Wednesday, May 20, 2015

American Dream: Own a Wooden Boat

Or Dreams of Owning Your Own Boatyard!

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

In Old Mystic, CT, there's a mysterious place that reconditions old wooden boats.

Here's the main building of the boatyard. I love the upstairs balcony and the writing room at the top!

This is an outhouse made from the bow of a boat.

View from the side: you can see the original portholes, the red keel...

It's not made of wood, but it's a boat, so it belongs.

In a shed is this boat with a lovely hull. More next week!

Friday, May 15, 2015

American Dreams: Tall Ships and Ocean Crossings

American Dream: Sailing in a Wind-Powered Ship

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

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One of my dreams is to cross the Atlantic on a sailing vessel, to listen to the rigging creak and strain as the wind pushes us through the water.

I'd do it in the summer, for the warmth, but then there's always the danger of a hurricane. How did the early settlers of America do it? They braved storms, shipwrecks, being lost at sea.

The tall ship Eagle. Two of its three masts are 147 feet tall. It carries 22,200 feet of sail.

A shot of the communications systems in the wheelhouse. The ship motors at 10 knots but can sail much faster, at 17 knots.

A lifeboat.

The ship's wheel(s). It might take three men to hold the course steady in a storm.

A view of downtown New London over the rail.

A place in the stern for sailors to sit and relax, except I doubt they ever get the chance.

Notice the wood deck. Lots of maintenance needed there constantly.
How about you?
Would you like to cross the ocean in a sailing vessel? Comment below!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

American Dream: Travel the World on a Tall Ship

American Dream of Wind in Your Sails

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

The Coast Guard's barque Eagle is America's tall ship, and it's still sailing to tall ship events around the world. It's often tied up in New London, CT, just down the Thames River from the Coast Guard Academy.

Its complete length is 295 feet, and its keel requires 16 feet of water.

The Coast Guard uses it for training, but sometimes it opens the ship to the public, for free. I saw it at the municipal pier in New London.

The Eagle is a three-master, but the limits of my zoom lens only allowed me to get two of them in the next picture. 

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This is the bowsprit - a gilded eagle. The ship has four jibs furled at the foot of forestays lined up along the bowsprit.

Lots of line (rope) needed to furl and unfurl the sails.

All the lines are ship-shape, as you'd expect on a Coast Guard vessel.

This is a shot of the wheelhouse. GPS helps navigation these days. Telephones (far left) aid communication instead of a bosun's whistle.  How about you? Are you an old boat buff, like me? Where have you seen a classic boat? Weigh in! Anchors aweigh!

Friday, May 1, 2015

American Dream: an Interesting Place to Visit

Quite a Site to Behold

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

This is the Mohegan Sun resort and casino in eastern Connecticut. I visited just to see what all the fuss was about. I found very unusual architecture and decor. It's all based on Native American impressions and design. Enjoy this tour!

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A light sculpture.

A wall of rock and light.

The light sculpture changes!

A passage between casinos.

I'll bet you never saw something like this before!

The themes were nature and how the eastern Connecticut tribes cultivated it and used natural things.

Everything was a dazzlement to the eye. Say, would you RT this blog? Sign up to follow it? Thanks!