New boat project!


We have started construction of our next boat – or at least the strongback which is the foundation for the boat build!  The design is an Iain Oughtred “Auk”, a 7′-5″ lapstrake dinghy.  The boat will serve as a tender for one of our members – Brent and his 46′ Kettenburg PCC “Richochet”.  We’ve decided to build it in riveted yellow cedar planking instead of glued lapstrake as originally planned.  Nice to keep it traditional!

It’s a pretty small frame, and it’s been suggested that we double up, and build another one alongside, taking advantage of the efficiency of multiples – I’m afraid we’d quickly find out that it’s not quite as small as that!

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Before we get started on the molds and keel, we tested the frame’s strength with some pizza and beer, supplied by Sheila & Bruce as part of the Christmas decoration award ceremony.  They had put out the challenge to the harbour boat owners to decorate, and then had a draw amongst the participants for a bottle of rum.  Some of the award ceremony can be seen in a YouTube video by Barry, owner of Dagon and First Mate on Providence.  Oarlock & Sail got a special award for our Grinch display, which is attracting a lot of attention on the dock!  Watch the rest of Barry’s video for a glimpse into the day-to-day work involved in keeping (bigger) wooden boats afloat.

Do come down during the many hours of dark, to see the harbour in all its coloured lights!  The gate at the top of the ramp is locked after the False Creek Ferries stop running, but you can enjoy the lights from shore, or if you’re a member, you can get the combination for the lock.

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Anja was getting a mockup of the new cabin-top that Arnt & Valerie will be building – it’s looking so good, and will give them headroom inside.  Barry’s video shows a bit of it.

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It will be fun to get working on the new project!  We hope you come down to the shed to take part, or at least to take a look at what we’re up to – the door is always open (or openable) to visitors!  Merry Christmas!

Relaunch of Venus


Yesterday we celebrated the relaunch of Venus, the cold-molded Davidson dinghy we’ve refurbished.  The boat came to us a little worse for wear, with a lot of delamination, and  a temporarily patched hole in her bottom.  We’ve learned a lot over the course of the project, building up the layers for a much better patch!

Suitable drinks and food were procured and laid out on the workbench in the shed, and a proper painter was spliced on.

Short and enjoyable speeches were given by Rob, our club president, and Joost, owner of the boat and Director of the Maritime Museum, after which Venus received a splash of champagne, and was put in the water.  Joost claims this was his first crack at rowing (which none of us believed), and he had a short and easy row, past his bigger boat, Milo, for which Venus will be a tender.

Festivities carried on in the shed for a while – it was a great time!

Other activities were also going on – Button Swan received her cover, thanks to Tom for all your work on that!!  It looks excellent, and will be great protection from the otters and the rain!

A bit over a week ago, the call went out from Sheila & Bruce, challenging Heritage Harbour residents to decorate their boats for the holidays.  A flurry of emails went around in Oarlock & Sail, and before long, a plan was set in motion to make a display using the Fancy Pram.  Last Saturday we cut it out, and it was painted during the week, with the final touches yesterday, and it got assembled on the dock.  Turned out wonderfully, and we expect it will be a hit with the public!  Button Swan got a string of lights, as well as a string around the shed roof.


In the shed, the plans for our next project were put up on the wall, ready for next week – we plan to get a start on the strongback and molds, before we turn to our holiday celebrations (starting at 1:00).  Hope to see you there!

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So close! Party to come.

Two dates to keep in mind:

  • November 30th, relaunch of our current project
  • December 7th, start of our next project, and a party to celebrate

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Last Saturday we came in to see a beautiful set of floorboards for the Davidson dinghy, ready to oil and fasten in place – it’s always fun to see what the boat-shed elves get up to during the week!

We then worked on the cleats and toggles to hold them in place, even when the boat is stored upside down on the deck of its mothership.  We got them shaped and epoxied in place.

This past Saturday we got the final coat of paint on the interior, and fastened the name-board.  We look forward to launching Venus this coming Saturday, November 30th – come down to take a look at our work and help us send her off!

The next weekend, December 7th, we’ll be starting our next build, an Ian Oughtred designed ‘Auk’, a dinghy for Brent’s Kettenburg sloop.  We’ll get started on the strongback and molds, and then have a bit of an early Christmas celebration as well.  We invite you to the shed to join in and learn more about the project!  We’ll supply the snacks, and ask you to BYOB.  Festivities start around 1pm.

Last Saturday was also a ‘tool improvement’ day, with new planer blades, the start of a dust collection hood for the planer, a new cordless driver, an adapter for dust collection for the tablesaw, and a new bandsaw blade.  The bandsaw is a whole new tool, cutting so nicely!!  We look forward to enjoying all the improvements!

