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Alex C
09-24-2012, 11:33 AM
WB 228 has an article on his San Juan Sharpie designs that makes a few references to a historical sharpie type from Washington State. That got me intrigued, but a little poking around got me confused. Other then the brief mention by Chapelle in American Small Sailing Craft, I haven't found any references to the type. The photo in the article calls Olympic a San Juan schooner, but the attribution makes clear she is a Willapa Bay oyster schooner (it notes she was built for a Bay Center oyster grower at Paradise Point (the only places I found by that name are down on the Columbia or more likely, on Long Island in Willapa Bay). Poking around there is are some references and a few photos of similar "scow schooners", that look like square sterned sharpies. Looking at the photo in WB, I'd say the aftermost crew are sitting in a nice broad stern. So does anyone know more about either the original double ended San Juan sharpies (still surprising to me, cause it just doesn't seem like sharpie country) or the Willapa sharpie schooners (seems like sharpies would have just risen up from the mud there, it's such natural sharpie country). There's lots of reference to small schooners running from the Willapa oyster beds to San Francisco 1850 to 1870- are these by any chance the same type, or were these larger coasting vessels? A few refs imply the boats going to SF were smaller, but it would seem a heck of a voyage...

Curious to learn more!

Alex Conley

Nice photo of Willapa Bay schooner at end of this article: http://www.pacificcohistory.org/sw2005_3.htm

DGentry
09-24-2012, 12:56 PM
Well, since James McMullen strongly avers that sharpies are absolutely not suitable for Puget Sound, I'm guessing the "San Juan sharpie" is a myth. Or, of course, it's Puerto Rican.
;)

James McMullen
09-24-2012, 04:02 PM
Oh no, the San Juan Sharpie is a real thing. But since when were fishermen noted for picking the best possible boat rather than the cheapest, barely adequate crate they could put together? Only for certain, particular markets where being first back to the dock paid off, like the Gloucester schooners, did they actually go for the best and brightest. The San Juan Sharpie is the 19th century schooner-rigged analogue to the cheap-ass, aluminum jonboat. Cheap to build. Cheap to own. Essentially disposable once it's no longer paying its way. Adequate enough to perform its primary mission and no more.

Paul Pless
09-24-2012, 05:44 PM
Oh no, the San Juan Sharpie is a real thing. But since when were fishermen noted for picking the best possible boat rather than the cheapest, barely adequate crate they could put together? Only for certain, particular markets where being first back to the dock paid off, like the Gloucester schooners, did they actually go for the best and brightest. The San Juan Sharpie is the 19th century schooner-rigged analogue to the cheap-ass, aluminum jonboat. Cheap to build. Cheap to own. Essentially disposable once it's no longer paying its way. Adequate enough to perform its primary mission and no more.

Regarding James' well known rant against sharpies, I might suggest that there's a great deal of difference between the capabilities of a 16' skiff built out of 1/4 or 3/8 inch plywood and googe that some designer is selling as a 'sharpie', and the real deal 30 to 40 foot or longer sharpie built out of solid wood and properly ballasted with either cargo, fish, oysters, or expendable ballast stones. He maybe could approach the type with a little more open mind with that thought digested. . .

Alex C
09-24-2012, 06:28 PM
Hmm- first, curious for the reasons James sees sharpies as unsuited for Puget Sound- second, have to say that "cheapest, barely adequate" hardly characterizes traditional small fishing boats. Flip through Chapelle's American sailing craft, or wander the boats at Mystic, and what you see is an incredible diversity of small boats, eminently adapted to local conditions, and evolving rapidly as fisheries evolved. Hardly an ugly crate among them- till we get to cheap outboards, where inadequacy of form could be overcome by cheap power. Attribute it to the age when materials cost far more than labor, to the need for sail and oar to get you home with the least effort possible- but some of the most beautiful and functional small boats out there have their origins in humble fishing craft. I'll agree that safety standards have changed, as the acceptance of regularly lost lives as part and parcel of a livelyhood has faded, so I may not be choosing a heavily ballasted open Block Island boat for open water work. I'll also agree that the West coast is a funny beast, with a hodgepodge of boats and a hodgepodge of sailors converging on the boom and bust of rapidly developing commercial fisheries only decades before internal combustion changed all- so we don't seem to see quite the degree of local adaptation you see on the east coast or in Europe, where every 10 miles of coast seems to generate a unique form of small boat. But I still suspect even here, fishermen had good reasons to carefully choose the type of boat to trust their lives and livelyhoods to. Again, curious if any one knows more about the history of these San Juan sharpies, or of the Willapa Bay schooners (sharpies or deadrise?)?

James McMullen
09-24-2012, 09:27 PM
I only dislike them so much because I built so many of them. Believe me, it took a great deal of time to build up such a seething reservoir of contempt. . . I guess I was just a slow learner.

Alan, wandering the boats at Mystic and remarking upon how beautiful they all are is much akin to wandering the Met and noticing how beautiful all the 15th century paintings are. It's hardly a representative sample--only the pretty ones were enough worth saving that anyone bothered to keep them.

