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Work on the Robert Allan began a couple of weeks ago with removal of the sacrificial keel and some of the centerboard fastenings.  Last Saturday, scraping of the interior got underway, in preparation for refinishing.  We found the stern knee was badly delaminated, so a new one of black locust will replace it.  The centerboard trunk was removed and examined, and will be remade.

We’ve received a couple of updates from the family who bought the Sam Mac, and they’ve been busy repairing her.  Thanks for the photos, Kirby!

And, remaining work on the Button Swan has been mapped out.

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One of those items includes the word “repair” – yes, even a new boat needs some remedial work sometimes.  One of the laminations of the deck didn’t hold, and we found a split joint.  Some epoxy and screws should take care of that, and we thought of adding knees underneath for added support, in case the split was stress-induced.  All part of the break-in period!


Button Swan sails! (and how!!)

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A couple of photos sent in by another sailor (thanks Ron!):

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been chipping away at finishing up the Button Swan’s sailing rig.  The jib sail has been made by Bob, Nick, and Louise, and Bob did some finishing touches on Saturday.  We had a great day of working out the last of the rigging questions that we’d had, and got the boat set up with both sails!  And boy, does she look fine, and sail wonderfully!!

After a bit of a shake-down sail, we came back to the dock for some adjustments, and went back out for another test.  There are still some finishing touches left to complete, but we feel we’ve got the system set up pretty nicely now.

This boat really moves!  We had perfect conditions for testing her, a nice steady breeze and flat water, and were hugely impressed with her speed!  She has no problem beating to windward, her long keel doing a great job of keeping her tracking, and when tacking, the jib does its job splendidly, pushing the bow around through the wind – tacking was quick and easy.  She is a bit tender, and we’re curious to see what she’ll be like in heavier winds, but we do have two reef points to let us reduce sail for more manageability, so it should work out fine.

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She is a delight to sail, and we are overjoyed with how she has turned out!  I hope that everyone will be able to get out and enjoy this wonderful boat!!!

Heritage Harbour Swap’n’Shop

We had a great turnout on the dock for the first annual Heritage Harbour Swap’n’Shop – lots of fascinating things to look through, and though we didn’t get a whole lot of shoppers, there was a steady flow of money changing hands.  Oarlock and Sail sold some books and magazines, as well as a sweet looking vintage soda siphon which was donated (thanks Marty!).  Some vendors bought more than they sold, but hey, some of that may be resold next year – hopefully we’ll get more buyers!

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At the end of the sale, one of our dock neighbors donated a sweet pair of oars to the club!

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After the sale, some more prep work was done on rigging the Button Swan.  Here, the bowsprit is being tested for flexing – looks strong enough to lift the boat out of the water!

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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.