Hope to see you at the dock!

More paint, floorboards, and a couple of great opportunities

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The Davidson dinghy is looking better all the time, and is getting close to done!  We painted the seats green, and are now working on the floorboards, which will also be painted to match.

We’ll be fastening the floorboard assemblies with toggles to hold them in place when the boat is stored upside down on the deck of the mothership.

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We’re still working on covers for the Button Swan and Vogler.  Here we’re trying out some material that we got for free, but upon reconsideration, decided to buy some proper material that would last a lot longer.

We’ve been enjoying some great sailing on Arnt & Valerie’s boat Anje – she’s such a fun boat to sail!

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Arnt & Valerie have put Odin up for sale – if you’re looking for a sweet gaff-rigged double-ender, take a look at  I’ve suggested renaming our club as Oarlock, Sail & Diesel Wooden & Aluminum Boat Club and buying Odin, but it hasn’t gained much traction.

We have an opportunity to help our former club member Ed fulfill a dream, and preserve history.  Ed’s message:

We seem to be starting a little project acquiring old Nova Scotian schooners, repairing them, and getting them sailing in a fleet of tour boats, community engagement workshops, day charters, etc…
Here are some links to the project:  –  You’ll find the link to the GoFundMe effort here.
Tell your friends?!

He mentions being interested in an old boatyard where Rob, Georgina & Tom’s boat was built.  Georgina adds:

When Tom and I were in Nova Scotia, we made a connection with a neighbour who lives next door to the now quite broken down boatshed where our lovely Ern was built. Right after making that connection, we went to see Ed Sturgeon, his wife Louise and new baby Beatrix. Tom told him the story of the shed.. at the time I wondered if Ed Sturgeon might just be the guy to do something about restoring that place. He does have the energy, drive and skills. Well…. looks like something might just happen with that.

So, if you’re willing to do so, it would be great to help Ed in that venture – and potentially keeping a historic boatyard alive!

And then there’s green

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The Davidson dinghy is looking sharp, with a coat of green on the gunwales and below the waterline.  The remainder of the hull will get a coat of cream colour.

To mark the waterline, we put the boat in the water (which was very cooperatively calm), taped a pencil to a chunk of wood, and floated it to mark the hull.  Worked nicely!

Once we had it marked all around, we brought it into the shed, dried it off, taped to follow the line, and applied a coat of green.  We succumbed to temptation for some bright-work, and have started varnishing the transom – sure looks good!  The seats inside may just get green as well, to finish off the look.

We’ve installed an electrical outlet on the outside of the shed, which will help keep cords from getting stuck in the door and out from under foot.  After it was hooked up, we tested it with the sewing machine, which Tom brought to do some more boat cover work.  Too bad the rain prevented us from working on the Button Swan cover though – maybe next week.

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We had an inquiry recently about a small row-boat for some kids, so we tested the Fancy Pram for stability/suitability.  We’re not sure it would be appropriate – it really is just a bit too tippy for comfort and safety – you can tell by Kayla’s worried look!

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We’ve decided on our next project, for when we complete the Davidson dinghy – we’ll be building a glued lapstrake dinghy.  This will be for Brent, one of our members, to use on his boat Ricochet, which he is restoring.  The design is an Ian Oughtred ‘Auk’.  Brent will be supplying the materials and will be making a donation to the club, which will go toward the next boat – we’d love to hear your thoughts on what that should be!


We got a coat of paint on the Davidson dinghy – inside and out.  It felt a bit of a shame to cover up that lovely wood-grain, but this will be so much more durable and serviceable.  The final paint scheme is yet to be determined, but there will be some green trim added at the gunwales.  Should look sharp!

Tom brought his heavy-duty sewing machine, and was busy on the dock with repairing a few worn seams in Ragna’s cover, and we used that cover to measure for Button Swan.  We hope to find some material for that one, as well as a cover for Vogler – both of them would benefit from that.

Other interesting action on the dock included seeing the latest improvements on Anya, with a new tiller mounting, and helping hoist Arnt to the top of her mast for some work on lazy-jacks.


North Star is getting some new toe-rails, and looking good!

And a couple of us got out in Button Swan, always a wonderful pleasure – it never ceases to delight us, what a wonderful boat she is!


Heritage Harbour Classic 3

Another fantastic day was had last Saturday at the 3rd annual Heritage Harbour Classic!  Please pardon the long post – I had a hard time whittling down the number of pics – thanks to Joost, Kerrin, Robert, Rob, and Valerie for sharing your selection!  I’ll keep the whole set of photos available on Dropbox for a while.

