We obviously had a reprieve. We were going to launch last year, because we had no other option, but Ralph Packer opened his doors a little wider, and gave us the opportunity to continue working on the boat, while on land. Most recently, Raply has provided us with a beaufitul park-like setting where we can continue to work towards completion. As people may not know, I’ve been a bit side lined this last several months due to a serious bout with throat cancer. The treatment is almost complete, the cancer gone, and in a month or so, I should be back to complete health. (the process of healing is to kill the cancer, and then, stop the treatment just shy of killing the patient. SO work will resume in the next week and will continue on until the boat is finished.

30 Jul

We’re launching!
The Seeker is going in the water over the Labor Day weekend.
I’m still working with the launching crew to establish an exact date and time. Should have it in a day or so.
Meanwhile, the work continues at a great pace.
We were lucky to have the services of a great Bequian boatbuilder, Ray. (when I learn his last name, I’ll share it with you)
On the island of Bequia, in the Caribbean, boat building has been a tradition and the locals are amongst the best, especially with hand tools. Money is tight, and men are expected to produce if they want to get paid. Ray is one of those men. He’s caulking the Seeker now, and watching him caulk is a delight. Our other proficient caulker, Duane Case, has other work for the summer, and so we’re lucky to have Ray.
Bequian caulkers often caulked while wading in the water, as they just careened a boat from side to side in the shallow water. Watching Ray caulk using a technique of wrapping the cotton around his wrist and unspooling it as he goes, is the technique developed to keep the cotton dry. It’s so efficient he’s kept up the practice on land.
Meanwhile, now that the caulking is in good hands it frees me up to do other work in preparation for launch.
One great bit of news, it looks like E-paint, a pioneer in environmentally friendly marine paints, has signed on to donate paint for Seeker.
I’m going to have my web master create a donors section on this site to honor those whom the Seeker couldn’t have survived without.

17 Sep

Seeker update:
Jessica left yesterday. She was only here a couple of weeks, but left an indelible impression. She worked on the Seeker, joined our improv dance group and smoked our work out. Terrific person and a formidable athlete.
Bill Thomson leaves Thursday, but not before he goes, let’s review his contribution to the Seeker. He single handed planed the entire bottom of the Seeker, installed thousands of bungs, sanded off the bungs and then sanded the whole bottom, helped install the centerboard trunk, and was available for every task with great competence and a smile. His good nature is only matched by his strength and endurance. His contribution is big.
Jonah leaves on Sunday, and I will miss him. His willing hands, sharp sense of humor, easy nature, brilliant conversation, facile intellect and avid curiosity makes him a hard act to follow.
The fall is on it’s way, and the task is now to get the deck on before cold weather. Wayne Sweezy comes back on the 19th, and the Dillon and Skyler will continue their internship through the school year.
Lots of teak joinery going on. I’m sure Dick will have some great new photos tomorrow.

15 Sep

Update on Seeker,
The four entry way hatches are almost complete, as we finished the fourth sliding hatch today. Instead of drop boards, I’m making doors. We started milling on the doors today, and I think I can get them glued up tomorrow.
More good news is we’re going to pick up the old-growth white pine for the decking this week, if things go well. That’s a milestone. I’ve finally been able to obtain some of the funds to secure this unusual and almost impossible to obtain decking material. First, old growth trees, hundreds of years old, are almost completely unavailable. Second, they have to have been cut several years prior, and have had to been cut three inches thick to be useful for my purposes.
Luckily, Duke, of New England Naval timbers is not only a logger, but an absolute expert in boat lumber, and has done all of the above, quarter-sawing it as icing on the cake. Quarter sawn old-growth white pine decking is something out of the distant past.
The summer is winding down, and with it will go Jonah, a gift not only to the Seeker, but to the island. I don’t think of him as a young man whom I’ve mentored, but as a young man I’ve privileged to have as a friend.
tomorrow Bill Thompson has signed on the sand the bottom, removing the excess bungs as well as smoothing it in the same way he planed it.
I’ll be sorry to lose Bill also. He’s been a great asset, and he also has become a friend.
Wayne will be back. I know he’ll be glad that we have all the cypress bungs we need, but now, we’ll need white pine bungs. We do have another fellow, our 81 year old boat builder, Tom, who is patient like Wayne, and has the distinction of working on a scow on both coasts, as he has bone maintenance work on the scow Alma, out of San Francisco.
Duane Case is heading down the home stretch with the bottom planking on the Starboard side.
Whew!
Looking forward to tomorrow.

