Thursday, March 6, 2008

TSCA March Red Dragon

Elf & Beatrice racing at Mystic. Photos from MIT's archive collection.

Elf on the ways being built.

Tuesday evening, Traditional Small Craft meeting at the venerable Red Dragon Canoe Club - third oldest yacht club in America - the other two (Riverside & Corinthian) oldest are also on the Delaware River. That has been pretty sustainable; each of them is into their second century. The speaker was Rick Carrion, who has been rebuilding Elf, a racing cutter from the 1880's. She is suspected of being the oldest racing boat still floating - or will be soon. Her relaunch is scheduled for April. She will be towed up to Penn's Landing where the Workshop on the Water will be stepping her mast and topmast, and running all the standing rigging.

In order to sustain his 17 year reconstruction of this boat, Rick started a non-profit organization to support his boatbuilding efforts. It is called the classic Yacht Restoration Guild, Inc. He also cut much of the wood for the rebuild from his own wood lot.

Elf's new rig was redrawn by John Brady to match this photo of her.

The workshop crew and volunteers constructed all her spruce spars last year. They were laid up from bird'smouth cut staves using epoxy. This allows a lighter hollow rig using less material. A movie of this event is available on
The bronze fittings were specially cast.
The spars include a topmast, main mast, spinnaker pole, boom, gaff, topsail jibboom, topsail gaffboom, bowsprit. The main mast is over 40' tall.

Sustainability is not the same thing as green. Green is a component of sustainability. I think of green as something more in the environmental line, probably because I lived through the Carter years and the emphasis on saving the environment. I remember when the water was dirty, But now I can see my feet. Sustaining life is more than green, it is an extra step. If something, like an organization lasts a long time, is passed from family to family, generation to generation, it has inherent worth to those people, a heritage.
I saw this slide at the sustainability awards at the Flower Show. Since the concept includes future generations, I think these three clubs qualify. They must work within their neighborhoods, enrich the community life, and provide some kind of aesthetic benefit in order to survive. The british Navy used up all the oak trees in England. They had to go and find more elsewhere, stretching their resources, and in doing lost dominance as a world naval power. They out stripped their ability to provide for themselves.

1 comment:

Professor Fleming said...

what are the 5 characteristics of a sustaiable organization? just because something lasts long does not mean its green, or does it???