The weather was great, though it was another light-wind challenge with a few nice lifts, and we had wonderful participation, with lots of people!  We had the sailing race, and new this year, a dinghy race.

The preparations at the dock were intense, as crews got the boats ready and tweaked for maximum performance.


Seeing all the boats (9 sailboats, 4 work/spectator boats) out there was spectacular, and the rivalry was fierce!  There have already been some follow-up challenges for rematches.  You know it’s getting serious when you see a spinnaker come out!

It was great to have all the spectator boats out, getting people close to the action, and getting a whole lot of close-up photos of the boats and crews!

Milo served as the committee boat, and Atlas, Ella McKenzie, and Molly Sparks were out with spectators.

The sailboats involved were OLAS’s Enke (sailed by Ingrid and Louise), Button Swan (Daniel and Bernie), and Ragna (Kayla), Arnt & Valerie’s two boats Odin and their new boat Anja (still carrying her former name, Time), Sylvester, previous winner Winsome III, Ruggen and Moonbeam. Last year’s winner Ern was not able to defend her title, as she had rudder problems on her way back from the west coast of Vancouver Island, and is awaiting repairs.

The race for the win was very tight, Button Swan leading most of the time, with Ragna hot on her heels.  In the end, Kayla sailed Ragna over the line first, having chosen the better end of the finish line – Button Swan lost the wind, and came up against the tide at the far end.  Winsome III came in third.  The light wind favoured the small boats, and they were able to keep out of reach of the big boats!

Milo escorts our winner Ragna back to the dock.
All the boats getting tucked away after the sailing race.

Once all the boats were tied up back at the dock, the dinghys came out to play – we had 11 or so out there, ranging from an aluminum canoe (who let THAT in?!) to a couple of SUPs, and a range of rowboats.  The canoe came out on top, but the little boat with 3 little passengers should have been declared the winner based on adjusted time – 30 seconds times 3, wasn’t it?  Although, that may have only been proposed for the sailing race.  It was a great time, and everyone made it back to the dock mostly dry.

The awards ceremony was held after that, with the presentation of enamel mugs for the dinghy race and the sailing runners-up, and the trophy for the win.  Sadly, nobody remembered to stop clapping long enough to take photos of the winner, but we do get to see her getting a celebratory salmon burger at the bbq.

There was much food to enjoy, and lots of great conversations about all that went on out on the course, including one collision with a non-participant trying to sail through the course.   Besides that, it was a wonderful day, and we’re already looking forward to next year!  Who knows – next year might include Providence, North Star, and Ricochet!

Huge thanks to Sheila and Bruce for organizing the day, Valerie and Georgina for getting a bunch of the food, and all the rest who brought their contributions.


Davidson progress

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The Davidson dinghy is looking beautiful!  We’ve put on a coat of epoxy inside and out, to seal and preserve the wood hull.  Now that we see the gorgeous wood grain, we’re loath to cover it up with paint!  But we have to keep telling ourselves that paint is so much more durable and maintenance-free than 12 coats of varnish!  The colour scheme is in progress, but the Dutch orange has been ruled out, to the disappointment of some, and the relief of others.

The inner keel got an infill piece over the patched hole, the hull was well-sanded inside and out, and finally, a couple of coats of epoxy.

Ragna’s mast is coming along well, with a great deal of sanding using a belt-sander strip, and a couple of handles.  It actually made pretty quick work of it, and provided a great workout for the members who took part in that!

After it was rounded, the hole at the top for the halyard sheave was cut and shaped.  The mast has been given a thinned coat of epoxy, and is now getting multiple coats of varnish.  It won’t be long until Ragna is ready to sail again!

Enke got a name-board, just in time to serve as one of the clues in a scavenger hunt that Museum board member (and donator of Enke) Robert Allan was involved in.  Thanks to Bruce for making that!

At the shed last Saturday, we had a quick lesson in whipping lines, to keep the ends of our dock lines neat and tidy.

One of our members sent a few more pics of the flotilla to the rowing races with flute accompaniment – thanks Bernard!

And finally, Button Swan got her bottom paint and is back in the water, and sailing wonderfully!  Ready to dominate the Heritage Harbour Classic on September 21 – unless Enke has something to say about it – she’s a speedy boat too!  Hope to see you there!

