-hour canoe” –The six-hour part –well that was how long it took for us to put the two sides together. It was really a six-day canoe for us. We made it by hand out of wood—cutting, bending, nailing, screwing, planning, sanding, fiberglassing, varnishing, and painting--into a masterpiece –using the many tools provided--and a lot of patience.
We also were able to add personal touches including a curved deck on the bow and stern held down by brass nails and a few brass goodies from Bradley's Hardware and Goodhue and Hawkins.
For the price of a normal summer camp, the New Hampshire Boat Museum Boat Building Program---well you came away with a beautiful boat, and memories that will last a lifetime.
“Free Spirit”, a canoe designed in the past, was built with newly learned skills, by Mariella’s own talented hands.
Here is a video my daughter made of the making of Free Spirit.
Video on Mariella's "Free Spirit" at the Boat Building School NH
Building Free Spirit was an great experience. And it only took six days! Enjoy :)Posted by Mariella Travis on Friday, September 2, 2011
Check out the Boat Building Program and other events won't you?
New Hampshire Boat Museum
399 Center St., Wolfeboro Falls, NH
OPEN: Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day
Monday through Saturday 10 – 4
Sunday Noon – 4