Today we visited the Essex Ship Building museum. We learned about the precursor to the styles of building that we use today and even got to see some of the techniques used to frame or rib a boat. While the museum was set up to accommodate smaller children, Connor Mahoney stepped-up to the plate and solved the framing puzzles.
In the 1700 and 1800s the museum was a port where over 4000 boats were built. Out of those 4000 one returned and is in such bad condition that it is considered to be in “preservation” instead of a restoration. In this case the cost to restore the boat would be three times the cost to make a new one.
We also learned about the progression of how wooden boats were built and how the style of the boat changed as the purpose of the boat changed. Early boats were designed as only fishing boats that had to be large enough to hold the catch as well as quick enough to get back to port before it spoiled. As time went on races for fishing boats became very popular and the focus was then set on building fast boats. The main requirement to be able to race though was that the boat also had to be able to fish. These were made with shallower drafts and the rigging became much more complicated to allow for more sails. This style of boat was very popular until the invention of engine powered boats essentially ending this style of boat wooden boat building.