John Summers, Chief Curator and
Contact for canoe sailing history
Some time ago, boatbuilder
Dave Kandler built a 16-30 decked canoe at the Antique Boat Museum in
Clayton, NY. Traditionally constructed of batten-seam white cedar planking
on steam-bent oak frames, the boat carries 90 sf of sail on two hollow,
tapered spruce masts. It is a faithful replica of Ralph Britton's
famous 16-30 Tomahawk, built by the Gilbert Boat Company in Brockville,
Ontario. Since the boat was launched, she has been a fixture of the
Museum's livery fleet. At the annual Antique Boat Show, she's usually
out on the water along with other 16-30s, including Dan Sutherland's
Cattawampus, Scott LaVertue's Apache and sailmaker Douglas
Fowler's beautifully-restored Oske-Wow-Wow.
In the last several years,
the Museum has done a fair bit of missionary work with the boat, and
sent a number of people out for an unforgettable ride. Often, after
the first couple of dunkings, they come back wanting more, and wanting
to know where they can get a 16-30 of their own. Until now, their only
options have been to find an antique boat and restore it or build a
new one. This latter is a complicated proposition, requiring either
a fair degree of boat-building skill or a fair degree of check-writing
ability to commission a boat from a professional builder.
Enter ABM Chief Curator John
Summers. In 1991, when he was Curator of the old Marine Museum in Toronto,
Ontario, Summers had collected a hard-chine 16-30 believed to be one
of a number of boats built by the Gilbert Boat Company for the Gananoque
Canoe Club in the early 20th century. Filled with good intentions,
but chronically short of time, he wasn.t able to measure and document
the boat until the fall of 2004, long after he had left that museum.
From measurements, photographs and field notes, he lofted the boat full
size, and brought all of the information back to Clayton. Although the
boat could be traditionally built with wide planks of white cedar, Summers
is on a quest to make this exciting boat available to a wider audience.
|Photos of hull #1 of the plywood 16-30, sailing at our antique boat show in August of this year. This hull was built by Dan Sutherland as a conventional sheet plywood hull with bulkheads, chine logs and sheer clamps. The boat in the photos is sailing with the 90sf rig from Dan's traditional 16-30.|
Working with the boat's original
hard-chine hull, he has re-drawn it for contemporary stitch-and-glue
construction. Boatbuilder Dan Sutherland, of Sutherland Boat & Coach
in Hammondsport, NY, aided by his apprentice Nick Watts, took on the
challenge of finding the mistakes in Summers. drawings by constructing
hull #1. He brought the boat to the 42nd annual Antique Boat
Show this August, and as you can see from these photos, she looked great
and performed very well. Over the winter, Summers will build hull #2
at the Museum and make some final corrections to the plans.
In the spring of 2007, Sutherland
and Summers will lead a workshop for those who would like to build their
own, and building plans [and sailing instructions!] will be available
from the Museum by the summer.
Look for more about this exciting new boat in the next issue of The Canoe Sailor.
750 Mary Street, Clayton, NY 13624
Ph. (315) 686-4104 x225