I know a lot of the local commercial fishermen. Maybe like 10-20% of them actually care about boats like we do--the rest merely regard them as useful tools for making money with.

Alex C
09-26-2012, 03:18 AM
Alright, I'll be the first to grant that many a fisherman merely regard their boats as useful tools for making money with- and yeah, if you are in the public halls of Mystic looking at the Hereshof and Crosby boats, you're right they are there because they are exceptional. But go wander the warehouse of the collections, full of decrepid boats kept for their historic, not aesthetic value- or again, flip the pages of Chapelle's American Small Sailing Craft- remembering him roaming the coast looking for every half-rotten hulk he could find in the 30s-and there is still little that fits your description of "the cheapest, barely adequate crate". If a bit extra labor and knowledge could turn the same pile of materials into something with a more complex shape that got the job done better, that's generally what happened, at least for any boat working farther afield than the nearest clam flat, in any community that was stable enough to develop a local boatbuilding culture. Give me an example of a traditional boat type that qualifies as "cheapest barely adequate crate" (hard for me to think of, other than the crudest clam skiffs, the one-trip downriver shanty boats of inland rivers, and perhaps a few of the sailing scows) and I'll throw out countless counter examples of complex, shapely boats- be they Peapods, Friendship sloops, Cape Cod Cats, Mediteranean feluccas, Norwegian faerings, Galway Hookers, Senegalese built up dugouts, or micronesian double canoes- all built and chosen by practical fisherman looking for the best tool to earn a livelyhood... Some might not be to your or my taste, some may be downright odd, some might be crappy for the kind of boating we effete recreationalists pursue, and few may have had owners obsessing over the varnish- but these were all highly evolved practical forms, and folks tended to choose them for good reasons- like you said, because they were good tools to earn a living with (note a professional framer doesn't use a lightweight household hammer either). Oy- a rant to respond to a rant- but I had to say that the fact that a modern commercial crabber can drive home in his souped up Dodge truck without a wistful look in his rear view mirror at the slab sided snub nosed aluminum boat he left tied to the dock doesn't somehow condemn all old working craft to the class of "cheapest, barely adequate crate".

Alright enough of that- now to ask again, anyone out there that can tell me more about the original San Juan Islands sharpies?

Lassuuu
09-30-2012, 06:46 PM
I can't tell you more about their history, but having built and owned and successfully sailed an Egret Sharpie, I'm beginning to build a San Juan Sharpie (as per the lines in Chapelle's book). Based on my previous experience (owner of 1 sharpie and 2 dories), my plan is to increase the draft to 3' with a long cut away forefoot gentle sloping aft, make this extra depth of keel ballasted, and use a ketch rig with shorter mizzen and a staysail. I'll use the centre section for enlarged living space (unfettered by the centreboard). And I'll be living aboard somewhere in D'Entrecasteax Channel (Tasmania) - a section of water not unlike the San Juan Straits 43 degrees S, 147 degrees E. The prevailing weather is that of the Roaring 40's - southern ocean. Incidentally, there are a couple of errors in Chapelle's offsets table which I've remedied. To date I've spent over 600 hours on preassembly of components. The bottom will be strip planked in grey ironbark - density >1ton/m3.

Paul Montgomery
09-30-2012, 10:06 PM
Have you looked at Reuel Parkers "Sharpie Book"? He talks about the San Juan sharpie there.

Lassuuu
09-30-2012, 10:45 PM
Yes - thank you, checked that out, and made the mods I'm intending based somewhat on Reuel's experience and his design modifications from the original. I also have his copy of the Sharpie Book. I did a few careful displacement calculations of my own as well - having been a boatbuilder for 50+ years and built a dozen boats for myself over that time as well as having worked in a professional yard; I also checked Mystic Saeport records and early Govt fishing reports and can find only scant additional evidence of the San Juan type. But I trust my own judgment enough to know I'll end up with a good result. The San Juan type was a slower boat than most sharpies - noting how the stem is below the WL cf with Egret. That will suit my purposes just fine. I'm 66 now :) I'm also planning to use a 4 stroke Honda O/B in a well at the stern - did this quite successfully with my Egret (on the Egret a 5HP o/b pushed her at 6 kts comfortably and at 4.5 kts against a 30 kt headwind and choppy sea.

johnno
09-30-2012, 11:13 PM
To date I've spent over 600 hours on preassembly of components. The bottom will be strip planked in grey ironbark - density >1ton/m3.

