Schooner American Eagle
Mid Winter in a New Year
photo courtesy of Tyler King
Old Man Winter Packs Quite the Punch
photo courtesy of: Kenny Ames
December ended with quite the bang this year. The Christmas Eve Gale that rolled through on the 23rd packed one heck of a wallop. The schooner weathered the storm well, pitching and heaving against her lines while the winds and seas climbed; the buoy off Matinicus Rock reported gusts over 60 kts.
Offcuts & Tailings... Winter Projects Galore!
We fired up the forge a few weeks ago to make some caulking tools and a whole pile of the staples that we use to fasten all the blocking down so it doesn't float around on the the marine railway. The tide charts are out and Capt. John is roughing out the hauling schedule here in the shipyard office so each one of the schooners can take their turn to get all painted up for the coming season.
Caulking irons in full swing, all caulked and pitched right up tight. Thank you Silas for all the beautiful work (he was too fast to catch in action).
The small boats are starting to cycle through the shop, our Whitehall was first this year. Cody did some smart planking repairs, added a nice dutchman to fair the keel up a bit and fitted a nice run of brass half round so all those rocky beaches won't hurt the bottom quite so much. Chlöe is now putting the coats to it in the paint room, 2 coats of paint and 3 coats of varnish. Then on to the next one!
During one of the last heavy snows, I slipped and slid my way down to East Boothbay (arriving with both fenders firmly intact) to Nathanial (Nat) Wilson's sail loft to check in on our new mainsail. Made from the very same plan of our last mainsail Nat made for Capt. John back in 2013, it came in at a whopping 1,820 square feet!

Thank you Nat and Sherman for all your hard work we can't wait to stretch it out this summer.
All seamed up out on the loft floor
A New Boat!!
We also have a new member of our little fleet! Way back in October I found this 16' Mahogany Amesbury Skiff online and it stuck around just long enough for us to stop sailing and for me to go and get it! It was built in 1974 at Lowell's Boat shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts. This is quite special because Lowell's was quite well known as a major supplier of dories of all types for the fisheries in Massachusetts and the Gulf of Maine. Wagonloads of them trundled down what is now Rt 133 to outfit the Gloucester fishing schooners. After some new seats, a new engine installation and some lifting eyes she will be ready to ship aboard the schooner to help us get to even more places!
It's Christmas again! A nice 20 hp fuel injected Suzuki Outboard supplied to us from Hodgdon Yacht Yard came into the shop last week.
With a just a few tweaks its going to fit beautifully
A New Spar Too!!
Everything has its lifespan, after sustaining some damage from a particularly nasty thunder squall this past year it was time to replace our Fore Gaff as well.

It started out as a big square beam of Douglas fir. But, after some ripping, chopping, planning and lots of sanding we took the 4 sides to 16, the 16 to 32, the 32 to 64, (then we lost track but assumed it was around 128 sides) and finally planed it round! The jaws are now all riveted back on and it looks mighty smart, ready for as many coats of varnish we can cover it with before shipping it back on the schooner.
Above clockwise from left: I am a one horse spar dolly pulling the gaff over to the shop from the paint room while the schooner in the background looks on expectantly. Right: Riveting the purpleheart jaws back on with an anvil underneath to back the drift rod so we can get the ends to upset properly. Below: Cody has a worm drive and knows where it needs to go! This was the first phase of making the gaff; after laying out the taper, we cut the shape into the spar while it's square, before trying to make it round. Below...Below: Me with my trust Stanley Number: 5 chasing down any high spots or corners.
Photos Courtesy of: Tyler King & Cody Smith
And Now For Something Completely Different
Photo's courtesy of: Sean Sheppard
Remember sailing?!?!..... well I certainly do! Just 3 short months before we can cast off and say hello to all our favorite places along the coast and maybe visit a new one or two.
Above: an unforgettable evening of small boat sailing and swimming in Woodenboat Harbor off the Eggemoggin Reach doing laps around the schooners in the waning evening light Below: the lobsters are looking mighty ready judging by that nice light green rockweed around the edges of the pot. As the Eagle swings calmly on her chain in the lee of Calderwood island. There is bound to be some pie hiding somewhere!
Heading home after a beautiful picnic and hike on Burnt Island, a warm cup of tea and a comfy bed will feel mighty nice in a few minutes
Crew's News
Photo courtesy of: Caroline Rideout
What a crazy awesome bunch we had this past season. They are all having even busier winters than I am! From the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the Northwest coast and even as far south as Patagonia!! It is a real delight to work with such good people and I hope you all enjoyed sailing with each one of them as much as I did.
Even More News!!
Courtney is also joining us again this year before she has to head back for her last year of college.

I'm sure we will see even more familiar faces this season. Even if it's just a visit or some sailing time, it will be great to see everyone again.
Marty is joining us full time this season! He brings such a depth of knowledge to the galley. I cannot wait to see what he dreams up this year!
From Beside the Wheelbox...
Well, I'm very glad I finally found a few minutes to gather together a newsletter to show you all what we have been up to these past months. As I like to say to everyone who exclaims "that's so much work!!", I usually respond, "Yes, but it's all good work" keeping our beloved schooner sailing and getting the chance to know and meet such people is worth every effort.

Keep an eye out for more updates with some more of the incredible photos we have from this past year. If you have some pictures you are particularly proud of and don't mind sharing please send them along! We would love to see them.
Photo courtesy of: Jon Finger
It won't be long now, fair breezes, calm anchorages, good food and good friends.
Shary and I are happy to answer any questions that may arise, either by phone, email or online!

We cannot wait to see you all so soon,