12 Sep

Seeker update,
I wanted to speak more about funding.
The Seeker is a project that requires all or nothing. I knew that from the beginning. Every month, I spend all of my resources.
That doesn’t bother me. Money comes and goes like the tide.
Some extremely good news on the donation front occurred last week when friends, a philanthropic couple, donated $5,000.00 towards planking the deck. When someone donates to a specific purpose, I consider it a sacred trust that the money goes there, and only there. So that money is going to Duke at New England Naval Timbers, for old-growth white pine decking.
The reality is, however, that this is crunch time as far as the caulking goes.
Duane is a professional caulker. There are few enough of them, and I don’t know any that would tackle the Seeker, sitting all day on the ground, as there is no room for the typical caulkers stool. Also, Duane needs to break for a month to complete some maintenance projects on the boat he so beautifully built. So we don’t want to lose him for the short window, a couple of weeks, that will finish the bottom.
Meanwhile, the above mentioned couple are peers and friends with the unique population of philanthropists who give so generously to the islands non-profits, without whom we would lose many cherished cultural venues, as well as infrastructure we take for granted such as the hospital and the YMCA, all built with many millions of dollars donated by the above. Said couple who prefer to remain anonymous, have committed to encourage their friends to “Come aboard.”
Meanwhile, David White, executive director of the yard, is also working hard to bring funds to the Seeker, an unusual act of generosity as most directors of non-profits are very protective of their donor pool.
In addition, Artie Wahlberg, the oldest brother of the famous Wahlberg family has been a great friend of the Seeker project, and is bringing the project to a family run foundation that Mark Wahlberg started.
With all of this support, I’m confident the Seeker will stay on schedule.
However, it’s been the small donations, at least $5,000.00 of which have appeared in our donation box and Paypal at seekerthescow.com, that have kept the project afloat this summer, donations by people of ordinary means who simply love the project.
I thought It important to give a clearer picture of how the Seeker will be funded.
Regarding the politics that surround the Seeker, I don’t spend my time on concern. I believe all parties will continue to demonstrate generosity and reasonableness.

11 Sep

Seeker Update:
Sunday, Paul Antonelli and several volunteers, one of whom was a French sailor, cleaned, raked and manicured the site. Major thanks for the selfless, relatively gloryless work. It helps.
Have been working on the teak companionway hatch assemblies. A lot of planing, gluing, sanding, and precise fitting, but also a lot of fun. Today we worked on fitting the roofs on the affixed hatch houses while also sanding the glued-up sliding hatch covers. Dick will undoubtedly provide photos.
Still waiting for the Boch world to get back to me on the ongoing negotiations for a departure date. The twins, Styler and Dillon, made it back from their trek along the back shore of the cape where they hiked and canoed from the Provincetown Dune entrance at the East End of town, all the way to Chatham.
They had adventures.
Our newest intern, Jessica, spent the day with Bill Thompson, installing bungs on the Starboard side bottom. The port side is all bunged, and the starboard side about half. Meanwhile, Caulker, Duane Case is working his way up the Starboard side.
Speaking of Duane, not to be a pain in the ass, but, we’re low on funds and are short of funds for his latest bill. Anyone who’d like to contribute, our website: seekerthescow.com is Paypal ready.
Ted

7 Sep

This is the trailer of the documentary Dan Martino is making of the Seeker project. Anyone free Sunday at 2:00 will find me at the upstairs at the town hall where their will be a Q and A afterwards.

7 Sep

Yesterday was a good day.
Skylar and Dillon, the twins who have been such an integral part of the story of the Seeker, Jonah, myself and Tim, father of the twins, went to Provincetown.
We first stopped at Chuck Cole’s house. Well, not exactly, you see, Chuck Cole doesn’t live in a house, he lives in a world so different and so amazingly organic that I don’t have the writing skills to describe it. Just think sprawling hobbit architecture, organic, gardens, goats, imaginative, fluid, surprising.
Nice Job on the Block Island Boat.
Then we visited had lunch at the organic restaurant across from Lands End Marine, that begins with a G. Love that place.
From there we visited Flyer. It was a moment both gentle and deep. Skylar, Dillon, and Jonah sat on the floor, I on a low stool, Tim to the side, as Flyer reminisced about his experience at Herschoff’s boat yard during WWII.
It was a pleasure to listen to a man who has seen so much. He was animated as he talked of the West End Racing Club, a haven for children he started so many decades ago. His love of the town, and the fishing fleet, long decimated, took me back many years, when I was just a few years older than the twins, to my first meeting with Flyer, as I rebuilt the Southern Cross with Dennis Jones on the Sheik Aresta’s beach. So many memories, Flyer and I have had a dance that has encompassed my entire adult life, and, knowing that this visit will be one of the last, filled me not with sadness, but with admiration and determination to live out my life keeping in his footsteps. One could do worse than have Flyer a mentor.
I know the town has, for the most part, forgotten Flyer. He’s a treasure, and if his story was told he’d be a national treasure. My love for him is deep. His mark on my life deeper. Whatever it is that I bring to those in my life, and whatever I may have or will accomplish is due in part to Flyer. He’ll turn 99 this coming Tuesday.
I wish the day could have been longer, I didn’t get to visit Joe Andrews, or Avis, so, I’ll be back before the weather turns.
We left the twins at the entrance to the dunes as they begin a journey, trekking up cape, by land and canoe, an exploration and a time of discovery.
Like I said, it yesterday was a good day.