We have a tent!

Christmas has come and gone for another year – blink, and it’s over! Our decorations have been taken down and put away, the snow is melting, and boat-work is going on.

The Acorn has now had the breasthook installed and shaped, the thwarts and knees installed, and the rope bumper nearly ready for installation. The ribs have been trimmed to the top of the gunwales, and blocking installed for the oarlocks. Oarlock pads have been rough-cut, and will soon be installed.

The Acorn is currently sharing the shop with the Vogler, which is in for that bit of planking repair sustained in a storm a year ago. We’ve applied some thickened epoxy to fill the gouges, and now we need to smooth it, and then get some paint on it. The boats seem to be getting along ok for now.

Vogler’s berth was modified (shortly before we hauled her into the shed!), giving us a bit more room to get at her, moving the life-ring stand, tucking the cables and hoses under the bull-rail, and giving her some cleats to tie her off to. These improvements should make her much more accessible and enjoyable to get into!

When removing Ragna’s sail to put on the winter cover, we noticed that the top batten pocket was taking a beating. The sail-cloth had torn at both ends, leaving the batten in danger of falling out, or further damaging the sail. After consulting our club member Bob who has made our sails, we removed the old batten pocket, repaired the rips using sail-repair tape, and fashioned a new pocket. While we were at it, we changed the angle of the batten, so that the sail will roll up easier. The old angle was part of the reason for the damage, as it caused a lot of stress on the pocket ends. The boat is now ready to sail again, when conditions allow. Thanks Bruce for lending us Sheila’s sewing machine for this!

Since about the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been talking about and planning a tent on the dock, to give us another sheltered workspace. In December, we finally got it, and set it up, and then worked on stabilizing and reinforcing it to keep it standing through the strong winds. This last windstorm on Friday was the first real test, and it held up, thankfully!

We’ll probably keep the sides rolled up most of the time, only dropping them when we’re in there working, or if we’re sure we won’t get a storm.

The tent is now home to Button Swan, which is next in line for a refresh. We found that the bottom paint was completely worn off in places, putting the planking in danger of damage by shipworms or other destructive pests.

Storms have been happening more often than usual, and MUCH more than we’d like. The docks and the shed are taking a real beating. The wind and waves have been bashing the shed against the dock a lot – so we’ve added more cushioning using wider tires, and reinforced the shed where the tires hit it.

HUGE thanks to the club members including Arnt, Knut, and Dylan, who have been at the dock helping Bruce during the last few storms, tending the lines, and making sure the boats and shed haven’t been damaged too badly. There was some pretty dramatic footage of the last storm which happened at a King tide, with water washing over the spit, a boat getting washed up on the rocks, and the incredible force of the wind.

One way I’ve been keeping an eye on the harbour (and the rest of English Bay) is a local webcam which was activated after the barge ran aground in November. The camera cycles among a bunch of views, and one of them is a great view of our harbour. You can see it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/wAfNuT8IqJw

I think I’ll leave it at that – a lot of stuff has been piling up in the almost 2 months since the last post – life seems to be getting busier all the time!! Hopefully Covid conditions will allow us to keep meeting at the shop for our Saturday workdays. The tent should allow us to work on two projects, as long as we get back to more normal temperatures!

Outwales and Sculling Notch

Very satisfying progress over the last few weeks on the Acorn – getting some good work done!

The transom got a sculling notch cut in, for an alternative to a pair of oars. The outwales are coved to receive a rope as a bumper, to avoid scuffing the mothership.

The breasthook was cut to thickness, and some creative use of furniture as circle template, to get the right curve. The seat risers have been steam-bent and rivetted in place.

Admiring the good work, and planning next steps.

The shed has had the barnacles scraped off, a regular bit of maintenance – thanks Dylan!

A new addition to the dock (for the moment) is this partially completed kayak – the builder’s family has donated it to the club after he passed away. We are going to look for a suitable outcome for it, whether finishing it as a club project, or selling it to someone who wants to complete it. In the meantime, we’ll get it into dry storage off-site. Let us know if you’re interested!