Sounds great! Any pics yet? :)

Lassuuu
09-30-2012, 11:53 PM
Yes, thank you :)

Lassuuu
09-30-2012, 11:56 PM
Only of frames, deck beams, spars, and other bits and pieces. I'll post some pics once I get started on the actual framed construction. Been a bit busy machining over 2km of timber so far :) - well over 1000m of strip planking for the bottom alone. All good Australian durable hardwood :)

johnno
10-01-2012, 02:40 AM
Am I allowed to post this without infringing copyright? I thought people might be interested in seeing a drawing of a San Juan sharpie.....

http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i454/johnhockings/Nice%20boats/SanJuansharpiefig46sm.jpg

Lassuuu
10-01-2012, 05:34 AM
I think it's OK. Chapelle's book was written a long time ago and I doubt if there's any copyright on the plan now after 100 years or so :) In any case, the plan was probably only a set of patterns in a builder's shop - long since gone. My research has been fairly extensive and I've not come up with much more info on the type. Yes, this is what I'm building, but with a full length cabin, a deeper keel, no C/B, and a ketch rig with the mizzen and its staysail much further aft - at bulkhead station #8 in fact. I've rebalanced the sail plan. For an oldie, I don't want the sailing to be too 'exciting' :) I'm sticking with the barn door rudder. Should be quite a comfy liveaboard.
The new keel will follow/be parallel to and 6" below the base line from aft as far fwd as station 4, then slope in a straight line up to the forefoot. Hope that helps anyone contemplating something similar. From my experience sailing Monroe's Egret, I know she went quite well to windward with half the C/B down and a little over half Monroe's sail area.
The rudder will be that bit deeper with a mite shaved off it's trailing edge. The O/B motor well will be situated at about station #10. The new keel will be about 6" in width - hollow, and able to take about 3/4 ton of steel railway track plates cemented in place. Then a spotted gum (hardwood) shoe and the whole hull covered with dynel and epoxy for watertightness and abrasion resistance. She'll sit comfortably on her keel when slipped and be that little bit easier to antifoul [getting under Egret was a pain :)]

Alex C
10-19-2012, 11:16 AM
Checked out for a while, intriguing to learn someone is building one of these to Chapelle's lines (does anyone know of any others out there?). Curious, Lassuuu, what you learned from the old fish commission reports. I poked a touch, and mainly was surprised by how quickly the halibut fishery went from native canoes to steamers running up to BC and Alaska banks- It looked like there was only 10-15 yrs where there would have been non-powered hallibut boats. Curious if you found any more reference to the boats themselves in your diggings from the antipodes (got to love this internet age where 100 yr old dusty reports can be dug up from the other side of the globe)- Chapelle's notes show the lines as taken off a boat by the fish commission in 1890 (?)- wonder if there is any record of that in any of the reports...

Lassuuu
10-19-2012, 05:42 PM
No, Alex, didn't find anything else that was helpful in the old fish commission reports re the boats themselves (or of the San Juan type). I'm pretty sure that once the motorised fishing smacks emerged, any remaining sailing vessels would have been obsolete and quickly discarded. The commission kept good records of the fish though :) long since eaten - no doubt with great delight :) Progress on my boat delayed a bit. Wife has been not well and I have been doing some commission furniture restoration work for friends. Hopefully back into it next week :) Still machining timber for the strip planks and stringer laminations (stringers will be three layers of 12mm) :) Finished the Oregon mast tube box that will go down through the main cabin area for a later possible change to a gaff schooner rig if I get that ambitious - this will need to be in place as construction commences, even if I never use it. I've also finished constructing all of the laminated curved cabin and deck beams........... more soon!

Lassuuu
10-20-2012, 12:00 AM
BTW, C.D. Moore did an interesting MA thesis on Fishing Boats of the North American Pacific coast for that era. While he has no more detail (other than the inclusion of the principal dimensions in tabular form for flat bottomed types), the whole report is worth skimming - it's a fine piece of work and has quite a few pictures, tables and graphs, particularly pages 162 - 172 and pp 281 - 307 {relevant to the interests of this particular forum topic]. Here is the link for anyone interested - fabulous :) http://anthropology.tamu.edu/papers/Moore-MA1993.pdf

johnw
10-20-2012, 12:37 AM
It's funny, but looking at old pictures of boats in the Northwest, I've never seen a sharpie schooner. I wonder how common they really were.

Plenty of pix like this:

http://content.lib.washington.edu/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/mcrc&CISOPTR=448

Lumber schooners and smaller schooners like this:

http://content.lib.washington.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/wastate&CISOPTR=1115&DMSCALE=100.00000&DMWIDTH=800&DMHEIGHT=569.79166666667&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&REC=2&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0

Occasionally, a picture of a halibut schooner:

http://content.lib.washington.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/imlsmaritime&CISOPTR=509&DMSCALE=100.00000&DMWIDTH=802&DMHEIGHT=695.484375&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=%20sail&REC=22&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0

http://content.lib.washington.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/imlsmaritime&CISOPTR=39&DMSCALE=100.00000&DMWIDTH=802&DMHEIGHT=694.23125&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=%20sail&REC=14&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0

And here's what Lake Washington Shipbuilding Co. was turning out in 1925:

http://content.lib.washington.edu/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/imlsmohai&CISOPTR=4070&DMSCALE=100.00000&DMWIDTH=700&DMHEIGHT=599.375&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=%20fishing&REC=13&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0

But frankly, I've seen very little evidence that sharpies were a common type around here.

johnw
10-20-2012, 12:53 AM
Oh, and here's the Seattle waterfront in the late 1800s:

http://www.farmboat.org/events/seattle/waterfront-floating-market/img/seattle-waterfront.jpg

Let's face it, by the time this area was settled, we didn't have long to develop our own types of sailing vessels before power took over. Most of our types were boats developed elsewhere, and the only real indigenous type was the dugout canoe.

