Poised and Ready For Her New Wood and Lead Keel at The Shipwright's CO-OP

The latest issue of the Port Townsend Marine Trades Association Spring 2012 Newsletter is out and as always full of interesting stories on the projects and talented trades people who work in PT’s marine trades. You can download  your own copy here. Here’s a small sample to wet your appetite. More pictures and stories on the work being done on MARTHA are available here.

The Schooner Martha

By Rick Petrykowski

In the aftermath of the mid-January snowstorm, we sat down with Robert D’Arcy and Chris Grace to get the skinny about Schooner MARTHA’s current restoration at the Shipwright’s Co-op. But first we needed to hear about MARTHA’s stellar performance in the Round the County Race in November 2011.

Sponsored by the Orcas Island Yacht Club, the Round the County is one of the Northwest’s premier races, open to all classes, which brings a big turnout to the starting line at Lydia Shoal. Boats participating in the “little jaunt” circumnavigate the San Juan Islands counterclockwise or clockwise on alternating years. The forecast for the race on delivery day was for winds @ 25-50 knots with a large swell. Still, of the 70 entrants, there were no cancellations for Saturday’s start. Interest piqued on the big boats (“the Monstatrucks”); NEPTUNE’s CAR, ICON, BRAVEHEART and MARTHA.

Out thru Peavine Pass into Rosario Strait, north to Clark, Matia and Sucia, turning west at Patos thru Boundary Pass to Haro Strait and then the push to Saturday’s finish at Roche harbor, her crew’s local knowledge and timing of current changes helped MARTHA seize the advantage. When the first day’s results came out, MARTHA’s time was first in her division and first overall! – to which Holly Kays (Mrs. Martha) said, “Oh my!”

Sunday’s race started next to Henry Island in Haro Strait, dropped south to the Strait of Juan de Fuca to an easterly traverse below San Juan and Lopez Islands. No holds were barred; crews were on the rails, rigging was strained, rudders were lost, knockdowns, spinnakers cut and chutes poppin again. Magnificent MARTHA rode the wind to first in division and first overall – a full 40 minutes ahead of her next competitor. Respect for a true racer and stellar

Gluing up the new spar at the NWMC.

testimony to the 105 year old girl’s designer, Crowninshield and the MARTHA Community. For more details of Round the County go to www.pressure-drop.us/forums/content.php and type “Goliath beats up on David” in the search box.

Sailor and shipwright, Robert D’Arcy is the point man for the Schooner Martha Foundation and he is all about management. In it’s last year of the 15 year program of bringing the schooner to fully restored status, he has kept faith with the goal (including corrections along the way). His main nemesis in reaching the goal is funding, so he has never let the budget bust and became systematically efficient in planning each phase’s productive timeline and then got her back in the water. This gained recognition from the Washington State Historic Preservation Council and consequent funding after seeing great strides accomplished.

The Schooner Martha and Port Townsend are symbiotic partners and that is why Robert has asked us to publicly thank those who have helped keep the MARTHA right on target; the NWMC Boatshop for providing space that Steve Chapin could build a replacement for the old undersized fir foremast. Chapin is engineering the design requirements of naval architect Craig Johnson, scarfing and fairing the octagonal mass of Sitka Spruce slabs supplied, by Bruce Tipton, into a stronger hollow spar that is also lighter aloft. The Port of Port Townsend’s outstanding haulout crew, the Shipwright’s Co-op for storage, tooling and a can- do spirit, Turn Point for CNC work on the new lead ballast mold, Gus Sebastian for transporting the new ballast from Seattle on his boat-moving trailer, Pete and Cathy Langley at the PT Foundry for the requisite bronze keel bolts, the diverse crew of volunteers and marine trades for their contributions and productivity is a big plus.

Robert believes our community wants the Martha to succeed and he’s doing all he can to fulfill that wish. His parting comment was “Imagine Port Townsend without this present level of skills in the marine trades who help revive timeless old wooden boats.”

For more information and video of this year’s restoration go to www.schoonermartha.org.