This dock will soon be home to a tent – we’re getting one to expand our workspace for the winter, so that we can work on some of the much-neglected maintenance work on our fleet of boats. And as we get into winter weather, our shed is just a bit too small to accomodate as many people as we’d like. We are also putting a temporary hold on new Boat Users Group members until spring-time.

Here is a photo from the field trip last Wednesday to the VMM Archive room to view some ship plans. Five lucky OLAS members met with the Librarian Ashlynn Prasad. She pulled a few plans those members wanted to see. The really good news is that she is open to doing it again on a Saturday so that more of our members can participate. We’ll let you know when that is coming up!

We heard from Ingrid over on the Island – she’s working on making her Gartside 14′ more managable, planning on coming over some time to trim a bit off her mainsail. She’s also been involved at Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, and their rowing and sailing program, enjoying time in the Zachary Mudge, a replica of George Vancouver’s cutter. Always great to hear from our distant members, and what they’re up to!

Off Center Harbor is a great source of videos about boats and boatbuilding – check out this wonderful video of schooners dancing a tango in Maine.

Eastside Culture Crawl is happening now – this weekend is by appointment only, and next weekend is the free-for-all. If you haven’t attended, DO!! It’s an amazing opportunity to visit artist studios, see their work, and be inspired. Our Oarlock & Sail club members Valerie and Arnt Arntzen were among the founding members 25 years ago, and they’d love to have you drop by Panaficio Studios! Check out Valerie’s great interview on CTV Morning.

Thanks Brent for the photo of the lovely Button Swan doing her thing!

Stem & Knees

We as the Oarlock & Sail Wooden Boat Club board members are working on communicating more with the rest of our club members. Please watch your email for some upcoming info on how you can get more involved, and be informed about upcoming work at the shop.

Work on the Acorn is progressing nicely – today she had her outer stem installed, and some templates cut for her stern knees and breasthook.

Before that, the boat got an oil bath, and then all ribs rivetted in place.

A couple of weeks ago, we modified a sail cover to fit Button Swan – we added a bit to an existing one that wasn’t quite long enough for that long boom. Thanks Tom for the use of your sewing machine, heat knife (which cuts the material so nicely!) and your expertise. A bunch of members got to try their hand at sewing, and we got a great new cover!

Meanwhile, the boats are giving much enjoyment to OSBUG members!

Hope to see you at the shop sometime!

Heritage Harbour Classic 5

We had a great day at our wonderful little harbour last Saturday, with our 5th annual Heritage Harbour Classic sailing race! Querencia came out the winner this year, with excellent course planning and taking advantage of wind shifts and gusts. We got a pretty decent breeze most of the time, quite shifty and constantly changing, but it gave us lots to work with!

It was a close race with Winsome III, trading the lead a few times. Winsome’s skipper blames their loss on a tangled spinnaker – their secret weapon turned against them!

Third place, and first among the Oarlock & Sail fleet, was Button Swan. The feisty little boat managed to keep the big racy boats in sight on the last leg as they crossed the finish line!

The prize for best crew surely has to go to Anja, with a couple of young crew members getting involved, as well as the new Executive Director of the Maritime Museum. Anja came in 4th place, looking amazing with topsail flying!

The rest of the field consisted of Luna, Enke, Ragna, Moonbeam, and Odin, with Ella McKenzie serving as committee / spectator boat. Always nice to have her rumbling along out there!

The annual rowing race was action-packed, with the two paddle-boarders passing the row-boats, rounding the mark without colliding with each other, and making for a VERY close finish at the dock!

First place in the rowboats was Feather with Arnt and his young crew. This was Feather’s second win in a row – might have to introduce some handicapping!

New to this year’s festivities was a heaving line challenge, using a monkey’s fist made by each competitor. The rising tide made the judging a bit difficult, but based on audience reaction, there were several winners – and really, it was a lot of fun, and everyone was a winner! (how’s that for covering up the lack of record-keeping?)