Lassuuu
10-20-2012, 01:02 AM
Yes, you're right. They disappeared very quickly. I wonder if there were many sharpies of the San Juan type built? Maybe only a very few - given the short space of time B4 power. One day the archaeologists might find one beneath the mud somewhere :) From the dearth of information, it's amazing that Chapelle managed to find his listing {I'm so glad he did :) }

johnw
10-20-2012, 01:13 AM
BTW, C.D. Moore did an interesting MA thesis on Fishing Boats of the North American Pacific coast for that era. While he has no more detail (other than the inclusion of the principal dimensions in tabular form for flat bottomed types), the whole report is worth skimming - it's a fine piece of work and has quite a few pictures, tables and graphs, particularly pages 162 - 172 and pp 281 - 307 {relevant to the interests of this particular forum topic]. Here is the link for anyone interested - fabulous :) http://anthropology.tamu.edu/papers/Moore-MA1993.pdf

Thanks, I've bookmarked that.

Paul Pless
10-20-2012, 05:48 AM
From the dearth of information, it's amazing that Chapelle managed to find his listing {I'm so glad he did :) }Its worth noting that Howard Chappelle had a couple dozen draftsmen working in office on the HAMMS (Historic American Merchant Marine Survey) that were provided to him through the Works Progress Administration. In addition, through the WPA he had dozens, if not hundreds of people working in the field collecting lines, hulks, half hull models, and other evidence to support his research, including much of which was anecdotal in nature. In a brief five to seven year time period before WWII he was really in a race against time to preserve as much information on the 'traditional' water craft of the U.S. and North America as possible.

davebrown
10-21-2012, 11:49 AM
I am fascinated that one of my favorite and most knowledgeable professional contributors here hates these things so much. SInce I am building a Crab Scrape, or an Oyster Dredger, or a Batoueauieux, I keep trying to find out if James shares the same opinon about the Vbottom boats. I'm building my boat mainly for freshwater lakes, so in almost every way this discussion is academic for me, but I am curious...does Sharpie include the file Vbottom boats?

Alex C
11-04-2012, 12:59 AM
Just downloaded and am enjoying this reference- thanks- and for the photos added by others.


BTW, C.D. Moore did an interesting MA thesis on Fishing Boats of the North American Pacific coast for that era. While he has no more detail (other than the inclusion of the principal dimensions in tabular form for flat bottomed types), the whole report is worth skimming - it's a fine piece of work and has quite a few pictures, tables and graphs, particularly pages 162 - 172 and pp 281 - 307 {relevant to the interests of this particular forum topic]. Here is the link for anyone interested - fabulous :) http://anthropology.tamu.edu/papers/Moore-MA1993.pdf

Jazzman
11-04-2012, 07:11 AM
I thought you sailed a San Juan out of the CWB, John W ?

Lassuuu, how did your Egret handle the conditions down there? Do you still have it? (sorry for thread drift)

Dave Wright
11-04-2012, 06:51 PM
This is a very interesting thread. I have only a passing interest in the San Juan Island sharpie, but I noticed the following photos from a NOAA collection some time ago. Looks to me like you just might be looking at a San Juan sharpie here:

http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/fish7491.htm

And here:

http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/fish7487.htm

I had difficulty in attempting to display these photos, maybe one of you folks can.

There may be other examples of this type in this collection, I haven't carefully looked in some time:

http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/brs/hfind66.htm

In any case, I have no doubt the San Juan Island sharpie existed.

Dave Wright
11-04-2012, 06:54 PM
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/fish7487.jpghttp://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/fish7491.jpg

Dave Wright
11-05-2012, 02:21 PM
I just re-read Reul Parker’s Woodenboat article. I notice Mr. Parker comments that little seems to be known about the San Juan Island sharpies (which is true), and he guesses that Chapelle might have been misinformed about the halibut fishing function of these schooners, and that they might have been oyster boats.

I believe the pictures I’ve posted are of a San Juan Island sharpie. You'll note that the pictured boat is rigged as a schooner, down to the chain plates, bow stem and jib boom as in Chapelle’s drawing. The small house, its trim details, and the deck coamings are also quite similar.

Looking at the physical sizes of the crew standing by, the boat scales quite similarly to Chapelle’s depiction. The first photo is dated 1893 (or is it 1898) which puts it in line with Chapelle's date for his example. The photo clearly states that the boat was used for halibut and herring, (I can't make out what the "occasional" usage is).

Based on these photos I believe Chapelle reported accurately, that the pictured boat is very close to the example he presented, and the boat served the halibut fishery. Whether or not these vessels were numerous still remains to be seen.

(I must note that I own two of Reuel Parker’s books, have always admired and enjoyed his work and writings, and mean no criticism. I think the posted pictures just add more evidence in support of the vessel type).

johnw
11-05-2012, 02:55 PM
Cool! I wonder if that was the very vessel Chappelle described.

