Sloop: Restoring My Family's Wooden Sailboat--An Adventure in Old-Fashioned Values

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, 2008 M06 3 - 317 pages
When Daniel Robb set out to rebuild a family sailboat that had been deteriorating for years, he couldn't have anticipated what he was getting into.

When Daniel Robb set out to rebuild a family sailboat that had been deteriorating for years, he couldn't have anticipated what he was getting into. Although Robb was a skilled carpenter, boatbuilding (and boat repair) required a specialized set of skills. And this wasn't just any boat; it was a Herreshoff 12 1/2, a classic wooden sailboat. Built especially for the coastal waters of New England, this little sloop had sailed for years out of the author's boyhood home in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, before being relegated to a quiet corner of a yard, no longer the focus of the family's summer. Restoring the sailboat was both an act of respect and an homage to a place and a way of life that are in jeopardy of disappearing.

Sloop is the captivating story of Daniel Robb's education in boatbuilding, peopled by an eccentric cast of characters—lumbermen, boatbuilders, and local artisans—who are part of a changing and perhaps dying world. They tell Robb how to find the materials—certain kinds of wood, fastenings, caulking, and canvas—he'll need, which are increasingly hard to come by, and they educate him in the techniques of restoration, an all-but-lost art. Building and restoring wooden boats means an initiation into a world where life is lived simply, with respect for materials, for labor, and for the local waters.

A craftsman and environmentalist, Robb is a willing and able student, and although the restoration of the boat takes far more time and effort than he'd calculated, it is ultimately successful. After all Robb's struggles with quartersawn white oak, homemade steam boxes, bronze screws, copper rivets, andold mast hoops, the Herreshoff sails again—and a dying art and a vanishing way of life remain alive and vibrant just a while longer.

By turns charming, meditative, and wonderfully quirky, Sloop is a paean to a sense of place and to old-fashioned values.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - loralu - LibraryThing

I read this to try and understand the things my husband is going through while making a sailboat for us from scratch. Many of the things, like time, I already understood. It was interesting to see another person's life and process - mostly it made me miss New England. Read full review

An excellent read

User Review  - Anonymous - Borders

I had a hard time putting this book down, which surprised me because I thought a book about a boat might not hold my interest. It is a really compelling, fun, deep take on craftsmanship, boats and the sea, and people in a small town. An excellent book. Read full review

Contents

Sloop
1
A Proposal
7
Perseverando
9
The Boat Mover
15
Bill and Rafe
19
Resolve
29
The Old House
32
A Start
39
One Frame
136
Harbor Ice
139
Talisker
144
March
156
April
159
May
161
June
162
June 21
166

Shed
41
Building a Shelter
49
Done
53
Consultation
55
Opiner
64
Description
66
Giff
70
Origins
74
February
78
The Quest for Wood
86
The Source
98
To Build a Steam Box
102
Kettle
109
The Auto Zone
112
Nine Miles by Water
114
March
115
Walden
117
Bending In a Frame with George
127
The Planks
169
Mast Hoops
173
The Bulkhead Grille
187
Decks
195
Canvas Decks
204
Floorboards
207
Transom
209
Elf
212
Stories
216
Covering Boards
222
Story
223
Three Tillers
225
Seats
227
Third Wednesday in August
230
November
284
Acknowledgments
303
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