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Maine boat builder enjoys smooth sailing aboard ship - The Saratogian

“The design goes back to 1830,” he said. “This would have been a common cod fishing boat. It was designed by a man named Davis in Booth Bay Harbor. The original boat was built in 1832.”

The Prophet is one of more than a dozen tall-masted ships that took part in Camden’s recent 25th annual Windjammer Festival, the largest event of its kind in the Northeast.

It’s pure small-town Americana at its best, with a special New England coastal flair all its own highlighted by activities for young and old alike such as a boat parade, nautical dog show and lobster crate race, in which young kids run back and forth across a long line of wooden crates strung together in the water.

The winner is the one who keeps going the longest without falling off.

There’s also a chance to tour schooners, take part in a treasure hunt, sample chowder and enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast.

Siske’s 22-ton boat is 40 feet long on deck with a 12-foot beam and six-foot draft.

“It’s a pretty heavy boat,” he said. “From here to about where the mast is, is the cargo hold. It would hold about two cords of wood. They hauled freight and things like that but mostly it was for cod fishing.”

Siske worked on the project in the town of Hope, about 10 miles from Camden. Masts were made from 47-foot-long spruce logs, cut from tall trees.

Summer time finds Siske sailing up and down the Maine coast.

“In winter I’m usually laid up right here,” he said.

Camden’s harbor is set against the backdrop of rugged, 800-foot high Mount Battie, whose rocky summit affords far-reaching panoramic views of Penobscot Bay.

The top can be reached by car or a roughly half-mile hiking trail that attracts hundreds of visitors on sunny autumn afternoons.

Named for a Native American tribe indigenous to the region, Penobscot Bay is the largest one in Maine at 30 miles long and 30 miles wide.

The view from Mount Battie has inspired many works of literature and art including Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Renascence,” in which she wrote: “All I could see from where I stood was three long mountains and wood; I turned and looked the other way, and saw three islands in a bay.”

Camden remains a popular destination even during cold weather months with events such as the Nov. 30-Dec. 2 “Christmas by the Sea” when it’s transformed into a festive and intimate fairytale town, complete with an enchanting star atop Mount Battie, overlooking the village.

This event kicks off the holiday season with a parade, Santa’s arrival by boat, open houses and craft fairs.

The winter season continues with events such as Camden Winterfest Week (Feb. 2-9) and the U.S. National Toboggan Championships (Feb. 8-10) at Camden Snow Bowl.

For more information about these and other events go to: http://www.camdenmainevacation.com/camden-maine-annual-events.php .

Source: www.saratogian.com

Under Milk Wood at Northern Stage review: Lyrical, overwhelming - and surprisingly Geordie - ChronicleLive

Haunting and, at times, disturbing, Dylan Thomas' famous radio play has been brought to life for the stage with a distinct North East flavour.

Under Milk Wood, the Welsh poet's 'play for voices' is transformed into an immersive, multi-dimensional performance at Northern Stage . Video, music and recorded speech are employed to plunge its audience into Llareggub, the sleepy seaside town where sea captains dream of lost sweethearts, husbands fantasise about poisoning their wives and maidens pine for imagined lovers.

Director Elayce Ismail chooses to avoid Welsh accents – a bold move for a work that is deeply rooted in Wales .

Instead, we hear the voices of this region. On the one hand, by transporting the town to our coast, Ismail highlights the universality of Milk Wood. All of life is here, and Llareggub ('bugger all' backwards) could be any small town. It's true, too, that many of Thomas' gorgeous, tripping phrases (“sloe-black, slow, black, crow-black, fishing boat-bobbing sea”) have the same lilting beauty in North East accents.

On the other, much of the syntax and reference is very specific to Wales: it's not just the geography, but certain phrases which are just very Welsh. Hearing 'Dai Bread', 'Evans the death', or Welsh place names in a Geordie accent jolts me out of the otherwise completely absorbing world a little.

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The two live actors, Christina Berriman Dawson and David Kirkbride, work well together, throwing Thomas' words back and forth playfully between them. They hit comic notes and create distinctive voices for each character, ageing their voices effectively when needed - particularly in Kirkbridge's heartbreakingly rueful old Captain Cat.