The afternoon was a wonderful time of cameraderie and fun! We had a good crowd, and a great time! You can see more of the photos in the Google Photos album.

We are grateful for the foundation of community put in place by Sheila and Bruce over the years, and for the development of the Heritage Harbour Classic. Thanks to Bruce for organizing the day, and to the Vancouver Maritime Museum for hosting the event and providing some of the prizes.

Steam & Oak

The boat has ribs! Saturday was a very productive day, with all the white oak ribs steamed and bent to shape!

Nick brought his steam box and turkey fryer, and got it fired up. Brent had prepared the stock beforehand, using wood from the same batch as what he used for frames on his big boat, Ricochet. Very appropriate, as this little boat will serve as a tender on Ricochet.

Take a look at the OLAS Photos album on Google Photos for a few more shots, and a video of one of the first ribs being bent into place. Feel free to look through that album from time to time – a few of us regularly post a bunch of pics there. And let us know if you want to add some too!


The summer is flying by, faster than ever, it seems! We’ve been slowly working on the Acorn tender in the shop, a few people at a time, and have reached a major milestone – last week the last of the planking was fastened, and the boat was flipped upright! She looks awesome with mahogany sheer strakes and yellow cedar planking. Next up will be the steam-bent oak frames (and all the many rivets that go along with that).

In July our Safety Committee did a capsize (and recovery) demonstration with Ragna, and put together a Sailing Safely document to help keep everyone happy and safe. If you’re an OSBUG member (or otherwise interested), please watch the video and read the document for some great advice and guidance.

Luna, Anja (with her tender, Feather), and Ern

Our members have been out cruising quite a bit, and a few even managed to meet up in Plumper Cove in Howe Sound. This was before Dale & Chris had the excitement of Luna’s dismasting! After they made their way back to Heritage Harbour, the offers of a temporary replacement mast came pouring in, and Brent donated a spar that Dale adapted successfully. After that, Dale & Chris got back out for more cruising – always an adventure and a story!

Part of Dale & Chris’s travels took them to Vancouver Island, where they met up with Ingrid, and handed over stewardship of their Gartside 14′ sailboat! After Ingrid got a bit frightened by the amount of sail, she brought the sail back to our shop, and with Bruce’s advice and sewing machine, she added two reef points to the sail, hopefully making it a lot more manageable. It was great to see Ingrid again, and get out for a sail together!

The happy winners of last year’s
Heritage Harbour Classic

An upcoming event to keep in mind is the 5th annual Heritage Harbour Classic, planned for September 19th. Stay tuned for more information, but a suggestion for an added event this year is a heaving line challenge, using a monkey’s fist made by the participant. There are other new things afoot for the Classic, including a possible change of classifications.

BIG news at the harbour is the departure of the former RCMP ship Nadon! A bunch of us met at high tide a few weeks ago to help move her from her former berth to the outer dock ready for Ella McKenzie to tow her to Shelter Island the next day. There, she’ll undergo a refit to hopefully serve as a research vessel – I’d say that’s a perfect fit for her!

The change of scenery is spectacular! Two new additions (well, one was a returning vessel) fit in SO nicely! The returning vessel is Odin, under her new owner – great to have the lovely little yellow boat back. Also welcome Rhinegold, a 1911 motor yacht, a beautiful classic!

Heritage Harbour

The Vancouver Maritime Museum has added a page on their website highlighting our home, the Heritage Harbour. Nice to see that feature!

An upcoming exhibition at the museum looks interesting – watch for it coming up September 16th.

I think that’s all for now – it’s been a while since our last post, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few things! Hope to see you down at the dock soon.

Sisters of the Ice Book Launch

Tomorrow night (June 1, 2021, 7pm PDT), our Heritage Harbour wharfinger Bruce will be presenting his new book, Sisters of the Ice, stories from the Arctic involving his ship and the St Roch. If you haven’t read the book yet, DO!! It’s available at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and gives a fascinating insight into life up north. Read more about the book in the link above.

