Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Bristol Fashion, Herreshoff And All That

A visit to the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, Road Island, was an essential stop for us on our New England cruise. We day sailed north from Newport to Bristol and took a mooring offered by the museum, the cost of which included museum entry for the crew.

The museum occupies the original Herreshoff factory site, amazingly complete today, with some buildings leased by shipwrights who are building and restoring wooden boats on a commercial basis. Dozens of Herreshoff boats are on display - from dinghys to motor launches to catamarans. It was here that the great Nathaniel Herreshoff conceived and built the beautiful yachts that originally challenged and defended the Americas Cup over a 100 years ago.

I've cruised extensively on H28 and H37 ketches designed by L Francis Herreshoff, son of the master designer Nathaniel. Our afternoon in the museum was an overdose of timber, craft and history, graciously supported by one of the museum volunteers, who recognised our keen interest and escorted us around the site.

The museum is a living, breathing heritage site that, to my delight, operates youth sail training programs in classic timber Herreshoff boats. In the image below you can see the crews getting underway for an afternoon of sailing - they sailed on and off the moorings, bringing back a flood of memories for me, as I started my sailing experiences that way.  Yes, we have sailed Crystal Blues both onto and off moorings, though it has been a while ...

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