WoodenBoat Magazine 290

January / February 2023

Editor's Page

A Forager’s Vision

“Old church pews, throwaway planks from a ruined pier, scrapped airplane and helicopter parts, metal screens and pipes, railings from a demolished stairway,” writes Larry Cheek in describing how Arnt Antzen “will cheerfully scoop them all up and stash them until an idea for some adaptive new life occurs to him.” In his article beginning on page 70, Larry describes the modifications Arnt made to the sloop ANJA, a sweet little gaff cutter he found for sale online in Vancouver, British Columbia. The 23-footer was set up as a daysailer, though was originally designed by Roger Long as a pocket cruiser. Arnt initially dismissed the boat as inappropriate for his cruising needs, then quickly realized, “I could build the cabin.”

But for an artist-craftsman of Arnt’s stripe, this did not mean a visit to the lumber dealer and chandlery. Instead, it meant visiting his trove of cast-off materials and sorting through secondhand bronze hardware to find just the right material. The result of such a project could have been an ill-considered conglomerate, but as you study the image on the cover of this issue, I think you’ll find that the boat’s cabin and other details look remarkably harmonious, and as if they’ve always been there. “Of a piece” is how our boat design editor, Mike O’Brien, once described such an effect to me. And ANJA is indeed of a piece. This is no small feat.

I recall several years ago reading about a building remodeled with recycled material, and what an air of resourcefulness and integrity the resulting space exuded. The building’s designer-builder was quick to point out, however, that there was no economy in building that way—at least if one is accounting for labor. It took an enormous amount of time sorting, considering, and then fitting the pieces into their new context. I also recall visiting aboard the 1885 sloop FREDA in Sausalito years ago, when Harold Sommer had her. Like Arnt, he had repurposed pieces of other vessels into the cabin. The effect was memorable and unique, and it has stuck with me for nearly 30 years.

Of course, having a good boat with which to start was critical to Arnt’s process. Roger Long is a designer of considerable talent. His portfolio ranges from small pocket cruisers inspired by traditional workboats to steel-hulled, no-nonsense commercial vessels. His drafting, as evidenced by the drawings on page 74, is impeccable.
He describes the inspiration for Arnt’s boat as a combination of English cutter and Friendship sloop. Both influences are apparent. “Forty-five years later, I still think it might be the best set of lines I ever drew,” Larry quotes him as saying.

Arnt’s materials come from some unusual sources. I won’t spoil the surprise here, but instead suggest you turn to the top of page 75 to get a sense of the boat. Then read the article to learn about the origins of the cockpit benches, deckbeams, and hawsepipe cap—to name just a few items. Arnt spent about $6,000 in materials for this conversion. That’s remarkably low. And judging from the images, he seems to be having a good time putting it all together. Who would want to spoil that fun by keeping track of those well spent hours?

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

MERLIN at the Bradley & Waters Marine Railway
Page 24

The Wizards of Stony Creek

by Randall Peffer · Photographs by Tyler Fields

Synchronicity,” muses 70-year-old Jonathan “Johnny” Waters, sharing coffee from a thermos with his 34-year-old daughter, Emilie Waters Harris. It is late summer 2022, and we’re sitting in weathered wooden lawn chairs on the wharf at Bradley & Waters Marine Railway. It has been the Waters’s wharf since 1985, and their railway. It’s the last bit of working waterfront in the village of Stony Creek, nestled in Connecticut’s Thimble Islands.

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Page 34

A Caulking Mallet Odyssey

by Text and photographs by Christopher Sanders

Here’s the thing: I don’t love caulking. I’ll admit I don’t even like it. I do not profess to be a master of the art of caulking; to me, it’s just a necessary step in building a carvel-planked wooden boat, one of the arduous jobs to do before getting back to the fun stuff. I know a lot of people enjoy it and even find some Zen in the repeated action, but not me. It’s aggressively boring in my book. I can’t even tune out, because it has to be done carefully, and that demands attentiveness.

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Page 42


by Text and photographs by Nic Compton

CONSTANCE was like a dog with a bone as we bounded across Falmouth Bay under full sail. It was a fine midsummer’s day and the sea was shimmering beneath the long, shadowy body of The Lizard peninsula to the south. A 12-knot breeze had sprung up, just as forecast, and the rig creaked contentedly as the sails adjusted to the force of the wind. It was hard to imagine a better place to be at that moment.

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Launching the trap skiff.
Page 52

Building a Trap Skiff

by Text and photographs by Finley H. Perry, Jr.

The remains of elegant and purpose-built trap skiffs are ubiquitous along the Newfoundland and Labrador shores. Most fishing harbors have a wreck or two left as evidence of the fine eye of a builder, good workmanship, durable wood, and a hard but purposeful living. Whatever it is that lets these sculptural relics endure, there is a nostalgic appreciation for the craft inherent in them that seems to prevent their removal as so much blight.

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Page 60


by Michael Sauter

Anyone with an interest in wooden boats in Germany during the past five years would have had a hard time missing news of Jan von der Bank’s extraordinary backyard construction project. Jan not only built a 31' (9.5m) sailing yacht, from scratch, in his long single-car garage in Eutin, in northern Germany, but also spent many additional hours maintaining his extensively detailed website about the project. As the yacht came together stage by stage, people eagerly watched for every new episode, awaiting word of his next clever solution or latest milestone of progress. Before long, he had more than 10,000 social-media followers not only in Germany but far beyond.

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ANJA sailing.
Page 70


by Lawrence W. Cheek

Around Vancouver, British Columbia, word is that Arnt Arntzen is your go-to guy whenever you accumulate a pile of castaway wood or metal oddments that have outlived their designated uses. Old church pews, throwaway planks from a ruined pier, scrapped airplane and helicopter parts, metal screens and pipes, railings from a demolished stairway—Arntzen will cheerfully scoop them all up and stash them until an idea for some adaptive new life occurs to him. Maybe as components of the custom furniture he designs and builds for a living.

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The schooner MERCANTILE
Page 80

My Christmas Star

by Capt. Theodore C. Schmidt

In mid-September around 1977, early in my career as a captain for Maine Windjammer Cruises, one of the company’s schooners, MERCANTILE, was taken to Southwest Boat in Southwest Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island, to ship a new rudder. I was left in Camden with a small crew to lay up and put the winter covers on the company’s other two schooners, MATTIE and MISTRESS.

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