The new spars...
Solidarity to all those stuck in real confinement in prison, detetion centers and at the frontiers.
The workshop continues under con19, staying together as a tight crew and planning for the future.
We are not
all in the
The logs we cut and brought back from Denmark begin to take shape into the new spars for Polar, first the boom takes form with just the use of an axe an an adze chipping away 2 sides, then 4 to 8 and then the planer rounding it off, now we wait and see how the wood transforms in the next months as it drys and hope for not too many cracks. Next the spar for the mainsail and soon one day the new bowsprit...
We spent lots of time this winter searching out and getting our heads around the world of buying and sourcing the dry oak we will need for the future work on polar.
An all consuming job that requires planning for years in advance and taking lots and lots of measurements.
With each plank costing several hundreds of euros we make sure to think out and plan to get the little wastage as possible and no mistakes..
(ok well not too many mistakes!)
Seaurchin for oak...
After a lot of planning and spending lots of time working out the order of the workshop, we start the work of replacing some of the frames on the port side of Polar, essentially where the rigging supports the mast.
The rainy months of febuary were spent taking out the old rotten frames which surprisingly strongly attached and quite a job to take out. We also stripped out everything from inside and took away the kitchen structure on deck, leaving everything easier to access and to work on. Meaning we also had enough old bits of wood to put in the stoves and to keep us warm and dry inside.
Then in March we started to make the templates and cut out the new oak frames, figuring out the ways to fix, and most importantly put in place without taking away too much of the surrounding deck structure! 10 new frames were put in place also the covering board and stringers inside were prepared.
The 31st of January, the Polar star's crew welcomed the douarnenist in l'abri de la tempête for a supporting event to get some euros to help getting Polar shipshape.
During this event, there was music, tombola, a potography workshop, a fortune teller, a killer game, a buffet, pizzas, cokatails, and lots more...
Thank you to you all for coming and sharing this time with us ; we have got 1800 € which will be used for buying some oak to repair some of Polar's old frames and allow us to start the workshop and get learning together.
Thank you to l'abri de la tempête and its inhabitants, cookers, musicians and technicians, storing team, to the artists, craftwomen, restaurateurices and merchant for their gift for the tombola : Bernad, Lucie, Baba, Greg, le Bar à Tribord, Les Mauvaises Graines, Julien, Hyppo Julie, Pleine Mer, Baptiste, Chez Janine, Lolie Chose, Fulup, le Chasse Marée, Pierre, Maria, Mimi Caroff, L'Ivraie, J.P., Astragale, Lü, Eric, NPA, Elisabeth, Jean, Nono, Charlène, Telenn Mor, Sterenn, Sac et Ressac, Angela, Marine, Mathilde, Micheline, Steven
The workshop continues
After a week of meetings to discuss the future plans with all the crew here in Douarnenez, we continue the workshop on Polar.
We discussed many things from horizontality in the project, non mixite, transmission of skills, the order of the workshop and cooked, argued, laughed, danced and shared lots of ideas.
This winter we found storage, built a stove, took down the topmast, the bowsprit and all the spars, the trees were craned off the deck and the boat was made ready for the work ahead.
Now in the mornings the stove is lit in the galley and if we are lucky the sun shines and melts the frost on deck, or more likely we put on jackets to shelter from the rain.
We are making detailed plans of what needs changing, what frames, bulwarks, stringers and deck planks can be repared or need replacing. Searching for good supplies of wood and planning how we can share all the responsibility of restoring the boat and continue our projects here and in the surrounding area.
If you are interested to be involved, have skills to share or up for learning something new, get in touch and we can share our calendar of events and plans for the workshop.
There is all sorts of things that need doing, from paperwork, cooking, planning events, carpentry, metalwork, electricity..
The idea is to share as much as possible and learn from each other in an empowering way in an inclusive environment. We wont be moving so far for a moment, so you know where to find us.
Looks like we made it! After a month at sea, days in canals and nights in numerous ports, Polar Star arrived in L'Aber Wrach followed a few hours later by Astragale.
The mist gave way and our friends on Rose of Argyll came along side the same day from their trip to Scotland. A welcome back, a homecoming for some and new waters for Polar Star fearing well after the rough seas and swells on the sea.
We headed to land for a hot shower, see friends and maybe a drink or two.
Just one more day sail to Doaurnenez where the workshop will continue after maybe a little rest for all the crew and chance to dry some clothes and find our land legs for a moment.
Into the North Sea...
Out into the unforgiving sea, cargo boats, rolling seas, winds and industrial coastlines. We get out some of the sails, although with a few spars to replace we have to wait to get out the top sails and jibs for the future..
We take some respite in the standing mast canals in the Netherlands and take every weather window to head south towards France.
