Nova Scotia

Lunenburg to celebrate wooden boats

The town of Lunenburg will celebrate a proud Maritime tradition this weekend with its first Wooden Boat Reunion.
Lunenburg is holding its first wooden boat reunion weekend.
The town of Lunenburg will celebrate a proud Maritime tradition this weekend with its first Wooden Boat Reunion.

The South Shore fishing port, turned UNESCO world heritage site, is steeped in a proud tradition of building wooden boats, Michael Higgins, chairman of the organizing committee, said Friday.

"The material at hand was wood to build boats," he said. "So, you built a wooden boat and you fished and that's the economic foundation of all of coastal, well, Atlantic Canada."

That legacy lives on at the Dory Shop where two Lunenburg schooners are being built frame-by-frame, plank-by-plank.

Inside the shop, dories are still constructed using traditional methods and have become popular recreational boats.

On Sunday morning, the Canadian Dory Racing Association is prepared to take people out on the water in dories if they want to go for a row, Higgins said.

There are also special guests from outside Nova Scotia, including the 25-metre Hereshoff schooner based in Germany.

"I like to be here. I'm here every year for a week or two and I learned it when the boat was renovated here in the area of Lunenburg," boat owner Dieter Kruegl said.

Highlights of the reunion will include racing, open houses, and boat visits.

There will also be some special events hosted by the crew of the Picton Castle, a three-masted tall ship that's not made of wood.

"Picton Castle, when she travels around the world, picks up unique handcrafted items and we'll be bringing them home for sale this weekend," said Maggie Ostler, of the Picton Castle.

"We'll also be offering a number of workshops so things like knot tying, splicing, heaving lines, lead lines."

Organizers hope the reunion will be a celebration of the wooden boats they love.

Wooden boat reunion organizer Michael Higgins said the festival will celebrate the romance of wooden ships.
"They're interesting, unique boats, so they all require a fair amount of attention and care and we just want to share that enthusiam," Higgins said.

"There is something inherently romantic about the whole thing."

Even though it's not in the water, the Bluenose II will still anchor this weekend's events.

Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador has been undergoing a two-year, $15-million restoration for the past year. It has been drawing 400 to 500 people a day.

This weekend also happens to coincide with the 48th anniversary of the schooner's launch in 1963.