Honouring the tradition of wooden boats

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Proud heritage of wooden boat building

"The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting-place. It is for that reason, perhaps, that, when it comes, the desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so that you can think of nothing else. You must build to regain your freedom. And always you comfort yourself with the thought that yours will be the perfect boat, the boat that you may search the harbours of the world for and not find."                           
Arthur Ransome "Racundra's First Cruise" 1923

The traditional launching of Roy Jenkins' wooden motorboat brought a good crowd to get in on the fun.

 

By JIM HILDEBRAND

The Sun

"The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting-place. It is for that reason, perhaps, that, when it comes, the desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so that you can think of nothing else. You must build to regain your freedom. And always you comfort yourself with the thought that yours will be the perfect boat, the boat that you may search the harbours of the world for and not find."                           

Arthur Ransome "Racundra's First Cruise" 1923

Wooden boats have always been a part of life in Twillingate, and in Newfoundland as a whole, but with the advent of fibreglass there has been a recognition that the craftsmanship of building a wooden boat that once flourished throughout the province is slowly disappearing. 

The Isles Wooden Boat Building Committee (IWBBC), a chapter of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador (WBMNL) was formed to archive, conserve, exhibit, and transmit the wooden boat history and its contribution to the province’s economy and way of life. The IWBBC shares in the WBMNL’s programs and initiatives designed to connect wooden boat builders and enthusiasts and to encourage sharing the knowledge and skills associated with traditional wooden boat building. As they continue to learn about construction and design from tradition-bearers, WBMNL and IWBBC are mandated to promote and safeguard the transmission of this acquired knowledge to future generations.

Chris Osmond is a director of WBMNL as well as the Isles Committee. He is very enthusiastic about some of the developments that have been happening in the area. 

“This year we have partnered with the Twillingate Island Tourism Association (TITA) and there is a wonderful exhibition at the Long Point Lighthouse,” he said.

TITA president Michael Geiger is also exuberant about the display entitled “Before Fibreglass: Wooden Boats of Newfoundland and Labrador.” 

“The exhibit is enriched with historic photos, art, stories, poems, songs and artifacts,” said Geiger. “It shows the contribution of the wooden boat to Newfoundland and Labrador’s history, economy and cultural way of life. It takes us through the evolution of boat building starting as early as the Native Americans through to fishing with longliners.”

Organizations: Isles Wooden Boat Building Committee, Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, Twillingate Island Tourism Association Local committee The Sun Isles Committee Fun Folk Festival Committee Twillingate Museum

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Twillingate, Hawaii Oxford North Island Bay View Purcell Little Harbour Peter Gillesport South

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