The occasional stay in a port gives us a chance to discuss together how things are going, how we want to shape the project together and fix all the inevitable problems that spring up.
Changing crews between Astragale and Polar Star, learning the ropes and plotting the course...
Still tying down trees, sails, supplies and making sure everyone aboard we let go of the lines and headed out into the Baltic sea. A week of hard sailing for Astragale straight into a southerly gale and a time for Polar Star to get her sea legs.
We headed towards the Kiel canal stopping along the way, practising maneuvers and skillsharing as we go, old hands, new accomplices and first time sailers all together sharing the life at sea. A learning experience for us all and little time to reflect on the past months of over 50 people that have passed by and taken part in getting the boats ready for the voyage. How long to arrive in Douarnenez and what adventures are to come?
Farewell to Denmark
2 months of hard graft, fun times, friends and life in a shipyard, we tie up loose ends, tidy up the workshop and load PolarStar and Astragale ready for the trip south. A couple of quick test sails and with the engine running smoothly, a few larch trees loaded on and a crew of 14 ready for what the sea throws at us.
After a days of looking into the depths of the motor, repairing, changing filters, oil and finding lost screws, the gear box and engine were reunited (after a new lick of paint) and craned back into the hull ready to be wired up and tested in the days to come...
Oil and tar
The days start to get a bit shorter and the rain keeps us on our toes, but we keep going, friends come and go, new energy, tired hands. Tar,motor oil and sawdust follows us around. The long process of caulking the deck gets underway and the electricity is checked and repaired along with new batteries installed and wired in.
A new frame and stanchion are added and we start to look inside the boat to create some kind of temporary living quarters for the voyage to France.
All hands on deck!
We start the re-caulking Polar Stjernens seams, starting under the water line. An intense 3 weeks getting the hull ready to put her in the water, including putting in a last minute plank with hours to spare. Still caulking and putting in tar as the crane rolls in.
Now back in the water we start looking at the deck, electronics, rigging and the never ending list of things we need to do. The motor we craned out and hopefully be getting fixed before the end of the month.
One stormy day in June, Astragale was hiding out from the big seas and shouting winds in a tiny island harbour in the south of denmark, when another sea urchin contacted us with this message: "check this boat out, looks interesting and in the fjord you had a good feeling about, you'se can email them?"
Many of us sea urchins had gone to look at many boats over the past few years. They were often either too expensive, too wrecked, or both. But everytime our tiny hearts fly at the thought of a new possibility.
We checked the link.
Polar Stjernen (Polar Star). A 20m wooden gaff rigged ketch from the northen most point of denmark. Precisely what we had been searching for.
So the scissor sisters, (Since Svendborg we've sailed without cis males.) with the wind filling Astragale's sail, put our heading towards Aalborg and the Polar Star. Via Sweden of course!
After many a sea mile, in all weathers, the scissor sisters came alongside Polar Star in the beginning of July, and the two sister ships finally met :)
And we began the long process of making a decision, based on the condition of her hull. Fun stuff like tearing out the beds and cupboards, workin on the motor, putting a tug boat in the water to pull her across to where she could be put on the dry and craning her out.
Now we plan to continue the work needed to get her sailing, with a big workshop here in Aalbourg during August and September with the aim to get her across to Brittany this winter to continue the work needed over there.
If you want to be part of the adventure of getting her ready to mission down to brittany before .. winter is coming (and it comes early in denmark) get in touch!
A year of sailing with Astragale, voyaging around to cornwall, Bristol and back across the channel to Douarnenez. Taking part in maritime festivals like Temps Fete, Moushole 'Salt and Sails' and Falmouth Classics. We sailed up the North Sea, ending up in Autumn in the Baltic sea, searching around Denmark, Sweeden and Germany for freinds, contacts, boatyards and a bigger sister ship.
Winter, 2019 we passed in Greifswald germany, making new frames, motor work, hull repair and lots of other maintenance needed. Now the voyage is under way and you can check our route with Astragale for the summer/autumn 2019 here...
In winter 2017-18 we met the owner of Astragale, from Douarnenez in Brittany, France. He was looking for a group of young, motivated and responsible people to look after his boat and make her sail. In exchange for working on and maintaining his beautiful 1950s 7.60m wooden double-ender sloop, he gave us 2 years of complete autonomy with the boat. Astragale was his project boat, he had rebuilt her during 30 years, but she had not yet been sailing.
We finished the works such as the anchor chain plate, we sculpted new cleats, installed the winches, plumbing, electricity, gas, and finished the running rigging: everything to make her sail again for the first time in 30years! Since we have been sailing France, England, Ireland, Holland and the Baltic Sea to continue our search for a longer term and larger ship which is more sustainable and suitable to house all our projects and energy.