Dave Wright
11-05-2012, 05:11 PM
Cool! I wonder if that was the very vessel Chappelle described.

Perhaps it was, and perhaps it was unique and without sister ships. In "The Migrations of an American Boat Type," Chapelle writes:

"A schooner-rigged, double-ended sharpie was used in the vicinity of San Juan Island, Washington, in the 1880's, but since the heels of the stem and stern posts were immersed it is very doubtful that this sharpie was related in any way to the New Haven boats."

My guess is Chapelle would not have used the singular "A" if he knew of others. We can see from the pictures and the slightly scruffy waterline that the heels of the stem and stern posts were immersed.

Alex C
11-13-2012, 02:46 AM
What a great find those photos are- clearly almost the same as Chappelle's figure-but a few details make me guess not the same boat (fore chainplate in photo is just ahead of port on cabin; Chapelle's is another port length forward- coaming in photo continues forward to cabin; Chapelle's stops a bit aft and has a water cask between coaming and cabin, and a stove pipe on cabin (though that could be on port side and hidden by downed foresail) and Chapelle's drawing seems to have a bit more rocker to the bottom- the offsets indicate a rise of the chine of at least a foot at bow and stern, while photos show what looks like only a few inches rise above a flat beach). That said these could be embellishments in the drawings- notes on Ch figure makes clear lines were actually taken off in 189?, where many of the others note when plans were reconstructed from notes and photos- but drawing was clearly produced for Chapelle's book, and small liberties wouldn't be surprising the difference in rocker in the offsets taken on site are the most compelling difference for me). The layout makes sense for halibut (imagining men working handlines or longlines from the separate wells) but doesn't seem to make sense for oysters (I'd expect more room for a big haul, and more room to work tongs or heft baskets up from mudflats)- and curious if there were significant oyster beds in the San Juans? As I noted earlier, I'm pretty sure the boat full of oysters shown in the photo in Ruell's article is a square sterned Willapa Bay oyster schooner- an equally interesting but very different beast... Thanks to all for the sleuthing shared here- I've learned a lot.

johnno
11-13-2012, 03:20 AM
Though I also can't read the writing behind the tree on that second photo, the photo notes record the third type of catch as dogfish.

Dave Wright
11-13-2012, 11:22 AM
There's always an infinite amount of info available in a photograph or drawing, but oh for just a slightly different angle, or all encompassing view, or just an additional note or two! I've done a pretty good internet search since noticing those two photos, but found nothing else.

I'd sure like to see if there's any "up turn" and a big skeg on the bottom aft, re your rocker comments Alex C. It would be nice to think though, that there was more than one of this type. If it was cheap, easy to build, and successful we'd reasonably expect some copy cats.

Alex C
11-13-2012, 11:44 PM
Alright, these photos make these San Juan sharpies seem real which makes me want to know more. Going way back to James' comments re why sharpies, I do have to wonder- figure these are fishing deep sometimes rough waters in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, not over mudflats in typical sharpie habitat. Their competition were the Gloucester schooners- and soon the local halibut schooners- that pioneered the west coast fishery in 1888, sending halibut on the new railroads back east to sell in the lulls in the Atlantic fishery- all big deep boats well suited to to sitting over the deepwater banks... Would a sharpie be cheaper and easier to build? Maybe easier for less skilled boatsmiths, but not much cheaper or faster for a skilled boatbuilder in a time of cheap labor and plentiful timber (hard to imagine any area with less of a timber shortage...). This boat is- as Chapelle notes- a slow steady one - so the none of the speed that made the new haven sharpies and their ilk popular in some of the intensely competitive eastern fisheries. So what real advantage would a sharpie have? Only one I can come up with is what the photos show- hauling up on a beach to sit out the tides. So those of you that know San Juan island well, are there enough beachable beaches on the SW coast of San Juan island that a boat that could be driven right up the beach would save enough time compared to taking a more shapely deepwater vessel all the way up to Roche Harbor, or around to the more protected waters of the east coast of the island? Saving 10 miles on each trip to/from 's the only reason I can come up with for a deepwater sharpie like this- 5 knots or less means a 10 mile difference would be 4+ hrs per trip- perhaps all the difference in making Middle Bank's halibut a day trip? Anyone that knows the island's history know where this kind of beach camp- tidal cove up against steep forested banks- might have been?

Also anyone know anything about the skiff pulled up on the shore, under the bowsprit in the photo? Broad, tall stern is pretty distinctive...

Dave Wright
11-14-2012, 03:32 PM
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/fish7493.jpg

Hereís another San Juan Island sharpie. Smaller, different rig, single masted.

