SAILING | BOAT-BUILDING | ADVENTURE 

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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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BAEP Students Make Mother’s Day Gifts using Computer-Aided Design and CNC

Our BAEP students made some beautiful Mother’s Day gifts!

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BMC Volunteer Featured in Erie Yacht Club’s Log

The Erie Yacht Club‘s Log recently had a feature article on Christopher Laird, one of BMC’s dedicated volunteers and a inveterate sailor. Chris is a mentor for our Project SAIL and Project VOYAGE apprentices, assists with our events and boat projects, and participates in our Community Rowing Program. Chris also volunteers as an ESL tutor at the Multicultural Community Resource Center. Way to go, Chris!

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Spring Session of Project SAIL Underway

The spring session of Project SAIL started this week and we have another crew of motivated high-school students who are engaged and preparing for their futures. Apprentices are learning essential skills for succeeding in their education and careers, and becoming self-confident leaders for their peers and community. Way to go, apprentices!

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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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BMC Through the Years Collage

Through the Years: Building a canoe under the watchful eye of Buzz 1998; A new garboard for the Friendship Sloop Momentum 1999; Looking up; Early EASE Program, the first and still the only adaptive sailing program in Pennsylvania 2000; A boatload of sailors aboard Taco the Town 2001; Young Helmsman, timeless.  

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1896 Lake Erie Fisherman

In 1896, Erie was the freshwater fishing capital of the world, (1880-1915). Blue Pike was the main catch; they are now extinct. Perch and whitefish were also caught, as well as sturgeon. I’m not sure what this particular boat was in the 1896 photo. The primary fishing boat in use in in Erie’s fishing heyday was the 29′ Erie Boat. We built a reproduction with school students, 4th grade through 12 grade.

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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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BAEP Students Boat Shop Work (March 2015)

BAEP students have been building the gunwales and the quadrant for the second St. Ayles Skiff and attaching them to the boat. Each student is also working on a customized wooden box using computer-aided-design software and the ShopBot CNC digital fabrication equipment in BMC’s fully-equipped boat shop.

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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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Second St. Ayles Skiff Nearing Completion

Students will be making and setting floorboards, applying varnish, and building and installing a coxswain seat on the second St. Ayles Skiff. Follow our students’ progress on our student written blog ~http://bmcstaylesskiff.blogspot.com/  

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Turning it Over!

On the last day of the school year, the high school students in the Bayfront Alternative Education Program (BAEP) turned over the hull of the second St. Ayles Skiff. “Hull-turning” is a significant moment in the boatbuilding process. These students leveled the strongback, set the keelson, planked the boat, laid the keel and outer stems, and turned the hull over. Over 200 BAEP students, Project SAIL apprentices, and student volunteers have worked on this skiff, which will be used in Erie’s first community rowing program at BMC.

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Friendship Sloop Momentum’s New Mast In Progress

After three months of hard work by our students and faculty, BMC finished installing a new mast on Friendship Sloop Momentum.  The mast is 37′, Douglass Fir, 16 sided and ready to set sail.

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Second St. Ayles Skiff Is on the Way

Our students have been working hard on the second St. Ayles Skiff! Check out their progress at BMC’s blog highlighting the two skiffs being built for Erie’s inaugural Community Rowing Program. http://www.bmcstaylesskiff.blogspot.com/  

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Momentum Mast in the Boat Shop

We brought Momentum’s mast into the boatshop yesterday for repairs. Momentum is a 1964 Lash built Friendship Sloop, 31′ on deck, a USCG inspected vessel.

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Big Step in the St. Ayles Skiff’s Production.

On Tuesday, April 16th, the St. Ayles Skiff, built by high school students, will be turned right-side up. “Hull-turning” is a significant moment in the boatbuilding process. Students and staff will lift the skiff off of the building forms and turn it right side up to sit on a cradle. High school students attending the Bayfront Alternative Education Program at BMC have been building the 22’ St Ayles Skiff since mid-September. Erie teens attending BMC’s after-school program, Project SAIL, have also been working on the skiff. The students have built the boat, made the cradle for it, and are already

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