SAILING | BOAT-BUILDING | ADVENTURE 

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Schooner Porcupine Happy Hour – 5 to 7 pm July 14!

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Schooner Porcupine, Join us for food and fun at an open house in the BMC boatshop, Thursday the 14th of July from 5 to 7 pm. See the construction progress on Schooner Porcupine. Learn more about the Schoolship for Presque Isle Bay and the other summer programming underway at BMC.

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Summer Programs Begin at BMC

Check out our summer newsletter and get all the latest news from the Bayfront Alternative Education Program, Project SAIL after school program, EASE, Bayfront Summer Credit Recovery Program, Schooner Porcupine and the Cardboard Boat Regatta. http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e1280799d9df918f51a087ac4&id=43014010f6

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SCHOONER PORCUPINE Kickstarter Campaign

Porcupine fans, we are underway on Kickstarter! Please check out our campaign, and see all the awesome rewards we are offering to backers!  Click here for a short descriptive 1813 Schooner Porcupine video.

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Porcupine is “Keel-ing” it, so May the Swarf be with You

A cubic foot of solid steel weighs 490 pounds. The same volume of lead tips the scales at 707. Depleted uranium? Eleven eighty-six. Roofing pitch? Sixty. The fabulous void filling “ballast steel” we discovered? Three thirty. We know all this at Team Porcupine because all these things are sealed in the now completed and installed ballast keel. Why all these different things, you ask? Because the keel was a puzzle, and each of these materials was a piece. Ok, not the depleted uranium, but I wanted to make sure you were paying attention. With a calculated weight based on every

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The “Light” and the Heavy

Right now, you can see daylight through the bottom of Porcupine’s fiberglass keel in 14 different places. In some spots, you can see right up through the deck hatches. Normally, this is nothing to celebrate in a vessel of any sort. But in an out of the box project like ours, it marks a clear sign of progress for Team Porcupine, because these holes, all 1-1/4”, clear the way for attaching the ballast keel. The entire process of transforming our Bruce Roberts Spray 40 into Porcupine will be a series of puzzles. As our first one, the keel has proved tricky. Attaching a

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Bigger, Stronger, Porcupine-ier

Dust is flying, glue is flowing and big, heavy pieces of Porcupine are arriving by truck, ready to be assembled and installed. In the past few weeks, we’ve transferred Porcupine’s hull from the cradle she’d been in for the past 20 years or more and on to blocking and jack stands. This allowed us better access to the underside of her keel. With room to work and move under the hull, we created a plywood pattern for the top and bottom plates of the steel ballast keel. Since I first wrote about the ballast keel, there’s been a fair bit of head-scratching about

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New from the Inside Out

One step forward in the Porcupine process required a step backwards. When we received the donated hull from the Palmertons, the interior they’d decided on was already partially installed. They’d obviously been working from forward—the “V-berth” was home to a guest cabin tricked out with excellent storage and varnished trim, all it wanted was a mattress to be move-in ready. Working aft, a convertible settee/bunk and a library complete with risers for chairs were close to completion. Behind them, the galley and the forward head and shower were roughed in and taking shape. However, since Porcupine will require roughly quadruple

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All Schooner and No Skiff Would Make Things Dull at BMC

Hello Fans of Porcupine and BMC, At roughly 42 by 15 feet, Porcupine inhabits a rather large section of both the BMC boatshop and our current organizational focus. She is by no means, however, the only vessel our students and staff are working on. In fact, BMC’s 92nd boat — our second St. Ayles Skiff — will launch this afternoon. Students from the Bayfront Alternative Education Program, apprentices from Project Sail and Project Voyage, and BMC volunteers all contributed to the skiff’s construction under the watchful instruction of our aptly named boatbuilder, Jodi Carpenter. Their labors will come to fruition as the

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Porcupine Hiatus in Lone Star Waters

Porcupine Hiatus For two weeks, I briefly hung up my quills to serve as Chief Mate aboard the Barque Elissa. Launched in 1877, this 205 foot iron-hulled ship sails out of Galveston as the official Tall Ship of Texas, but only for two weeks a year. The remaining 50 weeks, she’s alongside as an exhibit of the Texas Seaport Museum, tended to by a Boatswain and an extensive volunteer core who are trained as her sailing crew. To fulfill Coast Guard requirements and manage ship and crew, Elissa’s sailing officers are selected from around the fleet based on three criteria—license of the

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Porcupine Featured in Wing & Wing Schooner Newsletter

Wing & Wing, the official newsletter of the American Schooner Association included a story about BMC’s Porcupine Project in their Spring edition.    