Hereís some good reading on the halibut fishery around the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the west coast:

http://fishbull.noaa.gov/17-1/alexander.pdf

http://www.iphc.int/publications/scirep/Report0005.pdf

http://www.washington.edu/uwired/outreach/cspn/Website/PNQ/Articles/Collins.html

After reading about the 1890ís halibut fishing, the number of very small vessels in the vicinity of Port Townsend and the San Juans, the price per pound of halibut in the 1890ís (a couple of cents), and the high proportion of the catch taken by very much larger vessles, Iíve concluded that itís unlikely that the subject 30 odd foot San Juan Island shooner rigged sharpie was a common type of vessel for the halibut fishery. I canít see it heading out of Neah bay for the Cape Flattery. I think it sampled the halibut fishery around the San Juanís while it was good for a brief time (apparently better than the offshore fishery until it was fished out).

Rather, I think it was more likely just another small boat; one of several dozens of small, diverse types, many of them indian dugouts. Iím guessing the operators were small subsistence type individuals or families, fishing, logging, farming, hunting to get by, selling a catch when it was good and a market available..

Iím left wondering why Chapelle sampled this particular boat type over many others and I would have liked him to comment why. Was the boat sampled because it was unique and of a type he was interested in, or because it was very common. Iím betting on the former, I think it was more unique than common. But this is just my opinion and Iím open to others.

But, I do like the boat and Iím glad he recorded it and brought it to our attention.

Paul Pless
11-15-2012, 06:03 AM
Iím left wondering why Chapelle sampled this particular boat type over many others and I would have liked him to comment why. Was the boat sampled because it was unique and of a type he was interested in, or because it was very common. Iím betting on the former, I think it was more unique than common. But this is just my opinion and Iím open to others.

But, I do like the boat and Iím glad he recorded it and brought it to our attention.

Is it possible he chose the boat for inclusion because he liked sharpies? Beyond American Small Sailing Craft, he promoted the type (sharpies in general) to sportsmen and yachtsmen throughout his career and his other books. He often adapted the type into various sizes and styles of yachts. Look to his books, American Sailing Craft, Boat Design and Boat Building, which all include multiple versions of sharpies drawn by Chappelle for use as pleasure boats in one way or another.

Stu Fyfe
11-15-2012, 09:08 AM
Nothing to add, but I find this thread fascinating.

James McMullen
11-15-2012, 10:46 AM
http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/fish7493.jpg

Hereís another San Juan Island sharpie. Smaller, different rig, single masted.

And I think this picture proves my point, exactly! Just look at that crate. . .it has all the hydrodynamic grace of a bridge abutment! A replica of that is not a good investment of time or resources for a modern recreational sailer.

This is the late 19th century equivalent of a rotomolded Walmart jonboat.

Dave Wright
11-15-2012, 12:50 PM
And I think this picture proves my point, exactly! Just look at that crate. . .it has all the hydrodynamic grace of a bridge abutment! A replica of that is not a good investment of time or resources for a modern recreational sailer.

This is the late 19th century equivalent of a rotomolded Walmart jonboat.

I've sometimes noticed that when disaffected liberal arts majors accidentally wind up in boatbuilding or similar manual trades they carry unnecessary emotional baggage into their work.:d

Alex C
11-15-2012, 07:52 PM
Another one- and looking back- you can see the mast of the sloop in last photo posted in the photo looking down the beach at the schooner- so these were one the same beach at the same time.

I'm ready to tell a story about the San Juan Sharpie- a local type, perhaps one builder, built for the new market fisheries, but not specialized in any one, not built for the longer forays soon needed, fished from one or more coves with beaches on the SW shore of San Juan island, where that flat bottom made them easy to nose up into the seaweed, tie off, and forget about for a week. Quickly replaced by something with a one lunger in it for local use, and made irrelevant in the market fisheries as larger vessels and longer trips. Highlighted by Chapelle because a) there was a pile of photos in a drawer in the Fish Commission offices in DC, and he did love those sharpies.

So James, while I still brindle at your original statement that fisherman tend to pick "the cheapest, barely adequate crate they could put together," I'll grant you that in this specific case there's some truth to that- though I'd still argue that this sharpie was actually pretty well adapted to this beach fishing camp and that the crudeness is probably as a function of a short lived fishery with little money and competition and years to fuel local evolution.... Go down to Willipa Bay, and it looks like we saw something very different, for those oyster sloops, the plungers, look to have complex and shapely forms- even as they too were practical fishing boats, they evolved into something to drool over (even if I won't be putting one of them in my driveway anytime soon either).
Here's a nice overview of the variety of Willapa Bay boats with photos http://www.pacificcohistory.org/sw2012_1.pdf. Why the difference? Needs of the fishery, influence of a few experienced builders from eastern oyster fisheries, and enough years, competition and local income for folks to want and get boats they could work hard and be proud of (and even win one of the substantial wagers that made the fisherman's races a big deal)? So yeah, the biologist in me always loves these stories of boat design, in which the habitat and markets and changing conditions drive rapid evolution of boat types, some exquisite but only sensible in that spot/use, others all are glad to see gone, others that evolve in one niche but turn out to be surprisingly adaptable in other settings (hmm, faerings and yoll derivatives as invasive species in the northwest?)