Edit:  Oh, we also weighed the Button Swan last weekend – the hull alone weighs 310 lbs, with the rig (minus bowsprit, jib, and oars, which we forgot), it’s 430 lbs, and the bags of water ballast are 60 lbs, for a total of 490 lbs.  At some point during the build we started a pool, guessing the final weight (fully rigged) – only Rob and Daniel committed to a number, Rob predicting 346 lbs, and Daniel going with 368 lbs.  It was suggested that Rob now owes Daniel a bottle of scotch.  🙂

2019 Granville Island Wooden Boat Festival

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Another Granville Island Wooden Boat Festival weekend has passed, and it was a good one!  Great weather all weekend, good crowds showing lots of interest in our boat and club (of COURSE!), including a number of locals, who were encouraged to come by on a Saturday to take a look and learn more.

The rowing races had two enthusiastic participants from the festival who joined at the last minute, their attention captured by our flotilla of boats towed from Heritage Harbour by Bourton and his tugboat Ella McKenzie!   We had OLAS’s Vogler, Ragna, and Enke, as well as Stephen and his crew with their dinghy, all tied to the Ella McKenzie and  serenaded by a couple of classical flutists standing on the deck of the tug.  Georgina brought signs for everyone to hold, enticing observers and rowers to come over to Alder Bay for the races – and it worked!

The racing was fun, with a few bumps and bruises thrown in.  There were a few close encounters between oars and heads, and at least one direct hit on a rock – thankfully all without lasting damage.  I think all of us who rowed slept well that night – Dale, who regularly goes for long steady rows found the sprint racing was a lot more exhausting!

The weekend before the festival, Button Swan was pulled out onto the dock for a thorough and much-needed cleaning. It felt great to get all the growth scrubbed off the keel, and get the interior clean again.


After that, she was taken into the shed for a couple of fresh coats of varnish on all bright-work (including the mast), repainting of the interior white, and some touch-ups of the turquoise paint – a huge thank-you to Dale and Ingrid who came in during the week for that – she was looking fine on display at the festival!  This coming weekend we plan to pull her out on the dock again and give her a new coat of bottom paint – we didn’t want to do that when she was going to be out of the water for a few days.  And then she should be good and ready for the upcoming Heritage Harbour Classic (see below)!

Getting the Button Swan to the plaza was made MUCH easier this year with the great little dolly that Nick made!  He had crafted the framework, glued up a block of wood for a roller, and turned the roller on a lathe.  This was its first outing, and it held up great, making the boat very easy to roll and steer on its journey across the island!  Thanks for that, Nick!

At the shed, last weekend saw some more progress on the Davidson dinghy, scarfing in a section on the keel that had cracked, further filling in of the patch of the hole, and a fillet of epoxy along the keel to reinforce and seal it.  The mast for Ragna is mostly shaped, with some more sanding to do to get it smooth and round.  We should be able to get it done in another week or two.

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Mark your calendar for the 3rd annual Heritage Harbour Classic sailing race, coming up Saturday September 21st starting around 2pm, and followed by a BBQ on the dock.  We hope to have all three of our sailboats in the race, and so we will need crew – up to 3 people on Button Swan, and 2 each on Ragna and Enke – so please let us know where you’d like to take part.  Last year was a great success, and we’re looking forward to another great time!

Summer action

The Granville Island Wooden Boat Festival is coming up next weekend, August 22nd to 25th.  We’ll be hosting the dinghy races there, on Saturday the 24th at 11am at Alder Bay.  Georgina and the festival committee have done a great job in organizing and promoting the event, and we should have better participation than last year – and hopefully the weather will be more cooperative!  Please get in touch with Georgina if you’re interested in helping out at the races or our booth (although now that I think of it, she’s off on the west coast of Vancouver Island for a bit – just show up if you can!).

We’ll be moving the Button Swan over on Thursday, and then on Saturday morning a flotilla of boats is getting towed from Heritage Harbour to Granville Island for the races – should be fun!

Despite the slower pace of summer, we’ve made good progress on the Davidson dinghy repair – new ash rub strips have been installed, a bit bigger and more durable than the original, and the hole in the bottom is pretty much finished getting patched, and looking good!  Some creative ‘spring board’ clamping was used while gluing in the layers.

With all the use and enjoyment our boats are getting these days, some repairs have become necessary, the most extreme of which is a new mast for Ragna!  A severe jolt from the wake of a large boat crossing too close in front of her caused the mast to snap at deck level.  Arnt glued up and milled the replacement, and shaping has begun – we should have her ready to sail again in a week or two.

Other work at the shed and on the dock – a tiller extension for Button Swan is nearly finished, with 6 coats of varnish (thanks Ingrid!), and over at North Star, Bruce has been busy carving the name in the new transom planks, which involved him making a chisel from an old file.


Through some serendipity, we’ve learned of Enke’s origin – she was built by David Philips in south Vancouver, from a design by Charles Mower.  David recognized her here on our site, and provided some information – we’ll be getting in touch with him for more info, including some photos from when he was building her!