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A Well-Shod Porcupine

Here at the Porcupine Project, things are getting heavy. Or rather the latest drawing from Naval Architect Iver Franzen is of the heaviest part of Porcupine—the ballast keel. The hull came with some six-thousand pounds of internal lead in the bilges, but Porcupine will require about twice that much to safely ply Presque Isle Bay as a Schoolship. To maximize the effectiveness of this additional ballast, we’re applying a bit of STEM and putting it outside the hull. The idea of external ballast is well established—from classic yachts to modern racers, iron and lead keels have become the norm for over a

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Porcu-pining for Spring

While it was technically the first week of spring, the weather for last Friday’s “Gunboat Gathering” carried the bite of a wet winter wind across the largely ice-shelled waters of Presque Isle Bay. But inside BMC’s Boatshop, Porcupine’s first true public event was plenty warm and cozy with a sense of camaraderie. While we formally announced the Porcupine Project at our annual Ales for Sails event in February, Porcupine had to share the spot light with seven excellent local craft brewers. This time our Schoolship was center stage. Headlined by the formal presentation of a generous anchor grant from Erie

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Join us for the Gunboat Gathering on March 27th

The Bayfront Maritime Center invites the public to “Break the Ice” on Friday, March 27th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.  

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Renewing History, With Slightly New Quills

Hello fans of BMC and the Porcupine Project, Each step of the Porcupine Project draws the plan closer to actuality by some measure, large or small. As one of these steps, the recently received accommodation plan is more of a bound forward. It represents the convergence of physical space and philosophical plan into a tangible form. And it confirms that our donated hull and our envisioned programming will join almost seamlessly into the Schoolship for Presque Isle Bay we’re striving to create. No official historic document exists detailing how the original Porcupine was laid out. While that gave Team Porcupine no clear starting point, it’s allowed us

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Shipwrights Mock-up Porcupine

Bob Arlet and and David Bierig mock up the transom and bow shapes of the Schooner Porcupine, while Nick Rinn works with Project Voyage apprentices.

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Accommodating Images

Hello fans of BMC and the Porcupine Project, Porcupine’s path from concept to sailing will be paved with drawings from our Naval Architect, Iver Franzen. Each one is meticulously crafted and necessary to both evoke the vessel’s 19th century namesake and obtain United States Coast Guard certification. The first of these, the Lines Drawing, is complete and in our hands. Historically called the draught (pronounced “draft”), this technical extravaganza compresses all the information necessary for shaping the hull into a single page. It can be a dense and dizzying document to the unaccustomed. In contrast, the next set is arguably the most accessible and fascinating for

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Here’s to What “Quill” Be…

Hello fans of BMC and the Porcupine Project, Today I officially join the BMC staff as Project Manager for Porcupine. In the six months since I first heard of and asked to be a part of this great new initiative, we’ve gotten the hull and engine into the shop, started discussions with the Coast Guard, solidified partnerships with local school districts, hashed out some preliminary drawings with our naval architect, officially launched Porcupine’s Campaign at the 3rd Annual “Ales for Sails” event, and received the first $25,000 anchor grant from Erie Insurance! With each step, the unknowns have been filed away

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New Video Highlighting 1813 Schooner Porcupine Project

Help Float Our Boat! Thanks to Dan Henninger and Ed Bernik for the awesome video about the Porcupine Project.

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Schooner Porcupine Center of Gravity Experiment

To determine the center of gravity, both fore and aft and vertically, of the Schooner Porcupine, we convened an accomplished team of friends. These locals included an engineer, shipwrights, boatbuilders, a sailmaker, a rigger, captains, carpenters, and sailors. Using highway scales, tape measures, plumb bobs, jacks, and trigonometry, this was accomplished. The current displacement of the Porcupine was also determined. These values give our naval architect an ‘as built’ starting point for calculations.  

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