And yeah James, I'll also agree, not the boat I'd build for my goals (do I become just another to opt for a norwegian nearshore fishing boat offshoot?), though I'll be curious to learn more of Lassuu's project and modifications- and I can imagine his keeled version as a comfortable solid liveaboard- something Bolgeresque to it... I do love this boat as a quirky example of cultural evolution, unique to its time and place, even if unlikely to become a modern invasive.

Thanks too to all for the links to the fisheries reports; interesting to see new markets and capital, railroads, new engines and conservation all coming together so quickly to shape a fishery... Glad the Pacific halibut survived better than the Atlantic- 33 million lbs/yr still hauled in here, a millionth of which I've thoroughly enjoyed having in my freezer this fall...

James McMullen
11-15-2012, 10:02 PM
The faering and yole as invasive species, inexorably supplanting and driving to extinction the less competitive and adaptable types. . . Ha! I love it! :D


And I have to suspect that the ever-increasing cost of fuel for motorized types of boating is only going to increase the selection pressure towards the sexy yet effective nordic derived sail and oar clade.

johnw
11-16-2012, 03:18 AM
The faering and yole as invasive species, inexorably supplanting and driving to extinction the less competitive and adaptable types. . . Ha! I love it! :D


And I have to suspect that the ever-increasing cost of fuel for motorized types of boating is only going to increase the selection pressure towards the sexy yet effective nordic derived sail and oar clade.

You can name your next boat zebra mussel.

Yeadon
11-16-2012, 10:32 AM
Or Unsightly Veneer.

johnw
11-16-2012, 02:00 PM
It occurs to me that the one advantage these two boats had was that they could sit on a beach upright without the stresses a round-bilged boat with a keel would have faced.

beernd
11-18-2012, 03:16 PM
The other advantage is IMHO the fact that an amateur with very few tools could build one, easily and quickly.

Brian W.
11-27-2012, 07:20 AM
In "Paper 25: The Migrations of an American Boat Type", Chapelle makes the point (I'm paraphrasing, having read it a few years ago), that the sharpie spread over a very wide area very quickly. Each area of course adapted it, which is what makes the story so interesting. Personally, I'd love to see someone build a Chesapeake Bay (or Maryland), fishing sharpie. It's another odd duck among sharpies.

Alex C
11-28-2012, 02:12 AM
Some of the reading I've chased thanks to this thread has got me thinking hard about what drove the rapid evolution of North American fishing boat types from 1850 to 1900.It's easy to see the evolution of boat types as a product of long periods of local adaptation, but I'm also struck by what a unique period of time the second 1/2 of the 19th century was, with growing urban centers, railroads, the ice industry, canning etc all combining to enable rapid growth in markets for perishable seafood, driving rapid development of fisheries beyond the older traditions of local sustenance/local market inshore fisheries and the older commercial fisheries for non-perishable products like salt cod, pickled herring, whale oil or here in the nw, dried salmon (funny reality of the most salmon dependent cultures developing inland up the Columbia, where fish met hot desert weather that allowed drying for year round use). Seems these new markets created competitive and specialized situations that drove rapid boat evolution (aided and abetted by the cultural mixing pot as immigrants brought their boat building traditions with them)- so while like many I've focused on new technology-especially the infernal combustion engine- as a homogenizing force reducing the diversity of working boat forms, more and more I'm also realizing what a strong role the new technologies and economies of the 19th century played in driving the incredible diversification of working sail we readers of Chappelle et al find so fascinating. The San Juan Sharpie may be an odd little dead end offshoot of that process- but dang what an amazing process. Curious what those with more of a sense of the evolution of work boat types in Europe make of this- was there the same rapid diversification from 1850 to 1900, or did shorter distances and older markets to load the tables of aristocracy for all those exotic 20 course meals mean older or more gradual development of local boat types? How much of the variety of Dutch boat types happened in a similar rush in the 17th century when some of the same forces converged there? Did areas that remained isolated and focused on local markets (West coast of Norway?) have slower evolution of boat types? For those biology geeks out there, it's Gould's punctuated equilibrium vs the gradualists... Anyway, thanks to all on this thread for helping fuel some intriguing musings.

Dave Wright
11-29-2012, 05:54 PM
It may be that those two sharpies pictured on that San Juan Island beach were simply an individual expression of one or two local builders, driven by chance personal knowledge, need, or economy, and as you say an "odd little dead end." An expression that may have been essentially in isolation and independent of any overiding cultural or technological processes taking place at that time. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.|:)

Here on the internet we never know if folks are joking or have their tongues in their cheeks, but in any case I see no evidence in the photos to suggest that the boats were crude, disposable, or unwieldy in any way, for their particular time.

Alex C
01-02-2013, 11:31 PM
Fun to see excerpts of our dialogue here show up in print in the last Wooden Boat. Curious if someone finds this in the future and has more specifics to add. Was just cleaning out emails and refound one from Mark with the Lopez Island historical society with a photo worth posting- not a sharpie, but one another unigue local boat- the earliest gillnetters with rollers....

Alex C
01-03-2013, 12:44 AM
opps- images defeated me for now- but it was a fun pic of 1905 fleet of one manned rowing skiffs with stern rollers for gillnets...

johnw
01-03-2013, 02:30 PM
opps- images defeated me for now- but it was a fun pic of 1905 fleet of one manned rowing skiffs with stern rollers for gillnets...