Both recorded sound and live sound effects add texture to the pair's performance, especially when the actors' voices start to meld with the recorded speech. Particularly neat is the use of a radio for the 'guidebook' section, creating distance as clipped, RP accents dismiss the multifaceted town in a few sentences.

Video clips are used well, with contrasting images projected on top of each other on the walls to give an often confusing, hallucinogenic effect.

Maggots crawling across the walls help us inhabit the visceral disgust at mess felt by neat-freak Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard - and conjure the idea of the graves of her late husbands.

We feel the discomfort of the eyes of the town staring down, the fast-moving tongues of the gossips projected uncomfortably close and huge.

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The effect of this is an intense experience – which can make the unbroken 90-minute run-time feel a little much at times.

As I leave, a man behind me confesses “I did fall asleep for part of it”. This is perhaps less of an insult than it would be for many works: an overwhelming sensory experience, it is almost intentionally soporific in parts, closer to a lullaby than a play – in nearly sending you to sleep, it may well be doing its job.

Source: www.chroniclelive.co.uk

Renewal planned for schooner - Gloucester Daily Times

Harold Burnham, the Essex-based boat builder and restorer, had a choice.

Burnham could have built a new boat based on the classic lines of fishing schooners from the golden age of sail, as he did in 1997, when he designed and built the 90-foot Thomas E. Lannon, or in 2011, when he launched the 58-foot pinky schooner, Ardelle.

But when it came time to embark on a new project, there seemed to be a force from the past pulling at Burnham, one that he just couldn’t seem to shake.

“When you build a new boat, it only goes back as far as you,” Burnham said Monday morning while standing on the dock behind Maritime Gloucester on Harbor Loop. “When you fix an old one, it comes with a whole past of people and crews. You have an opportunity to become a steward of a real piece of history and you become part of something that’s bigger than just you.”

Burnham wanted that ethereal connection, which is why he and his project partner Mary Kay Taylor and a crew of friends traveled to Maine last week to take possession of the 107-year-old Sylvina W. Beal, a former racing fishing schooner, and sail the 78-foot wood boat to Gloucester.

They sailed the sleek, double-mast knockabout into Gloucester Harbor on Saturday afternoon, expanding the city’s fleet of sailing schooners and laying claim as the oldest former fishing boat in the harbor.

The schooner, launched in 1911 at the Frank C. Adams boatyard in East Boothbay, Maine, appears to be the oldest former fishing vessel in the harbor, eclipsing the 93-year-old gillnetter, Phyllis A, which is bring restored at Gloucester Marine Railways on Rock Neck.

The Sylvina W. Beal was built for Charles H. Beal of Beal’s Island in Maine. It was named for Beal’s wife, Sylvina W. (Alley) Beal.

The schooner has been a true workhorse through its several lives on the water, Burnham said.

“It was an established boat on the Maine coast and a very well-known style of vessel,” Burnham said. “It had a very long career.”

The boat fished the waters off the Maine coast as a herring and mackerel seiner, with a crew of up to 10, until approximately the beginning of World War I. From then until the 1980s, according to Burnham, it worked as a seafood cargo carrier, primarily sardines.

Sometime in the 1980s, the Sylvina W. Beal was converted to a windjammer passenger schooner and hosted charter cruises and whale watches along the Down East coast.

Burnham and Taylor were asked how much work the boat needs.

“Basically everything,” Burnham said.

“It needs a complete rehabilitation,” Taylor said.

The plan, they said, is to remove about 10,000 pounds of ballast from the Sylvina W. Beal and this fall haul the schooner at Maritime Gloucester’s railways, where it will spend the winter.

“Geoffrey Richon and Michael DeKoster of Maritime Gloucester have been incredible,” Taylor said. “They’ve been an enormous help in this.”

In the spring, the boat will head to Burnham Boat Building’s boat yard in Essex for restoration.

“We figure it’s going to be a couple years before we even start the restoration, but we’ll be doing a lot of prep work in the meantime,” Burnham said. “We’re also looking to get a National Historic Landmark designation, which is incredibly important.”

Burnham expects the project to unfold much like the volunteer-laden effort that produced the Ardelle.

“We think it’s going to be very much a community effort,” he said.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com . Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.

Source: www.gloucestertimes.com


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