Craftsmanship of the Bluenose II
The Bluenose II is a Canadian icon, but I admit I never felt much of a personal connection until I took a short, two-hour sail aboard the schooner a few years ago.
I was blown away by the vessel’s exquisite and detailed craftsmanship, and how well cared for it was. Still, Bluenose II, which was built in 1963 and has lately been used as a teaching vessel and sailing ambassador for the province of Nova Scotia, had shown signs of hogging – essentially, the stern had dropped by more than three feet causing the vessel to take on a bow or hog shape.
In 2010, Bluenose II was taken out of the water to undergo a major, top-to-bottom rebuild that will return her to her former glory.
Visit the Bluenose II Restoration Gallery.
The project is a unique marriage of heritage and technology. It’s important to preserve the Bluenose heritage because it reminds us of the accomplishments of the original Bluenose and the Bluenose II, the courage and adventurous spirit of their crews, and Nova Scotia’s glory years in international trade and the fishing industry. The two vessels also represent elegant design and superb workmanship.
The technology side is that the very latest techniques and best available materials are being used in the Bluenose II rebuild in order to ensure a long life for the vessel. The Bluenose II is getting a completely new hull, new machinery and electrical system. For the keel, frames and planking, the builders are using a rot-resistant Angelique wood sourced from a sustainable commercial stand of trees in the Republic of Suriname, South America. The Bluenose II decking will be Douglas Fir.
A number of elements will be reused: the rigging, sails, blocks, iron work and two deck structures will remain, as well as lifesaving equipment and electronics. Some pieces, such as the hatches, have been put into long-term storage for possible reuse.
If you want to appreciate the time, detail and array of shipwright skills that go into a project like this, check out the Bluenose II Project videos on YouTube, including segments on planking, caulking, laying the keels, and more.
The rebuilt Bluenose II is expected to be back in the water in spring, 2012.
• The $16-million cost of the rebuild project is being shared by the Canadian and Nova Scotia Governments.
• The work is being done by the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance: Snyder’s Shipyard, Covey Island Boatworks & Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering.
• The original Bluenose was built in Lunenburg 1921 and first appeared on the Canadian dime in 1937.
• The Oland family commissioned the Bluenose II for private use in 1963, but sold the vessel to the Nova Scotia government in 1971 for $1.
• Jason Cullen, owner of the One Stop Wood Shop, is handcrafting several one-of-a-kind keepsake items from pieces of discarded wood.
• Bluenose II is operated by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia.
Enjoy these photos I took during my 2006 sail aboard Bluenose II.