The Dory Shop

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada | (902) 640-3005 | info@doryshop.com

Stories from the The Dory Shop


The CALANOVA Chronicles Chapter 7 - Crewing Up to Sail the Amazing Schooner CALANOVA

WHEREIN WE HAVE A NEW RIGGED SCHOONER AND NOW WE SEEK CREW FOR OUR VESSEL, AND LEARN THAT MOST CREW ARE ELSEWHERE, THAT SPRING REFITS ARE AT A CRESCENDO ALONG THE WATERFRONT, AND WE FIND INTRIGUING SOLUTIONS TO SECURE A CREW. WHEREBY ALL HANDS TRAIN UP, SORT OFF, AT SOME POINT, AND WE PREPARE TO SAIL OUR NOBLE VESSEL CAUSING GREAT REJOICING ALL ALONG THE COAST.

When last we met, we had shared accounts of how the Amazing schooner CALANOVA had been designed, built, launched, rigged, sail bent on, mostly fitted out and made ready to sail for the first time. Provisioning and more kitting up for a voyage will come later. We needs to sail she. Its about time. Keen to sail she we are. Anxious to sail this snappy schooner, flash packet, rocket sled…WE WANTS TO FIND OUT IF SHE IS FAST AND ABLE. Is she? Should be. All figure CALANOVA should be pretty slippery. But time will tell. And a breeze of wind laying her down. Get some sea foam over the rail.

But crew? A schooner needs crew, no? Where to find crew? What to do? It seems as if almost all the best crew are gearing for trips to the fishing banks to make a buck. Or getting ready to sail for the Bahamas or St Pierre & Miquelon to haul back a nice catch of Jamesons, Johnny Walker, Cutty Sark and Seagram’s in the cod-end. These come in nice wooden boxes and have a good share-out at the end of the trip. Capt’s Bill McCoy (the “real”), T. Gallant, Matt Mitchell, Sterl Hayden, Georgie Moffett, Wilbur Banfield, Long Clayt Morrissey, Ricky Mendes, Happy Watson, Lou Kennedy and Dory Himmelman have scarfed up all the best crew for their vessels. Fine schooners too. Guys wanted to sail with these lucky skippers. Can’t blame the, nothing wrong in that, is there? But we still need crew to sail our new, and we must admit, unproven schooner. Just for a day. How hard can this be? What could go wrong? We’ll get some, they don’t need to be the best, we’ll show them what to do, how to do it, right? And where are all the women skippers and crew? Oh right, this is all some time ago in the Cretaceous Period. At the dawn of nautical history…but they coming boyz, move over…

All along the waterfront, getting ready for the fishing banks – and, you know it, Nassau’s Rum Row…

It was late in the day. Need to sail on the morrow. Weather forecast looks pretty good. That could change quickly, of course, often does. Only out and about around Mahone Bay somewhere. Just a day’s jaunt. Maybe sail over to Indian Point, East Ironbound Island, or something. Not to Newfoundland or Barbados or anything like that. Nothing big the first day. No long passage. That will come later. But we need a gang to sail this brut of a vessel, to haul on those thick heavy halyards, jibe that monster main boom, get that massive fisherman staysail in if it pipes up into a breeze of wind. Gotta have a strong gang aboard. Lets check out the bawdy houses, pubs, bars and what we call ‘beverage rooms’. No one remembers what that means anymore, but they are full of schooner-sailors around these parts, right? An old-time sailor town like Lunenburg must have some sailors. Gotta be. We got on our bikes and off we went in search of crew…any crew.

Now this may come as a surprise to some of you but back in the vague past there were no fancy brass and fern bars, no tapa bars, no nice dinning establishments with napkins and wine lists and little bits of food on really big plates like you see today. No, no, none of that. In fact, barely any bars at all asamattafact. Juts yer hidden ‘blind pig’ or speak easy. And good folks and young ones not only did not get inside them that were around, but they avoided the very streets that they were on too. But old working waterfront towns must have their taverns for the mariners, fishermen and seafarers. Not sure why but maybe because it keeps all, or most, the trouble in one place anyway.

First stop was the old DOLPHIN TAVERN and Beverage Room up on Lincoln Street. Some draggers were at the docks after just in from Georges and Brown’s that morning after a trip. The boys had gotten their shares, headed to the DOLPHIN and were swiftly turning their shares over to the bartender a pint at a time. The linoleum was peeling off the sticky floor and the bright fluorescent lighting was not making anyone any prettier. The blear-eyed crowd looked up and looked through us. Most needed a shave. Officer Baker had been called and had just cooled off a fight and no one was interested in setting off on a schooner soon. Moving on. The Lennox Tavern up on the hill was next. This sweet spot had been a tavern since the 1700’s. They were just closing for the night, we got two salty types here, sort of old but keen, and at least they were close to sober.

We asked Officer Baker if he had any ideas and he said, come with me. We did. A short walk down Montague street and he opened up the jail and hollard in “any of you bums sober?” Then he said to “who wants to go home to your really cranky wives and girl-friends – or maybe go for a sail with these nice folks, lunch included?” “Best hangover cure”. And you nut-bars need some of that, and you too Beth and Tiffany.”

We passed by a couple churches as they let out but that crowd looked pretty rough to us, so we took a pass.

All cleaned up…

The Starboard Watch: From left to right and up to down, we have: Doug Simmons, Clem Hilts, Kiss The Cod Creaser, Wildman Flower, Larry O’Toole (of the T-wharf O’Tooles), Morten Sileg, Marty Welch, Buddy Greek, 5x5 Zinck, Masher Mosher, Steam Murdock, Rick Nankin, Alan Villiers, Chandler Brown, Steve Christian, Harry Hoback, Sven Svensen, Dwayne and Darryl Langille, One-Eyed Joe Joudry, Dirk Church (some are in back)

AND

Now here are some sailors…

Rt To Left: The Port Watch - Spike Morocco, Tiffany Dauphine, Tara Topstay, Suzie Kickyerass, Mabel Thomas, Viola Jack, Cath Opie, Sally Bolster, Darling Searles, Jocy Kay, Hardcase & Stormalong, Jen Firecracker, Tammy Lee, Tracy Jordan, Beth McDonald, Beverly Tisdale, Tania O’Reef, sisters Val and Red O’Regan.

The Amazing Schooner CALANOVA ready to go. We got our gang, lets cast off, set some sail, and see what she can do….