by Lorne Swarthout
On Sunday the volunteer boatbuilders of VCB laid the last strip on our new American Star. The hull is now complete. Over 3,000 strips of western red cedar (and a dozen of Alaskan yellow cedar) have been carefully glued together over the last three months to form the long, sinuous hull that will become the newest custom wooden boat to emerge from the VCB workshop.
We all celebrated, as is traditional, with a whiskey toast. This was not a boat launch, which is usually celebrated with champagne for the swells, but a big moment for the workers who know what has gone into getting the boat to this point. They have turned a pile of sticks and boards into a beautiful, organic thing. It is a moment worth savoring and deserves a toast.
Actually, the volunteers were really toasting themselves. And well they should. They have labored with diligence, good humor and increasing woodworking skills to create this craft. They have helped to bring something new into the world.
We are a long way from finished. Next will come sanding and fiberglassing of the outside, and then we will flip it over and go to work on the inside. It will be several more months before we can launch our American Star (which some of us are starting to call the Hudson Star).
But Sunday we reached an important milestone: we are pleased with our boat and proud of what we have accomplished.