Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Arcata Boat Show

I went up to the Arcata Wooden Boat show in June. Just publishing photos now. Modern boats don't much impress me. I guess it's the esthetics of plywood I'm not in love with. Sure it's practical and easy and strong and low maintenance and waterproof and everything, but it has all the charm of a forest service outhouse.

So there were actually a number of boats at the show that impressed me, but here are the two highlights. Appropriately for redwood country, these boats were made out of redwood.

This boat was no longer in any shape to use, but it was a local adaptation, probably early 20th century to Humboldt bay. It was carved out of a single redwood log. The log had probably been at least 6 foot in diameter possibly 8.

Here's another redwood dugout, this one fashioned by members of the local Indian tribe. I have seen these boats in museums or in photos and they seemed hopelessly ponderous and heavy. Yes they are heavy, but they are not ponderous. They are meant to be river boats and as such have a good amount of rocker and a fairly flat bottom which lets you turn them on a dime. The boat will literally spin on its own axis like a shallow dish. Although the boat weighs about 400 pounds, it is quite nimble and moves along nicely once under way. Plus the center of gravity is so low that you can stand on the gunwales and not tip it over. Sebastian, here pictured jumped up and down on the gunwales without managing to capsize it. Appropriate technology as they say in progressive circles.

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