Lately, I'm finding I have to switch the editor to source mode (icon on the far left) to post pix.

Lassuuu
06-26-2013, 08:35 AM
For those of you interested in a real 'live' San Juan building project, here are some photos of my humble beginnings [a few to begin with]. I have now commenced the bottom planking. And decided to reduce the draft from my intended 3' to 2'6" with a long low sloping forefoot - so she should be able to nose into a beach this way :) Her name is "Dawn Treader" of Prince Caspian fame [CS Lewis] :)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/
I'm hoping to have the bottom planking completed in a month or so [I've a helper at present - a young joiner - keen to learn]. Then on to the topsides diagonal planking.

Alex C
07-09-2013, 02:31 AM
Do keep the photos coming; I'm curious to see this antipodal incarnation of a San Juan halibut sharpie....

Lassuuu
07-09-2013, 02:53 AM
No problems :) The bottom planking's a bit slow [22x22mm square strips overlain by 12mm marine ply and the helper's deserted me :)]. More pics will definitely follow though. So far I've glued and screwed about 1,000' of bottom strips. The bottom will likely require 3,000 - 4,000 ft I'm guessing at this stage. It's winter in the 'antipodes' so only about 3 hrs gluing time a day [approx 40' - 60' of planking strips]. I'll post some more pics when the bottom is substantially completed. I change sides each day to give the epoxy more time to cure.

Lassuuu
09-01-2013, 06:19 AM
Latest pics are now at this link http://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/sets/72157635328745510/ The bottom has its hardwood planking completed plus a covering of 12mm ply. Once the side planking is in place, there'll be a final bottom ply layer of 7mm [to cover the edge grain of the topsides planking]. Then it will be on with the Dynel and HT9000 epoxy and bottom paint prior to turning the hull. Anticipating hull turnover early 2014. http://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/sets/72157635219144856/ [Bottom planking photo]

johnno
09-01-2013, 07:32 AM
Very nice to see the good progress Hugh! best wishes John

Lassuuu
09-01-2013, 08:34 AM
Very nice to see the good progress Hugh! best wishes John

Thank you for the kind words, Johnno. We're beginning our antipodean Spring now - expecting day time temps of low to mid 20's {C} - so I'm hoping progress will ramp up a bit now. I'm really getting into the swing of it with pretty much all of the materials I need to finish on site - even the sails :) Masts made, ditto rudder and tiller, bowsprit, booms, poles, interior modular joinery, windows, hatches, most fittings on hand, etc etc [even some traditional rope fenders, monkey's fists, ........... :)]. I'm keen to press on. More pics soon.

Sept 5th. New photos posted, Johnno - beginning of triple laminated topsides planking at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/sets/72157635396460333/ These are 9mm strips for a total 27mm thickness for the topsides - epoxy glued and screwed. The beginnings of the stem capping laminations can also be seen in the photos - so far a build up of 30mm of A bond plywood - yet to be edge faired [more to follow to narrow the stem :)] The topsides planking is a mixture of hardwoods for stiffness and strength, including red ironbark, spotted gum, white oak, Pacific teak, etc - doesn't much matter as it will all be Dynel/Epoxy covered soon. The strips are random widths - whatever I could lay my hands on :). A total of about 8,500 ft of strips has been machined to 9mm [neighbours sometimes weren't too happy, but it's done now; putting them on is quiet work]

Lassuuu
09-05-2013, 11:12 PM
Sept 5th. New photos posted, Johnno - beginning of triple laminated topsides planking at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/sets/72157635396460333/ These are 9mm strips for a total 27mm thickness for the topsides - epoxy glued and screwed. The beginnings of the stem capping laminations can also be seen in the photos - so far a build up of 30mm of A bond plywood - yet to be edge faired [more to follow to narrow the stem :)] The topsides planking is a mixture of hardwoods for stiffness and strength, including red ironbark, spotted gum, white oak, Pacific teak, etc - doesn't much matter as it will all be Dynel/Epoxy covered soon. The strips are random widths - whatever I could lay my hands on :). A total of about 8,500 ft of strips has been machined to 9mm [neighbours sometimes weren't too happy, but it's done now; putting them on is quiet work]

October 4th - new photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/ :)

Lassuuu
11-11-2013, 04:11 AM
The starboard side planking is now completed - new pics athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/98064905@N04/ Latest pics show details near motor well aft of frame #10 [port side motor well will be identical]. Starboard Dynelling and Priming is complete since these pics were added. There are also a couple of pics from underneath showing 16mm galv keel bolts, bulkheads, frame gussets etc [these last have deliberately not been trimmed yet, as cabin uprights will slot into these once the boat is turned]. First lamination of topside strakes is now completed as far as frame 8 (moving aft from the bow) on the port side. Still looking for hull turnover early in 2014.

If anyone wants to monitor the progress - keep checking the Flickr link periodically. I'll post more pics as significant milestones are reached.