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Crafted Vancouver, and Marine Swap

Two events to tell you about – one was last week, and one is coming up next week.

Last Thursday, Oarlock and Sail presented a slide show of the Button Swan build, gave a demo of a few boat-building tools, and hosted a tour of our shop and the dock.  We had been approached by the organizers of a new festival, Crafted Vancouver, which includes tours and demonstrations of a number of craft related things.

We had a good turnout of about 15 guests, in addition to 8 or so of our members.  Rob gave an excellent talk on the building of our boat, keeping the audience interested and involved.  That presentation took place in the Maritime Museum.

Down at the dock, Daniel showed 3 types of planking, including trying a bit of caulking in a sample of carvel planking, and also a brief demo of the drawknife.

Arnt gave a tour of the shop and descriptions of our boats.  It was great to see the interest and enthusiasm of the visitors – lots of questions were asked and answered!

Coming up on the first Saturday in June (June 2nd), Bruce and Sheila are working on putting together the first Heritage Harbour Marine Swap’n’Shop.  The hope is to get a bunch of the Heritage Harbour ‘residents’ to gather some interesting boating bits and pieces that they have laying around, and have a swap and sale on the dock.  OLAS has a few items, mostly old magazines, and we are open to whatever any of our members might contribute.  We hope this can be an interesting new activity on the dock!


First sail

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We tested Button Swan’s mainsail on Saturday, and considered it a great success!  We did some temporary fastening, tying the sail to our spars, and rigging some control lines.  The sail shape worked perfectly, and the boat was fast enough to pull away from Ragna quite easily most of the time – we’re very pleased with her performance!  This was in a nice light wind, perfect for a first sail.

With Ragna giving chase, we got some video of her underway.  Ragna was able to pull away on one leg, but after a bit more tuning, Button Swan took off again.

This boat is continuing to satisfy and delight us!

The launch of the Button Swan

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We had a most excellent day for the launch party for the Providence River Boat “Button Swan”, and a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the launching of the Vancouver Maritime Museum’s “St. Roch”.  We had a full dock of guests, members, and staff!


The celebration began with a short talk by our club president, Rob O’Dea, thanking all who have participated in the building of this fine boat, including those who contributed in our fundraising and the Vancouver Maritime Museum for the greatly appreciated place in which to build.  After a celebratory taste and splash of spirits, the boat went in the water, and went for a number of rowing excursions – the sails are still being completed, and we’ll have another celebration to come!

Before the launch could happen though, there was a frenzy of work in the preceding month.  A lot of work was achieved in a short time, thanks to many extra hours during the week by a handful of our members, much of it done by Arnt, either at the boat shed or in his own shop.  Thanks to all the others who contributed!

Sail-making is nearly completed, at least the main-sail, so we’re looking forward to adding it – thanks to Bob, Nick, and Louise for their work on that!

After the launch of the boat, a number of boats from Heritage Harbour went out for a sail-past, led by Bruce & Sheila and guests on North Star, looking splendid!  Sheila & Bruce had been busy gathering flags to outfit all the participants, adding wonderfully festive colour to the fleet.

It was an exciting day, finished off with a bbq on the dock, and continued enjoyment and admiring of the Button Swan!  Thanks to all who made the day a great success!

Button Swan Launch Date – May 5, 2018!


We have set a date for the launch of the Button Swan – May 5, 2018, and in the last few weeks, work on the boat has been going at a fever pitch!  Most of the seemingly small details, each of which still takes some time, have been ticked off the list, and it’s coming together beautifully!

May 5th also marks the 90th anniversary of the St Roch’s launch, and to mark the occasion, the Vancouver Maritime Museum and OLAS are teaming up to do something special.  The Button Swan launch is set for 11am, and then the rest of the fleet in Heritage Harbour are being encouraged to set sail out of the harbour.  After a short time in English Bay, we’ll be returning to harbour, and having a BBQ on the dock (details to follow).  Should make for a fun day!

Thanks to Dale Simonson for the fantastic job he’s been doing documenting the build – here are some of his photos, and if you like these, take a look through the rest of his album of the Button Swan.


Decking and Mast

We get a lot of visitors stopping in to find out what we’re doing, and we love to chat with them about it!  Many ask if it’s ok to take photos (it is!), and once in a while, someone will send us the pics they took – we love that!  These two are courtesy of one of our visitors.

It feels like we’re getting very close to finished with the Providence River boat!  We’ve made great progress with the decking, and got a start on shaping the mast.

Last Saturday, we finished gluing up the side decks, and then sometime during the week, the elves finished filling in the deck at the bow, and sanded the decks to a nice smooth finish.

