Bluenose New Year

30 Dec

I’m in Nova Scotia, visiting my wife’s family for the week. I’m sorry I ever complained about San Francisco being cold. Even the lobsterman down the street says it’s too cold and rough to go out.

My in-laws live just outside of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home of the Bluenose. The Bluenose is a 140-foot fishing schooner, built in Lunenburg in 1921, and famous for beating the US for the International Fisherman’s Trophy over the course of the next seventeen years.

Bluenose launch, Lunenburg, March 26, 1921 - courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives

She was the first non-human to be inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. She’s on the Canadian dime. She’s on the Nova Scotia license plate. I’ve seen her rendered in Christmas lights on several lawns. Now that I’ve been to a few neighbors’ houses, I’ve seen that some representation of the Bluenose is required in every Nova Scotia home: A fully-rigged model, or at least a painting or a coffee table book. When we walked from the gate to baggage claim in Halifax, a model of the Bluenose was the first thing to greet us (by the way, the pink bag with the Hello Kitties does not belong to my wife):

Suffice to say, around here she’s more than a boat, she’s an icon, but she’s not afloat. The original Bluenose foundered on a reef off Haiti in 1946. The Bluenose II, built in Lunenburg in 1963, did sterling service as Nova Scotia’s, nay Canada’s, ambassador until about a year ago. Over the years she hogged (bent upward in the middle, sagged at her ends) about three feet.

Now Bluenose II is under a giant white tent, undergoing an extensive, multi-year refit. Word on the street is that almost everything belowdecks will be replaced entirely. The superstructure and spars will all be reused. 

At 140-feet long, that's a lot of planking:

A lost art that is alive and well in Lunenburg. You can click here for more about the history of the Bluenose.

And for live, minute-to-minute restoration action, the Bluenose restoration webcam is always live.



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