Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wooden Boat Museum, Clayton, NY

It is well worth a trip to the 1000 Islands just to see the Wooden Boat Museum in Clayton.  Their collection has a wide array of boats displaying the engineering and craftsmanship of wooden boat builders.  Multiple buildings house the collection.  Two of the buildings are dedicated to the restoration of boats, operated so that the museum visitors can not only see the work in progress, but also talk with the craftsmen who are accomplishing the work. 

Atosis is displayed in the lobby of the museum.  One of the interesting aspects of the 1907 racing boat is that it is original, not restored.  Even the paint is original 1907 and obviously well aged.  Long and skinny was the design of the time.

Snail is an interesting name for a boat.  A number of trawlers have “turtle” in their name indicating the slow and steady speed at which they travel.  Snail is not descriptive of the speed of this boat as it is powered by a WW1 Packard-built Liberty V-12 aircraft engine.

One of the boats spent some of its life in Florida, with St. Augustine as its hailing port.

A section is dedicated to the history of outboard engines.    Some of the earliest outboards probably did not power boats much faster than rowing.  Outboard racing hydroplanes from the 1950’s and 1960’s were featured along with a display of many highly modified engines.  There is an interesting prototype of a diesel outboard.  Outboards are notoriously fuel hogs.  To create a more fuel-efficient outboard, Scott along with McCullough, built a diesel outboard.  It produced 15 horsepower and weighed 200 pounds.  With such a poor power to weight ratio, it never saw production.

Inboard power plants are scattered around the museum.   As today, many marine engines are converted from land-based vehicles such as cars and tractors.   Some engines have been designed just for marine use.  The Scripps flathead V-12 powered many fast runabouts of the 1930’s.  A most interesting engine was pushed off the side behind a cruising boat.   Horace Dodge, who canoed across the Northwest United States, developed a marine turbine engine, producing a working model in 1938.  The aircraft industry did not have turbines in planes until the end of WWII.

One of the outdoor displayed boats is Boldt’s houseboat.  Housebarge may be a better term, as it never was self-powered, having to be moved by a tug from one location to another.  Boldt had the houseboat built to live in the 1000 Islands while he was building a castle for his wife (another story on another post).  Unimpressive on the outside, the inside is quite ornate. 

Another Boldt boat, That, is on display at the museum.  Twenty identical runabouts were built for racing in the 1000 Islands.  Bolt had two, one raced by his daughter and one by his son-in-law.  Since he referred to them as “this” and “that” boat, his references became the boat names.

One building is devoted to racing.  As soon as two boats are on the water, challenges as to speed have been made.  Racing hydroplanes, including some unlimited class boats, make up much of the display.  Large, supercharged WWII aircraft engines which powered many unlimited boats were exhibited on the floor for a closer view.  One wall had a display of top speed records for boats throughout the 2oth century.  It is a well-done display of water-based speed.

One of the restoration buildings was filled with just one boat, Pardon Me, built in 1948.  It is a triple cockpit runabout like no other.  While at a distance, it appears to be similar to other triple cockpits, close up you realize it is a huge boat – 48 feet.  It was built to be the ultimate runabout.  Such a large boat needs a large engine to have the speed expected of runabouts, so a Packard-built, supercharged V-12 PT Boat engine producing 1500 horsepower was selected for this boat’s design.  The engine is sitting in a cradle as the restoration of the boat is in progress.  When completed, Pardon Me will be an in-water display, taking museum visitors on rides through the 1000 Islands.  This opportunity is worth a trip back to the museum.

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