We couldn’t resist putting in the nice shiny thwarts for a look – I have the feeling they’ll be in and out of the boat a few more times before launch!  (check out that glossy finish!)

This past Saturday, we installed one of the coamings, which was a painstaking process, but it came together beautifully in the end.

The mast has been shaped from 4-sided to 8-sided to 16 sided – and looking great!  Next step will be sanding with an inverted belt.

We’ve still got lots of fun work to do – oars need to be made, the sail sewn up, tiller material sourced, designed, and shaped, rudder mounted, etc.  But the productivity has been high, and it won’t be long now!

Sam Mac for sale – SOLD

edit:  The Sam Mac has been sold!  The new owner plans to use it to teach his kids to sail, so that’s a very nice outcome.  He has also joined our club, so we’ll be sure to welcome and encourage him!

We are offering our Sam Mac boat for sale – please see this ad for details:

Book launch – Ron Holland


There’s a book launch coming up at the Vancouver Maritime Museum on March 29th, 7:30pm.  Ron Howard, a local yacht designer will be giving a talk and presenting his new book, “All The Oceans”.   Sounds like it should be a very interesting evening!  Attendance is included in museum admission.

Decking has begun

The Oarlock and Sail boat shed is a beautiful place to be each Saturday, snow or sunshine (or both)!  Coffee is always brewed, and lately, we’ve had several projects in progress – the Button Swan Providence River boat is coming along nicely, looking amazing!

More knees have been made, these laminated.  Painting and varnishing has progressed, and is looking mighty fine!  Thanks to Rob and Arnt for their extra work in that, coming in during the week, so that the finish doesn’t get damaged when we’re working on Saturdays.

The deck boards were steamed and bent into their curved shape, then set aside when cooled.

We got a start on installing the deck this past Saturday – 3 strips on each side are in place, nailed and glued to each other, and nailed to the gunwales, with a generous coating of sealer between.

Other projects included completing the rudder and getting a coat of varnish on it, installing the gaff jaws on the spars, and oiling the floorboards.  It’s so satisfying getting some of the components completed and set aside, ready for final assembly – it’s looking like a late spring completion!

In the meantime, we had a boat launching on the dock – Arnt had salvaged and repaired a dinghy for his boat, Odin.  She was put in the water and the test voyage was deemed a success!  And our fine boats Vogler and Ragna are being put to regular use.  Lots of action and good times down at the dock!

Seats and Spars

Some wonderful progress on the Button Swan Providence River Boat.  The yellow cedar floorboards have been cut out and fitted to the boat, held together with white oak battens.

Bob, one of our members, knows his way around sail design, and has done the calculations for our boat.  We decided on some changes to the shape and size of the sails to reduce the length of the boom a bit, as the original design has an overwhelmingly long one, and we’re not sure we could manage the dock space!  This seems a little more practical.


The seats have been shaped and fitted, and got a couple of coats of varnish – so beautiful!!  Thanks to Leif (our member from New York City who was here on a visit) for a few of the photos below.  Leif has been a generous supporter of the club, and was super inspired by our boat build!  He owns Polaris, a Concordia 41, and had help from his brother Arnt with his mast rebuild last year.

And, thanks to Arnt and Rob, we’ve got a start on shaping the spars – the bow-sprit even has a coat of varnish on it!


The boat is looking more beautiful each week!!

And to maintain our workshop, Nick did some great work yesterday on replacing the fascia board at the roof-line of our shed, and installing some flashing to try to prevent the leak which has been a problem lately.  Hopefully this will keep our tools dry!

January – Knees, Risers, Priming

The quarter knees were refined and fastened, and look beautiful!  It’s another one of those things where we see it shaped and in place, and ponder whether we can finish it ‘bright’, with either varnish or oil, instead of painting it like we’d planned.  Before long, we’ll be finishing the entire interior with the wood nicely visible!  But then we ponder a little further, and realize the maintenance requirements increase dramatically with the amount of bright wood.  To that end, the interior of the hull got a coat of primer, and yeah, that looks pretty nice as well!

The lower rub rails were fastened and plugged, and the thwart risers were steamed, bent in place and fastened.

And, after the risers were in place, work got started on the thwarts.  One of the main thwarts is fitted and in place, and the stern sheets (or side seats) are being mocked up, along with the curve at the stern.  The pattern for the thwart knees has been started as well.

It’s exciting to see the interior of the boat coming together, and imagining taking her out for a sail.  It will be interesting to see how the small side deck and coaming will change the look of the boat!