The talk is free, via Zoom, but you do need to register for it in the link, and it gives you the chance to order the book as well if you can’t make it to the museum.

In the meantime…

Nick sent these photos of the work he’s been doing on his Davidson dinghy rebuild – he writes:

My latest boat project is very close to being finished. No name yet & sanding of the oars ongoing. It looks pretty good sitting in my shop on the “ Flintstone Roller”. I’ll be taking it out for relaunching soon
Cheers, Nick



Thanks for the update, Nick – looking great, and we hope you enjoy getting her back in the water!

Last week, a local writer and photographer stopped by the dock for a chat with Arnt and Dale, after one of their regular days on the water – take a look at the post on Facebook or Instagram:

Nice to get some exposure in different places!

I’ve been making (slow) progress on my model of Button Swan:

(Yes, I messed up on the thwarts – I went by the original drawings, not the revised version we built!)

We’d love to hear of any boat-related projects you’ve got going on while we wait for the opportunity to get back to the shop.

National Registry of Historic Vessels

There’s a very important and worthwhile effort underway to build recognition of historic vessels in B.C. and Canada, something that has been amazingly lacking so far. The effort has been started by Robert Allan and the SS Master Society. Please take a moment to read their proposal, and if you feel led, use their template to write a letter to the minister of Canadian Heritage in support of this idea (follow the link below).

Subject: National Registry of Historic Canadian Vessels

Hello Crew,

Recognition and awareness of the Master is fundamental to our fundraising
efforts. The establishment of a National Registry of Historic Canadian
Vessels is one way to ensure the Master is recognized as the historically
significant vessel that she is. To that end, Rob Allan has written to the
Honorable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, proposing the
creation of a National Registry of Historic Canadian Vessels.

We need every one’s help. Below is Rob’s note to members asking for your
support. Click on this link to see Rob’s note to members, Rob’s sample note
to the Minister and the article written by Rob and John MacFarlane.

*Dear Friends of Master,As we mount our Centenary campaign to raise the
funds for the restoration of Master, a large part of that overall effort is
to try to get the Federal Government to create a National Register of
Historic Canadian Vessels.  This recognition would be incredibly important
to Master but would also establish some ground rules for the preservation
of, or at the very least accurate detailed documentation of vessels of
significance across the country.*

*For a more extensive discussion of this topic, please see the attached
article which John Macfarlane and I wrote in 2019, although this was with a
Provincial focus. *

*I am asking every one of you to please take a moment to support this
initiative by writing to the Minister of Canadian Heritage endorsing this
concept. To make life a bit easier I have drafted the attached letter to
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, which you
can use “as is” or adapt to suit your own thoughts.*

*Please circulate this appeal to anyone you know who believes in the
importance of our nautical heritage.*

*“Steaming Ahead”*

*Rob Allan*


Barry A Martens
President – SS Master Society
Email:* ssmaster@telus.net <ssmaster@telus.net>*
Website: ssmaster.org

Stormy night

Last weekend we had quite a blow down at the harbour – up to 55 kts of wind! Bruce and Kristyn were kept on their toes, watching the boats. Here’s some of their footage.

Under their watchful eyes, the boats fared pretty well, with some dock lines needing reinforcing, but North Star of Herschel Island sustained some damage – one of her dock lines ripped out part of her bulwarks!

Bruce already has a workday lined up, with Eric’s help. Bruce was planning to replace some rotten wood this summer, but this accelerates the timeline!

One of our boats had a bit of a run-in with a deadhead last week, thankfully caught before there was damage! Kristyn noticed that Ragna was looking a little skewed at her mooring, and got Bruce’s attention on it – he dislodged the log and got Ragna resting comfortably again. Big thanks to Kristyn and Bruce for that!!

When the wind isn’t blowing too hard, we’ve had some great sailing – here are a couple of videos, with Ragna, Enke, and Arnt & Valerie’s boat Anja.